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Discussion Starter #1
So, the college I will be attending next semester has a hunt seat team, a dressage team, and a western team.

Starting this next semester, there will be a weight restriction on the riders on the hunt seat team (not the dressage or western teams). I looked at the roster for next season (not on it yet, but hopefully will be) and the numbers are significantly down. I can't help but wonder if it is because of this new rule. This new rule also applies to the people taking riding classes as a part of their major.

They call it the Horse and Rider Wellness Policy.

"At the beginning of each semester: During the first ten days of each semester, individuals who wish to participate on the riding teams or in riding classes must meet with the _____ College Athletic Trainer. During that meeting the individual will have a confidential weigh-in session with the athletic trainer. If the individual weighs 200 pounds or more, they will lose their riding privileges. The individual who exceeds the weight limit may still participate with the riding teams and/or classes by participating in constructive, educational alternative activities designed by the coach and/or instructor."

"According to accepted standards in the equine industry, a saddle horse may bear weight up to 20% of its body weight. This guideline is based on consideration of average, middle-age horses that perform light work and of average physical condition. The typical ____ College horse weighs approximately one thousand pounds and is generally older. Additionally, the horses in the College herd are used by a variety of riders on a daily basis increasing the stress on the muscular skeletal system of the horses."

So, if the rider doesn't meet the weight requirement and still wishes to ride, they are required to meet with a trainer once a week until they meet weight.

So, what are your opinions on this new rule? Never heard of it at a college before...

For the record, the rule will not affect me. Just curious on opinions.
 

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I think that is horrible and very discriminating! Why only the hunt team? And why can't they find horses for the riders over 200 pounds??
I am rather small myself, but I'd much rather have a 220 pound rider that is well balanced on my horse than have a 90 pound rider that flops all over my horses back!
 

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Although I guess it was trying to be made for the best interest of the horses, I imagine they should have instituted it for all disciplines if they were that concerned. Even though they won't be jumping in dressage or western...

It seems like a major self esteem downer for any potential riders that may be exempt from riding due to their weight.... Hopefully for the people it does affect it will encourage them to try and get into better physical condition, although I see it doing the opposite in a lot of cases as well. And weight standards aren't always attainable for everyone anyway since not everyone fits into a cookie cutter body type.
Thats very sad :(
 

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Rather it's good policy or not it's almost certainly illegal!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, I feel bad for the women who are over 200 lbs because I know there were some on the team when I went to visit the college. I have a feeling it will be extended to the other teams as well because it would be kind of unfair if they didn't.

Still excited to be on the team though!

It's hard to get donated horses that aren't older, so I can kind of understand it in that respect. And it's not like they are just dumping the people that can't make weight. They get them with a trainer, a meal plan, and try to make it work however they can.
 

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I think it is only fair. It is an athletic team after all and they are representing the school. And they aren't saying you can't ride period, they have a trainer you can meet with to help you meet the requirements. And the weigh ins are private, so no one has to know you didn't meet the requirements. My verdict: I agree with the rule.

Even if it is technically not legal and discriminating, they can always use the BMI and make it a required part of the physical that is necessary to be on the team(which will still rule out a good deal if not all of the riders that would be affected by the 200lb rule), they did this at my highschool with every athletic team, and it was very legal...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
^ That's what I think, too Honeysuga.

They are old horses with several different riders a day. I think they are just trying to get their riders to think of themselves as athletes more.
 

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In that case then maybe they should institute the same nutritional and training guidelines for all members of the team regardless of current body condition if they haven't already. Someone can be very tiny and every bit not as healthy as someone who is larger.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's true, Odin's Own. Maybe they will start doing that to make it an even playing field.

Just found out that it DOES apply to the western and dressage teams as well.
 

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Just wondering, are there any requirements besides just weight? (like height/weight ratios) What would they do if a very tall muscular man wanted to ride? I know some men who easily clear 200 pounds and are not "fat". Would they be required to loose their muscle mass in order to ride?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
^ on the actual sheet, they have a BMI chart and a height/weight chart. But it doesn't say that you have to be within your height/weight chart to be on the team, just under 200 lbs.
 

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It certainly seems like it'd be a problem for a good many men. I'm 6 ft and about 200 lbs, and not fat by any definition. (Other than stupid BMI, which doesn't account for people who weight train.) I might, if I really worked at it, get down to about 190, but then there are quite a few guys taller than I am.
 

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I think it's a good idea, it is an athletic sport after all. I can also understand the weight bearing on the horses. Whether a horse can carry 200+ lbs or not isn't an issue but rather how often is that horse required to carry that weight and under what circumstances, ie in demanding performance or leisurely trail ride.

I can see there being an issue about people who are fit but still over 200lbs - but perhaps if it is about the horse, there's not getting around that. I'm pretty sure teams can discriminate against anyone they want - the fact that one would have to try out is discriminatory in itself - which is defined in nearly every competitive sport.
 

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Wow. VERY interesting topic!

I'm curious, how is this illegal? Is there a law that says that in sports you can't discriminate against certain weights?

If someone said, You're too heavy to be my secretary. I would consider that discrimination. If someone said, I don't have the resources (meaning, horses big enough) to accommodate a person your size? I don't know. Airplane seats are pretty small. Some people have to buy 2 to fit. Is that discrimination that only a certain size can fit into the seat? This is an athletic program. The team in our state is NCAA, they don't allow men to join the team, and b/c they consider riders "athletes" you have to run a mile under a certain number of minutes. I can ride 6 horses a day without a batting an eye, but I doubt I can make the running requirement! (i could not run to save my life..) Is that discrimination?

Teams have limited resources and you have to think about the well being /longevity of the horse. Sometimes it's not as easy as "find a bigger horse". I run a lesson program. Beginner horses are hard to find. Big beginner horses are even harder. Believe me. Plus, most are donated to schools b/c of unsoundness. - back, hocks, legs, etc. I think it's good to consider their future soundness and keep them from overstraining themselves.

I'm not entirely against this rule. The problem is that "200 lbs" is a black and white number and doesn't offer any leeway for say, the 210 very fit excellent still rider who may be a huge asset to the team. I don't know.
 

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I looked at the roster for next season (not on it yet, but hopefully will be) and the numbers are significantly down. I can't help but wonder if it is because of this new rule. This new rule also applies to the people taking riding classes as a part of their major.

I would doubt numbers are down b/c of the rule about weight. In my experience the over 200 lb rider is more the exception then the rule. We didn't have this rule in my college and I doubt there were many (if any) riders over 200, and that included the men. Then again, we only had huntseat riders, maybe that matters? don't know.
 

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Rather it's good policy or not it's almost certainly illegal!

Why would it be illegal? It's for the safety of the person and the well being of the horse. These teams travel. Not all locations have horses built or conditoned to handle the work load for an all day - or two day show.
 

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It's discrimination based on a persons physical build. I am 6'8 and have never been under 200 lbs since I was in the eigth grade. I have been in excellent shape and never damaged a horse with my wieght as I ride balanced but under this policy not only me but many men are excluded from being on the equestrian team due to size. It doesn't bother me and i would never sue but you can bet someone will.
 

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I think the "No one over 200 lbs." rule is rather arbitrary, because there are good riders over 200 lbs. Men usually, because they tend to be taller and weigh more than women.

I think if you have a horse who can handle a competent 200+ lb. rider, where's the issue?

I see what this team is trying to accomplish, though. Asking an older horse to work multiple times a day with bad, 90 lb. riders is easier on them than asking them to cart around bad, 200 lb. riders.

This is for the horses' well being, not discriminatory against the heavier riders.

I tend to be more on the 'fluffy' side these days, but I'm a competent rider with horses who have no trouble carrying my weight. My 14.2 h Arab carries me just fine, although I'd be extremely reluctant to let anyone weighing more than 200 lbs. ride him, even if they are competent. He's petite and can only take so much extra weight.

People need to quit screaming about discrimination and take a close, hard look at their riding skills. Are they up to snuff? Even though you're carrying some extra weight, are you balanced and light in the saddle? If you can't honestly say yes, then maybe you need to step back and consider what you just might be doing to your horse.

Those who yell the loudest about fat discrimination are usually the ones who are unhappy with their own weight, yet don't want anyone pointing out the fact that they might not be in tip top shape.
 

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The college wants the team to look and be healthy. They are representing the school in a way. I agree about the men being 200 pounds and healthy from muscle and height, but there aren't a lot of men on teams, and I'm sure they make an exception for that. Riding is an athletic sport and riders that compete should be fit IMO. If you want to ride on the team it's just more motivation to lose weight. I'm sure the older horses will appreciate the lighter weight too.
 
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