2015-12-15: Hi! You're probably here because you did a Google search for 'plus sized horseback riders' or you saw my content quoted elsewhere. There are a couple of things I'd like you to know.

I am still here! But I am living away from my horses and not riding often. I could tell you a lie and say that I am, but I have always endeavored to give you the truth here. As a result, I'm not feeling terribly motivated to write blog posts and I feel out of touch with the community.

I'd love for you to stay a while and look back through the archives. Visit the links listed below. We still have an active forum community and I post on the Facebook page from time to time.

I have tentative plans to try to get more involved in the horse world in 2016, and I will absolutely share whatever that adventure becomes with you, so keep checking back!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Mid Week Confessional

I was thinking about this as I did my chores this morning... I have a confession to make.

I try to convey a lot of confidence when I write this blog. I feel completely confident and well seated on Bronwyn - I have no guilt or concern riding her at all.

BUT - some of you may know this, some of you may not - but I have two other horses who are NOT "The Fat Horse".

I have Rex:

and I have his half sister, Ari:

Besides their many individual redeeming qualities, Rex and Ari are around mainly because their mother was an extremely important horse to me (I am working on the post to tell you all about her, I promise!)... I feel that she lives on through them - however, it took Bronwyn to spark my interest in horses again.

So anyways, on to the confession part. I do have a nagging little voice inside of me that doesn't want me to ride my non-fat horses. Logic says that Ari, even though she is only 14.2hh, but built like a brick pooper (I would guesstimate around 1200lbs), could carry me comfortably - while I build her up and get her fit, I couldn't do much harm to her. I have ridden her before:

AND to add to this foolishness, Ari has bulked up considerably since these pictures - she was 4 in these pictures, and she will be SEVEN in this coming April. She has approximately 15 rides on her. I started her myself, before I even thought about weight in relation to horses.

Then, I'm not sure what happened, but that naggy voice inside of me came into being, and I have not ridden her since 2007. My mother has ridden her a handful of times over the last couple of years. The real shame is that the mare has beautiful movement, a GORGEOUS temperament and great potential. But I am stuck. I can't bring myself to ride her. I keep telling myself I will when I get down to 250, but will I keep making excuses?

It breaks my heart because Ari is, by far and away, the easiest and closest connection that I have to her mother, Angel, and I can't enjoy her because I have a little voice in my head going "You're going to squish that pony!".

Then there is Rex. He will be four in April and I have not started him yet. He is ready to start - he's all the way there - the groundwork has been laid, he's been sacked out and ground driven excessively - he hardly bats an eyelid when I put my foot in the stirrup and jump around... but my naggy voice tells me he has "spindly legs and little feet" and he's not nearly fit or thick enough to hold me. He's about 15-15.1hh - I would say probably 1050-1100lbs. In another year or two, he's going to fill out into a massive 1300lber, because that's exactly what his mama did.

A few years ago, I would never have had these issues, NEVER. I think what happened was this:

I was starting a 6 year old stallion who is blind in one eye... big boy, sweet boy... I took some video stills and posted them on a forum where many people that I love and trust (still do!) post, and was told I was too big for him and he looked uncomfortable carrying my weight.

This is the picture:

Here is another shot taken NOT from a video still so you can get an appropriate idea:

Every stitch of sense in my brain tells me that he was an extremely suitably sized horse for me. But that was the moment when I began thinking about it, began second guessing myself every time I put my foot in a stirrup. In retrospect, I am grateful because it has helped me to become more aware and able to articulate the things that I have been writing in this blog... but I am also resentful because I have not allowed myself to enjoy two of my favourite horses for fear that I am hurting them.

Sometimes that little naggy voice even comes out when I am choosing pictures from riding sessions on Bronwyn to show on the internet or on this blog. It says "If you post this angle, people are going to see how unsuitable you are for this horse..." and the naggy voice often makes me ask in the middle of a session "Do I look alright? Does this look natural?".

I worked very hard to quash that naggy voice and he hardly ever comes up anymore. One of the greatest things I did was have a real, honest-to-goodness photo shoot on Bronwyn so I could see how freaking gorgeous I actually look on her. No "tricks of the camera", no "bad angles"... I cried when I saw the photo that is up to the left on the blog. And they weren't tears of sadness because the little naggy voice told me anything, they were tears of happiness because I knew I looked fantastic and so did my mare and we had both come through a significant journey this summer. Due in part to the photos (taken by Jilly @ Scuffed Boots Photography), I learned to LOVE myself. I had always been okay with myself, never had a problem, really, but now I LOVE myself and I know I am worth so much.

So maybe this winter, one of my goals will be to go head to head with my little naggy voice and show him who is boss. Why? Because I deserve to let myself enjoy the things that I have... and I'm beginning to feel like a hypocrite, telling everyone to just get out and ride when I am not doing that with my non-fat horses.

So - I am opening the floor for the Mid Week Confessional -- in the comments, confess! Encouragement and support is what this blog is all about and identifying your fears and misgivings is the first step to overcoming them!


  1. I spend at least two hours every week calculating my weight Vs. Ginger's weight and being fretful that me + saddle = too much for her. But then I think of those itty bitty reining and cutting horses ridden by those decent sized men and all that gear and they are running and spinning and sliding and doing all kinds of things, and i think that Ginger must MUST be able to carry me right? I mean, all I want to do is freaking WALK. Just walk. Thats it. lol

    So yeah, I know exactly what you are feeling and thinking when it comes to this. I sure wish I was 180 again. Hell! Even 250 would be nice! lol

    We will get there. We will. In the meantime, don't lose sight of what it is you really want to accomplish. AND, dont forget there are a million things you can do with your horses that dont involve riding, if you just are not comfortable being on them yet.

    Thanks for another encouraging, inspiring, honest to the bone post.

  2. I can totally relate to being very careful about which pictures to post on the 'net for fear of judgement. My horses are all 14.3hh or smaller...

    One is a 13.3 Blazer horse gelding that I am trying to put some finish work on to sell. My son has out grown him and he doesn't have the skills to train him. Last time I showed him to someone I actually paid a smaller friend to ride him for me.

    But honestly, if you were a man and your specialty was reining or cutting or or or... I'll bet hardly anyone at all would bat an eyelash at those pics of you on the stally.

    I have 'started' several horses and have watched/help people start several more. One thing all of the horses have in common (no matter the age - two of them were 5) is that the first couple of rides they are uncomfortable and wobbly as they learn to balance the rider's weight. I am sure pics of several of them would show the same 'uncomfortable' look.

    I am really sad that you aren't riding your horses, especially because the comments of others who aren't there in real life have kept you from it. I wonder too if there aren't some emotional barriers related to their dam that are keeping you from committing to riding them?

    Amanda, YOU know how to condition those two slowly and bring them into fitness. If you really are too heavy for them at this point YOU will know it by how they feel under you. And the horse people in your life, like your Mom will be right there on the ground telling you the truth about what they see IRL.

    Another suggestion might be to have someone else put 30 days of riding on them for you. That way they will have a jump start in their fitness level...

    Hang in there girl and keep on blogging!


  3. CC - I KNOW you can ride Ginger. Isn't it funny how people "on the outside" can have such solid ideas about how things work and sometimes the ones on the "inside" can't see the forest for the trees? I am very excited for February... I am going to get you riding NO MATTER WHAT! And when I leave, you're going to keep riding, because I will hassle you every single day. I was talking to my father tonight about it, actually - about this blog in general and about how nice of a person you are and how I know you can ride Ginger, and you won't bug her at all and you just need a push. :) I hope I can be that push!

    Char - I think you might be right about the emotional barriers. I have lived in fear of something bad happening to either one of them because of Angel and how badly I miss her. I like to think I have completed the grief cycle and am moving on now that I have Bronwyn but I choked up a little tonight telling my father about how distraught I was about not "being able" to ride my two descendants.

    I had never really pinpointed WHY I started feeling the way I do, and WHERE that naggy little voice came from. My parents never told me I "couldn't" ride a certain horse because I was too big for them when I was growing up - and I never rode an unhappy horse that I was too heavy for, either! If one comment on the internet has put such an emotional barrier in me, I would be curious to see how some of the ugly things people say in real life to plus sized riders affect THEM! I have always prided myself in being the sort of girl who goes by this Dr Suess saying: "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - but it seems I have discovered that I can't always follow that creed. One of my "cold weather goals" will be to march to THAT drum!

  4. i'd show you a picture of me on my tiny 13.3, light built mare...but I'm afraid to post it honestly. I've been riding her for a few years now...she'll be 8 in May. She's never taken a lame step or been sore a day in her life. No one has ever said anything about me on her, but I know they are thinking it...it's a hard thing to get over in your head.

  5. TRH - I would love to see a picture, if you want to email it to me and I won't post it on the blog. I am always interested in seeing people of different sizes on different horses, the expressions on the horse's features are usually the most telling sign, I think... which is why back in 2007, I let myself remember that Ari was perfectly fine carrying me - the relaxed expression on her face - the "no worries", head down, relaxed. Same with the stud...

    It's silly the things we let ourselves be told even though we know different, isn't it?

  6. I remember when you were starting the stallion. On one hand I'm really sorry that you were told things that caused you so much difficulty in so many ways, but on the other hand I know that God works in mysterious ways and if it had not been for that experience, you may not be writing this blog today. You're a beautiful young woman, both inside and out, and I'm proud of your for writing this blog! Love you lots!

  7. Aw, thanks Lisa. I really look up to you and it means a lot to me that you think that about me. :)

    I miss that stallion like crazy. If he ever comes up for sale again, I'd like to buy him back. Good, big boy and very chill. :)

  8. When I set out to get back into horses in April of this year I was afraid to go and try them out. I didn't want to hear people say that I was too big. I will say that my fears are unfounded because in my area there are more plus sized riders of both sexes than not. Most do not ride a gigantor like I do and I really haven't heard anyone say anything bad.

    Then we found Scooter and saw that he was half draft 17.2 hands and 1800 pounds so we had to go and try him. He fit me perfect! My legs didn't hang past his belly and he didn't groan when I got on, even with his heavy roping saddle.


    I wasn't expecting to ride so I wore my flip flops to see him, lol. He has grown 2.5 inches and put on 200+ pounds since that pic in July.

  9. Oh man, I love Scooter!! I didn't realize you'd only had him since April!

    As for a horse that my legs don't hang past their belly (someone once tried to tell me I was too big for Angel on that basis) - I have 36" inseam. I would need a 19hh horse! Though I do think it would be cool to ride something that my legs didn't hang past the barrel of!

  10. I know that a lot of people have horses and like many of you were saying, You are very careful about that pictures you post online. Well you have more guts them me. I don't have a single picture of me riding for fear of being judged. I'm only 240lbs but in breeches and rubber boots I don't feel like a rider. And the fact that I'm wearing rubber boots kills me. I have leather boots but my calf is to wide to fit into them. I keep telling myself that one day they will fit again. HA Yah right. I've been battling my weight all my life.

  11. Glaraelf - I myself am going to have to either order men's boots (if they come with XXL calfs) or have a pair custom made for me. I have an unusually large foot (12 in ladies), and enormous calves - which I don't think will change, even with weight loss. I hear you. My mother used to ride in rubber riding boots which she cut a wedge in the side of and sewed elastic in there.