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!

Friday, July 9, 2010

The way that horses heal...

As discussed on The Land Before Time between Petrie and Duckie:

“I flyed?”
“No, you falled!”

Yep, I falled. It’s funny – I told my mom last night that I am almost relieved when I fall, because I know it’s going to happen eventually, and some people have falls once a week – I have been very fortunate in that area. I have fallen off of Bronwyn twice, including last night – May 2009 when she teleported out from underneath me when a cat levitated into a tree before her very eyes, and then last night, when my saddle slipped at the canter and, whoops!, I landed on my back on the ground. The worst part? Having enough time to realize I was falling, see my foot caught in the stirrup iron so I couldn’t kick out and even attempt to dismount in a way that was even fractionally graceful. I think it’s better to just land on the ground and see your horse hightailing it to the barn than to have time for the proverbial “OH SHIT, THIS IS GOING TO HURT!” moment.

I was also a little peeved that apparently I don’t know how to tighten a saddle up very much because when I fell, I had JUST gotten back on after dismounting to reposition the saddle after a wee bit of slipping. You would think that I would have made extra double sure to get it together, but I was so excited to get back to that magnificent canter work that we were doing that I didn’t think anything of it when my saddle felt like it “locked” into place when I put my foot in the stirrup to remount. Dumb, dumb, DUMB!

I like to think of every fall as a learning experience (which is why I kind of wish I would have more). So far, I have learned to watch out for other-worldly cats and always double tighten my cinch. Fair enough, right?

But the thing that really made me the happiest about the fall last night (I know, happy when you’re stiff as a 2 x 4, riiiiiiight.) was that it gave me the opportunity to spend some time ‘in touch’ with Bronwyn. She was quite warm still after I fell off, so I stripped the saddle and got on her bareback. She was rushy and anxious so I laid the reins over her neck and took a handful of mane and let her cool herself out at her own pace, in whichever direction she wanted to, and I let myself focus on just feeling the muscles in her body that move when she does certain things, letting my own body figure out how to move with hers in the most effective way, and just spending time with my hands on her, stroking her neck, speaking to her, and letting myself come down from the adrenaline pump of the fall. I spent time communing with my horse.

I think that I have expectations for myself and for her that make the both of us a little antsy and anxious sometimes. I get uptight, she gets uptight and I think I sometimes lose sight of my actual love for horses. I know I love horses, and that is an underlying current in everything I do but maybe I sometimes forget the REASON I love horses, which is the way they can make you humble… and the way that you can become fully in tune with them… the way their rules apply to your world and how you have to forget a lot of your rules to be able to communicate effectively with them. They don’t behave like people do – they don’t do things for personal gain or to make others feel bad. Their rules and laws are clear and simple and if we all applied a few more of them to the way we interact with other people, I think the world would be a happier place.

I am so interested in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and personal growth using equines and the lessons they teach us right now…I so firmly believe that horses heal and improve us… new career path to follow?


  1. Oomph. I'm sorry to hear about your fall, but glad to hear that you've got a positive attitude to it! :)

    In response to your final paragraph, I also believe that horses heal, improve, and develop us - often in ways that we won't ever be able to fully comprehend. I like to say that when we bought my horses, I signed myself up for a lifelong self-development program!

    Kerrin Koetsier
    Parelli Central

  2. You're amazing. I fall off lots more than you :). And this one was the saddle, not your riding.
    It's great that you got back on to calm both of you down. I find my young horse gets more upset than me when I fall (okay, it isn't that frequent, but more than 2 times in 2 years)
    Couldn't agree more re the benefits of horses. Mine keeps me (sort of) sane.

  3. So glad you weren't hurt (other than being sore). It's a part of riding. And I'm glad your horse is back to work.

  4. Yeah those slow falls always seem to hurt the worse....

  5. I agree 100% with the way that horses heal. I used to volunteer at an equitherapy barn, usually with children, and I don't even LIKE kids and I had a blast. It was so much fun to see them change and progress from week to week. It wasn't psychotherapy but it was equine assisted therapy. I even schooled horses for them quite often.

    I remember my favorite day... We had this kid who rode with us, he started as a two year old and wailed his head off every time we sat him on the horse (which didn't matter, they don't have to like the therapy but they still have to ride the horse for an hour). But as he got older he started liking it, and talking more, and just a very happy little guy. Then one day, this little guy whose pony I had led since he started with us, got to trot. I was so sure it would make him cry again, but we trotted (side walkers on each side holding him of course) and his face lit up in this huge smile and he goes "That was BOUNCY!"

    That is still my favorite memory of the place.

  6. That's great! I used to be spend time at our local 'Riding for the Disabled Centre' and I, too, found it so rewarding! Seeing timid, unconfident individuals merging into happy, expressive people was wonderful!

    Parelli Central

  7. If you are interested in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, you should check out certification programs through EAGALA, The Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association, www.eagala.net. Also check into the EFMHA page on Facebook (Equine-Facilitated Mental Health Association, an offshoot of NARHA, North American Association of Riding for the Handicapped.) There are many more opportunities out there these days to get involved in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, in various capacities. Good Luck! Suzanne K

  8. You would be very interested in what I do. I work at an equine assisted therapy center that specializes in teen suicide prevention. The things that the horses do for the kids is amazing. I could share so many stories about the amazing kids I've met and how I've seen them go from scared and depressed and wanting to die, to confident members of society. It is an amazing thing.