If you've ever tried to show horses when you're not a svelte, trim little thing, you've been there. You walk into the local outfitters store and are faced with rack after rack of the season's latest fashion. You check the price tags, and of course, they're all quite steep... then you start to check the sizing tags. Shuffling through the rack, you are nearly to the back by the time you find something that might come within a few sizes of even fitting you and it's an awful colour, and probably last year's style, too. Trying it on, you look a bit like a stuffed sausage. The colour is wrong, the style is wrong, the price tag is ASTRONOMICAL, and you hate the way you look - but you buy it because you have no choice.
That was the story of MY life when I was growing up showing - as I've mentioned, I've always been a fat girl, and I went through many, many, many seasons of "settling" on what I could find that even came close to fitting me because that was all there was available. I almost always paid TOO MUCH for something I hated and was even sometimes embarrassed to wear. It definitely doesn't boost your self esteem or confidence, let me tell you that!
The wonderful thing about the internet is the plethora of resources right at your fingertips (like this blog, for example!). All of a sudden, you have access... and what a wonderful thing it is!
In this entry, I've compiled a list of websites that offer tack, clothing and accessories for plus sized riders. I don't have personal consumer experience with each and every company, but I thought I would at least put them up there and if you've had a good experience, you can say so in the comments. If you have other sites to link, put them in the comments and I will add them to the entry!
Riding & Show Clothing and Apparel
Happy Horse Designs (up to size 28 in custom rail shirts and showmanship tunics)*
1824 Plus Size Collections from Equestrian Collections
Saddle Bums Riding Pants (Up to size 2XL)
Arete Saddlery (they have 4XL sized half chaps!)
Maryland Saddlery (Plus sized english and foxhunting attire!)
Smart Pak Equine (carries the "Fuller Fillies" label)
Toby's Western Wear (up to 3XL western tops and tunics)
Horse & Rider Etc (english apparel, including boots with extra width in the calves and (especially exciting for me) larger foot sizes!)
*In the interest of full disclosure, "Happy Horse Designs" is my mom's sewing business. She does a circuit of trade fairs in the Maritime provinces and ships orders all over the world. Oh, and the website isn't finished because that's my job and I am a slacker!
X-Chrom Plus Size Horseback Riding Bras
ENell Sports Bra
I would love, love, love to find some websites where you can order saddles with 20" seats, etc - if you have links for any of those, PLEASE post them in the comments or email me - seeking(dot)sendiri(at)gmail(dot)com! :)