Overweight rider: Conflicted about how to work with my horse while I lose weight
Hi, forum! I'd like some advice on my situation with Sam. I've been worried since I got him (3.5 mos ago) that I'm too heavy for him. He's 10, a 15.1 paint with the breed-typical build. The seller told me 1,100 lbs, but the vet taped him at 975 this week and a healthy weight. I'm 5'5" and about 255lbs.
I bought him not intending to ride him forever at this weight, and I have so far only done light work with him. We started out really slow, and our routine for the last 6 weeks has been about 4 days of riding per week — three with half-hour rides of ~80/20 walk/trot or walking on trail, and one 45-minute lesson about 40/60 w/t.
He doesn't SEEM to object to me riding. He came to me with a mounting block issue that was making it hard, but we fixed it in a few weeks. He also sometimes tries to refuse to continue working when there are other horses around or it's dinner time, but those episodes don't correlate with what we're doing and most of the time he seems quite happy to work. He walks out, trots at a nice pace and never resists moving from a walk to a trot. BUT I also realize he's a good boy and might behave this way whether or not I'm causing him discomfort.
This horse is my baby, and his welfare absolutely comes before my desire to ride, but if it is likely ok for me to keep riding as I am while I'm losing weight, I want to. That's what I'm hoping for advice on. If say I'm about 8 really committed months of weight loss from a weight where I would stop being concerned about the strain on him.
So for the meantime...considering the facts — healthy adult horse, good build; rider with good balance but too heavy — what would you recommend?
Should I continue as usual or cut to once or twice a week? Should I eliminate the one "work" (lesson) day? Should I only walk? Should I not ride at all and give him exercise through lungeing and ground work instead?
Please give me your honest opinions!
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