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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I am new to these message boards and am hoping to get some advice/hear of others' experiences.

I have been taking private riding lessons for about 4 years. I take lessons/ride on average 3x a week. When I first began lessons I was overweight (by BMI standards) and (sad to say), now am obese. On Thursday of last week at my lesson the (school) horse I was riding spooked. This was at the very end of my lesson, when we had already made a nice downward transition from canter to walk. He bolted and bobbled me a bit - had he took off with me, I would have been fine with this, as I could have regained my balance eventually - but shortly after coming out of the turn, slammed on the brakes. This resulted in me falling overboard, so to speak. To show for this, I have a fractured collarbone, as well as a couple of fractured or bruised ribs.

I am bummed for a couple of reasons: obviously, bc I fell and hurt myself and now I'm looking at a 3 month hiatus from riding (and possible surgery); and also, the thought that the severity of my injury may have been prevented by being at an ideal body weight. I can't help but think that my balance could have been better if I were in a "normal" weight range; thereby either keeping me on the horse or reducing the impact of my fall.

I am determined to use this pause in my riding to get down to a lower weight for my own (and whatever horse I end up riding's) safety; I do know that accidents/these things happen, but it couldn't hurt to try to make things as safe as possible for all parties involved.

Are there any larger riders out there who have experienced something like this? Am I overthinking the size/balance connection, and should just chalk it up to "s*** happens"? I'm just really down right now (and in a fair amount of discomfort, haha), and hearing of others' experiences with this would go a long way in not feeling like such a ding-dong:neutral:

I'm sorry, this is very long - if you've made it this far, thank you!
 

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no,. you aren't imagining it. if you are heavy, and especially heavy around the tummy and boobs, then your center of gravity is higher by an inch or two, and that can make all the difference in the world when a hosre props and spins. this has gotten me off 5 times! wait, I forgot one. make that 6!

that's the bad part. the "good" part seems to be , and don't laugh, I have so much padding that while I hit hard ground hard, and I feel real sore and it's a miserable experience, I haven't broken a bone. whereas , my skinny friend , if she fell like I did, would very likely break a bone.

you cannot deny that being top heavy will negatively effect your balance, but, if you have ridden 3 years and not come off, you were really pushing your odds anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
"You've been riding for four years and this is your first fall? Amazing!"

Ha! Actually, this is the 4th time I've fallen, the only one that's resulted in broken bones, though. The previous falls were from re-learning a balanced seat at canter when I switched barns; the first lessons I took at a previous barn the instructor pretty much left me to my own devices, position-wise. I was all cuckoo crazy in my position: sitting back, legs swinging willy-nilly; it is a major miracle I didn't wipe out then!

Despite the spectacular nature of this fall, it *is* the first I've had in 2 1/2 years. That's something, I suppose :D
 

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no,. you aren't imagining it. if you are heavy, and especially heavy around the tummy and boobs, then your center of gravity is higher by an inch or two, and that can make all the difference in the world when a hosre props and spins. this has gotten me off 5 times! wait, I forgot one. make that 6!

that's the bad part. the "good" part seems to be , and don't laugh, I have so much padding that while I hit hard ground hard, and I feel real sore and it's a miserable experience, I haven't broken a bone. whereas , my skinny friend , if she fell like I did, would very likely break a bone.

you cannot deny that being top heavy will negatively effect your balance, but, if you have ridden 3 years and not come off, you were really pushing your odds anyway.
Tinyliny, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I do feel as though my padding helped my case in the aforementioned falls I mentioned in my post above:icon_rolleyes:

My weight is pretty evenly distributed throughout my body, which is nice when I'm a lower weight - doesn't really help when I'm just large all over, now, though. Ha!
 

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Being overweight can affect your balance and once you tip past the point of no return, you're coming off, where a thinner more agile rider *MIGHT* be able to pull some gymnastics and get back on. When I was a little bitty kid, I finagled my way out of some things that would probably put me in the hospital now. So, losing weight isn't a bad goal, but I wouldn't say your weight is what caused this.

The horse pulled a dirty trick and as soon as you're able, I'd hope you'd get back on him and show him that he will never get over with that again.

Speedy recovery!
 

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"You've been riding for four years and this is your first fall? Amazing!"

Ha! Actually, this is the 4th time I've fallen, the only one that's resulted in broken bones, though. The previous falls were from re-learning a balanced seat at canter when I switched barns; the first lessons I took at a previous barn the instructor pretty much left me to my own devices, position-wise. I was all cuckoo crazy in my position: sitting back, legs swinging willy-nilly; it is a major miracle I didn't wipe out then!

Despite the spectacular nature of this fall, it *is* the first I've had in 2 1/2 years. That's something, I suppose :D
Well, four is still pretty darn good. You should be proud of yourself, from my point of view.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Being overweight can affect your balance and once you tip past the point of no return, you're coming off, where a thinner more agile rider *MIGHT* be able to pull some gymnastics and get back on. When I was a little bitty kid, I finagled my way out of some things that would probably put me in the hospital now. So, losing weight isn't a bad goal, but I wouldn't say your weight is what caused this.

The horse pulled a dirty trick and as soon as you're able, I'd hope you'd get back on him and show him that he will never get over with that again.

Speedy recovery!
Thank you!! Yes, I'm already looking forward to June when I can redeem myself on the big galoot:wink:

It's good to know that my frame may not be the whole root of all my troubles - thank you for easing my conscience a little :)
 

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I would not stop riding to lose weight. In fact, that would be my cue to do it more!

Riding is awesome exercise, and there's no reason you have to stop. There are plenty of plus-size riders who are riding and giving their all, showing and all that.

What I WOULD do is focus on building more strength and flexibility by varying your workouts. Instead of stopping riding, keep doing it, because as you become fitter and stronger, you're going to notice the little, tiny changes and improvements to your riding. Those tiny changes are EXTREMELY motivating, and are going to do more for you than making riding again your goal. All that removing riding from the situation will do is make you beat yourself up every time you slip up - and believe me, you will slip up.

I recommend strength training, as well as flexibility exercises like stretching and yoga/pilates. These are the things that will improve your balance and coordination.
 

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Thank you, Mulefeather, for your encouraging words. I only need to refrain from riding until June to make sure my fracture has full chance to heal. I am hoping beyond hope to avoid surgery! Will know more at the end of this month when I go back for follow up X-rays...

Otherwise, I'd have hopped right back up on that guy as soon as I was tossed! :D
 

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OK, truth, fitness is more important than weight, the fitter you are the better rider you are, so it helps to work on that.....not at the moment though, I know what multiple broken and cracked ribs feel like.

As the weight, well I guess I would be lying if I said that I didn't think it had an affect on stability, but does it have an affect on injury, who knows?

I am a plus size rider, and in 2013 I took 2 falls, one was not due to my weight, but my inexperience, and an over the top reaction from my horse, was trying a trot/canter transition, and I caught him in the mouth, he responded by broncing, and I came off over his shoulder, kind bounced, just lost some skin, picked up some bruises, but got back on and rode him, just walk and trot.

One week later, I went to get on him again, was standing on a mounting block, put foot in stirrup, felt saddle slip....could be weight related :oops: not sure what happened, but I woke up with the ambulance there, as they got me out of what was later described as "the impact crater" I don't honestly know if my weight contributed to that, or the height that he sent me, and the speed that I hit....and I was badly broken.

After that I started riding in a safety vest, and I fell off wearing it last year, I think my weight did contribute to that fall, I was already leaning forward and down when he spooked, and I could not recover it, but the vest meant I bounced.

My current mare, she is spooky, but so far the worst that has happened is I have lost my stirrups, but I have stayed with her every time, but she is a very honest girl, she spooks, then she realises that I am off balance, so she moves back under me, love her.
 

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Oh, yikes, Golden Horse! That sounds utterly terrifying. Glad to hear you escaped from your falls relatively unscathed, and that you are still doing the activity that you love!

I started researching the safety vests today; I think once I get back to riding I'm going to start wearing one.
 

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I started researching the safety vests today; I think once I get back to riding I'm going to start wearing one.
Highly recommend, broken ribs are the pits, and I don't want to put up with them again. Also the unexpected bonus, a good vest hides the bounce of the 'knockersaplenty' something that I was self conscious of....Highly recommend the Airowear Outlyne
 

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One of the best riders I've seen in real life is overweight. Her horse once decided to jump out of the school (1.2m fence) onto concrete from a standstill. All we heard is the sound of a galloping horse and a minute later she walks in on a loose rein, cool as a cucumber, to a round of applause. She then continues chatting to her friend as if nothing happened. She is not even a jumper, she is a dressage rider and that is the only time I've seen her jump.
 

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One of the best riders I've seen in real life is overweight. Her horse once decided to jump out of the school (1.2m fence) onto concrete from a standstill. All we heard is the sound of a galloping horse and a minute later she walks in on a loose rein, cool as a cucumber, to a round of applause. She then continues chatting to her friend as if nothing happened. She is not even a jumper, she is a dressage rider and that is the only time I've seen her jump.
I bet being a dressage rider makes her an ultra-balanced one!! I'm going to incorporate yoga into my exercise routine once I'm out of this sling to add to my balance.

I'm about ready to die from boredom, and it's only been 5 days since my fall! I have to be in the sling for 4 weeks, with no driving this week:cry:

In November we moved to a house that's coincidentally a mile away from the barn where I ride (we used to live 30 minutes + away); it is killing me not to be over there. Especially since the weather this week will be perfect - mid-60s/low 70s:cry::cry::cry:

Ah, well. This too, shall pass, I guess!
 

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I bet being a dressage rider makes her an ultra-balanced one!! I'm going to incorporate yoga into my exercise routine once I'm out of this sling to add to my balance.

I'm about ready to die from boredom, and it's only been 5 days since my fall! I have to be in the sling for 4 weeks, with no driving this week:cry:

In November we moved to a house that's coincidentally a mile away from the barn where I ride (we used to live 30 minutes + away); it is killing me not to be over there. Especially since the weather this week will be perfect - mid-60s/low 70s:cry::cry::cry:

Ah, well. This too, shall pass, I guess!
Look at it this way: you have the perfect excuse to skip over moody mares, silly geldings, fiery stallions and general craziness of spring. I saw a brood mare that is about to pop any day now do some impressive airs-above-ground today :icon_rolleyes:
 

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no,. you aren't imagining it. if you are heavy, and especially heavy around the tummy and boobs, then your center of gravity is higher by an inch or two, and that can make all the difference in the world when a hosre props and spins.
On the other hand, I think guys like me (technically overweight by BMI, but most of it in the chest & shoulders) are going to have a much higher center of gravity than most women. And I haven't fallen off that often.
 
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