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Andieve 08-05-2012 10:15 PM

Overweight Riding
I am slowly but surely gathering information to get back into riding. The problem is that it's been 14 years and oh...150lbs more! I am 5'11 and just under 300lbs.
Does anyone have any tips (other than to loose some weight! :)) or suggestions as I begin to search for a place to ride or a horse that can handle my weight? Is there such a horse? Draft? Do overweight people need to limit the time they are riding to decrease stress on the horse?

Any advice or info is much appreciated!

smrobs 08-05-2012 10:29 PM

Howdy and welcome to the forum :D.

I'm unsure how the whole 'weight limit at lesson barns' thing works, though I'm sure you can find a place without too much difficulty. I've heard of some barns putting a 250# weight limit, but you would probably be able to get around that by maybe taking private lessons on, perhaps, a lease horse or borrowed horse. The only way to know for certain would be to call around to barns and find out if they have a weight limit and, if they do, what you can do to find a way to learn anyway.

Now, as for finding a horse for you, you don't really need to look for drafts or draft crosses unless you just want to. The conformation and proportions of the horse matter a lot more than the actual size of them. The type of horse you would probably want to look for would be stocky, have moderate to heavy bones in their legs, have large feet, a short back, and a big barrel. Horses like that can carry much more weight for a longer time than a big old gangly thoroughbred can. I would have zero qualms about putting you on my mustang, who is rather short at only 14.3, and letting you ride him just about as long as you wanted to.

Truthfully, if you find a horse that is built to carry the weight, you really shouldn't need to worry about limiting your time on them unless the horse is severely out of if they'd been turned out to pasture for years with no riding at all. A properly conformed horse that is moderately fit should have no problem carrying you all day...though it will take a fair amount of time before you're able to ride that long :wink:.

Something to consider as well that might help you to work off a bit of weight and maybe help to pay for your lessons too, is to look for a place where they might be willing to trade lessons for manual labor. Mucking stalls, scrubbing buckets, and tossing hay for a couple hours a day can melt the weight off a person in a hurry. Heck, when I moved back home and started working at the barn all the time instead of spending my time in an office like I did at my old job, I dropped about 20 pounds in a relatively short amount of time.

Andieve 08-05-2012 10:35 PM

I just noticed there is a "Plus-Sized Rider" section too...yeesh, I should have read further! LOL

smrobs 08-05-2012 10:38 PM

Hey, it's all good :D.

Kayty 08-06-2012 03:10 AM

I have moved it to Plus Sized Riders for you :)

Continue folks ;)

Andieve 08-06-2012 05:30 PM


chasingfireflies 08-07-2012 08:13 PM

Hi there! I'm preparing to get back into riding (dressage) after a 10 year hiatus. I have about 50 extra lbs and I've vowed to lose 25 lbs. before I get back on a horse. First...I have back issues and KNOW that if I try to ride before my body is ready I'll just end up hurting myself...and that doesn't bode well for a life time of riding. Anyhow, I've really been motivating myself by setting that first goal of 25 lbs. so I can start riding again!!

For me, I started by using an iPhone app called My Fitness Pal. I absolutely love it! It has really kept me honest and much more aware of how and what I eat. Also, I'm doing LOTS of gym stuff, swimming, elliptical, weights.

I'm now down my first 10 lbs., but better than that I'm truly feeling like I'm getting back in shape and I KNOW that will do nothing but help my riding!

As far as finding a riding location, for me it's been a LOT of looking! You need to make sure you find an instructor that is going to "train" you in the right discipline. I bet in the last month I've looked at 15 stables and many different instructors. BUT, I've now found a place that I think is a good match, an instructor that isn't put off by the fact that even when I lose a good 30 lb.s I'm still a good size woman! Now that I've found the perfect match, it makes me all the more motivated because when I hit that 25 lbs. all I have to do is set a date for lessons! Good luck!!!

Andieve 08-07-2012 08:32 PM

Thanks! And congratulations on 10lbs down :) I bet it already feels great!!!

tinyliny 08-07-2012 09:03 PM

If you are missing the company of horses but aren't ready to actually ride yet, you can find a place where you can intereact with them on the ground. Either in a volunteer capasicity, or if you or a friend has a hrose that needs some ground work, this can be really engaging and will help you to keep your "eyes on the prize".

afatgirlafathorse 08-08-2012 08:47 AM

I second the vote for My Fitness Pal. It is a great way to hold yourself accountable! :)

(And if you join, add me as a friend - withabandon)

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