I'm new to the forum. I have been a rider, on and off, since my 20s. (I'm now in my 40s.) I have taken about a year off from riding (hunter/jumper) because of illness which has led to dramatic weight gain.
The last time I rode, it was at a new barn with a large female instructor. She was amazing, and I felt comfortable with her. I was ready to sign a lease on the lesson horse when the barn manager stepped in to tell me that I was "too big" for their horses. (I probably weighed 180 pounds at 5'7".)
Feeling humiliated, I didn't and couldn't return.
I'm now around 210. My weight has stabilized fortunately, but my doctors have suggested that maintenance may be my most optimistic goal over the long term. I have kept fit with bike riding and six or seven visits to the gym weekly (both cardio and strength training). I am strong enough to return to riding physically but not psychologically.
I have NO idea how to get back in it. I obviously cannot return to the last barn where I rode. And I'm too embarrassed to go to previous barns where I rode when I was thinner. I don't think I could lease a horse because I doubt an owner would even consider leasing to a "plus sized" rider.
I have considered buying a horse, but where I live it's a very expensive proposition. Also, I'm not really well-versed enough in horse conformation to determine whether a horse would be able to tolerate my weight.
Ideally, I'd like to start training in dressage. Perhaps this makes it easier or more difficult to re-enter the riding world? (I think my jumping days are over because I'm too old to be going over fences! I've lost my nerve.)
Any suggestions? I live in an urban area, so there aren't an unlimited number of barns, and riders and barn managers/owners tend to be a bit snobbier than average.