Giddy Up: The "Horse Girl" Aesthetic Is Here

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If you've been tuned in to pop culture discourse over the last few months, you may have noticed that we're in a renaissance. No, not in the sense of Beyoncé's house music era (although she does have a hand in the current beauty trends at the moment). Rather, her "Cowboy Carter" album is one of many variables causing a resurgence in the western-chic cowgirl aesthetic.

"I think it's so funny that it's having a moment right now," Bella Hadid tells PS.

Undoubtedly, the fresh new voices being spotlighted in country music (see: Reyna Roberts) has resulted in the genre getting quite a bit of mainstream spotlight. As a result, people are trying to look the part. From Beyoncé's cowboy-inspired looks to the rodeo-girlfriend aesthetic Hadid has recently been spotted in, we're witnessing the rise of horse girl beauty — and fans can't seem to get enough. Over the last few weeks, this has resulted in people creating content about achieving the "cowgirl chic" aesthetic with tips on everything from what to wear to how to do your makeup to go horseback riding.

Still, why do people feel particularly primed to jump on this trend? We explore the horse girl phenomenon here.

Experts Featured in This Article

Bella Hadid is a supermodel and founder of the fragrance brand Orebella.

Tasha Bailey is psychotherapist and the author of "Real Talk: Lessons from therapy on Healing & Self-Love."

Carrie Carrollo is a New York City-based copywriter and avid horse riding enthusiast.

Why Is the Horse Girl Aesthetic Trending?

First and foremost, this aesthetic has star power. "When a celebrity steps outside of a barrier or delves into something new, it can be very permission-giving," psychotherapist, Tasha Bailey, tells PS. "It exposes a new reality or experience. When a star is the one spearheading a trend, it can feel like an invitation to become playful with our identity and style and to experiment with ourselves."

At one point, being a "horse girl" was seen as cringe. There were Twitter threads of people discussing their experiences with the former in school and even dedicated YouTube videos making fun of horse-girl memes. Needless to say: the mid '00s, were rough on equestrian lovers.

"If you're a real horse girl then you know that there was a time when it really wasn't cool — but if you loved the sport enough you were willing to take on that title," says Hadid.

Still, no "horse-girl" content has seemed to stick like the ones that we are seeing today, where openly loving the sport is becoming more and more appreciated. This, coupled with the way that trends are so rapidly consumed in society today, and it makes sense that this seemingly niche aesthetic is having its moment.

Another common denominator when it comes to trends and aesthetics on TikTok: we love to cosplay wealth. From the "old money" and "quiet luxury" aesthetics to the glorification of stealth-wealth beauty looks, beauty and fashion-lovers alike have been trying to emulate what they believe those in the wealthiest echelons of society look like. What better way to continue the illusion of wealth than by looking like you take part in one of the most expensive extracurricular activities available? Horseback riding as a hobby can cost upward of $15,000, according to Equus Magazine , but you wouldn't be able to tell by how much manual labor seems to go into the sport.

"By peacocking our wealth, we signal to others our social standing," Bailey says. "This can often come from the need for validation that can come from status signaling." While those who participate in horse riding for fun aren't explicitly flaunting their social status, the space has an "if you know, you know" energy about it that can be alluring to anyone, even to those on the outside.

How to Achieve the Horse Girl Aesthetic

Fans of the sport are surely appreciative of its recent resurgence. "As someone who was always made fun of for being a horse girl growing up, it's strange to see it blow up, but I'm here for it," writer and horse riding enthusiast, Carrie Carrollo, tells PS. Though she can't pinpoint exactly when the "cowgirl" aesthetic really took off, Carrollo has noticed that "cowboy culture" is alive and well — even for people who are outside of the sport. "On the western side, cowboy culture, which includes cowboy boots, cowboy-hat tattoos, and albums like 'Cowboy Carter,'" is definitely having a moment," she says. "On the English and hunter/jumper side, things like tall black riding boots and riding pants are all the rage right now."

If you're not quite ready to overhaul your wardrobe but still want to enter your western chic era, we have a few tips from the pros. "I don't wear any makeup when I go riding," Hadid says. "I put my hair in two braids, throw on a ball cap, jeans, a t-shirt, and a belt."

Carrollo, on the other hand, wears light makeup, inclusive of her favorite Glossier Stretch concealer ($22), cream blush, and the Tower 28 mascara ($20), but there is one product that is non-negotiable. "I'm never not wearing face sunscreen, but it's especially important for days at the barn when I'll be outside or even driving," she says. "Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen ($38) has been my go-to for years."

Regardless of where you stand on the cowgirl resurgence, and whether or not horse girl braids or patchwork cowboy-boot tattoos are in your future, you can rest assured knowing that you no longer have to shell out thousands of dollars to take the western route, should you so choose.

Ariel Baker is the associate editor for PS Beauty. Her areas of expertise include celebrity news, beauty trends, and product reviews. She has additional bylines with Essence and Forbes Vetted.