Hello! New here! (with pics!) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 11:25 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: UT
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Smile Hello! New here! (with pics!)

Hi, everyone! And a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

You can call me TianTian (it means 'everyday' in Mandarin). I'm a 22 year old female with a lot of heart and a thriving passion for life, love and horses! Currently I am in college and switching majors from film studies (a super fun major) to equine studies (a major that's closer to my heart).

I am 5'5" and I weight exactly 200 lbs. I'm posting in this part of the forum because I am going to be attending Meredith Manor June 2013 as a Jumping Major! I am terrifically excited and I cannot wait! Though I do have a few concerns...

About my weight:
  • I weighed 180 lbs at the beginning of 2009. Back then, I was swimming and getting ready for Tae Kwon Do heavyweight competitions. I was solid muscle and was amazing (and there were many dates).
  • In the summer of 2009, I got in a terrible car wreck that left me in a neck brace for 3 months and physical therapy for another 6.
  • Needless to say, I gained a LOT of weight... I went from 180 lbs to 240 lbs!!
  • I moved to another state and it was there that I slowly started to shed the weight. Little by little, the weight has been coming off and I'm thinner, getting healthier and keeping happy! (though the dating scene has been rough; 20 more lbs to go should fix that). I have found that weight does stay off the slower you lose it.
And I'm sure someone may think that 180 lbs is simply "too much" for my height so please let me clarify: I graduated at age 16 from high school (I'm kind of a smart kid, I guess?) and I weighed 180 lbs then, too; I was also competing on the swim team and was goalie both in soccer and in water polo. I've always been very physically active and concerned about what I eat and how much (because growing up in a community where I was the odd girl out that wasn't a toothpick was difficult). Questions? Please ask away before passing judgement! Thank you!

Now! On to the topic of horse riding. Here are a few photos of me to help illustrate my concerns:

Me: 180 lbs. (and just after a nice, long trail ride!)

Post-Car wreck (the day after; I was hopped up on SO MANY PAINKILLERS!! Hence my utterly goofy smile) :

Oh yeah, in addition to that car wreck, THIS happened (rolled my left ankle and got a second opinion... and I couldn't help making a de-motivational poster, haha):

Oh! Here we go... this was the photo set I was looking for:

Yep! So there's my journey in a nutshell. The bottom right picture above is current as of last year (my hairstyle has changed and my neck has finally thinned out; that's about it). My biggest problem areas are my thighs and my bum... and lately my tummy (but only because I edit film on the side and sitting at the computer for hours on end does NOT help).

How did I lose 40 lbs and keep it off, you ask?
  • Hiking/walking in snow uphill for 45 minutes every day (except Sunday; it's a day of rest!), took a job that had me on my feet for 8 hours, ate about the size of my fist at every meal, increased water intake by A LOT and took some fruit with me to school to snack on when I got hungry between meals. I also did some light exercises and stretching in the mornings.
  • And as far as food stuff goes: I don't eat fast food AT ALL (have you seen what they put in their food?!?!?). I eat lots of legumes and meat sparingly. I can never get enough of fruits of all kinds and if I do eat candy, it's a tiny chocolate bar to satisfy my once-a-month-cravings. I don't drink sodas, I don't smoke, don't drink alcohol, don't do drugs, don't drink coffee, don't drink energy drinks and I get plenty of sleep (which I've found DOES help in maintaining weight).
  • To summarize: Walking + water + more veggies - less meat + more walking + adequate sleep + light exercise = weight loss!

My concerns!!!

  1. While researching Meredith Manor and all, I did notice some heavier riders than what I was used to seeing at most riding schools I've been to (which was a big comfort for me). Because I don't have my own horse to bring to the school, I just hope they can accommodate my weight on a horse there (though I have 6 months to shed, so hopefully it won't be an issue by then). If there's anyone who is an alumni, or current student, can you please share your experience if you've seen heavy riders get matched with horses at the school?
  2. What are some core exercises I can do to help build strength and tone?
  3. What are some target exercises that will slim down my thighs and butt?
  4. Am I doing everything that I can to slim down my weight?
  5. Because of my weight, I'm also concerned about my left ankle (and especially so as a jumping major!). If you saw the pictures above, I positively rolled my left ankle and it has never truly healed properly. It has kept me from doing high-impact exercises (only this semester has it finally held together in my martial arts class.. sort of). I've since sprained it many times and I just worry about how it'll hold up in the saddle. Anyone else have problems with achy body parts/joints while riding? What do you do?
  6. And finally... I wear a size 11 shoe. I have a very high instep and not much of an arch. My foot is very, very wide (circa. 4.5"). I also inherited a very large calf; 20" around! As you can imagine, finding tall boots, or even regular paddock boots + half chaps, has been downright impossible! I don't want to have to spend more than $65 on a pair of boots (preferably black). If you know where on earth I can find boots, please point me in the right direction! Thank you!

Please let me know if you have any questions and I'll be happy to answer them! Thanks and have a great day!!!
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 11:32 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canada
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Hello OneTallDay and welcome to the forum. You've posed a lot of questions here - I'm going to take the easy way out and just sit back and read what the other members will have to say.
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 11:44 AM
Green Broke
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Location: Oregon
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: UT
Posts: 16
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Thank you!

By the way... I was hunting around in my old pictures and I found one from a ren fest in 2008 (please forgive my ridiculous wench outfit and the fact that my posture is clearly off on all counts; it was a fake horse and my friends literally threw me into the saddle, haha! The stirrups were SO LONG!!).

Hopefully this will give you all a better idea of what I'm up against in terms of me on a horse (albeit a fake one in this photo.. and it's hard to tell the size of my thighs but what can you do? lol).

EDIT: Related: riding a camel for the first time. I hate the back seat.

Last edited by OneTallDay; 11-22-2012 at 12:03 PM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: NW Oregon
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Wowzer...You are a smart kid! Most people your age are not anywhere as close as you are to being focused on their health.
I can only tell you what has worked for me...low carbs. I don't eat "white" (except for the rare occasion I go out for sushi). Whole grain foods only (you have to read labels). Lot of veggies and selected fruit in moderation. There s a great little book, The Calorie King Calorie, Fat and Carbohydrate Counter. Makes it easy to calculate just what you are injesting. I haven't counted a calorie, just carbs. The weight fell off. Note: This is my program only...eat as if you are controlling Type 2 diabetes with diet...may not be for everyone. And I do get moderate exrcise.
It sounds like you also have a handle on exercise. I think it can be difficult to focus on specific areas because it seems like we all have different body structures to work with. Hopefully someone here can give advice that will help.
Good luck to you! You're on the right track, that's for sure.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 02:04 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,789
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Good luck with Meredith Manor..I dropped out last month after 2 months of it. There are more than enough plus sized riders there, and you're much smaller than them, so I wouldn't stress over it. :p
I downloaded a calorie counter app on my iPod touch and lost 40lbs..I gained 20 back while I was at MM. I was getting exercise and decent food (their food is MUCH better than what it was when I first visited), but all the stress cancelled that out and I gained. Now that I'm home I'm going to try and lose another 30-40 to get down to my ideal weight (180, because of my bone structure).
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 02:48 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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What are some core exercises I can do to help build strength and tone?
Weight training is really good. Really anything that builds muscle. Squats, chest presses, rowing, etc. There are crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, etc). I have a great book that I was following for awhile (and plan to follow again after school) called "The New Rules of Lifting for Women". It has an exercise plan in there and it always changes reps, sets, weight, exercises depending on what week it is. Pilates is also supposed to be really good for toning and working your core.

What are some target exercises that will slim down my thighs and butt?
There is no such thing as spot reduction. That just happens to be where your body started to store fat/mostly stores fat. You will always have bigger thighs and butt. But you could try to make your thighs and butt more toned which may make it nicer looking. Squats, no-stirrup riding, bareback riding, stairs, etc. Basically the only way to slim down your thighs and butt are to keep losing fat.

Am I doing everything that I can to slim down my weight?
If I were you, I would add in some more exercises. I don't remember if you said you still swim but I would say keep swimming. Try water aerobics if you can / want to. I would probably start doing some weight training, short reps - more weight. I think you just need patience and consistency now.

Note: I don't know what your ankle can handle. I had a friend mess up her ankle and she basically had to stop riding for 3 months to just let it heal. I am worried you aren't giving your ankle time to properly heal. What has the doctor / physiotherapist said about it?
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 03:06 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: South-Central PA
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I've got a friend who's currently going to Meredith Manor. She'll be done by June if she decides to do the 9 month program. I don't really have info on the riders there though. I know there's a variety of skill level and experience. The girl I know is not overweight, and she's keeping her 13-something hand pony there who wouldn't be appropiate for a heavier rider (he's older and, as I said, a pony).
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: UT
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Thank you everyone for your warm welcomes and sound advice! Where I live now... it's winter, so as much as I wouldn't mind swimming, I am two sizes too big (literally) to fit back into my racer-back swimsuit (the agony!!) and it is too cold! Otherwise, I'd definitely be in the water; I gotta do something with these big feet of mine!

Stress at MM? I could see that happening. What was the big cause of stress for you, Iseul (if you don't mind me asking)?

Strength exercises? Good call! I'm on it!

In regards to my ankle... *sigh* I don't even know where to begin.
  • The optimistic side of me wants to say that a sturdy paddock boot and/or athletic tape should hold it together and that I'll be fine. Nothing that some ibuprofen can't fix (and maybe the occasional resting with it elevated).
  • The more cautious part of me isn't so sure. I went jogging on it two weekends ago and it was fine... but then the next day after I went jogging it was puffy and swollen and I hobbled around for 2 days with an ace bandage/ice pack; somehow it had sprained itself.
  • Ever since I rolled it the first time, it randomly snaps, cracks and pops quite painfully (and sometimes even when I'm sitting still and not doing anything).
  • I don't have health insurance, so a doctor's visit/X-ray/MRI is out of the question.
The verdict: ????

And I forgot to mention that I frequently get tendonitis in my wrists. And have allergy and exercise-induced asthma. But those two are pretty much under control.

My life is one never ending adventure after another. But I manage to survive!!!
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post #10 of 15 Old 11-22-2012, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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Well you definitely have a good attitude about it all!

I would say stay away from jogging and maybe stick to speed walking/walking up and down hills. Maybe even look into an elliptical. I am not sure when you rolled your ankle, but I sprained my one index finger and it took about 3-5 months to heal. A finger is something I can choose not to use (though I didn't realize how many things I did use it for until then) ... A foot you can't really decide not to use.

Maybe look into an ankle brace to wear while riding to give your some added support. Riding would worry me because you are supposed to sink your heels down, and that can put some strain on your ankle. It sounds like you haven't really got the chance yet to get on a horse and really try out your ankle - perhaps you can do that.

Also careful with your wrists, weight training should not hurt them - if they do, your form is wrong or you are lifting too much weight that might make your form wrong. I have problematic wrists so I am nervous about getting back into weight training but I am going to take it slow and really listen to my body. I can't do real push-ups because its too much strain on my wrists (I can't do them regardless lol...), so I do an assisted push-up on an angle against a study chair or table against a wall.
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