While the Fédération Française d’Equitation (French Equestrian Federation) boasts 78% of women amongst its 600,000 members, other sports such as classic dance can boast the same. But horse riding is one of the only sports considered as “mixed” where there is a majority of women taking part and where men and women compete on an equal footing.
Therefore, women largely represent the majority in riding schools, even though there are fewer women than men who take it up professionally. How can this keen interest be explained?
A passion born during childhood…
Although women make up the majority in all age ranges (the FFE is made up of 40% under-12s, 10% 12-18s and 50% adults), the figure is skewed by the proportion of young girls – of whom there are many who want to be involved in a sport where they are in contact with an animal, particularly when their parents refuse to adopt a pet. Horses are much appreciated animals at this age – as revealed by the multiplication of horse-related video games or books aimed at pre-teens: the game Alexandra Ledermann, magazines Cheval Girl and Cheval Star , Barbie loves horse riding, TV series Grand Galop, etc. Boys on the other hand, as Le Parisien points out, are less targeted by toy manufacturers and therefore less attracted to this sport which has no well-known stars to chat about in the playground, in contrast to French rugby or football players.
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