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!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mailbag... sort of!

I know that I promised a resolutions entry by the end of the month, but this comment was made on one of my videos on Youtube (I don't know why, but this particular one seems to get a lot of frequent views, and a lot of commentary, some of it is truly evidence that slugs and worms can type on computers and post on Youtube). Anyways... I wanted to address this publicly:

Hi as u can see im not a thin rider, I have a couple of weight carriers but what i'm asking of u is this... Could u perhaps dissuade very fat riders i have found u being quoted and well I dont believe they should be riding. I once had a potential loanee turn up to ride my 17.2 percheron and well she must have been 20 stone easily 280lb. So please promote sensible rider weights and suitable weight carriers

I want to make clear that with my blog, I do encourage appropriately paired horses with riders. What I do not do is draw a finite line and say "Xlbs is absolutely too heavy to ride. Period." First of all, it would be hypocritical of me, since I rode when I was 325lbs and secondly, because I don't know what horse you are going to get on, how fit they are, how tall you are, whether you are going to plod along on an easy, flat trail, or run a cross country course. What I do know is that when I weighed 325lbs, the amount of riding that I could do on my appropriately matched horse was minuscule and simple compared to what I can do now. There seems to be this big fear that we are going to get on horses and ride them for hours, up hill both ways, in a blizzard, in their grandfather's pajamas... whoops, got carried away there.

I cannot control how I am quoted and in what context it is done. I am pleased that heavy riders find my words encouraging in the face of adversity. I have never claimed to be a scientific expert or to have done a study on heavy riders. But what I do know is this: when people start talking about how "unfair" it is to ask a horse to carry a load like mine, I want to ask how "fair" it is to the horse to ask it to jump a cross country course, make sharp, tight turns and other unnatural movements, live with metal shoes on their feet, be fed but never allowed to move (wild horses graze for a reason), stalled excessively, started under saddle before they are two years old, sored and restrained and whipped to make their performance more desirable to the eye... If you asked most horses, what we do with them these days is not, any of it, "fair".

What I do know is this - I have an obligation to my horse to care for her in the best way that I know how. She gets a free ride, basically. All I ask in return for housing her, clothing her, feeding her, having her feet trimmed, calling the vet, working an exhausting work week in order to keep her "in the way she has become accustomed" is to cart my butt around a few times per week. I take complete responsibility for any end of life care that she may require, I take responsibility for any maintenance she may require. She nods exuberantly in the crossties when I get my helmet, and drives her head eagerly into the bridle. At the end of the day, it is her I have to answer to. Maybe that's self indulgent. Maybe it's selfish, but isn't everything we do with a horse? My kind of selfish means that my mare gets to live a relatively carefree life, gets spoiled silly, gets all of the health care she requires (I have never seen a chiropractor but my horse has!), and will be taken care of appropriately when her life is drawing to an end, in many thanks for her faithful years of "service".  And that is a million times more than many other horses get. So... if her biggest strife in this life is that she had to carry some extra weight over a few miles, a couple of times per week, I think she is doing well.


  1. Very well put, so long as the horse is capable and you are a match to it's needs there's no reason a well matched pair can't do whatever other skinny humans and horses can.

  2. Excellent post! Well said and absolutely true!


  3. I recently had the opportunity to board for the winter at an eventing barn with an indoor arena. The riders there think nothing of riding their horses, even jumping them, when they are slightly lame. Their horses get hock injections and nerve blocks so they can ride through the pain, or all manner of wraps, support boots, etc. for slightly bowed tendons or to prevent a tendon from bowing again because they insist on doing the same things they did to cause it in the first place. Somehow, people who do this aren't abusing their horses, but heaven forbid you take a stroll around on a horse if you weigh more than x (and I've seen this logic aimed at anyone over 150lbs...) - somebody call the SPCA! I don't get it.