Being plus sized and reality checks
   

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Being plus sized and reality checks

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  • Horse struggling with plus size rider

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    01-03-2014, 12:07 PM
  #1
Trained
Being plus sized and reality checks

I'm not sure how to word this one, so I'm jumping straight in. Be aware I am typing upset and angry, something I try not to do as a rule, but I beyond upset this morning, and ask you to help me make sense of it.

As a community of plus size riders should we be above criticisms? On this board we are a small part of a bigger board, so everyone who cares to can look and see and have input, and we know that some of it is not so positive.

My question is:

As long as you are polite and truthful, should you give honest feed back on what you see?

While I agree as plus size riders we should be supportive of each other, but underneath it all, literally, is a horse who is carrying us, and to me they are the important part of the equation.

In my view, we should be treated and measured like other riders, we are NOT above criticism because we are big, in fact properly fitting tack, correct riding, right choice of horse, all these things are magnified by having a plus sized rider in the mix.

SO to me:

"Your fat ass should not be riding"

"There is no horse in the world that would carry you"

"Put down the donuts and lose the weight fatty"

Are all not helpful, BUT

"I'm sorry, but I believe that horse is just not big enough for you."

"If you are going to ride, then you would be better off in a bigger saddle"

"I don't think you should jump that horse at your current weight."

Are generally fair game.

I'm sharing this photo that is widely available on the web



If this guy was a member here asking about his horse would any one say that they are OK? I couldn't.

Making it personal and using my own pics, just for illustration.

Willow and I



Some people were very rude about me riding her, those who thought it was OK (ish) rightly pointed out that my 17" saddle and I were no longer suited to each other, some people were fine.

She looks far better with her new owner :)



The Awesome Mr Gibbs, is not tall, but is square, and I'm riding him in my western saddle, much better fit, and while there will be those who don't like it, I will be riding him



Then we get to my constant question, my Emmy



She is happier with me in the Western rather than the English, the extra weight of the saddle is balanced by the increase in weight bearing area. I am 50/50 over riding her (and it is a moot point until I get some Gibbs miles under my belt) but would hope and trust that the plus size riders would have more thought of her well being, than mine when saying yeah or nay to riding her.

If we are always saying, "Oh you look fine" then we are not being supportive, we are being ostriches, and hiding our head in teh sand.
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    01-03-2014, 12:23 PM
  #2
Trained
GH...I am not as skinny as I used to be. Im the first to admit that, athough I am not large large, have good balance and am a good rider. But I refuse to gain anymore weight just because...my horses can carry it, but I need to lose it.

But...who in their right mind would allow that guy on that skinny horse? Holy crap!

At local shows, I do see overweight people (on ponies even...and yes...underweight ponies at that) and it makes me cringe.

But, I would most definitely speak up regarding that person on the grey arab. That's inexcuseable. The horse is clearly struggling...Bless his heart.

You, mam, look good on Gibbs. And you look better on Emmy then Willow, IMO. Arabs are tough and she appears to be a good sized horse...
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    01-03-2014, 12:47 PM
  #3
Weanling
A lot of people here opt for the "say it like they see it" approach. Often that means things are said without a lot of tact, but that doesn't necessarily mean what's being said is not truthful or deserved after the fact.

I'm not a small guy. My TBxSH that I lease is one of the smallest horses I've ever ridden as I typically have always leaned towards drafts, but I'm VERY conscious of my weight because of such, and the first 10 or 15 times I rode him I paid a whole lot of attention to his body language for signs of how impressed (or not) he was with the situation. Technically I'm around his 20-25% ratio so I'm not squashing him or anything, but I'm conscious of the fact I'm at his limit. He seems cool with it aside from ouchy feet sometimes, but he's the same with any rider that gets in him, so I don't count that, although I am aware of it and keep him on soft footing when possible.

In the end though I have his best interest at heart. If I gained weight to the point where it was unfair for him, I'd stop riding him - not make excuses or just ignore reality.

If after I posted a picture of us together here, someone here pointed out the fact that I look big for him (tactfully of otherwise) I'd accept it. It's the truth. I'm aware of it. I know I should loose weight - heck, I LOST 70# 3 years ago so I could get back into riding as when the 300# point was within sight at one point there's no way I would have got on any horse - it's not fair to them. I would have been "that guy" in those pics.

I had a personal wake up call and decided that if I ever wanted to ride proficiently ever again in my life (or fly small aircraft, another passion that is surprisingly weight sensitive) I had to do something about my weight. And I did it.

So in the end, the truth is the truth, remember that. Sometimes it's expressed more tactfully by some vs others, and sometimes people just opt to say nothing, but that doesn't change reality.
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    01-03-2014, 01:53 PM
  #4
Started
[QUOTE:...As long as you are polite and truthful, should you give honest feed back on what you see?...]

The operative words here are polite, truthful and honest - perhaps 'tactful' could be substituted for 'polite'.

Re truthful and honest: It's been my experience that it is much easier to make a bona fide improvement, to gain knowledge and achieve success, when one deals with facts rather than self-perceived image.

Re polite/tactful: It is a great thing to be able successfully use politeness, tact and diplomacy to help someone who doesn't realize they need help or who can't help themselves. It is even a greater thing to carry enough humility within oneself to use politeness even though one is buffered from the consequences of their remarks.
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    01-03-2014, 02:07 PM
  #5
Trained
LOL Chevaux that is a whole 'nother debate one persons tact is another persons bluntness.
     
    01-03-2014, 02:09 PM
  #6
Super Moderator
I think I have always felt it was ok to be honest about a plus sized rider being too much for a horse, here on Horse Forum or elsewhere.

If you are asking how I feel about you on your horses, I would say it depends. I know that you have experience as a rider and thus have a good, balanced seat. I also know that muscle weighs more than fat. That means that a fat person can be larger in size than a smaller, well muscled person and still have the same number of pounds for the horse to carry. It is the lack of muscle tone that can make it harder for the horse to carry, as an untoned rider is less able to help the horse by "carrying" her own weight. You know what I mean by that.


Personally, I think the arab mare looks a bit strained under you, whereas the gray does not. However, watching them move would be the final determiner.
I rode a Fjord horse the other day, like 14 hands, and I felt too big for him, but his owner did not hesitate to allow me to ride. But, it might have been my imagination or over sensitivity to being fat, but he did not offer me nearly the lively step he gave her.
     
    01-03-2014, 02:27 PM
  #7
Green Broke
This is a very interesting topic!

At 5'5", 140 ish, and fluxuating between a 4-8 in clothing size, I am not a plus sized rider. That said, I am also not a twig, and could definitely lose a few pounds. I have never encountered the harsh things that were alluded to in the first post.
I have, however, had a trainer tell me that my build makes it difficult to compete in Eq classes, with riders who are twigs with miles of arm and leg. It is what it is. Honestly, I appreciate the honesty. (Teehee)

As for myself.. I would never make comments like that. I am under the impression that, unless specifically asked for (Does this saddle make my butt look big??), my opinion is not wanted. Unless a horse is in some great amount of pain, I hold my tongue. Even if it is, the owner/rider probably wouldn't be the person I say something to about the issue.
     
    01-03-2014, 02:35 PM
  #8
Green Broke
I don't understand why you started this thread.
Why are you upset and angry?
Did someone say something to you? Or not say something to someone else?
Did you see something that was upsetting?
     
    01-03-2014, 02:52 PM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I think I have always felt it was ok to be honest about a plus sized rider being too much for a horse, here on Horse Forum or elsewhere.

If you are asking how I feel about you on your horses, I would say it depends. I know that you have experience as a rider and thus have a good, balanced seat. I also know that muscle weighs more than fat. That means that a fat person can be larger in size than a smaller, well muscled person and still have the same number of pounds for the horse to carry. It is the lack of muscle tone that can make it harder for the horse to carry, as an untoned rider is less able to help the horse by "carrying" her own weight. You know what I mean by that.


Personally, I think the arab mare looks a bit strained under you, whereas the gray does not. However, watching them move would be the final determiner.
I rode a Fjord horse the other day, like 14 hands, and I felt too big for him, but his owner did not hesitate to allow me to ride. But, it might have been my imagination or over sensitivity to being fat, but he did not offer me nearly the lively step he gave her.
I wasn't necessarily talking about me, but didn't want to use any more random pics. If we just say 4 horses and riders

1) Man on grey horse, to me not a good match, and of he posted here would have no qualms about saying so.

2) Woman in yellow shirt on bay, also not a good match, would suggest a horse with more substance.

3) Woman in dark clothes on bay..........I have really no idea how I would view this from outside - I WANT it to be OK, but I change my mind day after day.

4) Women in pink on grey horse, looks fine for flat work and short rides, would want to ensure good fitting tack for both horse and rider and monitor the situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zexious    
This is a very interesting topic!

At 5'5", 140 ish, and fluxuating between a 4-8 in clothing size, I am not a plus sized rider. That said, I am also not a twig, and could definitely lose a few pounds. I have never encountered the harsh things that were alluded to in the first post.
I have, however, had a trainer tell me that my build makes it difficult to compete in Eq classes, with riders who are twigs with miles of arm and leg. It is what it is. Honestly, I appreciate the honesty. (Teehee)

As for myself.. I would never make comments like that. I am under the impression that, unless specifically asked for (Does this saddle make my butt look big??), my opinion is not wanted. Unless a horse is in some great amount of pain, I hold my tongue. Even if it is, the owner/rider probably wouldn't be the person I say something to about the issue.

LOL Zexious, you sure aren't a plus size rider, but if you posted pics of you riding a mini, you may get feedback, and that in itself is another interesting point, when a youngster is growing out of their first pony, it can be difficult for the to accept that it is time to upgrade. Back in the 'good old days' we never worried about scarring a kiddy for life by teasing them about their growing size.

The point though, is it different to tell a 'normal' shaped person that they need a bigger horse, than to tell a fat person.

It is interesting as well how to voice concerns you may have, I keep wanting to start with "I'm sorry but" well actually no need to be sorry if it is the truth.
     
    01-03-2014, 02:57 PM
  #10
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taffy Clayton    
I don't understand why you started this thread.
Why are you upset and angry?
Did someone say something to you? Or not say something to someone else?
Did you see something that was upsetting?
Oh yes someone said something, details of which are available by PM on request.
     

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