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, August 28, 2013

The Heart Knows


It is funny how, seven years later, you still permeate my life so much that I knew I had to come to the farm today even though I could not remember why. I wasn't feeling well this morning and G gave me an opt out, saying he'd come next week and help me groom, but I knew I had to come.

I was in the barn with Rex, spending some time giving that filthy boy a deep groom, when I remembered. First, I thought I had missed it by two days but I think my heart knew. It has grown so used to grieving on this day that it does it on its own, without any help at all.

When my Nana passed away, Daddy told me an analogy about how losing someone or something special to you is like when you pull a large boulder out of the ground. At first, that hole is jagged, it wants for something to fill it. As time passes, eventually it smooths out, sometimes it fills in a bit. There is always, however, a groove there. Eventually, the grieving turns to memories you can call to mind on any day of the week and be happy to have them. Eventually, you stop saying "I wish there was a rock here." every second day. Eventually, you learn to function and move on, and you allow yourself to grieve on days like today.

Seven years ago, I came home at this time of day and saw you laying in the field - sunbathing, everyone insisted, but I knew something deeper was wrong.

The heart knows, doesn't it? Just like I knew something was happening the night that you foaled when I was in another city and it took three grown man to pull that dead colt out of you but didn't hear the news until the next morning. Just like I knew about the sorrel and white filly growing inside of you that first year, that filly that would go on to touch hearts that I didn't even know would need touching. Just like I knew that you would leave me that night.

After four years of teaching me to love horses again, to trust in my partner, to believe in myself, and how to know an equine so well that you can tell in six seconds whether something is wrong or not, you had completed your work here on Earth and you moved on.

You opened up the door for Bronwyn to come into my life. And you left me Rex and Ari. And you reminded me that it is okay to cry when you have to. And you gave me a special appreciation for falling stars - because so many fell that night while I walked you, and now every time that I see one, I know you are reminding me to listen to my heart, and letting me know I am going in the right direction.

Most importantly, you taught me that everything will pass, too - no matter how hard it seems to overcome. That someday I will look back on every challenge I have faced and be reminded that I had to be there to be where I am now. That everything that happens exactly the way that it is supposed to.

My girl, I had no idea I was learning these lessons when I was learning them. It took me a long time to appreciate it. Seven years later, I can say I still miss you, but the overwhelming emotion is THANK YOU.

Angel & Rex Spring 2006

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You

I bet most of you don't know that I get very anxious going into new social situations. That might be surprising for some of you - some of you might not find it that surprising. I, myself, was a little surprised when it started to rear its head in my first, and only year of university.

All through middle and high school, I had been that obnoxiously outgoing girl. You know, the one who turns around and introduces herself to everyone within hearing distance in lines at concerts, has no problem getting up in front of her youth group and acting like a doofus, makes it all the way to the provincial level of public speaking competitions without batting an eyelash. Then, in university, it started small - as simple as I could not possibly spend the night at someone's house, I would fight tooth and nail to get back to my apartment after a night out at the bars. I knew that it was turning into a problem when I started taking an economics course mid year and I got up on the first day and gathered my books, ate breakfast, showered - got all the way ready to go and got to the door to leave and turned around and climbed back into my bed, unable to face the "newness" of a whole class of new faces, a professor I had never met, and a completely different part of the university than I had ever had a class in.

It never developed into anything that has affected my quality of life but I know there are some experiences and friends I have probably missed out on as a result of my desire to stay home, where I am comfortable.

So when I decided I wanted to add "something else" besides dog walking and biking to work to my exercise regime, I picked lap swimming. We have a local pool that offers a pretty decent price and is not far from our apartment, so I investigated it as much as I could online... but then I came to questions I couldn't find the answers to online - like what sort of people swim there? Am I going to get hated on for being a slowpoke? How do you know which way to swim? Which time is the busiest to go? And of course... the one that I try to never let myself ask but pokes it's head up ALL OF THE TIME and I think is the root of all of the anxieties I have about just about everything - even though I know better than this - Am I going to be the fattest person there?*

All of those unknowns cause me a lot of anxiety so yesterday, G put me in the car and drove me to the pool without my bathing suit so I could take a peek in through the big window and see what sort of people swim there, and how fast they are swimming (the answers were all sorts and all speeds). I talked to the lifeguard at the desk to get a feel for it and he told me I should swim in the medium speed lane because the slow lane is mostly people walking or flutterboarding. He told me that the midday swim is usually the busiest.

Armed with this information, I steeled myself to go back today and actually swim. I knew I had to take my information I had gained and the little burst of bravery that I had and go swim sooner, rather than later, or I would chicken out completely. So I put my swimsuit and a towel in a bag and headed out. I was extremely nervous as I left the house, tummy full of butterflies - what if they don't like me? G gave me a hug and told me I would be just fine and sent me out the door.

As I parked the car, I wanted to turn around and go home, but I knew that G was at home and would know I hadn't swam if I just turned around and went back with dry hair, so that little bit of knowledge forced me into the reception and changing rooms. By then, I was most of the way there so why not just try it?

So I did. And obviously, I am here to write this and my entry didn't start with "NEVER GO LAP SWIMMING, IT IS HORRIBLE!". The truth was that it was uncomfortable at first, but I enjoyed it. It felt like a physical challenge. I pushed my body and my mind and I came out alive on the other end. There were, indeed, bodies of all ages, and shapes and sizes and speeds. In fact, the most inspiring swimmer there was a woman a bit bigger than me. She came to the pool, got in the medium speed lane, put her head down and went right to work. I felt like my strokes were frenzied and challenging, I felt like I was splashing a lot, but she cut through the water like a hot knife in butter, with slow, methodical strokes. She was a beautiful swimmer.

Am I going back? Of course.

If you're comfortable, you're not growing.

* And really, who cares if I am? I am as entitled as anyone else to pay my $3.50 and go swim as many laps as slowly or as quickly as I want to, regardless of my size or skill level.