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, January 27, 2012

Taking The Big Leap

So, I know I am almost constantly encouraging you all to go out there, find barns that will accept and can accomodate you and RIDE! But I have to admit... I have not always followed my own advice. Kind of a "do what I say, not what I (don't) do". I haven't taken lessons since before I got Bronwyn. I have never recieved formal riding instruction under English tack.

A few weeks ago, I got a wild hair and posted this ad on our local version of Craig's List.

I honestly didn't expect much. I did get a couple of emails saying "did you try so and so?" and "call these people", but then I got one that said "I can help you." -- turns out it is someone I already knew but hadn't thought to approach, the barn is close to the apartment (too bad they don't have any stalls available!), and the big bonus kicker? I get to ride a friesian for my lessons! Definitely one to kick off of my bucket list!

To say I was nervous was an understatement when I rolled into my first session last Thursday. I kept telling my boyfriend how nervous I was but he couldn't seem to grasp WHY I would be nervous (this one rarely gets riled up about anything, God love him!) - afterall, I knew the people, I had been riding most of my life. It only makes sense, right?

Anyways... overall a wonderfully positive experience and I am looking forward to the next session this Thursday. It was painfully obvious within the first five or six minutes of riding how ridiculously out of shape I am these days -- but my instructor was understanding and helpful. If I think about it, the last time I even sat on Bronwyn was Christmas day, and I haven't put a serious ride on in at least 6 months.

I talked candidly about the issues I feel that I have (particularly majorly unbalanced on my right side, which the mare I rode was so sensitive to that I will have no choice but to work on this! Some of you may remember me binning it on my head to that side because of a combination of unbalanced + slipping, improperly fitted saddle.), and I feel like this is going to be good for me, and good for what I can do with Bronwyn. Already, I am thinking of different approaches to the things we do, and feeling a serious "bug" for riding... and I've only been once and was so sore I could hardly move for two days after. I will have to keep you all up to date!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday Favourite: January Thaw Equine Expo

Springtime is my favourite season to be a horsewoman, this is no secret, I don't think. In conjunction with my resounding joy that comes along with spending hours in the barn peeling thick curls of dusty winter coat off of my horses ("it's the MOST wonderful time of the yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeear!!!"), it also brings about the horse expos, clinics, shows, and the ilk that make me really pumped up for riding and getting out there and doing things with my horses... and, you know, makes me spend (or at least WANT TO SPEND) a lot more money than I should on neat horsey things. I mean, it's all of the tack shops and distributors of all of the awesome horse merchandise in ONE PLACE. Easy to spend some money.

Anyways, with all of that said, there is one that jumps the line a little, that is this weekend, actually (the other two big ones that I hit are in April and May, respectively) - the January Thaw, which takes place in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in January every year. It's a great mid-winter chance to meet up with your horsey friends, make connections, and pick up some great sale items. It is also a worthwhile cause because the profits from the organization of this event go to the NB Children's Wish Foundation - last year they raised $3,536.20!!

So if you're in the area, stop by and say hello - I will be at the Happy Horse Designs booth. :) What are your favourite equine expos that you are looking forward to this year?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Favourite: Carole Andreen-Harris

(As perhaps a bit of a New Year's... um... decision, lol, I have decided to try my best to revisit the Friday Favourites. None of this month-between-entries crap anymore!)

Last weekend, I recieved a gift. This gift was probably one of the most thoughtful and heartfelt gifts I have ever had the pleasure to recieve and when I opened the shipping package, having a very slight suspicion what it might be, I cried. It was as if I had been transported back through time six years and was in a place that I never imagined that I would be again. The gift was given to me by someone that I care very much about and have developed a friendship with that has been largely influenced by the blog. It meant even more that I have had the pleasure to spend time with the creator of the gift and know what a wonderful, sincere lady she is. The giver and the creator schemed. I recieved this beautiful tribute to my lovely Angel:

My Friday Favourite this week is artwork by Carole Andreen-Harris. She is a lovely woman to spend time with and she clearly puts her heart into her work. I had "known" her online for some time before we met when I visited Arizona and had long drooled over her work but never imagined having the resources to own one of her pieces. We spent the day together with Carina at the Desert Museum (which... well, if you're in the Tucson area, I highly recommend it - it is a truly unique experience!) - and here is a picture of the three of us:

I am beyond excited to put the piece up in my home office (that is in the process of coming to be) in my new place and draw inspiration from having my old gal close to me all the time. Thank you, ladies - from the bottom of my heart. This gift truly means so much to me!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So this is the new year... // OPEN CALL FOR GUEST BLOGGERS

Usually by this time of year, I have posted a year in review on the blog - wrote about last year's resolutions and the ones I have for the coming year, but my friends, I find myself with a lack of words right now.

I would love to make some horsey resolutions this year but I find myself, for the first time, uncertain of where and when my time with my horse will come. I've moved into the city now and am still looking for a place for Bronwyn. I go home at least once a week, typically, but the weather is not always conducive for a ride. I do at least get a snuggle, so that certainly helps. I'm not saying that when I lived on the farm I rode every day or even really took as much advantage of the situation as I should have, but it is foreign to me not to have the option to run out to the barn, 100 feet from the house, and have some one-on-one pony time if I wanted to! So I would say that my one goal for the year of 2012 is to find a place to bring Bronwyn so I can see her on a more regular basis. And that is really all I feel that I can, solidly, focus on at this time.

With that said, I want to talk a little about the future of the blog. I love writing it and I love the community that I have found as a result of writing the blog. When I began writing it, I knew that - if I garnered any readers at all - people would either love it or hate it and there would be nothing in between. The response of love and support has been, to say the least, overwhelming. Emails, Facebook contacts, the like - from plus sized riders who said that they needed to hear what I had to say, or were encouraged to start riding again by what I had written, to non-plus sized riders who support the cause. I have been humbled, I have been encouraged and inspired by what has come in. There has been some negative - don't get me wrong - and the negative has been ugly - never a logical, reasonable discussion, but insults. But the good has outweighed the bad a million times. A million times.

I never thought I was the only one "qualified" to write this blog. In fact, most often, I don't think I am "qualified" to write this blog at all! This, combined with the fact that I don't know where and when my horse related updates are going to come from in the future, makes me want to make this more YOUR blog than mine. I want to share you marvelous ladies (and men!) with the world, in hopes of encouraging others. I had overwhelming response when I asked for proof for my Fat Rider Myth #1: Fat People Should Only Ride Drafts (Or: Choosing A Suitable Mount) entry.

So this is a call for guest bloggers, since I can't guarantee what my own writing schedule will be like. I want to include your stories, your advise, your successes, your struggles - I want to share YOU with others like YOU that can appreciate what you have gone through and what you have to say. If you want to write about your experience as a plus sized rider showing, prejudices you have faced and how you have overcome them, your favourite brand of riding clothing, no matter - if it is relevant to you, as a plus sized rider, it is relevant to us. If you are interested, please email me @ amanda@afatgirlafathorse.com.

Further to this, I know there have been issues in the past when emailing the above address. Due to issues surrounding access of my webmail, there have been, regretfully, some emails that I have not been able to reply to. Those issues, however, have been resolved as of today - so I will be working hard to address every email sent to me! Bring it on!