1 Nov 2023DisruptorsGiddy up: why the 'horse girl' trend is cooler than ever

‘Horse girl’ used to be an insulting term, one directed towards young girls and women worldwide who had an active passion for the equine scene. But times are changing and as girlhood tropes are rewritten, it's welcoming a new era of horse girl styles, aesthetics and codes that are considered cool.

Riani KenyonRiani Kenyon is a caffeinated Zillennial who is hopelessly addicted to The Sims 4 and binge-watches her latest anime obsession when she’s not busy bopping to early 2000’s K-pop. Beyond being a nerd, she has worked on initiatives for the UN Academic Impact and the UK Model WHO, and also explored politics while interning at the House of Commons.

It’s official, liking horses is now cool.

Gone are the days when ‘horse girl’ was an insult directed towards socially awkward girls and young women who wear scrunchies and have braces. Now, fashionable it-girls like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid have become the face of equestrian trends and horse girls everywhere.

However, it’s not just supermodels changing the horse girl narrative.

Drag queen Trixie Mattel released an eyeshadow palette called Horse Girl featuring shades ‘Mane Character’ and ‘Rodeo Queen, and DJ Stella (aka @horsegiirl420 on Instagram) has taken people for a ride at Boiler Room donning her equine getup in the process.

@margotposts X (2023)

We can’t talk about horse girl aesthetics without talking about the movie of summer 2023: Barbie.

In Barbie, Ken recognised how iconic horses are as seen in the inspiration behind his Mojo Dojo Casa House. Barbie herself also looked hot to trot in her hot pink cowgirl outfit, despite the tears running down her face as she’s confronted with the reality of transitioning from girlhood to womanhood.

Liking horses has always been a rite of passage for many girls.

One theory behind this is that horses allow young girls moving into adolescence a way to express their power, another theory is the empathetic and gentle nature that horses give off develops caregiving behaviours. And lastly, horseback riding fulfils a sense of adventure, escapism and freedom – something people everywhere can get behind.

@Fashionista_com X (2021)

Over in the gaming world, Sims 4 players are even able to get in on the horse girl action by creating their own Mojo Dojo Casa House with the newest Horse Ranch Expansion Pack.

In this digital universe, gamers can simulate horse girl-related behaviours that allow them to live out their horse fantasies virtually without the huge costs that come with caring for a horse IRL – something that is usually reserved for privileged and wealthy members of society.

And the warm embrace of horse girl trends into popular culture hasn't escaped the attention of Reddit threads.

On the r/NoStupidQuestions thread, Reddit users go back and forth debating what it actually means when describing a girl or woman as a ‘horse girl’. And on the r/Equestrian thread, one user even asks the question: “am I single bc I'm a horse girl”.

@ComptonCowboys X (2020)

By welcoming the horse girl trend into wider culture, it's rewriting the archetype of socially awkward teen girls who like horses and is shining a light on how ‘horse girl energy’ can be a way to rewrite social norms and fight for change.

For example, the Compton Cowboys have shown up at protests on horseback and Gen Z climate activist Greta Thunberg has even appeared on the cover of Vogue Scandinavia alongside a horse.

With the horse girl trend spreading rapidly across social media, videos relating to #horsegirl have over 31.7 million TikTok views, #horsegirlenergy has over 23.8 million views and #horsegirlvibe has over 1.2 million views – ushering in a vibe shift that embraces people's inner equestrian.

But you don't need to ride horses to embrace the cultural rise of the horse girl. Instead, you can just appreciate from afar the community that horse girl culture brings.