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 1, 2009

Small Victories & Things You Never Imagined You Would Do

I was able to cross two things off my bucket list tonight:

1. Ride bareback in the snow
2. Ride with only the moon as my light

I was so incredibly proud of Bronwyn - as a general rule, I am always incredibly proud of her because she is extremely tolerant of my silly ideas - as she took it all in stride.

The idea started forming in my head the second I woke up to discover the farm covered in a layer of snow on Monday morning. Now... sometimes I have foolish ideas and Bronwyn flat out refuses, but most of the time when I have a foolish idea, she just goes along with it because we're cool like that. Unfortunately, my father thwarted my plan Monday morning because it was quite wet and slick and he insisted I should give the horses a day or two out to pasture in the snow so they could get used to it again. I set it aside Monday and planned to ride today but got so caught up running errands that I found myself out in the barn watering critters at 9:30 and just then realized that the entire day had completely bypassed me!

My father was with me in the barn, and he usually understands that when I decide to do something stupid or silly, the best thing for him to do is stand by and make sure I don't get hurt, because he's a good Daddy and that's what good Daddy's general do - let their little girls make stupid mistakes and then help them sweep up the pieces.

I tied a rope around Bronwyn's neck to give myself something to depend on if I needed it, donned my helmet, put her bridle on and longed her and then had to figure out the daunting task of mounting up... which is not always easy. I am not as flexible as I once was (who am I kidding? I was never flexible!) and no buckets ever seem to be tall enough to allow me to get my leg up over her back without causing an enormous cramp. Fortunately, she let me sidle her up to the core of the round bale in their pasture and I got my leg swung up over and spent probably a good minute prying myself onto, deathgrip crawling onto scampering up onto her back. Bless her, she stood perfectly still.

Now, the last time I rode bareback was back in May - to preface this and drive the point home about my "silly ideas" that I get that Bronwyn puts up with, let me just say... that time back in May that I rode bareback (two or three days) was after I had gotten dumped off her for the first time (and been dumped at all in 11 years!). I was extremely sore for about two weeks and when I got on her to ride bareback (without riding in a saddle first, AFTER she had had those two weeks off from work!) it was uncomfortable. It was nice to ride her bareback (I hadn't ridden bareback in about three years and then it was only once!), but it was extremely difficult for me to relax enough that I wasn't teetering dangerously back and forth. It was a good combination of worried about falling again and worried I was hurting her back. I have pictures that prove that she didn't mind so much, and she was a very good girl and I didn't fall... but it wasn't pleasant and I didn't do it again all summer. BACK to the present, now!

As soon as I got on her, we turned and headed back down toward the barn, and dad stood in the doorway and asked "Is it all you imagined it would be?". I sarcastically replied "Oh, magical."... but what I really meant was:


It did feel a lot better. I think it might be because I have been riding her more regularly and I can feel my core muscles getting stronger. I felt like I had much better balance and she even trotted a couple of steps, which excited me because I stayed on. I almost bit the snow when I dropped my rein because of the gloves I was wearing, but stuck with her.

When I came back in the barn, I asked my dad if he ever, in a million years, had envisioned that I could be doing something like that with Bronwyn when we first brought her home. She was a bit of a scared basketcase when she first arrived just over two years ago, and it took me six months to be able to get her to engage willingly with me. He said he absolutely didn't ever imagine that could happen - and I honestly never imagined it either. I never imagined myself being able to ride bareback, for one, comfortably and feel okay about it, or being able to do it on Bronwyn.

I always worry about bareback being hard on her back but she seems fine. It distributes your weight into a much smaller area (no matter how big my arse is!) than a saddle (at least a western saddle, which I typically ride in) does. I try to sit forward and relax, and allow myself to break at the hip and drop in my heels - someone on the Free Speech Horse Forum recommended the rope or strap around the neck to help out. I really think my riding, overall, but especially english, will be greatly helped by riding bareback. IMAGINE - a FAT girl riding a horse BAREBACK!

Sadly, I have no pictures to share of my "magical moment" tonight, but I do have a new one that my dear friend, Jill of Scuffed Boots Photography just finished editing from our photoshoot that the profile picture was taken in. Check out her wild mane.


  1. YAY! I have vet to ride Scooter bareback in the snow. I do ride bareback only and yes I am a fat rider on a HUGE horse. I use steps and the tail gate of my pickup to get on him, lol.

    I hope that you can get in more bareback riding and in the snow!

  2. I am going to try my best.

    (Oh! I just realized who you are in correlation with the forum - AND you have been following my variety of blogs for some time, haven't you? LOVE!)

    I really want to see pictures of you with Scooter riding bareback. :) I'd love to feature you on the blog - you're actually the one who inspired me on the whole bareback thing tonight!

  3. I really like riding Kieran bareback, especially as it's getting colder. And if it ever snows down here I'd LOVE to take him out in it. :)

    I have, at least, ridden him in the moonlight (by accident!) and he was a champ.

    And you're not the only one who looks ridiculous climbing up on your horse. I have a three step mounting block to get on him from and even with that I have to throw myself over his back, then kind of get my leg around and pull myself up. And this is assuming he doesn't decide to walk off with me (we've been working a lot lately on standing until I'm ready to go, he's been thinking he can just walk when he's ready to move).

  4. Bronwyn is very good standing still for me to get up bareback... she is NOT so good standing still for me to get on into the saddle. I use an overturned bucket to mount up and she is known to take a step back when I am standing that much taller than her. I get down and back her up five or six strides, then bring her back up and try again and she always stands the second time. If I were more fit and getting into the saddle weren't so difficult, I would just mount and dismount, both sides, over and over again until she decided to just sit still and take it.

  5. (and I meant, when I was talking about throwing myself over his back, about mounting bareback. We've got mounting with a saddle down. ;) )

  6. Sounds like so much fun! I've been tempted to hop on bareback with my new horse, but wasn't sure it was a good idea with us being new to each other. She's quite laid back, though, so I am really thinking about trying it tonight after work.

    Not sure about the mounting issue... I have a stepstool that works for saddle mounting, but not sure we have anything around the barn high enough to help me get on bareback - my flexibility at age 42 and 200+lbs is not quite what is was at age 11!

  7. Sounds like soooo much fun!! I will WILL come visit you someday and ride bareback under the moonlight, through the snow with you and B! hehe

    So happy for you. You are doing such a wonderful job with her!

  8. ktpupp - I mount up from a bucket into the saddle, too... I just figure it is easier to do that than climb up her side as it is too hard for me to just launch myself into the saddle. I am going to address that in an entry eventually, too. I am just so full of things I want to write about but I don't want to overwhelm everyone all at once or burn myself out! I keep a list of stuff to write about by my bed and add to it periodically (usually after a ride).

    And CC - of course you're welcome. :) I have an open farm - place isn't fancy, but we care about our animals and our guests!

  9. I just need to share my magical bareback moment. As a kid I always rode bareback. And usually in a halter. I loved it, and would only use a saddle for lessons and competition (and comp prep). So as an adult, I always wanted to ride bareback but I have stopped and started riding a few times due to life and various other events and haven't been at that point of total confidence in my balance to jump on any of my horses bareback. So jumping to a few months ago, I haven't been on a horse in almost 3 years, haven't ridden bareback (with the exception of once 5 years before hand) in 14 years and I have just bought myself a qh to help me get back in the saddle. However my english saddle with its short girth that fits my tb doesn't come anywhere close to touching her and due to living and working on a farm 30 mins from the nearest small town, I know it will be 2 weeks before I can get to a shop to buy the right size girth. So after getting to know Bluebelle and spending a week bonding (bought sight unseen), I look at her back and think 'I bet its comfy'. I then proceed to tie her leadrope around her neck, put her bridle on, put my helmet on and lead her over to a table telling myself that I will just lean across her back to see what she does. Turns out nothing was what she did. So I stood up and put my leg across her back whilst still holding my weight on my other leg and she still did nothing. I slid my weight across to her back and all she did was adjust herself to being under me. We then walked around her paddock for all of 10 mins with the neighbours dog barking nonstop from the gate, me trying to grip with my legs and her responding and moving appropriately which resulted in more gripping, slipping and mane grabbing. But it was perfect. I jumped off and was beaming ear to ear. I had done it. In fact, I had more than done it, I had ridden, I had ridden a brand new horse, and I had ridden her bareback. It couldn't have been a more perfect first ride. Now I can't wait to get back on my old showjumper and fly around a course. I'm not there yet, but I know thanks to Bluebelle and my magical bareback ride that I will be soon.

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