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, August 30, 2012

NHR: 33 Things to Accept and Embrace

I am working on a few other entries at the moment and working on getting those loose ends tied up but a colleague at work passed this on to me this morning and I thought it was too good not to share. It's not horse related, but on the note of bettering oneself all the time, I thought it could be as useful to someone else as it is to me.

From Tiny Buddha:

1. Beauty cannot be defined. Beauty is a reflection of what we deem valuable. For me, it’s an inner radiance and bliss that transcends judgment and fear, or at least makes an effort to.

2. Perfection cannot be obtained (and it’s boring anyways). Trying to be perfect makes us feel inferior and desperate to change; owning our uniqueness makes us feel worthy and excited to evolve.

3. Love will be messy at times. Sometimes love looks nothing like the ideal. Unless you’re in an unhealthy relationship, lean into the messiness. That’s where the intimacy is.

4. Other people will judge. Doing our best and accepting that people will form opinions is far more empowering than stressing about what everyone else thinks.

5. Sometimes there is no right or wrong. There isn’t always a right decision or answer. It’s just about what feels right to us right now, and whether we have the courage to honor it.

6. No one else knows what’s right for us. Someone else may seem certain they know what we should do. Should can be deceiving; it seduces us with the promise of an ideal destination when what we really need is to choose for ourselves and then pave our path as we go.

7. Tomorrow is uncertain. Despite all our planning, plotting, worrying, or dreading, what will be will be—and no matter how scared we feel right now, we can and will make the most of it.

8. There are things we don’t know. And there are things we don’t know that we don’t know. It might be humbling to revise our understandings of things, but this is how we grow.

9. No other person can make us feel whole. Sometimes we’ll feel a void and turn to other people to fill it. Mutually fulfilling relationships involve two whole people who complement, not complete each other.

10. We can’t change other people. We have to want to change in order to do it. No matter how much we wish someone would act differently, it has to be his or her choice.

11. There are some things we can’t change about ourselves. Change sells, and it’s seductive, but certain things cannot be changed—like parts of our body or nature.

12. Sometimes there are gifts in the things we want to change. For years I cursed my heightened emotions; now I channel them into something positive. Don’t run from yourself; grow into yourself.

13. We are worthy, just as we are. Growth is a lifelong proposition, with no static endpoint. We do it not because we lack value, just as we are, but because we value ourselves.

14. We are going to age. With every year that passes, we have 365 days to enjoy that age—and no one age is better than another. Each is different, with its own challenges and gifts.

15. We are more than any one role. We aren’t one-dimensional, and we don’t have to be. Recognizing this has been huge for me. I am a self-help writer who also likes Judd Apatow movies, karaoke bars, and eBay. I’m multifaceted and owning it!

16. We are going to redefine ourselves. It’s tempting to cling to roles and ideas of who we are, but who we are is always evolving. Life’s far more fulfilling if we see changes as adventures.

17. We will occasionally have to do things we don’t want to do. We won’t always love the things we need to do, for work or the people we care about, but we can find something enjoyable in it, if that’s our intention.

18. We will hurt at times. Pain is inevitable. It’s not a sign that something’s wrong with us or our lives; it’s a sign that we’re human, and we have the courage to care and live fully.

19. We will mess up at times. We will make mistakes—and sometimes the same ones over and over again. This is a big part of how we learn. The important thing is that we do.

20. People won’t always forgive us. We can’t make someone stay in our lives; we can only make amends and then be strong enough to accept the consequences of our actions.

21. Peace is forgiving ourselves. We don’t deserve to cower in shame—and it won’t do us any good. If we want to be happy, we need to cut ourselves some slack and believe we’re doing the best we can.

22. We won’t always like the consequences of our actions. Sometimes we’ll feel regret, wishing we could go back and do things differently. We can’t—but we can make different choices going forward.

23. We always have a choice in how we respond to what happens. No matter what our circumstances, we can choose what we do with them. We can decide it’s the end of the world, or start fresh from right where we stand.

24. We are never alone. It might feel like it, but there is always someone to offer love, kindness, and support. We just need to be willing to reach out and ask for what we need.

25. We will lose things and people we love—but we can gain something from every loss. Everything in life is impermanent—and no amount of time will feel like enough with the people we love. Loss hurts, be we can heal if we believe it’s possible.

26. Everything is cyclical. For every pain, there will be pleasure. Nothing stays the same, so relax through the tough times and fully enjoy the fun times. Everything transforms eventually.

27. There are some things we may never understand. Much of life is a mystery, and it’s human nature to try to solve it. Peace is learning to embrace the open-ended questions.

28. The worst that could possibly happen may happen. Sometimes the thing we fear the most may happen, making us wish we didn’t make a change, or an effort, or a fuss.

29. The worst that could possibly happen might not be that bad. If we’re willing to consider the possibility, we may find opportunity in that “horrible” thing. At the very least, we may recognize we’re okay—still here, still strong, still breathing.

30. We may not get everything we think we want. Despite all our best-laid plans, things won’t always turn out as we hoped they would.

31. As the Rolling Stones sang, we can still get what we need. We may not get the job, the house, the call, or whatever we wanted so badly, and yet find we have everything that matters. Hopefully we can see and celebrate it.

32. We might always want more. It’s human nature to wonder what else there is, at least at times. We can use this to fuel progress, instead of cursing our nature and ourselves for not being perfectly spiritual.

33. What we do matters. It might not seem like it when our efforts and outcomes seem small, but we create tiny miracles everyday, both by doing what we do and being who we are. We all make a difference.

Over the last few days, I have been reflecting on the person that I used to be and the growth that I have experienced, particularly in the years since I lost Angel (6 years ago this past Sunday, 8/26). One thing I can say with certainty is that I am not the person that I once was, and I had to go through the pain and struggle and grief to be able to become that person.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I'll lend you for a while my grandest foal...

The world lost two great horses in the last month. I don't think you would find either of their names in any magazines or posters of them on any girls' wall, except of those who were privileged enough to call them theirs. But for those girls who owned them, these horses were the world. A best friend, a confidant, a mane to cry in when one needed that little bit of extra strength that can't be acquired from anywhere but horsehair.

It doesn't matter if these horses were great or not - they were great to at least one person, and both were taken much, much too young, through events that were not under either owners control. I know this pain, I've been there - so I can sympathize with these two girls from our close forum community who are mourning the losses of their best friends right now.

It is a pretty unique feeling to lose a horse so young to something you had no control over. You do get angry at one point, and wonder why there are people who don't care about their horses the same way you do who never lose a horse in their lifetime until they are old and grey, and what you did to deserve to lose your best friend. You find panic, later on, when you wonder if the short time that you owned them was just a fantasy or a dream. But eventually, and sometimes it takes a long time, you can look back on the lessons you learned and the memories you have with fondness instead of the profound feeling of injustice that I began with.

A lot of people talk about the Rainbow Bridge. I am not particularly religious these days but I fail to believe that a Creator would make a celestial haven for those who have done good that did not include animals - the beings that have brought the most joy, and unconditional love to humans - sometimes more than other humans. In my mind's eye, there is a place where we will be reunited with those animals who were our friends, our teachers, and our refuges, and they will be free of the pains and ailments that they may have experienced in their lives.

And I like to think that my Angel, friend to all in her life, and lover of those younger and weaker, would usher them in and show them the ropes.


The Grandest Foal
Author Unknown

I'll lend you for a little while,
my grandest foal, God said.
For you to love while he's alive,
and mourn for when he's dead.

It may be one or twenty years,
or days or months, you see.
But will you, til I take him back,
Take care of him for me?

He'll bring his charms to gladden you
and should his stay be brief,
you'll have those treasured memories,
as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
since all from earth return.
But there are lessons taught on earth
I want this foal to learn.

I've looked the wide world over
in my search for teachers true.
And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes,
with trust, I have selected you.

Now will you give him all your love?
Nor think the labor vain.
Nor hate me when I come
to take him back again?

I know you'll give him tenderness
and love will bloom each day.
And for the happiness you've known,
you will forever-grateful stay.

But should I come and call for him
much sooner than you'd planned,
you'll brave the bitter grief that comes,
and maybe understand.

Run free, Gretta & Don. <3>

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Blog: Keeping Your Horse Hydrated

Emily Heggan is a senior at Rowan University and majoring in journalism. She currently competes in the 3' hunters with her horse, General, and enjoys writing about all sorts of equestrian topics.

It’s hot out there! So it’s very important to have valuable horse tack and horse supplies to keep your horse hydrated on hot days. Here are a few tips to help keep him hydrated as well as some signs telling you he may be dehydrated.

Water, just like us, is an essential part to your horse’s diet. Your horse’s body weight is 50% water. If a horse were to lose about 20% from his system, it could result in death. Water is all over his body, it is in all of his cells as well as his bodily fluids and tissues. Water is a main component in his temperature control for blood, enzymes, sweat and saliva. If he did not have these, his entire body would shut down and nothing would function properly. Therefore, keeping a close watchful eye on your horse’s water intake should be part of your every day routine.

Water Requirements

Your horse should drink around five to ten gallons of water a day. This water should be clean, fresh and easy to get to. Horses can not only get water from their buckets, they can also get water from grain and feed. Some feeds are made up of about 20% water and forage is also made up of 20% water. Grass is about 80% water. So if your horse is out in a lush green pasture you will notice that he will tend to drink less, but you still must have water available to him at all times.


If your horse is dehydrated it can cause overheating and can prevent proper circulations and your horse can get muscle cramps. Dehydration can also cause colic. Horses can also colic from excessive heat. You can tell if your horse is dehydrated by doing the “pinch test”. If you pinch your horse’s neck, his skin should return to the way it was, flat, within a second. If it takes longer than one second, it is likely that he is dehydrated. You could also look at your horse from behind and see if his hips look sunken in. Sunken in hips are a sign that your horse is not fully hydrated.

How to Keep him Hydrated
The key to keeping your horse hydrated is to have water always available for him to drink at anytime. If he is kept in a stall, try and give him two full buckets of water. Having a mineral block for him to lick will also give him some more sources of the minerals and vitamins he needs to stay healthy and hydrated. You can also dump a bottle of Gatorade into his water buckets to add some electrolytes to his drinking water. If you take a trip to your local tack store, you can purchase some electrolytes. These usually come in powder form and can either be scooped into his feed or into his water buckets.

Keeping your horse hydrated in the heat is extremely important. Make sure to check on him every day and give him clean fresh water to drink.

For more information about horse tack like high-quality horse blankets and more, visit Schneider’s Saddlery: providing value priced horse supplies since 1948.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Things to Worry About

This would have been an excellent thing to share yesterday, as it was written exactly 79 years ago yesterday, but as I often am - I come to my readers a day late and a dollar short!

Let me preface what I'm about to share with this admission: I am a worrier.

 It doesn't stop me from living life, but there is always a little niggling "what if..." whispering in the back of my mind. The truth is that usually those bad "what ifs" don't end up coming true at all and I can forget about them, but there are a few things (usually pertaining to my family, including my horse and my dog) that would completely break my heart and I worry about them.  

Case in point: last night, I went with my sister to the barn to pick up my standing wraps to loan for my mom (they were locked in my tack room) - my boyfriend followed behind with the dog so he could drive me home (in the opposite direction that my sister was traveling). I put the dog in the car and my boyfriend had to run back into the house to get something before he followed - we pulled out first. I worried incessantly until they showed up that someone had come along and let my dog out of the unlocked car doors and now he was roaming loose and potentially being hit by cars.  

The worrying is worse when I have a lot of other things on my plate (the best time to be distracted by foolish things, if I do say so myself!).

With that said, sometimes I have to go back and ground myself.

A blogger local to me, The Glad Girl, is a good source of inspiration and little personal smiles and she posted yesterday an excerpt from F. Scott Fitzgerald to his daughter, which I am going to be even a bit more concise with and share with you:

Things to worry about:

Worry about courage
Worry about Cleanliness
Worry about efficiency
Worry about horsemanship
Worry about. . .

Things not to worry about:

Don't worry about popular opinion
Don't worry about dolls
Don't worry about the past
Don't worry about the future
Don't worry about growing up
Don't worry about anybody getting ahead of you
Don't worry about triumph
Don't worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
Don't worry about mosquitoes
Don't worry about flies
Don't worry about insects in general
Don't worry about parents
Don't worry about boys
Don't worry about disappointments
Don't worry about pleasures
Don't worry about satisfactions

Things to think about:

What am I really aiming at?

(I particularly appreciate that horsemanship is included on the list of things to worry about.)

So, my friends, it is time for me to work harder on putting aside the worrywart cap and start thinking about... what am I really aiming at? And I encourage all of you to do the same. It is never a bad idea to stop and assess if the things you are concerned about or worrying about will matter ten years from now? Five years from now? A month from now?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


For those of you discerning ladies with less than delicate heads, Tackanory has a IV horse Heavy Hunt Bridle on sale while supplies last only. This is a quality bridle and what makes it unique is the 1 1/4" flat noseband which will compliment a slightly coarser head like the type of head that Bronwyn has. Go get you some!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bits n Bobs

Well, the month of July has been an excellent one! It did kind of sneak past me in a big hurry, and before I knew it, it's been a month since I wrote an entry. I am going to TRY to be more diligent (I know, I've said this before), but I suspect most of my readership is out enjoying their ponies and the gorgeous weather just the same as I am.

Bronwyn has been doing SO WELL. Originally, when I moved her into town, I had thought to bring her for a two month minimum trial - my boyfriend and I have discussed it and agree that it is good for all involved for her to stay for as long as I can afford it, so she is a permanent-until-further-notice resident as far as we all are concerned. We love our barn and I THINK our BO loves us (well, at least he didn't run away screaming when I came to pay him August's board!).

I have been getting a lot of work done with Bronwyn and I think she is starting to fit up a little bit and lose some weight. She is now able to sustain a canter on the longe line which she couldn't do before - and she can also sustain it under saddle (yippee!!!). I will share the progress pictures once I get home to my camera where they are stuck.

Unfortunately, during one of those canter sessions on Sunday, I tweaked my back (as I have been lamenting on the Facebook page) and was not able to ride yesterday, and don't anticipate being able to take a lesson, if I ride at all, tomorrow. Better safe than sorry, I guess - though I was mighty tempted to sit on Bronwyn while grazing her last night, but figured I would never live it down if I managed to fall off and further injure my back.

It's kind of disappointing, too, because I am two weeks into a trial on a pair of Fuller Fillies show boots, and I just want to wear them all the time. There will be a full review (and possibly something more!) of them on the blog within a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

(Spoiler: I LOVE THEM!)

I am considering the possibility of hitting a show at the end of the month but that all depends on how soon I can get back in the saddle and a variety of other things, including my very busy non-horse-related schedule.

Earlier last week, someone on the Facebook page told me that my story smacked of "self-indulgence". I guess it is true that I indulged myself by not waiting until all of the stars are aligned to live my life. How dare I try to live a life as a fat girl, without waiting until I lost weight and "looked right" to enjoy the things I love the most! At the end of the day, I told this person, I hold myself accountable, and am accountable to my horse, who joyfully shoves her head into the bridle (often faster than I can get it rigged up to put on her face) everytime we tack up to go for a ride, and greets me with this happy face when I round the door of the tack room with gear in hand: