Plus Size and Confidence - The Horse Forum
  • 3 Post By Cacowgirl
  • 2 Post By DraftyAiresMum
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post #1 of 9 Old 05-04-2014, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Plus Size and Confidence

A little history:

At my heaviest I was a little above 200 lbs, at 5'4". I am now 5'4" and 160ish lbs.

I still consider myself "plus size", but I know I am not nearly as heavy as I used to be.

Lately I've been finding it hard to find confidence in my riding. I feel that I could never match up to some of the tall, thin riders in my barn. I am paranoid that I am too big for the lesson horse I ride a lot. He never has a problem with me, and I'm sure my instructor wouldn't have me ride him if I was too big for him. But I know he's no spring chicken and there's always a nagging doubt that it's not fair for him, especially since I jump.

How do you ladies and gentlemen find confidence in yourself and your riding? How do you stay true to you and what you want to do despite the obstacles being plus size presents?
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-04-2014, 01:08 PM
Green Broke
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Congratulations on the weight you've lost already. Sounds like you are still working at it. Trust your instructor, as we are all on our own journey & do not need to compare ourselves w/those tall skinny riders.
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post #3 of 9 Old 05-04-2014, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Cacowgirl View Post
Congratulations on the weight you've lost already. Sounds like you are still working at it. Trust your instructor, as we are all on our own journey & do not need to compare ourselves w/those tall skinny riders.
This exactly!

I'm 5'7" and at my skinniest (while riding horses) was 160lbs. Because I wasn't a stick figure like some of my friends, I thought that I was too big to be riding. My old gelding was a 14.2hh Arab/NSH cross and he never seemed to have trouble with me, but I always felt bad riding him because I felt I was too heavy.

Then I worked at a Girl Scout horse camp over the fall. That's when my confidence soared. I was a wrangler and the head wrangler entrusted me with schooling the horses that were being naughty. I rode almost every one of the 13 horses we had. Everything from a fat little 13.3hh paint mare to a big ol' barrel of a 16.2hh friesian cross mare. It was during that time that I really developed a sense of myself as a rider. I was alone in the upper arena schooling these horses and then we would go on trail rides. I realized that it didn't matter what other people saw when they looked at me. It mattered that I could handle the horse I was riding. None of the horses had a problem carrying me, not even the little paint, and we went on a three hour advanced trail ride when I was riding her.

Do you take group or private lessons? Do you ever get to just go on trail rides for fun? If you take group lessons, maybe try to take a couple of private ones to help yourself shake these feelings. Trail riding is great because it doesn't matter what you look like or what you ride in, everyone is just out to relax. Also, maybe talk to your instructor about your concerns and how you're feeling. I bet they will be able to help.
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post #4 of 9 Old 05-04-2014, 09:07 PM
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I'd say put as much focus as you can into your own achievements. Feel good about the things that you accomplish.
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post #5 of 9 Old 05-08-2014, 07:00 PM
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Just because other girls are tall and seem skinny, it doesn't mean that they weigh any less than you do. That's the problem with us tall girls - we weigh a heck of a lot more than you petite girls do. Plus, what do you think is easier for a horse to jump with: a compact 160 pounds, or a gangly 160 whose head is nearly over the horses head when taking off?
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post #6 of 9 Old 05-09-2014, 09:00 AM
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Even at your biggest I wouldn't even consider you as plus sized but I empathise with you entirely.
Focus on you and the horse, he has no problem with you. So why are you feeling like this? Don't feel like you should compare yourself to others. It's all about you, be selfish! Think about how you manage your horse and what you want to do. Not how others do things compared to you.
If I am right in thinking 160 is around 11 stone then you're teeny weeny! Haha. Don't let how others appear shake this! Taller 'skinny' riders can weigh the same if not more than this.

Don't get hung up on things past, focus on how far you have come!
Well done on your weight loss, be proud of yourself and the rest will come easy :)
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post #7 of 9 Old 05-12-2014, 08:14 PM
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I really don't think it has anything to do with how much you weigh. Good riders come in all shapes and sizes, and so do bad ones...

I weigh close to 220 pounds, so I've thought about this a time or two. I have straight up asked my trainer if she thought I was too heavy to ride, and she answered me with an astounding no. She is not one to sugar coat anything either. She's like a little George Morris, she would definitely tell me if I was doing something wrong! Lol I've heard her say some pretty crazy stuff to people, me included, but never has she mentioned my weight, and I even gave her the perfect opportunity to do so. All I have heard her say is how much progress I've made with my legs and hands, how good my seat has become, and how happy she is with me... I'll take it!

I am still making an effort to lose some weight and get healthy, though. I've been eating right, exercising 3-4 days a week, and drinking nothing but water for about a month. Even with all of that effort, I'm not really losing a whole bunch of weight. At first, I was really discouraged, then freaked out, then just plain mad. Suddenly, it dawned on me... The dressage lessons!! I have gained a lot of muscle since I started them in March. The first few weeks were agony for me. I would lose my strength and stamina half way through my lessons, and then I'd barely be able to walk the next day. Now, 6 weeks later, I can maintain a rising trot through most of my lessons and I feel just fine afterwards.

I'll never be a fine boned, slender, elegant rider. Hopefully, I'll weigh a little less, but I'll always have a thick, muscular body... I blame dressage.
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post #8 of 9 Old 05-12-2014, 08:44 PM
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I am always amazed when I look at a photo of myself riding, since I don't feel that I am so fat. riding makes me feel "normal".
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post #9 of 9 Old 05-13-2014, 12:11 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Well I think I've got all of you beat in this arena As of this morning I weigh 328 lbs. Keep in mind that this is DOWN from my heaviest weight ever of 390, I am close to having lost 70 lbs.

It's been a long road and I've had to change a lot of things, namely what and how much I eat. I am not comfortable riding just yet, but I've focused my equestrian desires into learning as much about ground work, driving, and training as I can, and volunteering with the local therapeutic riding center. I would like to get rid of the "3" in front of my weight before I think about climbing onto the back of any horse right now, and the way things are going that might not be too much longer.

My point in all this is no matter what your weight or your shape, confidence is all a mental game. Focus on "Can do" instead of your "can't do's". I might not feel comfortable riding, but I can train. I can walk. I can read, study, and understand. I can give my time and the strength in my muscles to an organization that needs help every day with keeping over 40 horses cleaned, fed, and worked with.

Even if your "can-do's" are teeny-tiny, focus on them first and confidence will flow from your strengths.
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