Is horse back riding a sport?

Dear Jerry,
Do you think horse back riding is a sport? If you don’t hopefully this will change your mind.
Here are a few reasons to back-up my argument.
The first and most common reason people think horse back riding isn’t a sport is because they say that the rider doesn’t have to do anything, all they do is sit on the horse and the horse does all the work. Well this argument is very incorrect. If a rider just sat on the horse and didn’t do anything the horse would either stand there, go find a patch of grass, or take off; depends on the breed of horse you have. Another thing wrong about that statement is horse back riders have major leg muscles from kicking, squeezing and even steering the horse. Try riding bareback on a horse, you’ll quickly realize you need leg muscle. Also another type of riding that requires major leg muscle is jumping. Every time the rider goes over the jump s/he has to squeeze with his or her legs to get the horse to stretch it’s legs depending on the height of the jump. Therefore, the rider does not just sit there and do nothing. Most of the time the rider makes it look easy and people may think the horse is doing all the work, but this is false.
Secondly, in horse back riding you can compete in horse shows where you get judged, there is a winner and loser. You get judged by many different things. It mainly depends on if you are doing showmanship, western pleasure, barrel racing, jumping, hunter jumper.; the judges watch for different things in different events. Having competition, and winning or losing is a key ingredient to something being a sport.
Thirdly, us riders train. Another aspect of sports is that you’ve got to train. The definition of training could mean two different things. Training as in training a young horse to do whatever riding style the rider/trainer wants to teach the horse to be able to do, or it could mean train as in the horse is already broken in and is ride able but the rider and the horse train together.
There are some cases where the rider does not compete and just rides for the fun of it, is that still a sport? Yes. The rider still needs balance, leg muscle and needs to know how to ride, therefore they had to do some type of training. If people say that horse back riding is not a sport, then why should gymnastics be called a sport? People only say that because you can actually see the athlete doing the work, with horse back riding however, you just show your talent through how the horse behaves. The horse is the riders “teammate”. How would you like having a teammate that weighs 2,000 pounds and has the ability of killing you instantly?
 in conclusion I’d like to add that I’ve been riding and training horses for eight years so obviously I am going to be defensive about my sport, but I have talked to many people who do not ride and they have agreed that horse riding is in fact a sport.
If these facts aren’t enough then here is a link to a video that touches on some points that I don’t. If you still don’t agree with me, well then I’m very sorry for you.
-Mya Marks

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