Sunday, November 29, 2009
The Beginning Is A Good Place To Begin
This morning, I weighed in at 291lbs.
For some, this would be horrifying. For me, this is a triumph!
Yes, I am a fat girl. And yes, as you can see by the picture, I endeavor to ride horses. It's kind of an oxymoron, considering the first image that pops to mind when someone thinks of a talented equestrienne is one that is slim, trim and svelte. For anyone whose mind just did a double take when I said I was a fat girl who rides horses, my fat horse and I are here to change the way you think. For anyone whose mind just took a wistful trip down through their childhood memories in which they once rode horses but now feel they are too fat to do so, my fat horse and I are here to change the way you think. And for anyone whose mind did an acknowledging little nod and said "Mhmm, you go girl!", I am here to celebrate with you.
My name is Amanda and I am a 24 year old fat girl. I have owned, loved, and ridden horses my entire life and I have been a fat girl since I was born - at a whopping 10lbs11oz! Not only am I fat, but I am also built like an amazon. I teeter at about 5'11", my hands rival those of any man, and my feet are a size 12. I never have been, nor will I ever be that talented equestrienne who is slim, trim and svelte (nor will I ever probably have to stand on tiptoe to kiss a man but I digress!). I'm okay with that. I have come to love myself, and the skin that I am in. I want what is best for myself and will work to get that.
The fat horse's name is Bronwyn. She is my partner entirely by chance (I believe it is divine intervention, I am sure some will disagree) and I will someday share the story. In the meantime, she is a fat horse. She is a draft cross (which is the only part of her lineage we feel we can safely assume!), and we have been told she is 5 years old. Due to a serious starvation as a young mare, she is obsessed with food. Not only is she obsessed with food, but she gains weight merely by looking at food. Like me, she is relatively fit (in the "workhorse" way, not in the "sprinting thoroughbred" way), but still very much out of shape.
My goals for Bronwyn and I? To show open in English pleasure this summer and not run out of breath (for both of us!). To ride in clinics and with your stereotypical equestrienne types and let people know that not only can I ride a horse as a fat girl, but I can do it well. I want to do with Bronwyn all of the things that any other rider aspires to do with any talented young horse.
Why am I writing this blog?
I AM NOT writing this blog to fill the heads of plus sized riders with fluff and rainbows. I am not here to say "even if you weigh 500lbs, you should ride horses!". I am not even here to say that everyone who weighs 300lbs is fit or ready to ride their horses. I AM here to say that life doesn't end just because you're fat, and fat is not a good excuse to stop doing the things that you enjoy.
I am writing this blog:
- to TALK about plus sized riders. People need to be aware!
- to SHARE ideas and resources with other plus sized riders.
- to SHOWCASE talented plus sized equestrians and share success stories.
- to DEBUNK many of the myths surrounding plus sized riders and the horses they ride and the equestrian world they live in.
- to INSPIRE those who have packed on a few pounds but used to love riding and want to investigate if this is a possibility at all for them.
As plus sized riders, one thing I will stress - it is so important to recognize your own body's limitations and the limitations of your horse. If you are overweight and you want to get back in the saddle, do not expect to ride an endurance ride on your first trip out, or ride for hours even. When I was beginning to get back into shape, fifteen minutes was a LONG, BIG workout of a ride for me, and it might be for you, too.
Another realization you may have to come to is that your current mount is not suitable for you at this time in your life. I am not saying all plus sized riders need a draft horse (in fact, I will debunk that myth soon enough in an entry!), but if you plan to ride as a "fat girl" (or guy!), the truth may be that the horse standing in your backyard right now might not be a horse that meets your needs any longer.