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, May 17, 2013

The problematic problem...

Don't worry, it's not Bronwyn - she is just fine - packing on the pounds and living a luxurious pasture-pony life at the round bale. The problem is people-related.

It seems funny that it comes so naturally on how you would approach a horse to "talk about" a problem or dislike or issue, but when it comes to people... oooh, it's a lot different.

Recently, I went to the MQHA Equine Review (which is an annual horse expo/trade fair for those of you in the Atlantic Canadian region that might be interested!) with my mom and her booth of show clothing and my custom rhinestone saddle pads and other odds and ends. I love this event because I get to see a lot of my friends who I otherwise can only keep in touch with via the internet - because everyone comes from all around to take in demos, clinics and shopping among other things. It is a nice chance to blow the stink of winter off of ya and get itchy to get in the saddle if you haven't already been in it this season.

This would actually be an awesome place to network for the blog and the community that I am enjoying building around it - lots of traffic, lots of riders of all shapes and sizes. I would love to talk to ALL of these people who think they are alone out there when they rifle through the rack of Wranglers at one of the many tack shops or the breeches at another and find that there is nothing there that will fit them and let them know that they are not alone. I'd like to talk to those people who think that I shouldn't ride a horse because I'm plus sized. I'd like to have frank discussions with professionals about the challenges facing us as a general population... but it is difficult to start that conversation with someone. I wore my AFG&AFH hoodie around most of the weekend, and then my Easy Keeper shirt - it did spark some conversation about the blog (including one awesome person who didn't even realize that it was me!), and a definite lead in. I also overheard someone complaining about not being able to find a tall boot for her large calves and promoted Fuller Fillies (which had no shops carrying it there, sadly!).

 But... because the matter of weight is so sensitive for so many people, I don't feel that it is appropriate to walk up to somebody and start chatting about it - because the implication is "I think you're fat enough to appreciate this." and for some people, that word fat is so offensive (which I think is a really terrible way to have to live, and I lived that way for many, many years, but that is a whole other diatribe in itself).

So it's a conundrum. Sometimes I see people who seem to be so frustrated and feel alone but I don't feel like it is appropriate to approach them and say "hey, there is this community out there...". I would love to take an information booth but unfortunately, the site does not really run as a "for profit" site and I could not really justify the expense to take the materials and pay the booth fee since there wouldn't be any return. I am hoping, if I have the time off work, to take Bronwyn next year and do a clicker training demo with her - I would then be able to wiggle some promo for AFG&AFH in there, I think. Again, though, it is an out of pocket expense to take her there.

Just as a general poll, in the comments - would you be offended if someone approached you to talk to you about a plus sized rider's community? How would you like to be approached about this kind of thing? Or would you be interested to see an information booth about it?


  1. Reading through your post, I was going to suggest a talk or forum of some kind. Any expos I've been to have all sorts of displays & talks going on at different times throughout the days the expo is on - my first thought as i read through your post was you should TOTALLY do something like that!
    As usual you are well ahead of me in the planning stages and are considering something along those lines, for what it's worth I think you would kick @$$ as a seminar/motivational speaker.
    Just look at the lives you have touched through this blog alone - you are a legend!

    1. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to "take my show on the road" and do motivational speaking and confidence building sessions. I don't even know how anybody starts doing that sort of thing.

    2. I deff think it is something you could look into as you would be amazing at it!

      I have no idea how you would go about getting set up - perhaps speak to speakers at events and the like at which you would like to participate in and ask them how they got started...Sorry I really don't know!
      I hate public speaking myself, so wouldn't ever dream of undertaking something like that - sorry, I know I'm no use!

  2. Hell no!! I am fat, no matter how much I candy-coat it, or how much my hubby loves me the way I am ;) I am trying to find full seat breeches for summer (I found Irideon fleece-lined ones on eBay :)), and if someone walked up to me to give me that resource, I would hug them!

  3. I have talked to the owner of the Ranch I ride at to let her know if anyone asks about weight problems and riding and want more information or to talk about it, I would be open to take that on. it is a sticky issue and I fought with it the last two years. I am done fighting and now learning to work with it. That seemed to make a big difference in my attitude. I thank you for helping in that aspect with your website and blog.

  4. I would not like to be approached. Even though I am definitely in the plus size category, with riding clothes and riding in general I don't want to be grouped with just that. Weight is not the focus of my blog, but a part of it... just like it's a part of me but not the focus. I am personally pro companies offering plus size riding apparel and think Fuller Fillies is a good thing in theory... but I am NOT a fuller fillies fan and I do not like to buy plus size riding clothes at all. That's probably partially do the stigma with it in society, and maybe my own personal hangups.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Lauren. I can appreciate that not everybody would like to be approached - I am unsure how I'd feel if someone approached ME, even.

      I am curious about your statement that you don't like to buy plus sized riding clothes at all - what do you ride in?

      I had a hard time, at one point in my life, separating my personal value/worth from the number in the back of my pants. At the end of the day, it is what it is and it covers my butt and that's the most important part for me!

    2. I pretty much ride in brands that offer larger sizes but do not explicitly label themselves as plus. Tailored Sportsman, RJ Classics, Kerrits, and SmartPak. I don't know what it is about the plus label that bothers me.... doesn't make sense logistically but I would feel better about riding in a 36 TS breech than a 34 Fuller Fillies breech. Brains are silly things!

  5. I think its a wonderful idea to do some talks about plus-size equestrians! I feel it IS important for plus sized riders to not feel alone....even if you have only a single person who supports you in your riding endeavours....that means a lot (speaking from experience here). ....I also think its EQUALLY important, if not more so, for the judgemental haters out there to see and realize that the plus sized equestrian community is not just a handful of people, but quite a few actually....and we're accomplishing many of the same things as thin riders on healthy, fit, HAPPY horses. Size acceptance will never be the norm if we continue to be shamed into doing things behind closed doors so-to-speak. Only when folks realize that large people can be just as CAPABLE as thin people, regardless of size, can the tables start to turn against the fat=lazy viewpoint. I know this is easier said than done, because i struggle with it every day. What keeps me going is knowing that shallow, judgemental people do NOT get a say in what I choose to do in my life. EVER. I am an excellent horse owner who takes phenomenal care of my equine partner of 16 years. They have NO IDEA what I do for my horse, nor how I spend my time with him.....therefore they have NO experience on which to base their shallow opinions. I will never allow such ignorance to shame me. I have far more self respect than that.
    Would I want someone to approach me as a plus sized rider to have a chat? If the person is accepting of me and courteous. ABSOLUTELY. I feel hiding from others (because of our size) only leaves the impression that we have something to hide. The equestrian community as a whole needs to see that we are just like many others with the same struggles, concerns, and needs for our horses...that we are good people, with good hearts, that love our horses and would never do anything to hurt them. It's easy to create misconceptions about strangers....not as easy about folks you get to know. If the person approaching me was a fellow large person, I would be ecstatic because there is always strength in numbers. I will never hold on to some grand illusion that i will be a size 6 and will be able to wear "skinny" breeches. Ever. I will never be that small ....at least not unless I'm sick & dying. I am close to 6 ft tall and wear a size 12 WIDE shoe. Tiny/skinny is not in my genetic code. I refuse to spend the rest of my life trying to be something i will never be to please the judgementals of society. My life is worth more than that, WAY MORE. I would rather make strides in accepting myself for who i am...right now...in this moment, then hold myself back waiting for a goal i may or may not achieve (thinking in terms of buying plus sized clothing here)....because that is EXACTLY what the judgementals want you to do ...shame yourself until you get it to THEIR definition of what's right.

    As far as giving talks goes, I would start by contacting the organizers of an event you'd like to speak at. Tell them who you are, your experience with horses, what you would like to speak about and why you feel people would attend your talk and what they would get out of it. I have a friend who did that here with our local horse fair ( which is pretty darned big)., and they have gave her a room and a speaking slot (she is a therapist and also has experience in animal rescue). I think that sort of stuff is all about being able to promote yourself :-)

  7. I think it all depends on presentation. Someone VERY POLITELY approached me years ago about wearing the wrong size of bra, and it was hard to hear, but good information. At a recent conference, I passed on information about a nearby Lane Bryant bra sale to several of my bustier customers, and they all thanked me.

  8. I think you have your answer from the array of responses. I have decades of experience in sales and putting my feet in my mouth. And if there's one thing I've learned it's that people will have different thresholds for what they will welcome with regards to outreach. And the more personal and emotional the issue, the higher their sensitivity to crossing that threshold.

    I think having a booth, with perhaps a break-out session or discussion that is on the schedule would be a great way to meet those who want the information. If it's well promoted, you should get the audience without making anyone feel like they were personally targeted. I'd come! In fact, if you have a burning desire to visit Wichita in February, I'd help work the booth and your talk/session.

  9. If you are ever out in Alberta or BC, there is an expo called The Mane Event held annually. I would love to help you get a discussion panel scheduled with them. They get an attendance of close to 10,000 annually and having been there for the last 6 years, I can say the crowd is ripe for your message. I see lots of plus sized spectators wandering around and you can just see the 'If only" look in their eyes. If I had greater courage, I would approach them myself, but that's something I'm still working on.