Plus Sized Riders - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-01-2017, 10:25 PM Thread Starter
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Plus Sized Riders

Hi Everyone -- I know there's a plus-sized thread elsewhere, but I wanted to check in here as there's more traffic and likely more diversity! I'm about to start taking private lessons after an absence and weigh about 180 lbs. I know this is a controversial topic, but what does everyone think about plus sized riders? I have a nice seat, am calm and focused, but I don't look like the tween-agers running around your typical barn. My goal is to ride while also swimming and taking core-strengthing classes to get fitter.

Your honest opinions (with tact, please) are most welcome.
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-02-2017, 01:51 AM
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well, it's hard when you are larger and young. as you get older, folks don't care as much, and you don't waste energy comparing yourself to the 'others'.

all I can say is that 180 isn't outrageous, and if you DO ride in a way that is 'with' the horse, and carry your weight, the horse will hardly know the difference between 180 and 140.
And, I , at 205 lbs. , am far more conscious of concern about my weight and its impact than most of my barn buddies. they will offer their horses for me to ride without a moment's thought. I decline only if the hrose truly is small, and riding it would be unfair.

I ride better than many of the folks at my barn. fat or not fat. I do.

I bet you do too. the two things are NOT mutually exclusive.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-02-2017, 04:07 AM
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Hi, whether 'plus sized' or not, I think your riding style, what sort of riding you do, and the size/strength/ability of the horse needs to be considered. And the more I learn about physiology & body issues, the more important I see this is - I'm not at all one to believe horses should not be ridden, but in a huge amount of 'normal' situations, we ride them to their detriment, unaware of the damage we're doing. Just because horses have been ridden by people for 1000's of years doesn't make it OK for them. A lighter rider that does lots of jumping, tight, fast circles, etc is more likely to do damage to a horse than a large, good rider on a decently built horse, if they're trailriding or other 'low impact' stuff.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-02-2017, 10:30 AM
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You need to be aware of the impact from what you are doing (trails vs show jumping) and the horse you are riding. Is that horse fit? Is it of an adequate size with good dense bone? What are you doing with that horse? What is your ability? We have had a discussion about this in another area because of comments made by an instructor where my SIL rides. The answer I have found is it depends. Answer the above for yourself and you'll find at 180 you aren't exceedingly heavy for many horses if you aren't riding hard.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-02-2017, 10:32 AM
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There are riders of ALL shapes and sizes @ the barn where I ride and they are all treated the same. I hope you find the same when you take lessons; there's no reason you shouldn't.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-02-2017, 10:40 AM
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I'm struggling with my weight at the moment, sitting at 225 pounds I feel I'm not too heavy for my boy, but my riding skills and balance are off so I'm not doing anything with him until either A) I lose some weight and gain some strength/balance or B) don't lose weight but gain riding ability. And the only way I'll do either is by riding- so it's a fine line. I'm thinking of taking up lessons again, but I DO notice a huge difference in how I balance and sit now, compared to how I did when I was 160 pounds, I seemed to have lost my riding ability and balance when I gained weight.

I'm only nineteen but I find it extremely hard to manage my weight. For some reason no matter what I do I still gain pounds slowly. So I took it upon myself to start eating more healthy and start consciously being more active. I don't have scales but I go by how I FEEL and how my body aches. It's been two weeks since eating and exercising (albeit only a little) and I FEEL much better. My knees don't hurt as much and my ankles aren't killing me all the time.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-04-2017, 10:37 AM
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I'm a plus sized rider and my weight was a big concern of mine when I started riding again last summer after taking a few years of to start a family. My coach put me on the bigger Warmbloods and we haven't had any issues. I find the biggest problem is that the extra weight is usually paired with a poor cardio system so I'm currently hindered by that but working on it.
This year I'm part boarding a Clydesdale x Warmblood and riding 2-3 times a week. All flat work right now but that's because he's been a pasture decoration for the last 7 months at least while his owner is pregnant. I don't plan on jumping him until later in the summer and even that depends on my own weight. So with the right combination of horse and your own goals it can work out.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-30-2017, 11:12 PM
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I think being a "bigger" rider is a very loose term. 185lbs can be perfectly normal for some riders and overweight for some. It all has to do with your build and body mass. Good for you for having a program set up for yourself to become more healthy. I truly believe all of us should also strive to improves our health because its such a demanding sport. The general rule for riding is not going over 20% of the horse's body weight. Depending on the horse you are using at your current weight, you might be perfectly fine. Still very inspiring to hear you are striving to improve yourself.

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post #9 of 12 Old 07-01-2017, 02:21 AM
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I don't see any problem with plus size riders so long as their mount are suited. While 20% is a good starting point, I do not believe in it. For one, I have seen a 13hh haflinger cart me around better then a 16hh+ warmblood. The 20% rule doesn't account for tack fit, riders ability (or lack there of), type of work, terrain, length of the ride, horses conformation... I'm sure there's about a dozen other variables! Do all horses have limits, absolutely, but I think each horse should be evaluated on a case by case basis.

That said, I'm working on losing weight and having GREAT success (you can see progress photos in my Ketogenic thread). Losing 45lbs has greatly improved my overall riding! My balance is better, I have more stamina, and I just feel so much better!
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-01-2017, 11:45 AM
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We ladies seem to fuss about this, but if you were a 6' man on a solid QH nobody would think a thing about it, would they? That answer is Nooooo.
Good balance, enough horse to carry the weight and proper fit of tack are important...for any horse/rider combination.
My only suggestion is to use a mounting block. And that would be my advice for all riders.
Have fun!!!!!!

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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