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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not sure how to word this one, so I'm jumping straight in. Be aware I am typing upset and angry, something I try not to do as a rule, but I beyond upset this morning, and ask you to help me make sense of it.

As a community of plus size riders should we be above criticisms? On this board we are a small part of a bigger board, so everyone who cares to can look and see and have input, and we know that some of it is not so positive.

My question is:

As long as you are polite and truthful, should you give honest feed back on what you see?

While I agree as plus size riders we should be supportive of each other, but underneath it all, literally, is a horse who is carrying us, and to me they are the important part of the equation.

In my view, we should be treated and measured like other riders, we are NOT above criticism because we are big, in fact properly fitting tack, correct riding, right choice of horse, all these things are magnified by having a plus sized rider in the mix.

SO to me:

"Your fat *** should not be riding"

"There is no horse in the world that would carry you"

"Put down the donuts and lose the weight fatty"

Are all not helpful, BUT

"I'm sorry, but I believe that horse is just not big enough for you."

"If you are going to ride, then you would be better off in a bigger saddle"

"I don't think you should jump that horse at your current weight."

Are generally fair game.

I'm sharing this photo that is widely available on the web



If this guy was a member here asking about his horse would any one say that they are OK? I couldn't.

Making it personal and using my own pics, just for illustration.

Willow and I



Some people were very rude about me riding her, those who thought it was OK (ish) rightly pointed out that my 17" saddle and I were no longer suited to each other, some people were fine.

She looks far better with her new owner :)



The Awesome Mr Gibbs, is not tall, but is square, and I'm riding him in my western saddle, much better fit, and while there will be those who don't like it, I will be riding him



Then we get to my constant question, my Emmy



She is happier with me in the Western rather than the English, the extra weight of the saddle is balanced by the increase in weight bearing area. I am 50/50 over riding her (and it is a moot point until I get some Gibbs miles under my belt) but would hope and trust that the plus size riders would have more thought of her well being, than mine when saying yeah or nay to riding her.

If we are always saying, "Oh you look fine" then we are not being supportive, we are being ostriches, and hiding our head in teh sand.
 

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GH...I am not as skinny as I used to be. Im the first to admit that, athough I am not large large, have good balance and am a good rider. but I refuse to gain anymore weight just because...my horses can carry it, but I need to lose it.

but...who in their right mind would allow that guy on that skinny horse? Holy crap!

At local shows, I do see overweight people (on ponies even...and yes...underweight ponies at that) and it makes me cringe.

But, I would most definitely speak up regarding that person on the grey arab. Thats inexcuseable. The horse is clearly struggling...Bless his heart.

You, mam, look good on Gibbs. and you look better on Emmy then Willow, IMO. Arabs are tough and she appears to be a good sized horse...
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A lot of people here opt for the "say it like they see it" approach. Often that means things are said without a lot of tact, but that doesn't necessarily mean what's being said is not truthful or deserved after the fact.

I'm not a small guy. My TBxSH that I lease is one of the smallest horses I've ever ridden as I typically have always leaned towards drafts, but I'm VERY conscious of my weight because of such, and the first 10 or 15 times I rode him I paid a whole lot of attention to his body language for signs of how impressed (or not) he was with the situation. Technically I'm around his 20-25% ratio so I'm not squashing him or anything, but I'm conscious of the fact I'm at his limit. He seems cool with it aside from ouchy feet sometimes, but he's the same with any rider that gets in him, so I don't count that, although I am aware of it and keep him on soft footing when possible.

In the end though I have his best interest at heart. If I gained weight to the point where it was unfair for him, I'd stop riding him - not make excuses or just ignore reality.

If after I posted a picture of us together here, someone here pointed out the fact that I look big for him (tactfully of otherwise) I'd accept it. It's the truth. I'm aware of it. I know I should loose weight - heck, I LOST 70# 3 years ago so I could get back into riding as when the 300# point was within sight at one point there's no way I would have got on any horse - it's not fair to them. I would have been "that guy" in those pics.

I had a personal wake up call and decided that if I ever wanted to ride proficiently ever again in my life (or fly small aircraft, another passion that is surprisingly weight sensitive) I had to do something about my weight. And I did it.

So in the end, the truth is the truth, remember that. Sometimes it's expressed more tactfully by some vs others, and sometimes people just opt to say nothing, but that doesn't change reality.
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[QUOTE:...As long as you are polite and truthful, should you give honest feed back on what you see?...]

The operative words here are polite, truthful and honest - perhaps 'tactful' could be substituted for 'polite'.

Re truthful and honest: It's been my experience that it is much easier to make a bona fide improvement, to gain knowledge and achieve success, when one deals with facts rather than self-perceived image.

Re polite/tactful: It is a great thing to be able successfully use politeness, tact and diplomacy to help someone who doesn't realize they need help or who can't help themselves. It is even a greater thing to carry enough humility within oneself to use politeness even though one is buffered from the consequences of their remarks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
LOL Chevaux that is a whole 'nother debate one persons tact is another persons bluntness.
 

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I think I have always felt it was ok to be honest about a plus sized rider being too much for a horse, here on Horse Forum or elsewhere.

If you are asking how I feel about you on your horses, I would say it depends. I know that you have experience as a rider and thus have a good, balanced seat. I also know that muscle weighs more than fat. that means that a fat person can be larger in size than a smaller, well muscled person and still have the same number of pounds for the horse to carry. it is the lack of muscle tone that can make it harder for the horse to carry, as an untoned rider is less able to help the horse by "carrying" her own weight. you know what I mean by that.


personally, I think the arab mare looks a bit strained under you, whereas the gray does not. however, watching them move would be the final determiner.
I rode a Fjord horse the other day, like 14 hands, and I felt too big for him, but his owner did not hesitate to allow me to ride. but, it might have been my imagination or over sensitivity to being fat, but he did not offer me nearly the lively step he gave her.
 

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This is a very interesting topic!

At 5'5", 140 ish, and fluxuating between a 4-8 in clothing size, I am not a plus sized rider. That said, I am also not a twig, and could definitely lose a few pounds. I have never encountered the harsh things that were alluded to in the first post.
I have, however, had a trainer tell me that my build makes it difficult to compete in Eq classes, with riders who are twigs with miles of arm and leg. It is what it is. Honestly, I appreciate the honesty. (Teehee)

As for myself.. I would never make comments like that. I am under the impression that, unless specifically asked for (Does this saddle make my butt look big??), my opinion is not wanted. Unless a horse is in some great amount of pain, I hold my tongue. Even if it is, the owner/rider probably wouldn't be the person I say something to about the issue.
 

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I don't understand why you started this thread.
Why are you upset and angry?
Did someone say something to you? Or not say something to someone else?
Did you see something that was upsetting?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think I have always felt it was ok to be honest about a plus sized rider being too much for a horse, here on Horse Forum or elsewhere.

If you are asking how I feel about you on your horses, I would say it depends. I know that you have experience as a rider and thus have a good, balanced seat. I also know that muscle weighs more than fat. that means that a fat person can be larger in size than a smaller, well muscled person and still have the same number of pounds for the horse to carry. it is the lack of muscle tone that can make it harder for the horse to carry, as an untoned rider is less able to help the horse by "carrying" her own weight. you know what I mean by that.


personally, I think the arab mare looks a bit strained under you, whereas the gray does not. however, watching them move would be the final determiner.
I rode a Fjord horse the other day, like 14 hands, and I felt too big for him, but his owner did not hesitate to allow me to ride. but, it might have been my imagination or over sensitivity to being fat, but he did not offer me nearly the lively step he gave her.
I wasn't necessarily talking about me, but didn't want to use any more random pics. If we just say 4 horses and riders

1) Man on grey horse, to me not a good match, and of he posted here would have no qualms about saying so.

2) Woman in yellow shirt on bay, also not a good match, would suggest a horse with more substance.

3) Woman in dark clothes on bay..........I have really no idea how I would view this from outside - I WANT it to be OK, but I change my mind day after day.

4) Women in pink on grey horse, looks fine for flat work and short rides, would want to ensure good fitting tack for both horse and rider and monitor the situation.

This is a very interesting topic!

At 5'5", 140 ish, and fluxuating between a 4-8 in clothing size, I am not a plus sized rider. That said, I am also not a twig, and could definitely lose a few pounds. I have never encountered the harsh things that were alluded to in the first post.
I have, however, had a trainer tell me that my build makes it difficult to compete in Eq classes, with riders who are twigs with miles of arm and leg. It is what it is. Honestly, I appreciate the honesty. (Teehee)

As for myself.. I would never make comments like that. I am under the impression that, unless specifically asked for (Does this saddle make my butt look big??), my opinion is not wanted. Unless a horse is in some great amount of pain, I hold my tongue. Even if it is, the owner/rider probably wouldn't be the person I say something to about the issue.

LOL Zexious, you sure aren't a plus size rider, but if you posted pics of you riding a mini, you may get feedback, and that in itself is another interesting point, when a youngster is growing out of their first pony, it can be difficult for the to accept that it is time to upgrade. Back in the 'good old days' we never worried about scarring a kiddy for life by teasing them about their growing size.

The point though, is it different to tell a 'normal' shaped person that they need a bigger horse, than to tell a fat person.

It is interesting as well how to voice concerns you may have, I keep wanting to start with "I'm sorry but" well actually no need to be sorry if it is the truth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't understand why you started this thread.
Why are you upset and angry?
Did someone say something to you? Or not say something to someone else?
Did you see something that was upsetting?
Oh yes someone said something, details of which are available by PM on request.
 

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I think you have many valid points GH. I don't know if I would consider myself to be a plus sized rider or not.... (considering I'm around 5'8 and fluctuate between 190lbs and 220lbs if I'm muscled up from working) but I think when I make a comment about anyone riding their horse I always take into account that a picture is a moment in time. I've had pictures of me and my girl that I'm sure some would be sickened by because she looks in pain, she's not though, just grumpy ;-) . The guy on the arab.... yeah he may be a bit big for her but with anyone I always keep into account that pictures don't tell the whole story. Watching the horse move and how it acts in person does.

I've encountered some of that negativity but at the end of the day what does it matter? I know my horses better than anyone and not all of us can be built like sticks! And I'm always pretty blunt about what I think, I'd like to think that others would do the same to me.

ps. I think you look fine on the bay arab you're on. :)

Zexious: it's funny you say that about your trainer; when I did western pleasure us bigger people would use vet wrap and 'tie down' all the excess of us so that our horses looked smoother and easier! :lol:
 

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Golden--You make a lot of interesting points, for sure!
Do you think people are just too sensitive these days? While others are just too blunt?

Incitatus-- Forgive me, I'm very naive to the ways of Western riding. What does that look like? :)
 

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When I got back into riding, I told my coach I was plus size. I started out on a clydes x tb. He started having some behavioral problems, so he became a lease horse only instead of lesson pony. When I met my other lesson horse, I was quite concerned about being to big for her. I never brought it up with my coach, but I don't think she would put me on her if she didn't think it was okay.

I feel the most comfortable riding her now. I understand riding her, and I still feel like a big fat person. But I don't look to terrible on her. She never looks uncomfortable from her body language.
 

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Pictures are only one piece of the puzzle.

Granted, the large man in the grey t-shirt on the light gray horse is an obvious HUGE mis-match.

But the pictures you posted GH, you obviously already know you are a plus-sized rider, and you keep that in mind. But I don't think that is what you are getting at. As TinyLiny mentioned, it really matters a lot by how well you ride and you can't judge that by pictures alone. Mr Gibbs appears to look perfectly comfortable. Emmy ..... maybe borderline comfortable. Can't tell by pictures alone. Would need to see videos of movement.

Even if a horse is sturdy and capable of carrying 300 pounds (just pulling a random number here), if that 300-pound rider has horrible balance and is leaning all over the place ... well the horse wouldn't do as well with that person, as it would with a 300-pound rider who does have good balance and good cues and is not leaning all over the place. It doesn't change the fact that the person is 300 pounds, but it does help in the way they ride.

Would the horse be more comfortable carrying a 150-pound rider? Absolutely and without a doubt. (You go carry a 50-pound backpack around for one hour, then take off 25 pounds and do another hour. Of course it would be easier carrying half the weight in the backpack.)

We've got a good family friend who's always at most of the horse shows we go to. She is quite over-weight. She knows it. (She's actually recently lost quite a bit.) But she is a GOOD rider and she rides big-boned horses. This is myself and her doing the sack race together. The video quality is not the best, but I truly and honestly see very little difference between my riding and hers. She handles her body as if it weighs less .... if that makes any sense.



Anyway, if I would see someone post a mis-match in rider weight to horse, I'd say so. But the vast majority of people .... that's not going to be a new concept. As I said above, you already know if you are a plus-sized rider. It's not going to be new information for me to say it. And what one person views as an honest reply, the next person would view as rude. But sometimes, pictures just do not tell us the whole picture.

Yes, it'd be easy to say: Well if you are plus-sized, why don't you lose weight? But we all know it is not that easy.
 

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We've got a good family friend who's always at most of the horse shows we go to. She is quite over-weight. She knows it. (She's actually recently lost quite a bit.) But she is a GOOD rider and she rides big-boned horses. This is myself and her doing the sack race together. The video quality is not the best, but I truly and honestly see very little difference between my riding and hers.
I watched the video. Several times. I spent as much time watching the horses as I did the riders after the first few watches - and if you look close, the thing I noticed is that the horse that the plus sized rider was on had his ears back (and pinned a few times) almost the entire racing portion of the course. The other horse only turned back to listen to his rider, then pricked again.

That, speaks volumes.

That's also, as I said above in my last response, the sort of thing I look for when I, as a larger rider myself, ride a horse for the first time. The horse may be doing everything you ask, sure, but it's silently speaking to you nonetheless.

Yes, it'd be easy to say: Well if you are plus-sized, why don't you lose weight? But we all know it is not that easy.
But on the flipside, it's not fair to ignore the issue and just keep riding, either. And before anyone jumps on me for that comment, I remind you all about my earlier post again when I mention I lost 70#'s so that I *could* start riding again. I now weigh 220, so do the math. When I weighed close to 300# I did NOT ride. With only a few brief exceptions (a few trail rides on drafts, and a few walkabouts) I didn't ride for over 15 years, actually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Golden--You make a lot of interesting points, for sure![,quote]

Thanks, I do try and get people to think and not just react, LOL sadly I sometimes fail, or my point is misunderstood.

Do you think people are just too sensitive these days? While others are just too blunt?
I think it is far easier on the internet to be both oversensitive, because you react with what you think you read, or you put your own interpretation on what is said, rather than ask for clarification. I also think that people may lose their sensitivity filter because of the anonymity of the internet when they are posting.

But to me the fundamental here is that plus size riders are not, and should never be excused or given a pass because they are big. It should be acceptable to say that you need a bigger horse, as I say we say it to kids growing out of ponies, if it is a fact. It should not be done in a denigrating way, but in a factual way, if that makes sense.



Anyway, if I would see someone post a mis-match in rider weight to horse, I'd say so. But the vast majority of people .... that's not going to be a new concept. As I said above, you already know if you are a plus-sized rider. It's not going to be new information for me to say it. And what one person views as an honest reply, the next person would view as rude. But sometimes, pictures just do not tell us the whole picture.

Yes, it'd be easy to say: Well if you are plus-sized, why don't you lose weight? But we all know it is not that easy.
:rofl::rofl: This is true, we do know how big we are, it's not like you are going to say to me "You're fat" and I'm going to look in the mirror and say "WOW, you're right, how did I not know?"

But on the flipside, it's not fair to ignore the issue and just keep riding, either. And before anyone jumps on me for that comment, I remind you all about my earlier post again when I mention I lost 70#'s so that I *could* start riding again. I now weigh 220, so do the math. When I weighed close to 300# I did NOT ride. With only a few brief exceptions (a few trail rides on drafts, and a few walkabouts) I didn't ride for over 15 years, actually.
You say that like you maybe believe that Deb Bennet is correct that 250 pounds is the maximum any horse can carry? While yes we would all do better to lose weight, if we are carrying extra, 300 pounds is not a limit, it does cut down the amount of horses that are available to you. Every 10 pounds you lose means more horses become available to you.

There are some great pics here somewhere of the Hiphophorseman The Horse Forum - View Profile: HipHopHorseman he is a BIG guy, I mean tall and solid, but I have no issues with him riding, with the pics he posted. He will have far less mounts to choose from than the 100 pound teenager, but he found a good one!
 

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You say that like you maybe believe that Deb Bennet is correct that 250 pounds is the maximum any horse can carry? While yes we would all do better to lose weight, if we are carrying extra, 300 pounds is not a limit, it does cut down the amount of horses that are available to you.
I don't think that there's a magic number, but there are limits. A draft is not necessarilly a magic solution either as most of us know here that it's a bit of a misnomer that they can carry a bigger rider.

I subscribe to the 20/25% rule personally and with tack and gear probably push that boundary with my current lease. However, like I've said, I would put the wellfare of a horse ahead of my desire to ride. I didn't not ride for 15 years because I didn't want to, I didn't ride because I knew it would be potentially unfair to the horses, nor could I ride at the skill level I wanted to with the body I had.

But still, there comes a point. The "dead" weight of a rider is one thing, but all the dynamic forces involved in riding can multiple those weights twice over, or likely, even more during a spirited ride. Example, try lifting a 50 pound sack of potatoes. Now do it while skipping rope.

And AGAIN, before anyone gets insulted (not my goal, but I am speaking my opinions) I still weigh in excess of 220 pounds right now, so I'm speaking in the plus size forum AS a plus sized rider.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
And AGAIN, before anyone gets insulted (not my goal, but I am speaking my opinions) I still weigh in excess of 220 pounds right now, so I'm speaking in the plus size forum AS a plus sized rider.
Not insulted at all, whatever your size you are entitled to your opinion, and you should express it, especially they way you have put it.
 

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But still, there comes a point. The "dead" weight of a rider is one thing, but all the dynamic forces involved in riding can multiple those weights twice over, or likely, even more during a spirited ride. Example, try lifting a 50 pound sack of potatoes. Now do it while skipping rope.
That is true, plus balance and seat can make a huge difference in how a given horse travels with a bigger rider. Before I lost weight I weighed more than my beginner spouse :oops: but since I have ridden all my life I was much more balanced in the saddle. He on the other hand was very stiff and not "in tune" with the horse's motion and it was totally apparent when he rode. The horse in question was all of 16 hands with good bone. I could ride him with no issues, but when the spouse got on the gelding's motion changed dramatically.

For the OP...I hate to resort to a meme but here is one I think applicable:
 
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