An Unexpected Joy: Rescue Horses For Plus Sized Folks
I feel sort of chatty today.
When I first got into Horses, I wasn't sure I would be able to find a horse for me. I went out and looked at everything for sale and just saw a ton of delicate arabs and quarterhorses that were smaller and flashy and lovely. I had went through a bad breakup and felt like I wanted to start something new in my life and be happier. I was twenty two.
I ended barn shopping first. My logic was that I wanted to have a stall rented before I found a horse so I'd have a place to keep it. I found a breeder just down the road that leased stalls out and had boarders. I went and talked to her and she was a doll. She didn't seem to mind I was very large - 6'4, 245lbs. I told her I wanted to find a big boned gelding to learn to ride on and she kinda 'naww... you want a mare.. we'll find you one'. In a few days she called me back (after saying sure I could board at her place) and told me she found the perfect horse for me.
Her friends were moving out of state, cutting down their herd, and selling a brood mare named Sunny who was a huge half saddlebred, half morgan registered pinto/warmblood for performance. She was 12 and purchased as a combo brood mare/husband horse.
I bought her without riding her and still have her today. She's in her late twenties now and is the love of my life though I cannot any longer ride her. She's too arthritic and swaybacked, though I did ride her up until her twenty forth birthday. Anyhow, my second riding horse is a draft. I have two more besides her but I cannot ride them due to their delicate size but my husband does.
I love my draft. I really do. But she has one kind of stride, a long rolling powerful gait. I ride and drive her, but she is what she is and she isn't my old mare that I miss terribly as a riding horse. There's no snorty cantering full speed down longbeach in Washington with her. Becky takes her time and you get a really comfortable lazyboy type ride. But deep in my heart I've always wanted more.
Lately I've been watching the rescue work of a local washington state group saving horses from slaughter off a feedlot. Some of these horses are so incredibly awesome.. so broke, so been there done that, so well papered... its amazing what people throw away. I've been donating to fund raising here and there for folks that offer homes to these horses but don't have the bail (or purchase price) and have gotten to know some of the rescue folks involved.
One asked me if I'd ever adopt one myself, and I said no... no... I'm too big, too fat, and these little 14.2-15 hand horses - though great - wouldn't work for me. I'm all for pasture pets, but I do want horses at my place I can ride. Having two I can't frustrates me if my husband doesn't feel like riding. She listened, this lady from a rescue, to my story and then sent me pictures of an amazing horse she had rescued from a horrible mud situation then nursed back to health with bad hooves that had cracks all the way to the cornet bands. He was an OTTB who's 17hh and at least 1600 lbs heavy. He's ... frankly huge. I went and saw him Saturday and fell in love. I'm going to adopt him from her. He deserves a great home and a place to live that gives him a forever home. He's green broke but still very sore on his feet (cracks are growing out and hes doing well otherwise but still limping on gravel pretty badly - needs shoes). I took my very tiny friend who's an awesome rider and she rode him for me to see how he'd do. He did really great. He was everything the rescue promised.
Here's his picture.
This is not me. This is my friend who's doing the initial ride. He did so well! We rode him in a snaffle and in a Indian Hackamore.
So I guess what I wanted to say (other than to share this with you) is if your a larger person looking for 'the right horse' just start talking to rescue folks. Please! These wonderful horses need homes. Who would have thought this boy is only 8 years old, monster sized, mellow as a lesson horse, and just sweet as apple pie. Who would have thought someone could hurt this animal, throw him away, after abusing him? He was lucky and I think I'm going to be very lucky to get him.
If anyone wants the rescue name or info just let me know. They were very accepting of me, never once blinking or questioning what I wanted. They let me visit and had this big fella all ready for me to see. He was everything they promised... and I'm so excited to be on a horse horse again to do all the things I used to do on my saddlebred/morgan mare. I love my draft, but I'm soo excited for this new addition.
Just thought I would share my joy and excitement.
Hes beautiful!! I love big bays :) Im so glad you posted this. I would adopt a horse anyday before buying one. There are so many amazing horses out there that are in need of homes that could be just as successful as high dollar horse. Rescues can be suitable for many aspects of the horse world from trail riding to barrel racing to roping, jumping etc. Thankfully my husband is with me on rescuing/adopting horses. The rest of my family completely disagrees with adopting a rescue. "No good" "Crazy problem horses" "Not reliable" "Your going to be taking on someone elses problems" The remarks go on. We have had some heated debates over this! I hope and pray someday to run my own rescue in my area. Im happy for you and wish you and your new guy lots of happy years together :)
How lucky for both of you to have found each other! yes, it's amazing what great horses are just "thrown" away. Many happy trail hours are wished for you.
Oh and I thought I would add, I have been worried about my size effecting my eligibility for adopting a horse from a rescue. I have seen online some rescues put weight limits to their horses. I also dont want to show up and them look at me sideways. Im 5'5 1/2 and around 285-290 and I ride as well as I did before kids, stress and staying home. Your post made me hopeful that maybe I wont be judged as severe as I thought. :)
I think the really great thing about rescue people is that they understand and are more concerned with a person giving a horse a good home rather than what size you are and what you look like. I've seen a lot of drafts, draft crosses, and big guys like my soon-to-be Thoroughbred that need homes. That's the main issue... a forever home. Not what size your guardian as a horse is.
I can understand not wanting a short horse if you stand 6'4", but at that height atnd 245, you're not FAT. Maybe over what you'd like to be, but not FAT like you make it sound! I wouldn't look twice either before putting you on a horse, but just like I wouldn't put a 4 ft, 85lb 10 year old on a 17HH OTTB, I wouldn't put you on a 13HH fell pony either. But it's not because of some outlandishness in size, it's just making sure the rider and the horse suit each other.
I'm thrilled you found your perfect horse!
Oh I am definitely a plus sized rider. I wear size 24 and to me that's plus sized. You can be fit and still be built like a linebacker. It just breaks my heart though to read all these wonderful folks in here having all their fears about size and shape. I'm just glad a lot of people have realized how healing horses are for all our damaged souls out there.
If anyone wants a great inspirational blog to read, try Dances With Fat. She's amazing and inspires me daily. Dances With Fat Its another one of those situations... you can be a larger sized person and be fit and healthy.
Thanks for all the support here. Now if your horse shopping, start calling the rescues! Get them to help!
Love that story. That is awesome! I love my percheron for her being a lazyboy type ride. I was worried about being too heavy for my 14hh spotted draft/paint cross. I am quite a bit shorter than you, but overweight. Thank goodness she is so stocky. I don't feel big on her at all.
You are doing a great job and a great thing! Keep it up!
I always feel to big for my horse... I asked some opinions before I bought her and they all said she can carry me fine.. but I always feel to big.
She's great though.
Congrats on your new horse!
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