View Full Version : Weight Issue III

Apr. 12, 2000, 11:36 AM
Here it is.

Apr. 12, 2000, 11:36 AM
Here it is.

Apr. 12, 2000, 11:39 AM
Well I guess it is time /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Thanks Bascule. Onething though - let's be sure to keep the discussion going from the last thread - so if anyone needs to see page three it's at http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/001206-3.html (enjoy!)


Also the addresses for all the old Weight threads, and the new ones too, are as follows:
Weight IV LetÂ’s Act - http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/001738.html
Weight I - http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/001146.html
Weight II - http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/001206.html
Weight III - http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/001245.html
Weight Essay - http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/Forum2/HTML/001457.html

[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 06-02-2000).]

[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 06-02-2000).]

Apr. 12, 2000, 12:38 PM
Continuing from the other thread --

Magical, your story is heartbreaking. Please try to remember that some good has come of it, and can come of it, because by telling your story you may help prevent others from going through the same anguish.

Heather, I agree with your comments, and I hope no one will think they were negative. This emphasis on being overly skinny that is apparently so strong in the hunter and eq world, thankfully doesn't seem to be so in other areas of our sport. When I came back to riding 8 years ago, I started out eventing and now do jumpers, and I too hadn't seen this problem in those disciplines. Also, it's been a long time since I was a teenager, so I can't claim any insight about what they are experiencing. Until reading these and other threads, I was not truly aware of how severe this problem is with the young women and girls in the Eq and hunter world. Sure, I've read a particular trainer's comments in a national horse publication about how girls and women who looked fine to me in their photos would have to lose weight before they could be successful, but I thought they were just that -- pissy comments from one overly perfectionistic male with no understanding of the female psyche or female body. But now I see the terrible pressure such comments, and the attitudes behind them, have generated.

The good news is, if the problem is peculiar to one area of the sport, we can better focus on it and do what is necessary to change it. Yes, this is part of a much larger societal problem. But there is no need to add to the problem through our sport when it quite demonstrably serves no purpose whatsoever. Being a size 2 versus a size 8, or 10, or whatever, really doesn't make anyone ride better. Isn't Eq supposed to be about proper riding form leading to effective function? What does how skinny your thigh is have to do with that? If the pressure is coming from girls being given the idea that "I can't win unless I'm skinny," then we need to make very sure the best rider is rewarded in the ring, not the skinniest, so the trainers and riders can see that things have changed and the best rider will win regardless of body size.

[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 04-12-2000).]

Apr. 12, 2000, 12:52 PM
I was stunned to hear all the stories about the H/J world on this matter. It is breaking my heart. Another nail in the coffin of "fun sport". Some one in thread 1 or early 2 mentioned the weight issue in relation to a dressage clinician. I have been in dressage since the mid 80's and have sat with a ton judges at a ton shows over the last 10 years. Never once have I heard a judge say anything about a riders weight, nor have I ever seen it commented on riders test sheet. Perhaps THAT is a great restrainer of tongue, That test sheet is signed by the judge. It is witness to their thoughts.

The comment made to the young woman that started this thread a ways back was, to my understanding, a one on one comment made when the rider requested a judges review for " ways to improve herself" A verbal comment is worth the paper it is written on. If pressed it is judges word against the rider.

Perhaps, as some suggested before, this gives a nudge twords the day when eq rounds are scored on forms like dressage.

Apr. 12, 2000, 02:04 PM
Just thought I would take this opportunity to clarify a fact. Eating disorders are not confined to the juniors. It is just as prevalent in the adults. I think once it carries on to that point, the non-juniors just don't speak about it. Ever. To anyone. Friends, or otherwise. If we are going to help, we need to help them all.

Apr. 12, 2000, 02:53 PM
Good point, Bascule. Unfortunately, adulthood doesn't bring a magical understanding about these things. And yes, adults can be much more crafty in the way they hide their behavior from others.

An adult friend of mine used to event and she often took diet pills instead of eating in order to lose weight. Luckily, she is now a runner and gains fitness from healthy exercise instead of quick fixes.

Apr. 12, 2000, 03:06 PM
I would like to point out in response to the post referencing a reply that "NOT ME" is the most prolific member of this sport.

I agree the issue may not be there, but does that mean it won't. Of course there is a difference between divisions judged on the horse vrs. those judged on the rider. However, it is as silly for the rider to be judged for "skinny" as it would be for a western horse to be judged for the amount of silver on the sadlle and tack.

Both issues are technically covered in equitation the phrase "general appearance" is an excuse for prejudice. In western it's appointments that gives a loop hole.

We on the other hand could take the lead from Spain, they passed a "Law" that no advertising models could be smaller than a size 6. They are also concerned about the image problem which is affecting the general health and fitness of it's citizens.

Pick up the torch and run with it, we can do that too.

Apr. 12, 2000, 03:36 PM
Snowbird, I had heard of that new law in Spain as well and think it's great. A few months back I was reading Glamour magazine and there was a spread on new spring fashions featuring a size 12 model- that being the average size of women in the US. The woman was beautiful, and my no means overweight- this woman looked healthy! It made me wonder why more models with more realistic bodies aren't featured. I think it would do a world of good to have greater awareness that there are many beautiful women who aren't stick thin- and not just in the riding world! Any thoughts on what we can do? Sorry for getting off track.

Apr. 12, 2000, 04:52 PM
Actually I don't think you are off track. I stopped reading "women's" magazines years ago because I always felt inferior afterwards. Then I saw an article about the tricks of photograpy, air-brushing, and computer imaging and realized the TRUTH!!! NO ONE really looks like that - not even the models who are represented to look like that!!!! The model they used in the article was Christy Brinkley who I think is really beautiful. They showed how they had taken inches off her thighs and waist and enhanced her bust/cleavage using the air brush. I've seen Christy in person and she is beautiful!!! It's ashame that she isn't represented as the REAL beauty she is.

The woman who is on the cover of this year's SI Swim suit edition was interviewed on some talk show recently. Apparently she had a baby a few months before she was chosen for the SI cover. The interviewer asked her how she got her shape back so quickly because she looked AWESOME on the cover. The model laughed and said "air-brushing, that's not me, no one has a body like that!!! If it wasn't for air-brushing and computers none of us would have a job".

I really do believe that our society's constant obsession with unnaturally thin women is affecting way too many of us in a negative way. Look at the role models your daughters idolize - are they women like Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Ally McBeal (can't think of her real name), Gwyneth Paltrow, Felicilty?????

A friend of mine and I were out for our usual lunch time walk the other day and it was one of the first really warm spring days we have had. We noticed how many men had their shirts off - beer bellys, flabby breasts, hairy backs and all. I remember laughing that that is the difference between men and women - I would NEVER dream of baring any more skin than absolutely necessary and would rather have heat stroke than show off my flabby, old lady, triceps or thighs /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Whether we want to believe it or not women are socialized to believe that thin is beautiful and almost everywhere we turn that notion is reinforced. There are a few good articles about "average" or "normal" sized women but in those same magazines you will find ad after ad trying to convince you that thin is a better way to live.

You asked "what can we do"? We can stop buying those ridiculous magazines!!!!! Write to advertisers and tell them you won't purchase their products until they use more "life-like" models. You can talk to your daughters about reality and teach them to eat with a purpose - to be healthy!!! You can STOP making comments to children about being PUDGY, CHUNKY, or as my father used to say "pleasingly plump" - I weighed 97 pounds when I graduated from high school and my father called me "pleasingly plump"!!!! You can learn to recognize the symptoms of eating disorders and interveen. You can STOP PAYING trainers who don't treat you and your children with respect. You can STOP PAYING your entry fees in classes that pick the "prettiest" rider. You can look in the mirror every day and tell yourself how beautiful you are!!! and you can tell your daughters, sisters, friends, and the other women in your life how beautiful they are too. There is a lot!!!! we can do.

[This message has been edited by inthesaddle (edited 04-12-2000).]

Apr. 12, 2000, 05:54 PM
Hey, Warpaint, I read your post on the "Weight Issue 2" and totally can relate! I am a ( drum roll, please, I can't beleive I am saying this ) size 12! I've been that way since the 8th grade ( I am in the 11th grade right now! ) I have been like that for over 4 years now and I don't care how ugly or stupid I look, I am NOT going to go to the utmost solution and STARVE myself. Thank you for posting on this thread even though you didn't want to. EVERY post counts and should be read with the utmost respect and courage of the people who are posting about their lives, what they have gone through etc. The mind is a very powerful thing and I am glad we are using it! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 12, 2000, 06:34 PM
Major Kudos to WarPaint and Peptalk - you go girls!!! or you girls rule!!! Seriously, I'm so proud of the two of you.

I went from being "Twiggy" to "Stump" (curtesy of my older brother) when my metalism took it's turn at around at 18. I actually pleaded with him to at least call me "Trunk" (I did grow 3" after high school.) Then the joke continued, sometimes I'd be "Sapling", other times "Trunk" (never "Twiggy" again LOL). However, the "joke" wasn't funny. It wasn't even funny when I was "Twiggy", IMO.

You two will always be comfortable with yourselves, IMO and that's GREAT. One less huge stress in your lives! Continue on, I say!

Apr. 12, 2000, 07:19 PM
I am one who has personal experience with both worlds. I went to college for "fashion design" grew up with a hairdresser mother and so clothes and fashion were my world. I was 5'7" and with a waist that a waist cincher could pull in to 14". Man, and that was all the way around. I saved my wedding dress for my daughters and neither of them could get even close to zipping them up and they are by far not fat. Size 6 or 7 tops. They were devastated. I was the natural stick figure, no boobs and no butt.

Not only did I eat everything but I had spent my life being so skinny that everyone tried to stuff me with food. Gobs of butter, egg nogs with heavy cream and some awful goop made by Schenley that was supposed to be equal to a full meal six times a day. I couldn't put on an ounce. I was so tired of being picked on for being too skinny. My doctor died before I ever made 115 pounds.

That lasted for years until I hit 45, maybe even 50 before it caught up with me. Then whatever it was that had kept me skinny shut down. Suddenly, I was never hungry and ate less than anyone you've ever known and the pounds kept creeping up. Even when I've bee sick from both ends (you know what I mean) for days I never lost an ounce.

So I've done skinny for 40 years and I guess the next 40 years I'll learn about fat. Not obese, size 14-16 but definitely not skinny.

I will tell you what the posters have said is true. Those pictures are so retouched that when I modeled you could have a picture of me face to face on two pages and not know it was the same person. In fashion they liked the girls to like coat hangers. It was easy to pin up the back that didn't show so that the front looked fine on the skinny model. Anyone with a bustline or hips was out, just for practical presentation reasons.

There is another thing to remember, the curves and lines of a feminine woman are not attractive to a lot of designers.They are afraid that a real female might be attractive at the wrong time and place. They like people who look like young boys. There are a lot of different ideas an motivation behind the images that are presented, especially in these days of diverse life styles and sexual preferences.

So what I say is yes be proud "I AM Woman". I find incongruous that in these days of so-called feminine liberation we are allowing ourselves to be trapped by images created to satisfy the personal opinions of such unimportant people. You are a female and we are built differently and we should be proud of what makes us different.

My old riding instructor to get us to sit up straight and ride proud would say "OK! Now show me your trophies". Girls are always going to be girls, why should you look like boys? If they want boys then let's get boys to ride, and let's not try to be a poor imitation of a boy.

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 04-12-2000).]

Apr. 12, 2000, 07:21 PM
I know a lot of horse show girls (mostly jr riders) who have eating disorders too, not just my friends from school. You'd be suprised how many closet belimichs we have among us (I don't mean on this board, but in the h/j and eq world). A lot of them are "Big names". Whether it's diet pills or starving themselves or throwing up, they find a way, and they hide it well. I KNOW who Cozmo is, some of you may be surprised by her identity- I'm not saying eho she is cause she'd never speak to me again- but if you show and keep up on who's winning in the jr. ring, you'd DEFINANTLY know her, and her boyfriend (although you would not know that they were going out- it's a secret). Well, anyway, Cozmo IS getting help. She is in a hospital that specializes in eating disorders, although if you looked at her she seems perfectly normal. Not that she is fat, just healthy, and skinny (if you consider skinny healthy). Anyway, her parents aren't letting her go to Devon unless she gains weight, so she's soing ok.

Apr. 12, 2000, 07:49 PM
Magical- I am glad Cozmo is getting help and that she has a supportive friend like you to turn to.

J. Turner
Apr. 12, 2000, 09:40 PM
My father has worked in production for major magazines like Time, Sports Illustrated, and now New York magazine (not The New Yorker). He has told me so many stories of what they do to pictures. They have always done it via airbrushing/dodging and burning, but now, thanks to the magic of digital imagery, it is cheap and easy.

He has told me that they have moved basketballs on SI covers because they were in the way of a logo! Or get rid of that darn "John 5:16" sign forever in the background at games.

Hillary Clinton was recently on the cover of New York mag. She had come into the office to meet and greet and do pictures. Dad said she was soooo old looking (compared to the media image). Fortunately, they have great photographers, got a great shot, and were able to completely digitally remaster it.

I used to work for Practical Horseman and they did things to covers, too. Mostly eliminate shadows and background distractions, heighten colors, etc. Nothing scandalous that I can think of!

Again, everyone, let's get in shape!!!! I'm going to start by taking a pre-natal yoga class!

Apr. 12, 2000, 11:08 PM

it's John 3:16.

Apr. 13, 2000, 01:06 AM
Ok I got on a computer and I wanted to say how proud I am of everyone. I can't write much cause my mind is not mentaly there at the moment considering where I am at the moment. I just wanted to let everyone know Im OK. and mentaly feeling good. I had a healthy lunch and diner today and even stoped to get snacks on the way up. I ate too much but it felt good. My friend who I am staying with took me to diner and he knows how I love viel masala. I use to eat viel and lamb as a child because for some reason I had an easier time digesting. Well anyhow the portion was more than enough and I was already on the way to being stuffed when the plate got to me but my friend who has been My big brother for 14 years of my life held my hand and said small bites. You are eating everything. So I smiled and did. Eventhough with all of this going on it was so nice to release and relax with him. Im just shareing cause I know some of you are wondering how Im handing so I thought I would inform you on it. Im realy happy right now and I have this huge grin on my face. He was so proud to see all of my work and was happy to see that I have finaly begun the road to being free.

So Im doing fine and by 10 tomarow I will be home. Snowbird from the other board you made a coment about the name thing. Im doing it that way because of who. I know I shouldn't and Im stronger but he is the last person I need. also I have a sister who this will affect in the worse way. I have discussed all of this with them and for the moment till time cn ease us i need to hold my name. Im not saying Im going to remain anonomous forever just for now till some more issues are handled. I know of alot of people that read this magazine and right now I don't need the calls till I get my life more in controll.

Snowbird also I surf around your sight from time to time and if that pic is of you all I half to say is wow you are a georjous woman. WOW. If not pay this comlament to her. (refering to the first pic of the people who run the farm page. Well guys night I have to sleep cause i have a 4 and a half hour drive back. Portia can back me up on this one. Im not looking foward to the mess on I35 in the morning. Yikes Dallas at rush hour. Who disgined this city anyways? Its worse than NYC. But not as bad as Houston. J/K. Night /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 13, 2000, 08:35 AM
Portia- just to clarify that the issue isn't as much in the jumper world. This thread was started BECAUSE of a couple of Grand Prix riders. One inparticular is VERY WELL known . Because of your location (Texas) you don't see her at the horse shows on a regular basis. This woman is a walking skeletin and she is at the point in this disease where her color is a yellowish/grey and she is growing more hair on her body. Which I believe the body does to keep warm because of lack of fat on the body. (I am not sure of the reason but I do know that is one of the symptoms). People at the shows that are spectators (not those who know her and know that YOU AREN'T SUPPOSE TO SAY ANYTHING) Actually gasp when she walks by.

Apr. 13, 2000, 08:40 AM
The problem is not limited to magazines. Has anyone looked at a tack catalog lately? A good number of them feature models whose emaciation is absolutely appalling. But -- kudos to Huntfield's. The models in the Spring 2000 catalog actually look fit and normal.

Apr. 13, 2000, 12:36 PM
I agree that the media really hurts us in this aspect.

A few little replies:
Portia - I think that while the hunter/equ area has a big problem with this so does dressage. I have heard stories of judges making comments about weight in the comments section at the end of the test. And really - since this is such a huge issue in society I'm not at all surprised it seeps into amny areas of the horse world. Also I would be willing to guess that there is probably some weight bias in Saddleseat as well - since they have equitation classes just like us (well not just like us but they are judged on position and all like our equ riders are) and that area (subjective judging) seems like a natural breeding ground for weight bias!

IN my opinion part of the problem is this is not just MEN judging women but also women doing it to. I Can't believe women (who I am sure struggle with their weight as well) would judge and make cruel comments about other women's weight. But they DO. One time at a show a judge kept pinning me over my friend who is a better rider than I am and we heard it was b/c of my weight (she is a little heavy). BUt the worst part is the judge herself was really really heavy - and I'm like how can someone that big (the judge was much heavier than my friend) look down on my friend for being like a size 12? It seemed so hypocritical!

And of course this is not just a junior issue - as I said earlier - not is it even a women's issue - it's a people issue. And what it really comes down to is at the root that we judge people by appearances.


Apr. 13, 2000, 01:48 PM
Magical, thank you for posting. I was so very upset and worried for cozmo. I hope she knows how much we all care about her, even if we dont know who she is . I myself wont "try to figure it out". It dosn't really matter. All that does is tht she is open about her dilemma, that she and her family are getting help( yes it is a family issue) and that she will be backed and supported by loving friends. Perhaps one day she will be able to help other young women like herself. That will be a greatest blue ribbon she could ever win.

Apr. 13, 2000, 02:46 PM
Someone emailed me and asked me why I hadn't posted to these threads. It's not that I have a problem with the topic (being quite chunky myself). I have been busy, but also, in all honesty, I'm too close to the driving person's perspective, I'm afraid.

You see, it's the subjectivity of hunters and equitation that, in my mind, is at the heart of this issue in the horseworld. If you could eliminate as much of the subjectivity as possible, you would go far toward eliminating at least SOME of the impact of the weight issue on young riders.

I love the nature of the hunter horse, but I really, really dislike the hunter industry, as well as the equitation industry. I dislike the subjectivity which allows politics and personal preference to hurt, exclude, embarass and denigrate people. I hate any aspect of life which allows that sort of thing to happen--and, yes, I have very personal reasons for having little tolerance for that, too.

If I were a parent, I would not let my child ride hunters or do equitation. I don't like the forces that are at work there. I don't like the pressures that come with ambition or motivation. I feel those should be generated from within the individual, not beyond (by trainers and judges).

I would encourage my child to foxhunt, pony club, (combined, not pleasure) drive, event or do dressage--sports which at least have some degree of objectivity that my child could understand and thus avoid being frustrated and/or manipulated by.

So, I know I'm being harsh, but IMO, if this is a problem for the hunter/eq industry, the adults on these threads need to show their concern by working together on changing the rules such that it one person's mere opinion doesn't have the power to ruin lives.

Apr. 13, 2000, 11:13 PM
well since these threads are starting to wind down I would like to thank everyone who shared their stories and advice. Its grate we have all of this going on. I encurage everyone who wants to do something about this to get with me and for all of the people who privately contacted me about them thankyou. I have a fue people that have joined me on my personal email that I have been talking with on various things. I encurage everyone who cares to contact me. I do not bite just ask anyone that I talk to. Im pritty easy. To the people who are to skaired to openly post here write me and maby we can do something to help. I judge no one for anything. You all have been a grate group to work with. so here is my email for all of you. trippe@earthlink.net . I recomend for any of us to reach out to one another. The more the beter. Also I use ICQ and I recomend that the people who want to be productive to get it so that we can talk on on one about things. Take care and I hope this is not sweped under the carpet. Be good and God bless all.

Apr. 14, 2000, 01:57 AM
Seeing as I event, I am curious. As a 16y/o girl it bothers me to hear that someone is so distraught over becoming a 6 compared to a 4 that she has to be admitted to a hospital.. I just got comfortably down to a 6! The fact is that we need to learn to accept our bodies, and in my AP Bio class I'm learning ona daily basis what role genetics play in our body types. The fact is, it lies in your mitochondria of every cell whether or not the energy from your food is transferred directly into usable energy (ATP) or energy for later (fat) so if you're genetically programmed to store energy, so be it.

But I'm wondering- by this pic, would I be considered "fat" by hunter standards? I'm 5'4 and 118, this is doing jumpers at a PC rally (2nd time I'd jumped in 2000, 4th time I'd ridden said horse in a year, and hes 23!)
www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Gym/3835/cmrallyjmp1.jpg (http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Gym/3835/cmrallyjmp1.jpg)

I know that I'm not fat, while I would like to be more toned, the fact is that not everyone can wear a 5 from The Gap and look good in it /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

J. Turner
Apr. 14, 2000, 08:13 AM
I just went to my physician yesterday and was talking to her about weight issues. She told me that her sis-in-law, who is an MD/PhD, did her doctoral dissertation on weight image in Fiji. Apparently, the Fijians don't even have a word for "diet." The women were comfortable with a larger sillouette. I don't know about the health part. When she went back to visit, she found that 60% of the female population was then dieting because two years earlier, television had entered their culture.

Pony girl -- you look fine! I like your following hand release, too. I'm sure GM would like it! I'll be in Tucson on Tuesday!

Apr. 14, 2000, 08:28 AM
Ponygirl -- you look great! Don't change a thing. I'm saving your pic as one of my screensavers!

Apr. 14, 2000, 02:38 PM
It is clear that this problem of "image" is not limited to our sport or industry. It is an international problem. Media reaches everywhere now. The same kind of people that are responsible for wanting us all to be skinny are in all the media. Dieting is a mega business interest. They make their money from our hide, and therefore have a financial motivation. Their advertising money supports the media.

The horse industry has always been in the avante guarde for "independent free thinking people". I hope that with this issue we can somehow take these stories and issues and turn them into something more important than a symparthy session.

Maybe a serious mail campaign and if we had a donor a serious advertising campaign. To our legals out there, is there some kind of law that would require the media to give all of us women who are not a size 2, equal time for every advertisement they accept from the people who want us skinny and sick?

"I AM WOMAN" and not designed to be a coat hanger. Let's try and turn this into something constructive to unite us against the "image". If the magazines and TV Shows realize they will lose their ratings because we "the audience" are going to turn them off, not read them and that costs them money, MAYBE!

How can we get a law like the one in Spain? I'm all for good health and exercise, and they have made it look as if we oppose skinny we are not for good health. Yet, it is obvious that the program for "skinny" is destroying as many lives if not more (since these cases are kept secret) than a normal weight and size for a "female" person.

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 04-14-2000).]

Apr. 14, 2000, 10:17 PM
Hello everyone! I've been meaning to respond to this thread but I haven't had the time, so here I am now. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

PepTalk- YAY!! I'm not alone!!! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Thanks for sharing. I have actually found an excersize/eating plan that is working for me and I'm losing weight, BUT more importantly gaining muscle and stamina, which to me is the important thing. Personally, as a jumper rider, I don't care if I "look pretty" on my horse, as long as I can out in a good, effective round and give my horses the ride they deserve. With my body type, I think it is much more realistic to set a goal of a size 8 than the size 4 that seems to be the magic number. It just isn't posible, no matter how much weight I lose. I wish people would put less emphasis on NUMBERS... they mean NOTHING! So don't be ashamed to be a size 12. If you are healthy and fit enough to ride well, you are just fine! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

There are several other points I'd like to make regarding this thread. In response to the media issue, I can not argue that the media is partially responsible for the American obsession with thinness, but in my opinion, the trainers, parents, peers, and other IMEDIATE influences that have the biggest impact. If we are raised with high self-esteem and we learn to be happy with ourselves despite our imperfections, a picture in a magazine would not have the effect it does. While I would LOVE to see some normal, healthy, non-size-2 models in teen magazines, I think it is much more important to try to change the attitudes of individuals before we go trying to change the media. Just a thought.

I definitely feel that, as Sarah said, the eating disorder problem in this world is not just a problem for female junior riders... everyone is affected in one way or another by these horrible, frightening, and most of all SAD diseases. Personally, I think that schools, churches, and perhaps even barns should teach kids about eating disorders and the harm that they can do. I know this might scare younger kids, but perhaps we need to use fear tactics on occassion in issues this important. Education is our best weapon in this battle. And it IS a battle... not just for the anorexics and bullemics but for all of us. How could anyone stand to watch friends, families, and even well-known GP riders starve themselves to death? There must be something that we can do to stop this. I think Majical's story is a perfect (and heart-wrenching) personification of my point. When outsiders don't intervene, NOTHING GETS FIXED. (By the way, Majical, I commend you on your courage in posting your story. It must have been difficult but you touched a LOT of people. Thank you.)

As to the GP rider previously discussed, I would just like to say that she is a wonderful person and has SO much talent and potential as a rider that it kills me to see her do this to herself. I used to look up to her, and now I pity her. Isn't there SOMEONE out there who can help this woman? Everyone who's seen her knows. It isn't a secret. So WHY ISN'T ANYONE HELPING HER??? I understand that a certain amount of cooperation is involved but when someone begins to look as terrible as that, there is a point where someone needs to intervene. I would hate to see someone so young and SO very talented meet a horrible fate, and until someone MAKES her get help, it seems inevitable that she will. Does anyone else find this horribly miserably depressing? There must be something that can save her, and those like her, but it's not being done and that is where we are losing the battle.

Sorry this is so very long, but I feel very strongly that this is something that we all are affected by in some way, and I think we need to take a stand, get help for the anorexics and bullemics of the world, and most of all, educate people. It may start as skipping meals or taking a few diet pills here and there... THAT is where we need to intervene... BEFORE it gets deadly. Thanks for letting me state my opinion.


PS~ I am thrilled to hear that Cozmo is getting help. No one deserves a fate like the one she could have been headed towards.

Apr. 15, 2000, 12:20 AM
My 2 Cents...Eating disorders are a serious condition that often affect highly disciplined young women. Judges, trainers, etc., may encourage the continuation of the condition by indicating to the victim that a thin body is the ideal body on a horse.

In reality -- my daughter was recently a successful equitation rider without an eating disorder. She is strong and healthy. Muscular and fit. Not tall and not skinny. Many of her peers, also successful equitation riders, are not skinny. They work hard and ride well.

My message is -- don't blame the sport. When I rode as a junior, I weighed more than I do now (not skinny). I was successful in equitation. At the end of my junior career, after winning an important class, a trainer called me (jokingly, I think) a "fat girl". Not long after that, I developed an eating disorder. I worked my way out of it, hopefully before it shortened my lifespan too much, but it had nothing to do with the sport of riding. It had to do with all the psychological aspects that are now understood to contribute to this kind of problem -- a need for control, self-esteem issues, discipline, etc.

If we want to help people with the problem, we have to stick to reality. People who are a healthy weight can and do, do well in hunters and equitation. Don't blame the sport. But do, please, do get help. It's there for you now.

Years ago, it wasn't even recognized as a disorder. At least things have changed to where we can discuss the problem, and there are professionals that can really help.

[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 04-15-2000).]

Apr. 15, 2000, 01:51 AM
I think it has gotten much worse. It does run through a lot of sports. Ours should not be one. It starts at the top. I agree with you my girls did really well and they never were less than a Size 6. More often a size 8, and certainly not fat.

I'm afraid that as a mother hen I would not have been very polite to any judge who made such a comment to me, maybe that's why they didn't. (Especially since most of our judges are not exactly thin!)

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 04-15-2000).]

Apr. 15, 2000, 02:17 AM
I agree, we should do everything we can to make our sport more sensitive to the problem. And to the influence that a casual remark can have. No matter what a trainer, judge or whoever might throw out as a comment -- healthy riders can and do, do well in equitation & hunters.

[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 04-15-2000).]

Apr. 15, 2000, 11:31 AM
Well, Snowbird, there you have it: they can get all worked up, but they're still not willing to even comment on what they, as a group, can do in a concrete way.

I refuse to believe they aren't intelligent enough to understand the connection between judging standards and this issue, but clearly that's too real and pressing for them to have the courage to address.

Leave it nicely abstract. Blame it on the media. Say it isn't just this sport--find whatever reason you can to talk, talk, talk, but do nothing and completely ignore statements that would force you to turn your opinions into action.

Apr. 15, 2000, 11:33 AM
First of all- I am not Cozmo of earlier posts on this thread, but I am glad that she is getting help. I am a 33 yo mommy, trainer, store owner,wife..... I am 5'8" tall , and weigh-gasp 140. Nobody believes me because I am very fit. I wish that the weight issue were not one, but rather health. I wear a size 28long Breech- Pikeur, TS don't fit me, a14 GP show coat & a size 38-40 riding shirt. AND I have people coming up to me & asking why I am so skinny. Well,when I tell them what I weigh & they see how I eat, it is obvious to them that I am not anorectic or bulemic. Yes, I have had people follow me to the bathroom. Since childbirth 8 years ago, I have to pee a lot /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I do not mind my kids being a little chunky & I have NEVER said a word to them , except to remind them to eat fruit & drink a lot of water.

Apr. 15, 2000, 12:15 PM
Portia wrote...."If the pressure is coming from girls being given the idea that "I can't win unless I'm skinny," then we need to make very sure the best rider is rewarded in the ring, not the skinniest, so the trainers and riders can see that things have changed and the best rider will win regardless of body size."

I totally agree. I also wanted to point out to people with this problem that you CAN win if your body is healthy and normal. It happens all the time.

And people without a true understanding of the problem need to realize that, even though it's easy to blame it on such a simple cause, this problem is usually the result of issues that go much deeper than just wanting to win ribbons in a horse show.

But, as I said in my posts above, judges and trainers sadly encourage the condition by promoting the illusion that skinny is good. Even though this attitude, in my opinion, is not usually the cause of the problem, it is adding to it. And we should do everything we can to change this to - healthy is good!

Apr. 15, 2000, 06:58 PM
Yes Wynn, I have noticed that at the end of a discussion there is no resolution, no conclusion and no action recommended.

Though I am a Soap Opera addict, there are issues like this that need to be addressed. OH! well Washington is in for a shock in June. I am a Delegate from New Jersey to meet with congressmen and Presidential Candidates. You can bet that in the question section I will inquire about the possibility of a law similar to that in Spain. I will also vouch for the fact that every judge I meet this season will also hear it from me about "skinny".

Anybody else willing to go to the next step?

Apr. 15, 2000, 07:21 PM
Wynn and Snowbird
OUCH! But how right you both are. Well, I don't know if its a "next step" or not, but I've already started opening my big mouth to everyone I see in this industry about this sad situation. You know the worst thing? At least the people on this forum are willing to talk about it. Most of the people I talk face to face to say something like "Oh yeh, horrible. Say, did you hear what so and so did the other day?"

Apr. 15, 2000, 10:00 PM
I know Louise, and then everyone wants to back off! What ever happened to one person can make a difference?

There are issues more important than my personal benefit? Horatio at the bridge holding off the enemy single handed? It does make me feel like the last dinosaur.

OR worse Don Quixote looking for an honest man!

[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 04-15-2000).]

Black Market Radio
Apr. 15, 2000, 10:53 PM
Unfortunantly these eating disorders are more prevelant in the hunter/eq world than in any other discipline as far as I have heard. I think in dressage we have people addicted to plastic surgery /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif (TOTAL joke, but I have seen quite a few "plastic" DQ's running around!)
CTT, I am so glad you are doing better! You are such an awesome person and I am so glad to have you on this board, you are a true inspiration!
Cozmo, if you are out there reading this, I am so glad you are getting help. You (and your body) will thank yourself in the future for stopping it early. Eating disorders are devastating and very sad. Because no matter HOW thin you get, when you look in the mirror you will always see that extra 5-10 pounds that you need to lose, even if it is not really there. Trust me, I know. I may have never had an eating disorder myself, but I grew up with an anorexic/bulemic mother, and she has in the last several years started to become comfortable with herself. She became that way because my Grandmother on my father's side was always calling her a "heffer" or a "pudge" even at 85 pounds! My mother weighed a whopping 119 pounds at her heviest when she was pregnant with me! It's terrible, and I hope you pull yourself through this. Just remember that no amount of therapy can help if you are not willing to change. Good luck and keep us updated on how you are doing!

Snowbird, I am with you!

Apr. 15, 2000, 11:00 PM
You go, Snowbird! You have more voice than alot of us, but we can all get the message to trainers and judges we know personally. Hopefully the Chronicle will pursue the issue.

Apr. 16, 2000, 08:06 PM
Snowbird, it is good to know that we have a representative who is as passionate about this issue as we are. Good luck, and congratulations on having the strength, desire, and motivation to go through with an attempt at change rather than just shaking your head and turning the other way.

Apr. 16, 2000, 11:18 PM
Hi guys Im back. Well Snowbird seams like you have a very powerfull feeling on this issue. Im in the process of writing the AHSA a long letter. As soon as I get it done I will let you all read. Remind you all I didn't keep it plain and simple. Its a heart felt letter. I am pleased to see how many people have come out of the closet weather or not they posted. I have recieved some very disterbing letter and I am proud of each and everyone who wrote me to tell me about them selves. YOu all make me proud and It makes me feel so sad and at the same time good because they have reached out. We all might be family here but for many you have never seen my face yet you look to me as a friend. This is not the end of me. Its only the begining. But in order for something to be done with power I need help of everyone weather they are recovering or just begining the road. Majical I know it is hard on you but please take the time to write me cause I need your help. Your guisance to speek. I need someone to be my eyes. I know it feels aquard but pleas help me. Its a hard road and without people like you we will never be able to get the full attention.

I would like to update you on what else is going on. I am working with erin and we will be getting something together for an issue. You can only go so far. It takes time but when you all read my story you will be able to know who it is and feel good that people are reading. I hope that we can start a posative fad. I was on the phone today with an old friend and informed them of these threads. I then about an hour and a half later got a call back and their first words were WoW Its about time something became of this and now we need to work together to make this real. I know it is hard to get people to talk but an idea i have is posably to do a websight. Ok now let me tell you what I would like to see and maby we can work together and make it happen. What about a sight where people anonomously can recieve help. Open to the rideing comunity. Go to something fishy and take a look but revolve it aroung the rideing industry. Any one got some good ideas fill me in.

Ok above i was reading I think on the second thread about this problem being exclusive to the H/J/EQ areas. I hate to tell you but you are teribly wrong. its not just these areas. It affect all of them English western all of them. Do you know how many anorexic girls are in the saddleseat and western world? alot!!!! I have heard people in the barenraceing world say she would have had a faster round if she was 5lbs lighter or in the saddleseat world. The hose would have more lift if a little lighter. So its not exclseive its just more hissen then we seam to see. this just shows us our ignorence. We see it from time to time but we ignore it. Come on people lets get a hold of this and take it into our own hands and do something.
I don't like it any more than anyof you but instead of talking lets plan something and do it. We start somewhere and go from there. We have erin on our side and I know the Chronicle is going to make the first moove. But what about the other magazines. A letter to Practicle horseman, Jump, yanky peadler, Online magazines we have the power we just need to start at one place. I can only do so much. If we each take one of our stories and send them to each magazine it will be sean and read. I have more than enough help with my half of the cronicle segment now we need to find a group for each magazine that is popular and fourm a group of 4 each to work with each magazine we can think of. Now lets start doing something. Please email me and we can get better organized.

Ok enough preaching but lets think with our minds and get organized. LETS DO IT!!!


Apr. 17, 2000, 11:58 AM
Well I have finally decided to add to this thread after thinking about it for a long time. I am one of those short, pudgy pony riders you see, and while it doesn't seem to hurt me at all in the pony hunters for ribbons, a few times I have been passed up for WIHS or AHSA pony eq ribbons for those leggy kids (heheh sorry about that) who are thinner than me. But it hasn't bothered me at all until recently. While right now I have a children's hunter, he is not capable of the 3'6 (he's one of those oldie but goodie packers, yes I admit) and so my trainer and I have been searching for a horse to take me to the bigger stuff. Recently I have tried out three different very expensive, very nice hunters, two of which have qualified and competed in Indoors before and one of which has taken many championships this year in the first year greens. While none of these horses were the right horse for me, one of the trainers (watching me try out his very pricey junior hunter) said to my trainer "She would look perfect on this small junior, if only she lost 15 pounds!" I felt sooo bad as I got off that horse! I show and compete my large pony, jogging at some of the best shows under the best judges! Why did this trainer think that I looked wrong on his 15.3 hand horse, if I can ride my 14.2 h pony successfully! My trainer didn't realize I heard that well-known trainer's comments or at least she hasn't mentioned anything to me about it yet. But it has definitely made an impact! I realize now that most of the other pony kids I ride against are thinner and leggier and whereas before I didn't question the pinnings of a class and the weights of riders in it, I started to wonder last weekend, does their weight make a slight difference in the judge's opinon? If there was a close tie, let's say two riders with scores 80 and 80, and a judge had to decide who to pin first, would he pin the thinner rider? While it bothered me, I wasn't losing sleep over it until I heard another famous trainer saying to my trainer that I should definitely try his almost 17 hand warmblood who was having a great winning year so far because "it would make her look right, very correct and thin". Correct = thin?? I have always been pudgy, from the time I rode my small pony at Devon. So why now do I feel so bad for it! AAAH! I know when I go this year I will be paying more attention to the whole weight issue, and like Cozmo said, it does make a difference! I have gone on a diet....

Apr. 17, 2000, 12:15 PM
Oh ponykid - I am sooo sorry that this happened to you. Please try to realize that adults can be ignorant and cruel. I ENCOURAGE you to talk to your parents and your trainer about what is happening. Explain to them, just as you have explained to us how much this experience has affected you. If you don't feel you can talk to them, how about a counselor at school or a favorite teacher (if there is such a thing /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif)

If this EVER happens to you again I encourage you to screw up every ounce of courage you have and reply in the most respectful tone you can muster "I'm sorry you feel I don't fit your lovely horse, I like myself just the way I am." Please let these people know it is not at all acceptable to treat you this way. Good Luck!

Apr. 17, 2000, 01:08 PM
And, PonyKid, email me or CTT directly for moral support whenever you need it! (Hey, have I got a horse for you /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif )

Apr. 17, 2000, 02:10 PM
Hi there Ponykid,
Let me tell you something, I don't even know how many teenagers we have sent happy into adulthood. Generations of them over some 30 years.

There is a short view and a long view of life. In the short view, today is the most important thing and you as a youngster are very much with today. Winning is where it is in only the short view.

Now, there's the long view. I have seen so many who were so wrapped up in appearances that they jeopardized their lives. And, then later they had lost themselves and became just another face in the crowd.

In the long view many of those who were not the most successful, and some who were 2nd forever wound up with great lives and a very big success for themselves, and yes! healthy happy children. That happened because they just said "Hey! World! I'm me and I like what I see looking back in the mirror."

We all have something that we'd like to fix, to alter or correct but with maturity you learn that is what makes you an individual. What makes you stand out as a special person in a crowd!

Where are those people who are just a copy of an image going to find themselves. Many at 40 are still out there looking and lost.

As to the sales pitch, and that's all that it is. The horse probably didn't go as well as it might have and so the "salesman" blamed you instead of the limitations of his horse. And, the other had a moose to sell so that was his pitch. Neither of them know you, care about you or your dreams. They just have a horse to sell. Tomorrow you will be out of their world when they get the check and they will look like a hero to the owner. A salesman is someone who if you spit in their eye, says thank you! my eye was really dry!

Keep your chin up and you be you! Be proud that is the real difference between 1st and 6th. When a person is sitting on a million dollar horse, being trained by the top trainer decked out in all custom apparel and tack what happens is "pride".

The kid on the "good find" horse without a record, in ready made becomes awed and the shoulders droop, they eyes go down and the focus slips. I know because that's what we have. BUT! if you ride proud and remember that you got there and you're being looked at, and you haven't made any mistakes then in the long view it will work for you. Winning comes from the inside-out not the other way. It's heart, focus and discipline that will beat the skinny any day.

Apr. 17, 2000, 05:23 PM
That broke my heart. Personaly just brush the coment off but do talk about it. Your trainer does nead to know that you heard the coment. Just don't think of looseing weight to live in their rhelm. Im here any time you nead to talk. Remember I have been there too. I know what its like and I know the pain mentaly and physacly. Its not pleasent. I am here for you any time. Hey Weatherford you promised me your horse /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif PLEASE!!! J/k I can calm down and think of it as another day. Anyways I am here for anyone who neads to talk. I was talking to some good friends of mine about all of this. Most of them have known me since I started college. It was strange cause one of them said that for the longest time I looked skiny. When they realized I was aware that I was they did everything to get me to gain. so even back when I weightd 120 people still thought I looked too skiny. Now to them Im a skelaton. But I like haveing my milkshakes everyday now. MMMMM best way to put on weight. Some ice cream and carnation insent breakfest with some chocolet serup.... Now im hungry well go to run and make one. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Black Market Radio
Apr. 17, 2000, 05:43 PM

Apr. 17, 2000, 07:07 PM
Im just a trip. LOL I half to have a laugh. Oh I went down stairs and took a look on the scale yay Im 107 now yppe! just 13 or so lbs to go. Anyone have some real healthy yet fatening ideas for snackfoods. I always love to try something new.

Apr. 17, 2000, 07:13 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CTT:
Im just a trip. LOL I half to have a laugh. Oh I went down stairs and took a look on the scale yay Im 107 now yppe! just 13 or so lbs to go. Anyone have some real healthy yet fatening ideas for snackfoods. I always love to try something new. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
My personal favs are pretty healthy - not sure how fattening though /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I am a die hard fan of popcorn (light salt - no butter - soooo good - a snack food but much healthier then most chips) and goldfish (especially the chedder and pretzel kinds.....

and yes- you are brilliant - and I owe you an email (my email has been *ahem* not behaving!)


Black Market Radio
Apr. 17, 2000, 07:17 PM
Bannanas are good! Jello might not help with weight but it helps keep your bones healthy, I know that bone deterioration can be a factor with eating disorders, Also, try smoothies with protein powder, and oh yes, expensive but fattening and at the same time delicious, macadamia nuts! Just try to eat as much as you can as many times as you can, eating more small meals is really healthy for you. I try and always have something to eat, usually healthy but with a twist of something weight gaining like Protein powder! Also, rice and potatoes are good for helping pack on the pounds. It's a good thing to gain proper weight by eating right, because it does not shock your body and you don't have cholesterol problems and the like! If I think of anything else, I will let you know!

Apr. 17, 2000, 10:44 PM
Don't feel bad sarah I can send but my server won't let me get mail at the moment so guess Ill salf to wait till tomarow. UGH I love smoothies. YUM makeing me hungry sgain and I have had enough food. Im trying to stay calm after seeing that joke. Yes I hope it is delited. I just lost respect for her. Well got to run need my sleep for my long day tomarow. Sailing ugh too stress ful. but hey Ill be getting my exercise /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 17, 2000, 11:53 PM
CTT - don't worry, I have <help!!!> three horses at the moment - enough for all of us!

Meanwhile, go for that milkshake, & a bagel with butter & creamcheese, & peanut butter with ANYTHING - including wheat fats - I mean wheat thins....apples & cheese (or pb) if you are feeling the need to be healthy as well....

Apr. 18, 2000, 12:11 AM
Weatherford you know you could always send one of them my way. nothing better than summer all year round. Just giveing you a hard time.

Apr. 18, 2000, 08:02 PM
PONYKID PLEASE copy the pages listed here and talk to yur mom about this issue. You need to make the right choices for the right reasons. You should make the adults in your life aware of how you heard their comments and how they make you feel. You sound like a VERY mature young woman, show your maturity further and get the correct help. You have read all the horror stories here. We are on you side. We want you to look for the correct help. Your parents MUST be part of it.

Apr. 18, 2000, 08:07 PM
I think it would be good for all of us to get together and actualy talk more. any ideas. I have ICQ and if others have it then we can chat more. If you are interested in haveing some discussions email me if you want but all you nead to do is go to ICQ.com and download it. Once you have it you can email me for my info. lets have a real live talk ok. I realy encurage it.

Apr. 18, 2000, 08:39 PM
Ponykid, pony kids should look the way you describe yourself! Most kids have "baby fat", its normal and is an issue that will resolve itself. Your body needs that protective layer to develop properly. As you mature through your teens that layer will disappear. There is no excuse for people making those comments about your current body shape. You're obviously a young teen, or even pre-teen if you're showing a pony, and that is much too young to start depriving your body of nutrients to fit into an ideal. I strongly encourage you to talk to your trainer and your parents, and NOT to do business with the trainers who made such remarks. Buy a horse from someone else- there are good people in this business and one of them must have a suitable mount for you! The worst thing we can do is condone this prevailing attitude that a woman's worth is directly proportional to her weight by putting our dollars in the pockets of those who encourage this philoshophy.

Apr. 21, 2000, 10:10 AM
Just moving this important thread to the front page.

Apr. 21, 2000, 11:46 PM
I agree this is too important to slide to the back page.

Apr. 21, 2000, 11:57 PM
Amen, Slugger!

Apr. 22, 2000, 01:03 AM
Pony girl- nice pic. You look like you have a very nice build for riding. You also look rather young, and seem pretty capable. -- you look fine! Just something I noticed- J. Turner said "I like your following hand release, too." Just to clarify that to me what you are doing isn't really an automatic release. An automatic release is where you keep a straight line from bit to elbow. Very helpful when riding green or hard to hold together horses. Lol, I found I was one of few childrens riders who did this, as I have a horse who at the time was rather green and needed to constantly be held on to. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 22, 2000, 01:15 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by ponykid:
I have always been pudgy, from the time I rode my small pony at Devon. So why now do I feel so bad for it! AAAH! I know when I go this year I will be paying more attention to the whole weight issue, and like Cozmo said, it does make a difference! I have gone on a diet....<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ponykid-my first question is, how old are you? In all honesty I'm guessing you are still pretty young and have no need to diet. If you are out there showing against the creme de la creme and being successful then you are obviously doing great. I'm sure you are still growing, and rather than worry about dieting and losing weight you should be worrying about eating a well balanced diet so that you grow and are strong and healthy. Riding is good exercise, so simply eat a well rounded diet and be happy with all you have accomplished and need to stay healthy and strong to accomplish in the future.

Apr. 22, 2000, 10:22 AM
I have to say it scares me how YOUNG this mentality is hitting us? Has anyone else noticed this? Really says something about how weight obessed out society is ...hmmm...?

I wish more people knew and understood that different people have different builds and different appropriate weights. Just because someone is 5'5 and 110 and someone else is 5'5 and 140 doesn't make the first person skinny and the second fat right off - you have to consider body type and build and genes! Some people will just never be a size 6 and thats fine and great - they can still be great riders and great BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE and if our society weren't so weight obessed we probably wouldn't think twice about it.

We need to look beyond the rider's appearance and judge the horse and the ride - especially in hunters - it is INSANE that weight plays any role in hunters b/c they judge the horse for crying out loud! So as long as you are a good rider why would you need to lose weight for hunters [or jumpers] - you're not really being judged! As for equ - the standards for equ should be giving the horse the best rider possible and being quiet, effective, and elegant and well positioned, confident, and strong. I don't see how weight really factors into that - if someone can ride - they can ride.

Yes, I'm ranting - this issue has hit a bit to close to home for me this week (several friends obessing about weight!) and so I'm feeling a bit upset about this all right now...so I'll stop now...since this is my what - 10th or so weight post? Agg....


Apr. 22, 2000, 11:50 AM
join the boat Sarah! whats real funy is that right now we have had two very important topics going on. This and the rider abuse. whats realy aws me is the conection these two have to one another. I feel it is important to keep these discussions going as long as we can.

Apr. 22, 2000, 11:57 AM
CTT - I totally agree! These topics are important (thanks again to Weatherford for moving this up so we didn't 'lose' it!) Reading all these make me feel very lucky and vert fortunate to be where I am and know what I want and that compromising my body will not help me get there! If this thread has enlightened even a few people it's been totally worth it!


Apr. 22, 2000, 05:47 PM
I'm glad that comments have returned to the impact of judging. I'd like to ask people how they think judging could be changed or clarified to lessen the impact of superficial traits like the rider's weight. I'm wondering about the suitability area. If the rider fits the horse, shouldn't that be the end of it (in Eq, for exmple)?

Apr. 22, 2000, 06:32 PM
Good question. First of all I would like to use this expresion but what we are dealing with in my opinion is the predudism of weigh. So many judges have been told this is what to look for. so over years they develope what they feel is to be exceptable. But how do we tell the judges this is not right. Its actualy weight discrimination. So how do we teach the judges not to discriminate and be biest to what thy have been taugh. I can see that many orginizations don't see this as a problem but whoo trains these judges. They arn't trained by just sitting there they are trained by continuous classes and clinics. Maby its time for the biest judges out there to do someting to stop these predjudice ones from becoming more. I think alot of this hapend when our standerds were changed who do we blame? we lay the blam not on Mr. Moris but on the people who live by hiis standards. Who else grandfatherd this era to thinking in this rhelm. I feel its time for us to stand up and say we do not accept this type of judgeing.

[This message has been edited by CTT (edited 04-22-2000).]

Apr. 22, 2000, 10:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CTT:
we lay the blam not on Mr. Moris but on the people who live by hiis standards. Who else grandfatherd this era to thinking in this rhelm.
[This message has been edited by CTT (edited 04-22-2000).]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Just a comment, I did a George Morris clinic 2 and a half years ago, when I was 17 and starting my senior year in high school. I am by no means, skinny or have the ideal build. I'm 5'4" with a "solid" build, so I know I don't look like the industry standard. I was absolutely terrified before that clinic, I've always found weight to be a VERY touchy subject, seeing as how my younger sister has struggled with eating disorders since she was hospitalized for one in eigth grade. My trainer has always reminded me that i'm not "skinny", and so I was really worried about this clinic. However, I found that after 2 days all he really had to say negative to me was my lack of concentration (not suprising, since I have ADD, which he didn't know! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif ). In fact, he said I was a strong rider with a good feel, especially since my horse was hot and showing his greenness, and then got injured getting of the trailer the second day and so I had to hop on a horse of the barn hosting the clinic. Interesting experience, lol, this horse was completely different from mine. Afterwards my trainer approached him with a question, and he commented to her (with me standing right there) that he found me to be a capable and effiecient rider. He said that he realized I did not have the "ideal" body for riding, but that if I continued to eat properly and exercise to stay strong I had a solid future ahead. A lot better than what I was expecting. Not sure if I just caught him on a good day or what.

Apr. 22, 2000, 11:37 PM
You caught him on a good day /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Apr. 23, 2000, 02:25 PM
Hey, PeekABoo and CTT, maybe he's learning? Maybe all of this ruckus on the boards and elsewhere is actually having an effect!!! Wouldn't that be great!

Apr. 24, 2000, 10:39 PM
This issue is too important to be sidelined. It reflects the safety and health of all the riders.

What can we all do to make the rider's image less important, and the horse's performance more important? It sounds like GM has heard the word and that's good. Now, we need to have the Licensed Officials Committee take up the issue in the new rules change cycle.

Apr. 25, 2000, 11:11 AM
I'm sure glad that this weight obsession wasn't so prevalent when I was showing. Yes, we wanted to be slim, but that meant somewhere between 8 - 12 - NOT 2 or 4.
I have lost a great deal of respect for trainers - I'd like to think that it isn't all "remember when"ism. Surely there are some knowledgeable, competent trainers out there, but there are a great many more who came up through the eq ranks, on made horses, constantly under trainers, who assumed that their success automatically qualified them for trainership. Training is NOT the same as winning and this becomes a sucking whirlpool, as they get students with green or imperfect horses and don't know what to do about it, so they resort to gadgets and chemicals and round and round it goes. In any field, the pseudo-intellectuals mouth gobbledygook (because they don't have the background to examine and resolve problems) but if they're marketed well enough, they are believed and the gobbledygook becomes gospel. There are too few REAL trainers who teach their students how to ride and think independently, and, yes, encourage fitness and the pleasing picture, but with NO emphasis on stick figures. There's a huge difference between fit/attractive and obese. So if your trainer tells you that you didn't win a class because you are "too fat" - wonder what s/he hasn't taught you that would make a difference in your riding.

I always kept a notebook with notes on judges. There were a few that I wouldn't have hooked up the trailer to ride in front of. And there were others I would do anything possible to get to a show they were judging. These were NOT necessarily the ones I won in front of; they were ones I knew judged fairly, whose values I respected, who were more concerned with good horsemanship (in any class) and good training than with who you rode with. In most areas of the country, there are several shows to choose from every weekend (or at least 2 - 3 per month). Pick those shows where the judge is someone you respect. And encourage selection (by show management) of fair, impartial judges.

One more thought - most of the barns (and shows) I've spent time at were meccas for junk food manufacturers. Try to "organize" your cohorts - make a list of "acceptable foods" (carrot sticks, fruit, pretzels, popcorn, grilled chicken, homemade iced tea or ice water or juice) and discourage fat foods (including soda). Coolers or little refrigerators work at shows. Besides being healthy, think of the money you'll save. We all know that horse show food, in addition to being generally not yummy, is outrageously overpriced!
(trivia from a trucker: two identical trucks with identical loads - one Pepsi, one Diet Pepsi - go through a weigh station. Diet Pepsi truck goes right on through; Pepsi truck is several hundred pounds overweight. The difference? The sugar! hmmmmm)

Good luck, all of you show-ers. I fought the weight battle the last 10 years I showed - getting down to acceptable (fit in my clothes) weight every spring, putting it all (30 -40 pounds) back on by Thanksgiving. It's no fun, it isn't wonderful for your health, but I loved showing and didn't want to look TOO much heavier than my much younger competition. Now I hide behind my video camera and am nauseated when I see pictures of myself. C'est le guerre.

Apr. 25, 2000, 05:45 PM
Ponykid- I had baby fat when I was younger too! I am 5ft 7in and weigh 120 now (I actually weighed more four years ago!). So don't worry- when you go through puberty your hormonal balence will change and your matabolism will speed up. Just let your body run it's own course, cause if you start dieting now- you're going to have a BAD matabolism for the rest of your life. And don't worry about those people- they're idiots obviosly- if you are trying a ver expensive horse and all they can do is say a negitive thing about you - they are not TRUE horse people /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Forget about them! You'll win for your talent,not for your weight!

May. 4, 2000, 11:36 PM
Just moving this up....

May. 5, 2000, 06:51 AM
I've been away from this BB for awhile. The BB got a bit ugly and I just didn't want to spend time here. I'm glad I stopped back in because I just read through all the weight issue threads in one fell swoop and I'm awed at the courage some of the posters have displayed in relating their histories. And I'm equally awed by the depth of compassion and support from the other posters.

I'd like to add more, but this is your tax dollars at work (not!) and it's time to go off-duty.

Thanks to everyone who posted on these threads. Good luck to all.

Black Market Radio
May. 15, 2000, 02:05 AM
Digging this out again as I feel it is important! Maybe these judges should be given the Ethics Booklet...

May. 17, 2000, 06:18 PM
Devildog I agree /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

I also want to re-instate the importance of 2 things said above

1) picking out the good unbiased judges and showing in front of them - and boycotting shows with biased judges. Show series want judges people like - so if some large % of exhibitors stay home whenever a certain judge comes they may think twice about asking them back. I know my trainer and i keep notes about the judges we see locally and what they are biased about - (weight, breed, etc - some judges won't pin certain breeds at all even in the EQU classes if the rider is perfect...but thats another rant). And then unless we need those shows for a schooling experience or whatever we'll skip them.

and 2) the healthy food thing!! I try to bring healthy food to shows - if I don't often I won't eat at all and thats not good! I hope everyone who cares about this will list healthy food as something important on that 'what makes a good h/j show' or whatever it was thread!

I'm glad we were all able to address this issue so openly and everything - thanks for sharing everyone!


May. 18, 2000, 09:24 PM
I've been reading these weight issue posts for quite a while now. Just a couple of weeks ago I went to my doctor because I wasn't feeling well and I was tired all of the time ( I figured that I was just stressed out about finals). He told me that I needed to lose some weight (I am 5 feet 6 inches and 135lbs. and wear a size 8 in a dress). I have always been concerned about my weight, but really didn't think I was overweight until now. What I find so disturbing is that this comment came from a doctor who is supposed to promote heathly living.

May. 18, 2000, 10:08 PM
Time to change doctors, Lex_HJ!!!! Run, do not walk! Such a claim is crazy. Sorry, but your doctor is doing you a huge disservice!

I really had hopped on here to make this comment; particularly after reading the comment from the rider at the GM clinic. The trainer I work with is very old school - rode with GM & Rodney Jenkins. She is very well respected and judges all over the place. She and I were discussing this very topic about a week ago and her position on this is that as long as the rider has control of his/her body, that is the real question. She also stated that she had seen many heavy riders who were fabulous riders, with kind hands and seats; she felt they tended to be more concerned about the cardinal sins (smacking the back and catching the mouth) than other riders perhaps because these riders were more conscious of their bodies. Certainly, a svelte beautifully postured rider presents a very flattering picture, but the picture alone ain't where it's (supposed to be) at!! I must admit that one of the best riders I have ever know was quite heavy; she completed several upper level events and won big in the hunter ring in the 70's and early 80's(BIG A shows). She was also much more fit than many of her slimmer competition.

May. 27, 2000, 06:11 PM
Pulling this back to the front of the threads.

And LexHJ, I do hope you got a NEW doctor - as the person before me posted, RUN - don't WALK! You sound like you are a perfect size, especially if you are riding fit! And if you have a long torso, you are probably too thin!
Plus, did he do any bloodwork? Look for anemia, or elevated WBC? Chest X-rays? The more I think about it, the angrier I get - so definitely, get a new doctor!

[This message has been edited by Weatherford (edited 05-27-2000).]

May. 27, 2000, 06:42 PM
Weatherford you read my mind. Um actualy well you know. anyhow man I have been on this computer dilagently reasearching everything I can think of and man some of the storys and bics just make me sit and cry cause they are so powerful. I realy have been in tears most of the day. Reading storys of victams, familys and friends are just so much to comprehend. I sent weatherford this one story of a mother who talked about her daughter going to a weight camp. as I read threw it i thought this chiled was about 15 but later down I find her to only be 11. the camp was harmless but she took it too far. its realy a heart filling story from a mothers prespective. The more I read and reasearch the more i see myself. Some of it I see myself reflecting threw the words. It skares me to think I was realy there. And the more I read the more deadacated i become to want to do something. Wll i have a good idea of what to do now its just takeing all of it and organizeing it to be productive. Its not just the eating thing im working on I have been in indepth reasearch on alchaholism, drugs, rape, self inflicted injuries. you name it i have been reading on it. Its realy a epademic than anything. I just wish i could reasearch on the equestrian leval. there is stuff out there for almost every sport except ours. well I got to run.

May. 27, 2000, 10:57 PM
CTT - I agree with you......

I just finished doing a report on self injury for one of my classes. it was VERY hard for me because I have dealt with that issue myself and being objective was a struggle - but god the books I read made me cry and so did the webpages. That stuff scares me. There are so many issues and society is telling us all our bodies aren't good enough - we need to love ourselves as we are.


May. 27, 2000, 11:36 PM
Yes we do nead to learn to love ourselves. Sarah Im proud of you. You have realy come a long way and have grown since i first met you. You are very butifull and very talented. Your heart is big and full of love. remember you are very special to me.
Smile and know that you are so important to this world.

May. 27, 2000, 11:42 PM
Thanks CTT - that means alot to me to hear (read?) you say (write?) that. Very very much - and thank you, I will.


May. 28, 2000, 12:19 AM
You are welcome its only the honest truth.

Trying To Smile
May. 28, 2000, 01:56 AM
I havent ever posted on these boards before. But its so hard sometimes not to. WEIGHT has also been a big issue for me. I am 5'4 tall, weigh 145 lbs, and am sixteen (just a few weeks ago). I wear a size 30 Tailored Sportsman. Whenever I have a hard day at a show, my mother (who doesnt know the difference between a bridle, a halter, and wraps) tells me its because I am overweight. How does she know? When I come home to cry because I am fustrated with myself and my horses about our progress, everyone tells me that I should lose weight instead of sit there crying because if I weighed less we'd be jumping 3'9 perfectly instead of fighting for the 3'6 rounds. My parents tell me to "work out for an hour each day" and eat healthy things like salads and baked potatoes. But do you see those things at shows? My parents NEVER come to my shows- I always stay with fellow jr riders or their parents. They went to Europe for two weeks and finally I feel like I can breathe in my own house. They told me they'd send me to fat camp for the summer if when they came home I hadn't lost any weight (instead of showing my horses) and theyd let someone else campaign our horses. I CANT TAKE IT ANY LONGER!!! I have reached the extreme. I know taking drugs are horrible but today after they left I went to Walgreens and bought DietAid and took it but my friends ruined it. I was trying not to eat anything but we all got together at my friend Rachels house to watch movies, and of course we make cookies and drink Baccardi Frozen Daquiri Mix (no liquor of course) and I eat some. And I feel so guilty and like a pig! And I know its SOO wrong to take pills to be able to ride your horses! And if my parents think and scream at me that I am out of control, so out of control that they can leave me with my housekeeper for 2 weeks alone? And I dont know what to do I am so fustrated and angry and ready to do something drastic! Everything is so pointless and I am so sorry to post this stuff here but I have no one else to tell.

May. 28, 2000, 02:47 AM
Trying to smile. Thankyou for your post. There are about 3 other threads that go with this one. And on a fue of them there is a tone of other storys like yours. I myself am a continueing recovering anorexic. I have been recovering for 7 years maby longer. But let me talk to you for a moment. I have a long story that threw all of these threads you can read. But Its a road that almost killed me and I mean almost killed me. If it was not for my sister donateing a kidnie to me I would have been dead and not here now. Its realy that serious. You can realy die from this. You think you have it under control but actualy your far from it when you get to this point mentaly. There are so many girls out there that die from this and they neaver learned what it is to truly live. The sad part is they started just where you are right now. When someone is concerned with there weight it a self confadence problem. they pop pills, eat less, vomit, little by little they loose control of themselves. And the recovery is not prity eather. When your confadence is down you begin to listen to people you know you should not. Then the process starts and day dy day you loose a little bit of yourself. Then one day you might just find yourself in a hospital barely hanging on for life. You are saying right now that won't hapen but I said the same thing. Right now Im hacking up a storm and I can't take anything for 2 hours cause I just took my rejection meds and For some reason tonight Im in agony cause I can't take a simple antihistmine. Let me give you a word of advise. you said your weight is holding you back. Guess what its not. Its your mind thinking that its your weight holding you back. Look real close and realize that you are you and that life. I would do anything to gain a fue pounds right now. Every day I fight just to stay alive. It starts off as a fue harmless pounds and then it turns very quickly into a disease. If you nead to talk you can write me anytie. Know that ok. I ask you of a favor to take thoese pills and throw them away. they do so much harm. If you realy feal you nead to loose the weight I can send you storys, and about 300 things that can hapen. System malfunction, in abilaty to have children, iregular piriods, Destruction of enzimes ( they brake down foods, you loose them you can't store any newtrition from foods), failing metabolism, And death. Please don't do it. And never feel guilty cause your body neads that food so bad just to survive. you fail to give it that and you risk bringing death upon you.

Jun. 2, 2000, 01:29 PM
Thanks CTT - I hadn't read this page until today, and I do hope, Trying To Smile, you ahve taken the time to read through all these threads. Please do not hesitate to email CTT or me directly if you need to talk to someone -
And next time someone tells you it's your weight holding you back - believe me it ISN'T, tell them "BU******, it's you telling me thing like that!" (I think I put int he right number of stars!) Meanwhile - go watch the GUYS out there winning - believe me, many of them are NOT tiny & lithe & skinny. I will say, I certainly don't fall into those categories, but (on good days) I don't do too badly, either. Or go watch that wonderful young Canadien rider - she isn't aneorexic like many of ours, and she is certainly winning and looking wonderful while she is at it. Or Olympic Bronze medalist, Heidi Robiani (1984) - She did an AMAZING job.

Be Strong! And BE CONFIDENT - the confidence will make or break you every time. Make sure your balance and basics are the best they can be. And if your coach give your grief about your weight - FIND ANOTHER COACH - one who will support and applaud you (AS well as teach you what you still need to learn.)

Take care.

By the way, it has taken me 45 years to tell my mother - who is now almost 85 - that when she makes a comment about my big butt, it is not very nice and certainly not appropriate. And I did it this week - felt great. Of course, she's a tad (!) forgetful, so she will do it again, but I will keep saying it. So don't wait so long to tell your mother the same thing - but try not to fight, just say, Mom, that not nice and not appropriate and mostly, that is not true.

Good luck.