For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Horse Power: Gender, Work, and Wealth in Canadian Show Jumping"

by Coulter, Kendra (2013)


This chapter examines gender and show jumping in Canada and focuses on two related questions. Why, in a sport where women and girls constitute the majority of participants overall, do men constitute a majority of the competitors at the highest, Grand Prix level? What factors are influencing men’s and women’s participation and achievement in Grand Prix show jumping? To answer these questions, I examine data collected through ethnographic research in equestrian culture. First, I consider the skills and attributes seen as key to Grand Prix achievement. Because show jumping is both a sport and one part of a broader for-profit horse industry, next I analyse the social and economic factors influencing participants. The political economy of show jumping has a substantial impact on the sport, and the labour necessary for competing and excelling in the horse industry reproduces gendered inequities. Accordingly, I argue that the cultural practices and socioeconomic relations outside of the ring play the most influential role in shaping the inequitable gendered makeup of Grand Prix show jumping.


Animals, Animal Labour, Animal Work



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