Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
• Horses: 0
Just bumping this one with a thought.
When you first start the BO will put you on a horse that they *know* is suitable for your weight and your skill. You won't have much input, if any. Of course, as you progress you may want to ride other horses at the barn - you must accept that you won't be able to ride many of them. It's a reality that I have personally, and please don't take it the wrong way - but it's the truth.
The "problem" is that you put the BO in a really awkward position by even asking sometimes. No BO wants to have to say "Sorry, you can't ride him/her because of your weight", but any good BO will also put their horses before their students, so that's often the blunt truth, even if you get a whitewashed version of it, or another "excuse". Some just avoid it all together and you are left hanging.
If you're like me, you know you're a big person (Heck, even after I lost 60# so I could start riding again I'm still over 200#) and you can take this sort of stuff with a chuckle and in stride, but others are VERY sensitive about the topic..and if the BO says something just the wrong way, some people fly off the hook, get insulted, leave..or worse yet, lambaste their business online. Meanwhile, all the BO did was put his/her horses first, and now they're left dealing with the fallout of their otherwise proper decision.
Often, attacking the question from another angle, such as "Wow, I really like such-and-such horse, what size riders have you put on him/her in the past?" opens up the discussion from another angle. The BO will feel more free to give you a more honest answer and you can then act accordingly on whether or not to ask to ride that horse in the future.
As mentioned, a reputable BO should always put the well being of their horses above the wants of their students, so if you show up and they offer you a pony (purely for example), you may want to reconsider your choice of barn - they're not putting their horses first. That would instantly make me question their business practices.