Some history: I'm 29. I started riding when I was 25, and rode for about 9 months. I had a bad fall and didn't start riding again until 3 months ago.
My original trainer from 4 years ago was not very good, but unfortunately I didn't know any better.
I have always battled with my weight, but after my fall I gained a lot of weight. I'm 5'6 and weigh in at around #250. It kept me from getting back into riding. I was so afraid everyone would judge me, and I wouldn't have any balance, and I wouldn't find a horse that could support me. Finally, I just couldn't stand not being on a horse. I looked around, and after much deliberation I found a stable I wanted to be at. My new trainer is amazing.
Today she told me to drop my stirrups while I was trotting. I didn't even think twice. I had not been looking forward to it, because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it. I sat the trot and posted the trot without my stirrups, and she said I did wonderfully. After my lesson I let her know I had never done that before. She was quite surprised, assuming my older instructor would have had me do that to build strength and balance. Being able to do this just helps reaffirm how much I need to ride. I feel amazing, and I have such a sense of accomplishment. Plus, it's great exercise and I am slowly losing the weight.
What has riding helped you with?