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Thread: Plus size riders?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvinStar View Post
    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.
    Pretty much everything EvinStar said. For the most part, so long as the rider has put serious consideration into a suitable horse and saddle, there's going to be a mount out there for a larger scope of people than many seem to believe.

    I don't know if I qualify as a plus-size rider I'm pretty short at 5ft3 (and a half... the half inch is super important!) and at last weighing was 12st 7lbs, but I'm fairly certain I've put a bit of podge on since my accident in May, as I was a week bedbound in hospital and then almost six weeks bedbound at home while I recovered. At my absolute heaviest, I was around 15st and had pretty much stopped riding. My weight has always been a real battle, hindered hugely by my range of mental health and physical issues, so things like simply calorie counting don't work particularly well for me. My disability means that I have a fairly sedentary lifestyle in that I can't walk particularly well, so in order to actually lose weight, I need to drop my calories ridiculously low so I tend to spend all my time incredibly hungry and eating next to nothing until I get fed up and binge . So meal replacement diets, like Cambridge, work best for me, and I managed to get down to 10st 10. But every time I get my weight down, I have another injury and spend weeks medicated to the eyeballs, comfort eating and moving even less.

    To be honest, I have never ever had a single person tell me that I'm too heavy for Salsa. Even my saddle fitter, who is one of those people I trust to be entirely honest when it comes to potential welfare issues, has never commented on my weight. I expected I would get a lot of negativity for buying a pretty spindly Thoroughbred, but he carries me very happily and I am always very conscientious of taking things slowly and carefully when bringing him back into work after a period off. I spend far more time worrying about my weight than he has ever done.
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  2. #12
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    Im a great believer in the laws of physics, however, if you are 14 stone youre 14 stone. You can be a beautifully balanced efficient 14 stone rider and a pleasure for your horse to carry, or you can flop around like a sack of taters making yourself a nuisance.
    You can either help or hinder your horse, but you cant magically ride lighter than your weight.
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  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loopy View Post
    Im a great believer in the laws of physics, however, if you are 14 stone youre 14 stone. You can be a beautifully balanced efficient 14 stone rider and a pleasure for your horse to carry, or you can flop around like a sack of taters making yourself a nuisance.
    You can either help or hinder your horse, but you cant magically ride lighter than your weight.
    I think the term "ride light" does not mean that you magically lose a few stone/attach some helium balloons when you get in the saddle - it is just an expression.

  4. #14
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    Not sure why you need to explain its an expression, but thankyou for taking the time.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loopy View Post
    Im a great believer in the laws of physics, however, if you are 14 stone youre 14 stone. You can be a beautifully balanced efficient 14 stone rider and a pleasure for your horse to carry, or you can flop around like a sack of taters making yourself a nuisance.
    You can either help or hinder your horse, but you cant magically ride lighter than your weight.
    Totally agree "riding light" just means you're not in effect riding as an awkward burden to your horse, but still the same weight exerted on the horses back. I think it is far too often used as an excuse.
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  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clava View Post
    Totally agree "riding light" just means you're not in effect riding as an awkward burden to your horse, but still the same weight exerted on the horses back. I think it is far too often used as an excuse.
    Agree totally.

    I don't believe this 'ride light' business. A balanced/competent rider makes it easier for the horse to carry your weight, be it 18st on 8st. But you still weigh what you weigh.

    There are a variety of factors in determining whether a person is 'too heavy' for a specific horse when they are not grossly overweight or obviously too small for the horse they are riding.. But then there are examples where the rider is clearly either under or over, horsed. And I think that is pretty rare actually.

    IMO, these days people are increasingly precious about what they think horses are capable of carrying, public body perception being skewed is partially to blame in my eyes too - look at RM's post.

    There is also a big difference between 'overweight' and 'Heavyset' and these two things should be seperated too.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thestral View Post
    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.
    I agree, except your saddle cannot be so long to allow for you that it then becomes too long for the horse's back...
    Last edited by sophie; 24-10-2012 at 15:49. Reason: typo

  8. #18
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    Being a plus sized rider myself, it is important to make sure that the horse can carry you and that the tack fits you and the horse. I am currently losing weight before I ride again - my boy is having some time off due to arthritic changes happening in his hock, and I certainly do not want to make things worse. He carries me with ease, but of course I do not want to burden him with excess weight. I do think that a lot of weight limits imposed are silly though, and I don't think people take into account the type of horse when setting these. Just my opinion though!
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  9. #19
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    Define plus sized........ I'm 6'2" and weigh nearly 14 stone and I am a generous dress size 14/16 (am currently trying to lose weight)....... according to most of the riding schools around here, I am too heavy to start lessons. I have ridden nearly all my life (barring my first 4yrs), I'm now 42yrs old.

    My horse, Lexi - 7yo, 16.3hh MW ISH x HOL carries me just fine, but I'm always mindful that it would be easier for her if I was to lose weight.

  10. #20
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    I'm a plus size rider, in fact I'm obese, but I have a big strong mare who can carry me well
    However, I don't like being a plus sized rider, hence my continuing weight loss, just because my mare can carry the weight doesn't mean she should have to
    She managed fine when I was 18st, but by god does she go better now I'm 16st

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