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!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Limited Time Discount For Blog Readers!

For those of you who don't follow the Facebook fanpage or might have missed it, I wanted to give you a heads up that Wendy at 16 Plus Rider is offering our blog readers an additional 10% off on an order! Here is what she wrote on the fanpage:

16 Plus Rider, the UK website offering riding wear for curvaceous women, would like to offer a 10% discount to all the friends of 'A Fat Girl and a Fat Horse'. This discount can be used in conjunction with our current offers, and will be taken off your order at the checkout. Don't forget that all our prices also show UK Value Added Tax of 20%, and that this will also be deducted from your order 
at the checkout if you are outside the EU. The downside..? We will need to charge you for additional postage if you are outside the UK, and will email you about this once you have ordered, to confirm the amount. We hope that our usually low prices combined with the discount and removal of the VAT will all add up to a good deal for you! To get the voucher code simply 'Like' us on Facebook, then email us at sales@16plusrider.co.uk. Offer ends December 20th 2012.

"Like" their fanpage HERE and take advantage of the discount!! Buy something for one of your horsey friends or take advantage of a treat for yourself!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The right path...

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, or even know me a little bit, it is pretty obvious that I really subscribe to the theory that everything happens for exactly the reason it is supposed to. We may not realize it at the time - it might take years for things to come full circle - but I do believe that some of the experiences that I have, in the past, categorized as the 'worst' experiences of my life have spit-polished me into a person that I am proud to be.

With that said, I have been experiencing some stress this week. I landed at the barn after a weekend away last Tuesday to find Browyn injured. You know, I realize this kind of thing happens from time to time in herd settings and for the social and physical  benefits of living in a herd, I wouldn't change it, it is just frustrating - especially when you have to drive 20 minutes to the barn each way to check on her. Mind you, I am used to having my horses about 20 feet from my doorstep and so if I found an injury like this on a horse while I was living at the farm, I would just hop out before bed or work and take another look, just to put my mind at ease. Not so easy to do when I don't have a vehicle and it is a bit of a drive.

I am normally at the barn alone when I go out to ride, unless I am having a lesson - and my boyfriend just started a new shift at work (it came with a promotion, so it is, in all reality, a good thing, a better thing, it's just hard to adjust to) so he is not home in the evenings. I can get a bit high strung by times and when I have no one to interject, things can easily escalate to desperate panic when my mind gets rolling (... do you see where this is going?).

After visiting the barn four or five times, including going out on nights that aren't my barn night, I was convinced that she was out in her hip, needed more chiro, I may never be able to ride her again, and I should just retire her home to the farm for the rest of her life. At this point, I wanted to be able to fast foward our 5 year plan into a 2 year or less plan. I just wanted to be able to watch my horses in my own backyard again.

Then, Wednesday night, after a particularly discouraging visit to the barn Tuesday (I thought she looked lamer, the swelling on her belly was more lumpy and, I had concluded, she just "looked sick".), I was out walking my dog. We heard something in the bushes/a waterhole while we were walking, and I eventually deducted that it was a couple of dogs "at large", so to avoid any potential injuries/attacks/fights (in the dark, with a medium-small dog, I was not interested in meeting them!), I turned around and went home to finish the walk later.

I was even to the point where I had called my parents to see about them making room to keep my now (in my mind) chronically lame, sick horse at the farm again.

Then I finished my dog's walk.

(Yes, I am getting to a point here!)

Some of you may know the significance of shooting stars to me - some of you may not. The long and short of it is that the night that my heart horse, Angel, died, several shooting stars crossed the sky while I was walking her out in her last hours. Almost every night after that for weeks, I always happened to spot one when I was leaving the barn after doing chores. These days, I don't see them as frequently, but every once in a while, when I am feeling a bit down or I am on the precipice of or have just made a big decision that I am uncertain about, I will see one. It might just be a coincidence, but I choose to take it as a reassuring sign from my earth Angel that I am doing the right thing and that I will be okay.

So you guessed it. I saw a shooting star when I took my dog back out. I haven't seen one in a while. I slept better than I had in quite some time and when I went to the barn the following night (last night), Bronwyn looked better, brighter, and happier than I had imagined her to be. We did a bit of clicker work just for fun, a little bit of lunge work. The barn owner was there, along with a couple of leasers and I did not feel quite so desperate about her situation. And she didn't look lame at all. I am still not sure whether I imagined how bad it was or if she just got better, but I do plan to ride her again starting Tuesday. I sure miss that connection.

I have a busy weekend - I am taking my pressed t-shirts (a la the soon-to-be-rebranded Sweet Angel Equine Designs to an SPCA fundraiser Pet Expo this weekend. If you are in New Brunswick (Canada), in the Fredericton area, stop by! If not... have an excellent weekend with your ponies!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Don't wait.

I am one of the guiltiest people when it comes to this... too often, it's "when I have a nicer body, I'll do ____" or "when I have enough money, I'll do _____". I put things off and put them off until it's the "right time" or "things are aligned". The silly part is that a lot of the time, it's already the right time, and things will never be aligned or perfect. If you wait forever for the perfect time to do the things that make you happy, you might wait forever.

The community that I went to school in is grieving. This week, they found the body of a young woman that I went to school with and whose mother taught me in elementary and middle school on the side of the road. She was 26 years old and 7 months pregnant. They suspected foul play. The articles written about how friendly and happy she was were almost more painful to read than the details of the investigation to this point. I'm not going to pretend that I was best friends with her, because I wasn't - but I am genuinely sorry for the loss of such a bright spark on this earth and sending all my love and prayers out to her family, grappling to come to some kind of sense with this... but this sure wakes you up. 

You might not have forever to wait for that perfect moment to do the things that will make you happy or that you want to do. 

Don't wait "until tomorrow". Tomorrow might never come.

So live your life, do the things that make you happy and healthy. Aggressively pursue your dreams. Do not settle for less "for now". Stop thinking about what other people might think about your happiness. Embrace your body, in all of it's forms, stop hating it - you can't run this race when you are strangling yourself with self loathing. And you know, it's not going to be easy, and you are going to want to give up because nothing worth having is "easy". DO NOT STOP. Stop balking at road blocks or challenges, EMBRACE THEM, tackle them voraciously -  they will make you a better person - you might not understand now, but you will later - and if later never comes, you will still be that better person. Buy yourself that cute shirt now, not after you're "less lumpy". Save your pennies for that house or that incredible vacation or, God forbid, that horse you have been dying to buy! They say that "good things come to those who wait", but you can't wait for the things in life that you deserve to fall into your lap, you have to have a hand in making them happen. Be a good person, love sincerely and honestly and wholeheartedly - and while you're at it, feel all of your emotions with your whole heart - because there's no sense feeling them in the first place if you don't! Get those 'once-in-a-lifetime' romances, friendships, opportunities now, NOT LATER, because THIS is your lifetime. RIGHT NOW. And you are exactly as good, worthy, deserving or valuable now as you are ever going to be.

Source: flickr.com via Amanda on Pinterest

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The True Cost of Loving a Horse

I have been spending the weekend home at the farm and this morning, my dad was reading some statistics from a magazine about the expense of keeping a horse. Depending on your locale, I believe the article he was reading quoted something like $2500-3500 annually. I can't even begin to calculate the financial costs of my small herd, because if I do, it might make me a bit sick - and I do things "cheap", to boot.

Owning horses or riding them costs more than financially, too. I have learned over the years that owning a horse could cost you your heart, parts of your family or circle of friends. Horses, though they will never do it for a selfish or malicious purpose like a human might, can break your heart unequivocally - with death, with lameness, with one of the myriad of illnesses or infirmities that can strike horses for absolutely no reason at all, with an unwilling sale forced by the economy or loss of a job... You get kicked, you get dumped, you get hurt - some partners have a hard time sharing their time with a horse or appreciating when you come home with your hair full of hay and smelling a bit like manure.

But at the end of the day, we may spend money and emotion and physical wellness on the love of a horse (or a few horses!) - and when you sell, you never actually MAKE money - but we get paid back, too. We profit substantially from loving a horse, and I like to think that makes the slaving at a day job to make the money, which seems to spend mere microseconds in our wallet, to keep our horses worthwhile. I like to think that it makes your heart breaking worthwhile because someday, you can look back fondly and with love and recognize the lessons that you have learned and how much richer you were for the experience. At the end of the day, I think I profit more than I spend.

The profits from loving a horse --

- the confidence you earn from working with a 1200lb animal that could kill you, but instead allows you to climb up on its back in the same way that a predator might, and carries you with pride.

- the rewarding ache in your muscles from putting up hay or mucking stalls, or giving a really good grooming - or simply just spending most of a crisp fall day in the barn bumming around.

- owning or riding horses seems to be an instant conversation starter - because whether they love them or fear them, the general public seems to have a fascination with horses - either the day to day or your mental sanity regarding the amount of money that you spend on them.

- you have an ever present sounding board - someone who is never going to tell you that you need to be less invested, that your hurt feelings are silly or that they doubt your ability to meet the challenge you are facing.

- the network of friends and professionals, either in person or online that turn out to understand your needs and desires better than some people who have been in your life since the beginning.

- the peaceful stillness in your heart when you've put in a day's work and can just recline on a bale of hay and listen to the eating of horses, or watching your equine friends grazing in a field, or just being with a horse.

- the surprising joy when you find something in the Dollarstore or at Walmart that you can use for your horse that will cost you a fraction of the money of buying it from a tack store (I also count this as financial profit!).

- the laughter when your horse proves itself to be more clever (in a NON-mischevious way!) than you expected.

- the satisfaction of introducing a child to a horse.

Yes, at the end of the day, I believe that even if we can't line our wallets in it, we profit incredibly from the love of a horse - and for each person, there is so much more that is personal and private and makes their life with horses that much more worthwhile.