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!

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Fat" Or Fiction?

I have been bragging my new "pet project" blog all over the interwebz. I love to show off what I am up to lately and A Fat Girl & A Fat Horse is no different!

I showed it to a very sweet and very dear friend of mine (actually, the girl who took my fabulous profile picture on Bronwyn!) and she loved it, but told me she took issue with me saying that "I am a fat girl".

I personally feel like fat is a descriptive word, and so, therefore, has no negative connotation for me. I know that there are many out there who choose to use it as an insult or derogatory term, but to me - it simply is not. "Fat" takes less time to say than "overweight" or "plus sized" (though you will note that out of respect for those who have been made to feel that "fat" is a very negative word, I generally will refer to my readership or other plus sized riders as "plus sized" or "overweight"), and since I am a writer by nature, and I have affixed neither a negative nor positive spin to the word myself, it is the word I use.

For me, "fat" is no different than "dark" or "tall" or any other word you might use to physically describe a person that is neither good nor bad. The insult "Yeah, well... you're FAT and STUPID!" makes about as much sense to me as the insult "you're TALL and STUPID!" or "you're DARK and stupid!". The word only has as much power as we give it and if it is just a descriptive word in your vocabulary... it's perfectly okay to say "I am a fat girl".

And I think people who use a word like that as an insult are about the same as people use a word like "gay" as an insult. "Gay" and "fat" are words used to describe a person, not to imply that there is anything wrong with them.

I love my friend and I think she is a wonderful, positive girl, inside and out - and I think (correct me if I am wrong, love!) that she doesn't like to hear me say "I am a fat girl" because she feels that I am putting myself down. I am sure there are others out there who take issue with me saying that about myself. But the truth is, to me, it is no different than saying "I am a tall girl" or "I am an Amazonian girl".

So today, I want to do two things on this blog. I want to send out a big "XOXOXO" to my friend, and thank her for the vote of confidence - and I want to leave you with one of my favourite Youtube videos of all time.

Joy Nash's "A Fat Rant". You can't help but feel inspired and uplifted after watching it.

And drop a comment - tell me - what kind of a relationship do YOU have with the word "fat"? Do you allow it to be used as an insult or for derogatory purposes in your life, or do you simply regard it as yet another clever descriptor?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lose Weight Or Don't Lose Weight - But Live Your Life Anyways!

Right now, I want to address all of you who used to love riding but have put on weight and don't feel like you can't possibly ride a horse anymore. Pssst. I have a big secret. You CAN.

At my heaviest, I weighed in around 325lbs. Never once, for a minute, did I let myself think it would be okay for me to stop doing something that I loved. I had a great, patient, quiet mare at the time, and she really helped me. Angel was around 15.3hh, 1300lbs in pasture condition, and she was green as grass, but she turned out to be exactly what I needed.

At the time, I didn't think too much about being a plus sized rider and the implications surrounding it or any of that sort of thing - I just wanted to ride. And I did. And weight came off.

I don't want this blog necessarily to be all about losing weight and whatnot - because some people are happy in the skin they are in and that is perfectly fine. This blog isn't about losing weight, but I have found that with regular horseback riding and eating healthy foods because I want to, I have begun to lose - this blog is mostly about finding a way to do what you love to do without being made to feel negligent or guilty about it. Nobody knows your life and nobody knows your situation as intimately as you do. Nobody here on this blog is here to judge or tell you that you can't - this blog is to tell you to enjoy life anyways, even if people are telling you that you can't!

It is so important to continue doing the things that you love. In the case of horses, it gives you inspiration for the future, time outdoors, peace of mind, and goals. You read, see, and hear a lot of negativity about what fat people can or can't do. There are even people out there who don't understand why people can "let themselves get fat" and worse, some who are downright discriminatory. The best revenge? Living well, and doing things despite the negativity. So do it! Go out there and ride your horse. Go out and make yourself happy, because you're the only one who really can. You'll feel good.

I am so interested in the tales of plus sized riders - where they are in their lives, how they do things, and supporting them - so if you are, stand up and be counted in my comments - tell me how you're living well and doing it despite the odds. And if you need a little help? Tell me there, too. I'm here for you. :)

The Beginning Is A Good Place To Begin

This morning, I weighed in at 291lbs.

For some, this would be horrifying. For me, this is a triumph!

Yes, I am a fat girl. And yes, as you can see by the picture, I endeavor to ride horses. It's kind of an oxymoron, considering the first image that pops to mind when someone thinks of a talented equestrienne is one that is slim, trim and svelte. For anyone whose mind just did a double take when I said I was a fat girl who rides horses, my fat horse and I are here to change the way you think. For anyone whose mind just took a wistful trip down through their childhood memories in which they once rode horses but now feel they are too fat to do so, my fat horse and I are here to change the way you think. And for anyone whose mind did an acknowledging little nod and said "Mhmm, you go girl!", I am here to celebrate with you.

My name is Amanda and I am a 24 year old fat girl. I have owned, loved, and ridden horses my entire life and I have been a fat girl since I was born - at a whopping 10lbs11oz! Not only am I fat, but I am also built like an amazon. I teeter at about 5'11", my hands rival those of any man, and my feet are a size 12. I never have been, nor will I ever be that talented equestrienne who is slim, trim and svelte (nor will I ever probably have to stand on tiptoe to kiss a man but I digress!). I'm okay with that. I have come to love myself, and the skin that I am in. I want what is best for myself and will work to get that.

The fat horse's name is Bronwyn. She is my partner entirely by chance (I believe it is divine intervention, I am sure some will disagree) and I will someday share the story. In the meantime, she is a fat horse. She is a draft cross (which is the only part of her lineage we feel we can safely assume!), and we have been told she is 5 years old. Due to a serious starvation as a young mare, she is obsessed with food. Not only is she obsessed with food, but she gains weight merely by looking at food. Like me, she is relatively fit (in the "workhorse" way, not in the "sprinting thoroughbred" way), but still very much out of shape.

My goals for Bronwyn and I? To show open in English pleasure this summer and not run out of breath (for both of us!). To ride in clinics and with your stereotypical equestrienne types and let people know that not only can I ride a horse as a fat girl, but I can do it well. I want to do with Bronwyn all of the things that any other rider aspires to do with any talented young horse.

Why am I writing this blog?

I AM NOT writing this blog to fill the heads of plus sized riders with fluff and rainbows. I am not here to say "even if you weigh 500lbs, you should ride horses!". I am not even here to say that everyone who weighs 300lbs is fit or ready to ride their horses. I AM here to say that life doesn't end just because you're fat, and fat is not a good excuse to stop doing the things that you enjoy.

I am writing this blog:

- to TALK about plus sized riders. People need to be aware!
- to SHARE ideas and resources with other plus sized riders.
- to SHOWCASE talented plus sized equestrians and share success stories.
- to DEBUNK many of the myths surrounding plus sized riders and the horses they ride and the equestrian world they live in.
- to INSPIRE those who have packed on a few pounds but used to love riding and want to investigate if this is a possibility at all for them.

As plus sized riders, one thing I will stress - it is so important to recognize your own body's limitations and the limitations of your horse. If you are overweight and you want to get back in the saddle, do not expect to ride an endurance ride on your first trip out, or ride for hours even. When I was beginning to get back into shape, fifteen minutes was a LONG, BIG workout of a ride for me, and it might be for you, too.

Another realization you may have to come to is that your current mount is not suitable for you at this time in your life. I am not saying all plus sized riders need a draft horse (in fact, I will debunk that myth soon enough in an entry!), but if you plan to ride as a "fat girl" (or guy!), the truth may be that the horse standing in your backyard right now might not be a horse that meets your needs any longer.