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Who knew women owned approximately 90% of the horses in the United States and Great Britain, and the majority of those women have horses for pleasure? I didn’t. I learned this from running across a random article while web browsing that according to a 2010 nationwide survey conducted by American Horse Publications they do.

Further down the rabbit hole of internet articles, I discovered that horse ownership can increase life span in women by fifteen years. This study was mentioned in an

August 26, 2018 article in Awaken magazine. “A double-blind study followed women of widely varying age groups for over a forty-year time-frame to capture some striking and objective data. Scientists have discovered that when a woman owns a horse, her life expectancy increases by up to 15 years. Scientists reached this interesting conclusion after analyzing statistics from over fifty countries, including a pool of women who did own horses as well as many who did not.” So why do women with horses live longer? While the conclusive answer is still a mystery, it seems that physical activity and socialization may play a big part in the answer.

Where does Louisiana land in women’s life expectancy I wondered? Well, the World Population Review lists Louisiana in their 2022 report as, “the unhealthiest state according to data collected in 2021.” We overtook Mississippi to be the worst state. Louisiana also has the third lowest life expectancy.

I sat back and considered what I had read. I was surprised the number of women who owned horses was that high considering the horse industry’s equipment such as saddles, trailers, and marketing skews decidedly male.

I started the internet search to find a number base for a project that had been bouncing around in my head of organizing women’s riding retreats. I wanted an event for women equestrians, to increase their equestrian skill base, fellowship, and have fun in a supportive and safe environment. I needed an idea about how many women owned horses in Louisiana and did I have enough female equestrians in the state to make this project viable. Other states have retreats, as I discovered, all be it dude ranches with $4,000-$6,000 price tags. I was confident I could do it more cost effectively. I just needed a supportive venue, presenters, engaging activities, and women. Should be easy right? I kept my fingers crossed.

Enter Schuyler “Sky” Wright and Gina Wright of Rustic Sky Horse Camp. When I considered where to have a women’s retreat, their facility was at the top of the list. They both were receptive and we decided on a spring date. I lined up presenters Daniel Dauphin, Lee Weatherford, Elam Fontenot, Emily Whitehurst, came up with a Wine Hunt competition, and a caterer for those who wanted to pamper themselves by not having to cook. Sky and Gina took care of the trail bosses, gumbo meet and greet, wine and cheese tasting, and Saturday night karaoke and dancing. I drafted a flyer for the event, said a prayer, and posted it on social media.

Sky called me the next day. “Robbin, we have a problem. We are going to have to do another weekend for the retreat.”

My heart sank wondering what had happened. “Oh Sky, what happened?” I uttered with no small amount of dread.

He replied, “We’re sold out. We sold out of space in two hours cabins and RV spaces”

“What? Really?” To say I was surprised was an understatement.

“Yes, we are out of space and have several on a waiting list for cancelations.”

“Fabulous! Yes, another weekend would be a great idea.”

That’s how the Louisiana Women’s Riding Retreats came to be. I have been fortunate to have wonderful presenters, a great working relationship with Rustic Sky Horse Camp which is a stellar equestrian venue, and some of the most fun ladies who attend the retreats.

The first woman to be a horse veterinarian graduated in 1957, now four out of five equine veterinary graduates are women. Dream big and be the change you want to see in the world. The next Lousiana Women's Riding Retreat is scheduled for September 21-24, 2023. Contact Rustic Sky at 318.659.4414 for availability. I hope to see you at one of the retreats soon.

Happy Trails, Robbin Rosalis

Robbin Rosalis, Louisiana Women's Retreat Developer

Author: Robbin Rosalis, LEC Board Member & LEC Woman Chair

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