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Thread: Plus size riders?

  1. #1

    Default Plus size riders?

    What are peoples opinions on plus size riders? Is there anyone on this forum who is a plus size rider? I am plus size, and starting to ride my 3 year old next year (she'll be 4 then). I've been told by some people that I shouldn't be on a horse, but I've had loads of lessons at a local riding stables, and I think I'm doing well. I'm always trying to lose weight but I find it hard. So what is your opinion? Thanks in advance for your replies.

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  2. #2

    Default Plus size riders?

    I think you should buy a horse suitable to hold your weight then that's ok.

  3. #3

    Default Plus size riders?

    P.s as for losing weight. Try my fitness pal. I'm not overweight and struggle to lose to get to my 'desired weight' and it works for me. It's really good! X

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    I dont know how you are defining plus size, but if theres a horse that is suitable to carry you, and a saddle that fits, you're good to go.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Ditto Loopy. Saddle fit is JUST as important as a horse suitable for your weight. if you can't fit at least one hands width between the back of your bottom and the cantle then the saddle will not be distributing your weight correctly and whether your 5 stone or 25 stone this will cause the horse discomfort.

    Most sensible course of action if you are a larger rider (or an adult purchasing a pony), is to work out what size and makes of saddle suit you best then look for a horse who has both the right weight carrying capacity and the length/shape of back required to take the saddle you need.

    Not many people pay attention to or think about saddles and how they will fit when purchasing horses as it is, if you are likely to be someone where saddle type or size is going to be crucial then its even more important.

  6. #6


    I don't think I am plus size but I am not light (13st) and I have 2 horses who carry my weight just fine. Blue was only just backed when I got him and he has never struggled. As others have said make sure you have a horse capable of carrying you and a saddle that fits you both and enjoy !

  7. #7


    I think ability comes into play when riding so much to be honest, rather than just looking at whether someone is light or heavy. I also think people underestimate horses, and their ability to carry weight a great deal!

    For example; a Grand National horse can carry nearly 12 stone - the race alone is pretty gruelling (4 miles 4 furlongs, 30 jumping efforts, at a gallop, in anything from concrete-like ground to fetlock deep mud) but the jockeys are incredibly skilled, and the horses well prepared and very, very fit! Fell and Dales ponies were traditionally used for bringing stags down off the mountains - how much does a fully grown stag weigh? 200-300kg?? A lump of deadweight? Ok, so it's only walking down off the hills, but the weight is constant.

    And then there are the overweight people who think "ok, so I will buy a carthorse because they are big and strong and can carry weight..... But forget that these horses were built for pulling weight, not carrying it (a friend fell into this trap with a Suffolk a few years back!)

    I felt incredibly guilty riding my DWB as I have put on so much weight since my accident (and I wasn't exactly skinny before!) I decided to not ride him until I had lost some weight.... However, at the weekend I had a little sit on him, and do you know what, he carried me fine, pinged around the school and seemingly loved every second of it. He has two saddles (a dressage and a show saddle) that have both been fitted to him (and me) by a professional saddler (the dressage saddle was made for him) and he has equissage treatments every day. In the past, my 7 and a half stone sister, who has never ridden in her life, has got on him, bounced around for half a circuit and he had to have three weeks off and two physio appointments to put him right!!

    So I am a firm believer in the ability to "ride light" and "ride heavy" - an overweight rider, who can stay balanced with the horse and sit correctly can do far less damage than skinny rider who has no balance or concept of what they are doing up there.

    With regards to backing young horses - I'm afraid that is always a job I feel should be done by light, balanced riders... Simply because if the horse has never carried anyone before they have a whole muscle group to develop in their back, and by putting a heavy rider on (even a balanced one) it is asking a lot. Imagine going for a walk with a five stone backpack before you'd built up the stamina on the same route with a two stone backpack...... However, after a few weeks of muscle development, as long as the heavier rider is competent and balanced, there is no reason they cannot take over the job.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    east mids


    I think the whole horse/rider weight issue is an interesting one and one where people often have very oppositional views.
    I recently posted a picture ( in anothern place lol) of me riding, just to demonstrate what 12 stone including tack actually looks like. I posted it having read so many " I would never have more than 12 stone on my horse " comments, that I actually suspected that very few people know what 12 stone looks like and interestingly lots of people did respond by saying that they hadn't really realised what that weight looks like on a horse
    ( I am happy to post again if people want to see it).
    I have been a very large rider in the past, one of the reasons I owned big Ruby was because I was confident that she would have no issues lugging me about, but my current horse is a relative baby and I am working hard to get to about 10 and a half stone because although I know she can carry more ( and currently does- sigh) I would feel happier putting less weight on her.
    my new fiction blog -feel free to share/critique/laugh like a drain at

  9. #9


    I'm not exactly plus sized but I've always been on the large size and I've ridden a variety of horses I never thought in a million years I'd be able to ride, I own a clydesdale x and I've owned a 14.2hh arab who I felt massive for but she managed to carry me just fine, I've just started breaking a 4yo 14.1hh lw cob (lighter than my arab) and so far she hasn't had issues carrying me however I would feel better if I dropped a few lbs (and it's happening thanks to me spending more time at the yard and not as much time sitting on my computer eating )

    It annoys me at riding schools, for example, where they have really restrictive weight limits, ok so the horses do a fair amount of work but where I used to work we had a HW gypsy cob with a weight limit of 10 stone... she's carried me and I weigh a bit more than that, and she's happily galloped about the park with me, jumped, bucked (excitement not a 'OMG you're so heavy get off' buck

    If a horse thinks you're too heavy it'll tell you, which is why I think Pif/Paf I can't remember who I was about to ride the shetland bucked me off as soon as I got on

  10. #10

    Default Plus size riders?

    I think riding schools should have weight limits but 10 stone is not a lot at all!


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