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, September 20, 2012

Saddle frustrations... again!

My goodness, I can't believe September is nearly over!

This is my favourite time of the year, that is absolutely certain. Not only is it my "birthday month" but I love when the evenings get cool and fresh and blow out the stale air from the day. You actually feel a little bit more human - we have been plagued by a ridiculous amount of humidity this summer, so the cooler evenings are definitely a welcome reprieve.

I have known this blog entry was coming for a few weeks now, and it makes me pretty sad.

Anybody who has been reading along knows that I struggled quite a while to find the right saddle for Bronwyn and I. She has shoulders like hams and a very broad back and try as I might to get the "cheap-and-LOOKS-wide-or-is-stamped-wide" saddles I could find locally to fit her, I ended up deposited on my head more than once from slipping saddles. Finally, a blog reader pointed me in the direction of Duett saddles and I acquired my 19" 38cm Companion Trail on eBay.

At the time, it was a good fit for her as she was quite overweight and had been out of work. I continued to ride her once a week or once every two weeks (or sometimes less often than that) and never had a problem. Her gait opened up, she was very clearly a happier horse.

Since I moved her to the boarding barn in June, she has lost some weight from the work and gained some muscle and about a month and a half ago, I noticed some dry spots under the saddlepad, on her shoulders. Right away, I ordered a half pad with gel inserts to try and fandangle a quick fix until I could afford to get a new saddle.

Unfortunately, it became apparent in two rides that the half pad isn't going to do the trick and might have, in fact, been exacerbating the problem. (Insert giant sadface here!) I noticed that when I put leg on to ask for an extension about 20 minutes into the ride, she made nasty faces, bumped up and slowed up almost to a stop. She was trying to even rear a little the last ride.

This horse endured MANY saddles that didn't fit so great without so much as saying boo - she has never, in her life, EVER, been naughty under saddle. Scared and a little flighty? Yes, maybe - but never needed a spank, and forward motion has never been an issue either. This was her telling me, in no uncertain terms, that something is very wrong with the saddle/half pad combination, and later, the same thing with no half pad. After getting a set of eyes on the ground, we determined that the saddle is now so wide that there are parts of it sitting on her withers that should never come in contact with her withers. So I sold the saddle - it was entirely nonfunctional for us at this point, so no use in keeping it around.

I picked up a Wintec Wide on Tack Trader that I am still waiting for (should be here next week!) and for now, we are riding this way:

We both enjoy this kind of riding (yes, that's my leadrope tied to her halter!), but she also likes to work, so we are both looking forward to the saddle coming. We are currently working on trotting bareback, which is going swimmingly. :)

I really love Duett saddles, and as far as I am aware, they are one of the only brands that is designed on a hoop tree for horses with shoulders like hams (AND design with seats up to 20"), so I want to stick with a Duett and have put my mind to purchasing my first ever brand-new saddle - so I contacted Nancy from Duett and we are going to work together to figure out what she needs and go from there!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Product Review: Fuller Fillies Show Boot

What's not to love about a pink box?!
  These boots were after my heart from the moment I found out that they come up to a size 12 US foot. When they showed up in a great pink box, it was even better!

I have to admit that when I first began to ride English, the thought of the cost of tall boots just about made me run for the hills. I have a size 12 US ladies foot and calves that measure in around 19" apiece. I had visions of $600+ to have a custom calf put on a men's boot - and quite frankly, I probably wouldn't have bothered for that price.

At this time, the best place, even if you live in North America, to get the Fuller Fillies Show Boot is from Tackanory - and even with the current exchange, they work out to less than $250 Canadian.


Following standard boot-measuring procedure, I sat with my legs at a 90 degree angle and measured around the widest part of my calf, and down the back of my calf from the bend in my knee to the floor. I measured 18.5" & 19" around my calves and 17" from knee to floor - based on those measurements, I chose to order a pair of size 12 XW in a standard height. When I ordered, Suzanne from Fuller Fillies made a comment about my unnaturally large feet which I have chosen to take as a compliment - the good thing is that I did not have to wait for my boots - they were in stock because they were an uncommon size.

I want to make a note about measuring your legs -- I have a fairly large thigh and I truly believe that I should have measured longer and gotten a taller boot. This was no error of Suz's, but entirely mine in how I measured my leg. I believe that sitting with my legs at a 90 degree angle, my thigh interfered with my ability to measure to the very crook of my knee as I measured straight up the back of my calf. As a result, MY boots, while they are still functional and will be fine for what I intend to use them for (local level open showing), may not be appropriate for higher levels of competition.

"When You Get Them"
When they were in the mail, Suzanne sent me the following:

When you get them:
Get someone to help you zip them up the first few times whilst you stand up. Ascertain the length is correct and the top doesn't go to far beyond the crease in your knee.

If they are a little long they will drop HOWEVER; you should not ride in them until they do as bending your knee whilst the bend is not clear of the top will result in a sprained zip-pull…

Unless they zip up comfortably please wear them for a few times to get the leather to stretch; the Renapur will help this and should be used once you are happy with them to keep the leather fed.

... things I never would have known on my own, having never owned a pair of tall boots, and wanted to share with all of you. It never occured to me that even if they wouldn't zip up on their own, they might do if someone who had two hands available and was not twisting around like a contortionist may be able to zip them up for me.

I held my breath and closed my eyes when my mother first zipped me into them with no socks or anything underneath. I will admit that at that time, they were snug enough that I worried about my ability to wear socks under them, nevermind breeches and socks. Several times over the next couple of days, I had someone zip me into them and wore them around - though you often hear about the zipper being the first thing to go and my wincing every time I went down a step, worried they would bust at any minute, the zipper - which appears to be industrial strength but doesn't look like a giant, ugly industrial strength type of zipper - held fast.

Admittedly, while I probably could have been zipping myself into them, I still had my boyfriend zip me into them before I went to the barn for a couple of weeks after I got them. I was probably being overcautious.


These boots feature a great elasticized leather panel in the back along either side of the zipper. This gives them the ability to stretch and move with you, without limiting you, provided that you haven't put too much calf in too little boot in the first place. It helps to maintain a nice, sleek, clean look when you wear them.

I also find that they are nicely tapered in the ankle area - for me, who doesn't seem to carry much weight on my ankle, this is nice - again, with the clean look - the advantage is the panel in the back which means that even though they taper at the ankle quite a bit, if your ankles are thicker than mine, you still can fit into the boots.

They have a zipper keeper in the elastic snap across the back of your calf - not that I have ever had a problem with my zippers falling down - but that little added sense of security.


One major appearance point that I really love about these boots are the spanish style tops. For someone with a blocky calf like mine, it has a lengthening, slimming effect - and would be even more so if my boots were tall enough. They are made of full grain leather which shines up nicely with just a swipe of a lightly dampened cloth - and they look like a million bucks with a recent coating of the Renapur Leather Balsam that came with them!


As of the publishing date of this review, I have had the boots for two months. I have been wearing them 2-3 times per week for as long as 4 hours at a time. Although I wanted to "save them for nice", my boyfriend reminded me that in the interest of a fair review, I should really test the boots... so I did. I have worn them slogging through mud to catch horses, doing ground work, riding (more than one horse in a session!) - in a dressage saddle, in an AP saddle, bareback - mucking, cleaning out hooves, oiling hooves, crouching down to brush out feathers, using the wash rack (YES, I have gotten them wet!), and driving the car. I have left them uncleaned, completely, though maybe twice in this period, when they have gotten damp in the washrack, I wiped them off a bit with a cloth, but not with any real intent to clean them.

Tonight, I decided to take a picture of what they look like "used" - I then spent less than 5 minutes wiping them down with a damp cloth and applied a go of leather balsam (only the second time I have done it since I got them!) to them.

Don't judge us for our bottles - we don't drink a lot, we just don't go to the bottle recycling depot often enough!

I just can't get over how AWESOME they look after I basically used and abused them!

Another thing that I can't get over is how comfortable they are. My feet and joints tend to get very sore after being on them for 3-4 hours but I had virtually no muscle fatigue or sore soles even after wearing the boots all of that time, and riding in them. Now that they are well fitted to my legs, I feel like I could wear them all day long at a show with ease and not think twice about it!

 Overall, I give the boots a rave review! I think for the money, they are fantastic.. and affordable enough that I am seriously considering keeping a pair for show and a pair for barn wear -- though as evidenced above, you wouldn't even need to do that since they clean up so nicely and with so little effort!


And to end - a rare snapshot of one of my favorite creatures Boyfriendus Groomus! He makes rare appearances but Bronwyn loves him and sees him as the bearer of treats, scratches and chauffeur for her rider! (Yes, we have talked about flipflops in the barn - he tells me I have to buy him a pair of cowboy boots and problem solved!)