My question is this--since I am on the upper edge of this horse's weight limit, what precautions should I follow?
My daughter & I share a 13-2HH 750-800 lb 6 year old Curly mare (part Curly Foxtrotter and part Curly stock horse/range mustangs on papers). She's got good bone & hooves as well as a short back. I'm attaching a photo of her with some of her winter woolies (and she has a ton of woolies since she's a Curly) still on as well as one from her bath yesterday to give an idea of what her build is like. I think she going to fill out some more and put on muscle since she just turned 6 in April.
I'm not technically 'plus' sized at 155 lbs & 5'6" tall, but according to my oncologist, my BMI is on the high/overweight side. I've weighed this since I finished having my children and after all the breast cancer surgeries I had, so don't think I'll lose it (I'm not really going to try). I don't look like I weigh 155 lbs to most people. In fact, I've always weighed heavy for my looks/build (one 'expert' weight guessing vet I worked with couldn't believe he was off by 15 lbs when he usually came within 3 lbs of estimating animal and people weight).
I'm working on building her muscles since she is a bit out of shape-so we do a lot of trotting. I'm starting to ask her to round/collect a bit more to help with her muscles and weight bearing as well. I use a decently fitting (as good as I can afford and get) synthetic Australian endurance saddle with a grippy gel filled pad. I use a mounting block. The mare is barefoot. I typically do light trail riding (some hills but nothing extreme, some stepping over obstacles, but no jumping, walking and trotting with rare canter moments) and some pasture 'arena' type training/work to develop a better top line and collection. So far we've only cantered a few times. I'm an experienced rider (Western gaming, bareback, jumping, dressage, roping, trail, Pleasure, etc in my 30 years of riding) that has developed some health issues that can affect my balance. I don't flop around, but I'm not like my 16 year old self either. Most of my balance issues revolve around dizziness and the lack of sensation in my feet from neuropathy, not tipping over. I tend to post or ride in 2-point when trotting for longer stretches.
I have a
of the very first ride I ever took on this mare. It was also the first time I'd ridden in 2-1/2 years. I don't use the saddle or arena in the video, but it should give you an idea of what I look like on her. FWIW she was balky for her owner in this
as well--there were some puddles in the corner of the arena. Although she balked more for me because I was trying to press her out of her comfort zone to evaluate her temperament. Here's a
of her more recently with my daughter riding her first trot. Thats me holding the lunge-line for reference (please be nice about our technique, such as it is). When I ride her now she moves out nicely at both the walk and trot. Her canter is awesomely smooth, but I keep it to a minimum due to her lack of condition and my weight.
I'm not looking to jump 4' or win the Tevis Cup or anything. I just enjoy riding
in the woods & 'training'. I also need to be sure the mare doesn't get too lazy and develop bad habits for my beginner 8-year old daughter. I typically only ride her once a week with 2-3 'lessons' for my daughter per week as well. My daughter is still on the lunge-line at the walk and trot. My rides and my daughter's lessons typically last an hour or so, & are seldom/never on the same day or even consecutive days.
I'm hoping to get the mare trained to drive as well, then I can just switch to that instead of worrying over the weight limit. Getting a different bigger horse is not an option at this time. I just want to be sure to keep this one happy, healthy, and sound for the rest of her life.