Tips for the Fat Rider. (What?!)

Derriere, it’s French for cute. And proud of it.

Are you are just too fat to ride? Then go wait in your room.

Did that work? Did you actually go? Of course not. Can we stop this now?

I have a video a friend shot of my horse and I competing many years ago. Showing was challenging in the beginning but we progressed. This was a second or third level test, and things were really coming together.

I remember this video especially because my friend was reluctant to give my camera back to me and the reason became obvious. As my horse and I started the test, the first movement was an extended trot on the diagonal, and that was when I heard them. There were two unfamiliar voices recorded; they must have been standing next to the camera. The first voice mentions how bad she thinks I look in my show coat. The second voice agrees that we’re unattractive–and that riders my size always look dumpy on a horse.

Next I hear my friend clear her throat loudly, twice, and then a small gasp. There was conspicuous silence for the rest of the test.

International competition is one thing, and amateurs showing at the local fairgrounds is another. For the record, I wasn’t wild about my coat either but if you manage to get your horse past second level, you really have to focus on more than fashion. Too many times, women are their own worst enemies on the subject of self-image. We let extra weight betray us, or give us the right to betray other women. It’s a cheap shot. Judge the ride, judge our understanding of dressage principles, but can we air-brush out superficial rail-birds?

Educated opinion advises that a rider and tack be about 20% of the horse’s weight, give or take. This arbitrary number doesn’t consider the horse’s age or conformation, the type of riding being done, or the rider’s balance and skill in the saddle.

Don’t misunderstand. Nothing makes me crazier than seeing a grown man on a small pony or a rider so out of balance that the horse’s stride is tense and uneven. At the same time, I’ve seen plenty of horses struggle with light riders as well. A horse/rider partnership is a bit more complicated than a math equation.

Serious obesity is a concern, but if you are killing yourself over 20 pounds, lighten up. I’m going to make an assumption now, since I’ve never in my life met a woman so pleased with her body that she was physically confident, and give some tips for over-weight riders. Yes, I would know.

First, feed your horse as you tack him up. Horses are grazers and create about 2 liters of stomach acid an hour, so he’ll do better if he has something in his stomach. And watch your own blood sugar and keep hydrated. If you’ve been on your horse for more than 90 minutes, give him a break to eat. Riding a horse all day long is cruel, no matter what you weigh.

If you want to look better in the saddle, put a helmet on. Then work on your riding position. Let your body move with the horse, don’t brace your legs, let your elbows breathe. Remember, horses have a stronger opinion about bad hands than any other body part.

Riding well is about transitions. Be gentle; ride rhythmic and smooth gait changes. Be soft in the seat of your saddle, go slow and be polite.

Asking your horse to hold your weight at the halt, like gossiping cowboys with their legs hooked over their saddle-horns, is much harder for a horse than moving with weight on his back. When you’re not riding, kindly get off his back.

Think about positive energy. Horses are good therapists, but leave your mental baggage at the mounting block. It’s heavier for a horse to carry your depression and anxiety than a few extra pounds.

If you have no confidence, pretend you do. Fake it–breathe deep, ignore the outside noise, and know in your heart that you’re right where you belong. Then let your horse carry you like family.

This is my secret game…Brag about your weight now and then, followed by a big fat smile. It’s a stress-reliever for everyone. A woman who brags about her weight is someone who’s unpredictable and probably crazy. Oddly, it cheers people up.

Most certainly be concerned about your health–your horse depends on you outliving him. Eat healthy food, do your own barn chores, and inhale horse mane regularly. Get a good athletic bra, a saddle that fits, and reward your horse, all the time, for the tiniest things. Then let the kindness you show your horse, rub off on yourself as well.

Most of all, stop holding your breath. It makes you stiff and that anxiety is unattractive–to your horse. Pouch out your belly some, give your hips a wiggle and laugh out loud. Your horse will thank you. Maybe it’s just your attitude that needs to lose some weight?

In case I’m not being obvious, these tips for overweight riders are also my tips for timid riders, or novice riders, or intermediate riders looking to improve their skills. Put your horse first. In the end, it’s always about your horsemanship.

When people judge you, it says much more about them than it does you. Horses will judge you as well, but they don’t care about your appearance, only that you actually appear, hopefully with a curry and a soft eye. You can trust horses, they will always judge your character above the size of your breeches.

So set that weight free. It will never be the most important thing to your horse. Or people with any horse sense.

Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

Please consider following my author blog at for news of my upcoming book. Thanks for your support.

Anna Blake

139 thoughts on “Tips for the Fat Rider. (What?!)”

  1. I like to say that the horse doesn’t care what you look like, as long as you’re nice to him under saddle and give him lots of cookies. If you bring carrots, your horse will think you’re the most beautiful carrot-goddess in the world! These are wonderful horsemanship tips.

  2. Thank you. In fact, thank you doesn’t begin to convey how I feel about this … I just wish someone had said it to me when I was still able to ride!!! Now that my hips have quit working, and the weight is packing on even more, I’d give just about anything to be up there on my boy, fat, dumb,but oh! so happy. Love it.

      • Anna what a wonderful outlook especially those of us plus size riders looking to lose weight, gain confidence, and become better 80 pounds over weight and this article made me more confident, that changing during the process is ok.i don’t feel everybody needs to be 120 pounds but riding feels better when your flexible, balanced, strong, and toned. I can say riding at 140 pounds fit felt way better than at 200 pounds.I felt like I had balance but firm was harder to manage thats what got me motivated.lost 16 pounds so far.thanks for your insulight and encouragement.

    • I have two hip replacements and it was a long haul, but back up in the saddle (fat and all) riding the most wonderful Peruvian there is.

    • I feel the same! Last year I had lost use of my horse to injury and so used a friends horse for a lesson. The lady had been giving me lessons on my horse and I thought she was great. On my friends horse, who was smaller than my own, she was vile to me. She told me after my lesson I shouldn’t be riding him as I am too fat. It completely broke my confidence. I stopped riding. I even gave up my own horse. The owner of said Horse was more than happy for me to ride him and was insistent I wasn’t too big for him at all. It made no difference at the time.I’ve since started riding again at a prestigious school and have been given similar sized horses. The moment I get on I am still feeling like I am hurting them with my lard ass. May take a while before I get myself back sadly

  3. Love this!! I sometimes wish I looked more elegant on the Big Bay but you know, when we’re riding forward and the wind is on my face and we’ve blended together into one being, my body turns back into the 12-year old cantering around the lake path on my first horse and if I glance down at my shadow going alongside, I am not dumpy but quite elegant. I figure if it FEELS like that to me and the Big Bay, who cares if it LOOKS different to anyone else? 🙂

    My comment to the railbirds: she’s riding that test, you’re watching and focusing on wardrobe? Get a life.

  4. You’ve done it again, Anna! You made me laugh, cry a bit, but most of all, absorb the truth that you have so eloquently stated. I love you! My horse Loves you! Thank you! DL

    Sent from my iPad

  5. I love this… you are so right, again :). It is difficult to get over ourselves at times, but we will continue to work on the soft hands and balanced seat!

  6. Way back…and I mean WAY back when I was at Horsemaster school (remember those?) I was advised to work toward a jumping career instead of the Dressage I loved, since my bouncing breasts were distracting. This was before really strong bras.
    It ended up horses weren’t really my long term future, but I took that to heart, sadly enough.

  7. Thank you for this, as the daughter of a food police mom, I was a scrawny kid, now, not so much 🙂 I recently had to address my mom’s comments about the heavy child being excited about getting new paddock boots and lessons in a tack shop. I simply said girls that age can be brutal to each other. If riding gives this girl something to be proud of and she sticks with it, more power to her. I still don’t think she “got” it, but I felt better saying what I was thinking.

  8. I love this! Some time ago I couldn’t figure out why, when I went to look at the photographer’s proofs, there was an old, fat lady riding my lovely horse. Took me a minute to figure out it really was me. In my mind I look like Edward Gal….flat chested, skinny and all legs. I recommend Title Nine for the best selection of awesome sport bras.

  9. Thank you for this. I fulfilled a life-long dream when I started riding in my mid-40’s. Then, 10 years later, was diagnosed with progressive MS. It has been a difficult journey over the last few years gradually losing the use of my left arm and leg, and gaining a whopping 30 pounds as well. AND I AM STILL RIDING! I am oh so lucky to have an amazing coach to help me improvise the aids as my abilities change, and awesome barn buddies to help me tack up and get on. But the best of all is my POA mare who has been with me through thin and thick. She is so patient, careful and understanding, knowing just how much to offer each time. She doesn’t give a hoot what I look like or how well I ride, only that I am there. Never failing to greet me with a nicker, it’s the BEST feeling in the world. Together, in the moment, there really is nothing I would rather be doing. But then again, I think she may only be doing it for the oranges at the end. Gosh, I love my mare. Thank you Miss Maisie.

    • The fact that you are continuing to ride (!) puts us all to shame. How fortunate you are for that wonderful POA mare. Having known someone with MS – I know that by his determination to keep doing what he had always done – it kept him living a better life for much longer. I hope you and your mare are able to always do what you love. You & she deserve each other in the best of ways.

    • I started to ride in late 40s too! I don’t have MS but the falls I have taken these past ten yrs. have provided some arthritis in my hips, and it is difficult mounting and dismouting. My horse stands very still for me when doing this, and it may not look pretty, but so what!

      • What if your horse is thinking (like most horses) Thank God, finally a human who mounts slowly and carefully, it is so much more respectful this way? Hooray for your arthritic hips not quitting!

  10. Wonderful article – as a heavy rider this has concerned me for years…and years…and years. And weight and shame held me back from riding and showing for same time period! However I’m told my balanced seat and “light” riding is a comfortable fit for almost any horse and continue on. Thanks for the re-enforcement.

  11. Really agree with everything here…..but found the comment about “If you have no confidence…” and “Then let your horse carry you like family” outstanding. Thanks again for great blog.

  12. When my mare first got broken in I was too heavy for her I got on her and felt that I was too much strain on her young back as she got older and stronger I started riding her I asked my old instructor was I too heavy for her she looked at me on her and said no because your position is so good on her she’s had much lighter people than me on her and because they couldn’t ride her properly she’s tried to get them off her so I believe the horse will tell you if you are too heavy or not right on her back not pompous arrogant fools

  13. I love this! I am a small rider, but my horse does have a difficult carrying my anxiety and nerves!! A healthy body and a confident spirit is what is important! And health comes in all shapes and sizes. I used to get criticized for being too skinny. You just can’t win in our culture! So, I think it is how you feel about yourself that is important. Great post!!

  14. Dear Anna,
    It used to be so difficult for me to see the thin women at the barn riding and looking so Beautiful and classical. I would sneak out to the barn at night and ride when no one was there because I was embarrassed by my riding and my body. Then I got over myself. I opened up to riding in front of people and to my surprise my riding has improved and I have made friends.

    It is a relief to know it is not just me struggling! Thanks for your words of encouragement!!

  15. The article’s assertion about ponies with heavy people on them is somewhat misguided, at least where Colonial Spanish Horses are concerned. CSHs have two fewer ribs and one fewer vertebra and as such experience less torsion on their backs from weight. They are also smaller and have less stress on their legs from weight. A well conditioned CSH is quite able to carry a much higher proportion of his weight than a modern horse would be. You wouldn’t expect a 12.2 hh CSH to carry a 250 man with ease for hours, but our Red Feather does it without a care. My CSH can carry me, closer to 270 lbs, for hours and still be raring to go… Granted, he does break a sweat. He is also built like a brick outhouse… But I wouldn’t have him any other way.

    • It’s what I mean by the details mattering… consider a stout quarter horse who is an arthritic 30 year old… 20% it too heavy for him. Thanks for the comment, we don’t see CSHs here much.

  16. You know what makes me insane? Women bashing other women. Don’t we have it hard enough without that kind of cruelty happening as well? We have to work together and for each other, on all things! Think twice before you speak any spice!

  17. Love it! I’ve earned my bronze as a significantly overweight rider. While my goals include being fitter and lighter, it never occurred to me that I should stop trying to progress as a rider just because I don’t have the typical rider body. I ride a wide variety of horses from 14.2 Arabs to 17.3 draft crosses and can get them rounder, more through and more comfortable in their backs than some riders half my weight!

  18. Thank you Anna. From your keyboard straight to my heart, I am moved! I just had to share this on my page.

    “Reading Anna Blake’s blog makes me feel like I’m sitting in church. I feel like her message is just what I needed to hear at just the right time, and a lot of “Amen, Sister!” being said in my head. Take a read……if you have ever felt less than perfect.”

  19. Good reading…being of the cuddly variety I too worry about my weight. I share 2 boys – both 16 3. Harry my main ride is Irish Draught x TB and is a big strong lad. My sharer I know wouldn’t let me on him if he had concerns. The thing that reassured me were 2 comments – one from my sharer -‘he always goes so well for you’ and the other from our instructor while doing 20m reducing circles – ‘you aim for such precision but keep him well balanced at the same time’. As you say – its more about the rider, the seat, the balance, quiet hands and the relationship between horse and rider than anything the scales say!7

    • Horses don’t lie, neither does the scale…. I just don’t like it that the scale somehow became more important than everything else… good for you. You have your ears on straight! Wonderful comment.

  20. Thank you. I am on the heavier side. I am currently expecting my 2nd child, and am almost 6 months gone. I have a lovely TB who is on the stockier side and tall, and he carries me well. I had an AMAZING lesson a few weeks ago – one where my instructor basically stopped the lesson & exclaimed to the whole arena “STOP! LOOK AT THAT BEAUTIFUL HORSE! THAT IS GORGEOUS!”. Connor and I have been partners for a little over a year now, and I was finally able to purchase him. At the end of the lesson, I had some pics taken,
    Upon review of the pictures, instead of looking at my lovely TB and how we actually are a well matched pair, I spent 20 minutes ripping myself apart at how “huge” I looked and all of my eq flaws.After reading this blog entry, I went back through the pictures and saw things a little differently. And I appreciate it.

  21. I have to add my voice to the others here and express such profound gratitude for this post. I’m in my late 40s and have struggled with my size for years. Last fall I saw an opportunity to take riding lessons — hard on the heels of “Oh I’d love to do that!” came “I’m too big, too old, too uncoordinated, too…” Luckily I didn’t listen to those voices and it’s literally changing my life. This post helped untie a knot in my heart. I’m going to my next lesson with more room to focus on my horse and more kindness for my body that allows me to participate in this joyous experience. Thank you!

    • Good for you for shutting up those internal voices, thanks for reading and sharing this great comment. But really, I might have given you a tap on the shoulder, but untying of your heart?? No, it takes a good horse to do that. 🙂

  22. THANK YOU!! I shed a tear thinking about how I have felt lately after restarting in an English saddle after 25yrs and an addition 82 pounds.

    Your article made me realize while I love riding and missed it greatly, I was being overly critical of my appearance in a size 38 breeches. And I didn’t need to be, my instructor didn’t care and neither did Calais.

    THANK YOU for the proverbial slap on the back of my he head. 😄

    • Listen to your horse, listen to your trainer, and thank you for your honesty. I just hate thinking of how many of us cheat ourselves out of this rich, rewarding experience, because of the size of our waists… Ride on!

  23. Anna Blake, thank you. This has helped on a day when I realized that I was avoiding the stable, avoiding riding my lovely horse, avoiding everything because of the weight. My horse is only 14.3, but he is a large horse on short, strong legs and has never had a problem carrying me. The problem is all mine. It’s ridiculous, because I’m not a bad rider, we get on well together. I think what really set me off was pictures of me riding, not only him but also a lovely working ranch horse I rode on the beach in FL. The pictures were quite appalling and not at all what my mind’s eye was seeing. The horses looked fine, it was me. Sigh. Not riding isn’t the solution though, is it? Again, thanks.

    • The pictures lie, if the image in your head is better, go with that one. If the horse looked good, that was your doing… Riding is the answer, for both of you. Thanks for your comment.

  24. I once put off starting a 14.3 foundation AQHA mare because I thought I was too fat. I lost a few pounds, got on her at one end of a large roping arena and she carried me straight arrow to the other end in a beautiful. big, free walks. She had a set of hips on her, too;) I guess we were balanced!

  25. Just discovered your blogs and am loving reading them. My story – loved horses from afar all my life. At the age of fifty-something (54 or so) it occurred to me one day that I could learn to ride. It was as if a light bulb went off in my head. From there I became owner/ownee of three horses. A quarter horse mare and a half brother and sister pair of TWH who can be ridden but are a driving team. Not only am I fatter than I’ve ever been in my life (160 lbs), I’m older than ever, being 60 years old this year. For the past year I have let those thngs along with being physically separate from my horses “psyche” me out of riding. I was living in Houston, TX and could only afford a place to keep my horses that was an hour and a half away. Couple that with the horrendous Tx heat and I’m ashamed to say that I have let myself and my horses down by being an almost absentee owner.

    They are doing well physically, but reading your blogs is giving me the inspiration and the nerve to get back with them I have recently moved to Austin and am looking for a place were we can either all be together or very close. It’s funny how I have always enjoyed just hanging with the horses as much (sometimes more) than riding them and I was hard on myself and saying it was because I was not a good enough rider. Actually, my mare taught me riding as much as anyone else. We just seemed to work it out together. Many of the things you have blogged are confirming what I have suspected, but have been guilty of sometimes listening to “people who know more about horses than I do”. It’s time for me to get back with my herd.

    Thank you and I apologize for the length of this.

  26. Sadly, competition brings out the best in products, but the worst in people. I my showing experience, if people are slagging you, they are intimidated or worried you will place and they won’t. And, no matter how accomplished a rider you are, someone, somewhere will have something to say. When Gail Greenough won the show jumping World Championship, a woman who had ridden with Gail as a junior could only snort, “She can’t ride.” Maybe, Gail could not ride, but for that day she won the World Championship, she could. And, as far as being a big woman on a horse, it did not stop Heidi Robbiani from winning a bronze medal in the Olympics.

    • It’s sad we don’t support each other more, but I agree. It says more about the person commenting that the target of the comments. Thanks for posting. We need to work on it.

  27. Hi Anna. After reading your book and loving every page, I decided to read the blogs I had missed. I was drawn to this one as I’ve been struggling with weight issues the last few years. …this gives me a welcome perspective on many aspects of my horsemanship …… I don’t ride the horse I currently have with me because he truly isn’t safe to ride as he is. So for 20 months now I’ve been struggling to find ” the way” to help him feel better, to trust me more, and feeling like a collasal failure because even now, I cannot lead him away from his herd . .. There are signs we are making progress, but it seems too slow .. but I was mulling over your blog today and realized that maybe, just maybe, despite the ongoing issues he and I have, MAYBE he appreciates the fact that he now has a human who is paying attention to his troubles, who doesn’t “cowboy” him or force him through his panic, who comes to him with love in her heart, and who notices his eyes when they soften, and notices every indication of pushing too hard on him… and a human who interviews prospective “trainers” and sends the ones with dominance on their minds quickly away….. thank you for writing in a way that helped me see these possibilities.

    • He wonders if you can outwait him. He wonders if there is a day coming that he gives up fear and trusts you. When he believes you are an equal. You don’t have to wait forever, just for that day. Thank you, we both say that.

  28. When I was young, thin and fit, I wouId ride any horse, and never give it a thought. I schooled horses, and had my own quarter horse, then a Conemara pony. Both stout boys. Then a divorce, back to school, and in debt. Now I am 69 years old, with 2 artificial knees and very fat. I discovered Gypsy Cobs and their wonderful temperament and strength. I have an extra high mounting block and often have to have my foot pushed over the saddle when I get on and off, but, I am so happy to be riding again. Our horses are patient and kind, and since they have big apple butts, mine doesn’t feel as big. My butt and stomach are so fat, but when I am on my horse, it doesn’t matter.

  29. Thank you so much for this! I’ve had instructors say that a heavy balanced rider is MUCH easier on a horse than a 100 pound unbalanced rider. Loved the comment on this concept being so much more than math. 🙂

  30. I hate that women judged you or anyone else on their weight or riding. I had a friend who was very overweight. She had a superbly built qh gelding that she rode wp. When people looked at her on the ground leading him, they all made comments about the poor horse. To watch her ride was exhilarating! She melted into him and they were one perfect being! He was correct, balanced, and happy. She was elegant, powerful, and sublime. I rode 3 day and h/j most of my life. I have never “looked” good on a horse, but, I have the wisdom to listen to them and they always performed their best for me. No equitation classes for me, but, I ruled the Hunter ring. Now I just plop along on my rescued stbs and enjoy driving. My equitation will never compare to my friends, but, that ok….I am content to help my horse look good 🙂 thank you for the great read and info on feeding before riding!

  31. Wow! I feel so lucky to have found this today! The Horse and Man blog I get in my inbox daily posted your article about listening to calming signals and included your link. The article was wonderful – even though I don’t currently have a horse. I hope to rescue one in the not-too-distant future and will be rereading your article then. Thank you so much!

  32. Nice article. I always love the 20% though.. If you do the math, most grown men would ride a draft :o) I guess for me, its the ability of the animal, its build, how in shape, the riders balance etc… You can tell if a rider is to heavy or out of balance by the animal. I am a big girl though working on it, my 20 yr old arab quarter horse who is 15H packs me all day trail ridiing, rarely breaks a sweat and has certainly never been sore in the back or anywhere else, nor does he act as though I am to heavy in any way or shape for him including mounting. .. We would not meet the 20% rule lol.. I think people have stopped using common sense and began judging others way to much and go way over board in picking apart everything. Blanketing is another haha.. That I feel we do more harm than good but rarely use common sense like touching your horse to see if they are warm :o)
    I am just way over all the nasty judging in the horse world. So I like your article, but I dont agree with the silly 20% vs obvious and common sense. I do like how all seem to be being nice to others on here :o) Thats refreshing

  33. I’m almost 60 and have ridden since I was 6 years old. I’m a big lady, always have been. I began training horses when I was around 12 years old and have never stopped. I’ve ridden and shown various breeds, sizes, and shapes of horses in Dressage, Western…you name it. I’ve lived with hearing comments from the “peanut gallery” like, ” Hey honey, that horse should be riding you!” But, I never gave up and I can tell you, I watched many a tiny, young girl sit down on a horse’s back and that poor animal almost fall down from the pain because their back is so sore from a poor rider. My horses never have had that issue, even from day one on their back. It is all about how well you ride.

    I’m still riding today and helping others with their horses, so they too can have happy experiences together.

    Thanks for your article.

  34. Thank you for the article. You know what, this whole focus only on the weight thing makes me crazy. (And it’s not just in the horse world although it’s quite pronounced there. If you listened to people it’s basically unacceptable to step outside your house and be seen until you’re safely a size 10 or below). Yes I’m not built like a bean pole but have had the same horse for over 20 years and she’s still sound and in work. Usually it’s me putting the breaks on when we ride out, not her since I want her to remain fit and sound for many more years. Someone forgot to send her the memo that she’s in her late 20’s now and she forgets to act her age! I try to be balanced when riding and give my horse adequate care and it shows. Other people who are lighter than me have had their horses retired as unsound by this stage.

    In my opinion someone who thrashes their horses or is unbalanced and bounces around on their back is always going to be “heavier” to the horse and mess up their joints and back sooner. At least now if anyone makes a comment about needing a bigger horse I can smile sweetly and ask them how old they think she is. When they usually guess half her age it’s a good way to shut them up. Happy riding 🙂

  35. Lovely expression and assessment. A mindfully informed acknowledgement of possibility, with compassion and much awareness of both being a human and equine…

  36. In the 2 years I’ve been riding Benny, we’ve been through uveitis (him) chiro/yoga craze (me), 22lb weight loss (me), and getting a heavier saddle. The only things he has noticed of these and all in a positive way – the chiro/yoga freer hips and better balance, me being more confident despite him being spookier from blind spots, and that he can move better. He sure as heck appreciates my riding lessons and the new saddle fit. He did not give a rats tush that I dropped 20 lbs… Or that its back (in the saddle).

    • This comment cracks me up…there is always change of all sorts and in the end, it’s about relationship. Sounds like you’ve done really good work. And who doesn’t like freer hips! Great comment, thanks.

  37. Thank you SO much for this. It’s exactly what I need to hear right now. I am very overweight & very unfit. I have lost all my confidence (long story!). I hardly ride at all now but when I do my dear gentle soul puts up with my gasping, fumbling & muttering as I tack him up and try to mount. He stands there patiently and I thank him for it. Good to know I’m not the only one. who struggles! So, thanks again, much appreciated!

  38. Thank you for this. I have enjoyed reading your blog, especially this honest and compassionate article. I have signed up to follow your blog.
    I definitely need to lose a few pounds. I just bought a horse. Originally, I thought I’d buy a XL sized horse to make my own XL backside look smaller, but how vain! By doing that, I could have missed out on the perfect horse for me. I found my dream horse, who is a tall horse, but medium build. I just have to silence that voice in my head that I’m not good enough, and just work hard on being more fit.

  39. Thank you so much for the timely advice. I am preparing for the first show of our season. I am stepping up my game by doing Older Bolder cross rails. These words of wisdom ave put a smile on my face and pride in my heart. The old man (23) and I (46) are going to have fun.

  40. Good golly! This article was like a very helpful slap upside the head for me. Never again will I notice if I ‘look fat’ in a photo where I no doubt was having a wonderful time with an equine friend. Ladies and gentlemen (this is no way just a female issue), may I suggest we take a moment to think about something… No matter what size we are, again and again WE find the courage to climb aboard a 1200 lb animal with whom we hope (but don’t have a guarantee) to have a merging of wills and minds. There are many size 6 gals out there who would never consider doing such a thing! Surely our courage can be deemed a greater attribute than the size of the waistband on our breeches?

  41. Hi Anna, as always, very timely. I had a club comp yesterday and it all went pear shaped. He was carrying my depression, far too heavy for a little Andy to bear. Thanks for the reminder and for making me laughxx

  42. Thank you for these words; very useful, I love the way you’ve said all this, I was believing to be the only humble rider on earth.. humility (and sense of humor) is the great forgotten skill for riders and for humans in general… Thank you. <3

  43. For all those bashers out there a little girl still sits wishing she could be you. She doesn’t see a fat person. She sees a horseperson that she wishes she could be. I know because I was that little girl. Now I am a horsewoman with my own big beautiful albeit old TWH. I now babysit for a little girl who wants to be me and begs to go to the barn with me and spend time with my horse. She doesn’t see a sloppy fat woman who feels like she has no idea what she’s doing most of the time. That little girl sees a role model. I have never forgotten the little girl I was, the little girl following me around the barn, or the little girls watching from afar. I am always proud when I get in the saddle. I have never felt too big for my horse. I’ve always felt that is exactly where I belong. I really doubt if I was causing him pain he’d be sticking his head in the bride before I can even make sure it’s not twisted. I don’t think he’d be so happy to go for rides if he was in pain. I’ve had many people comment on how happy he seems when I show him. We are happy together.

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