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dennaj
Apr. 2, 2000, 09:42 PM
This weekend at one of our collegiate horse shows, one of my students had to ride off against another of my students for the reserve highscore rider award. She did a beautiful job (she is a novice rider) and came really close to beating my open rider who is one of the best in the region. She asked me what she did wrong and I told her that she looked really great and with a little more mileage she would do even better.

For those of you who dont know, at college shows the riders are allowed to ask the judge questions about their ride after the show. So my happy little novice rider goes meandering over to the judge to ask her opinion on what to work on. The judges reply was that she had nice equitation but she would never win seriously unless she lost 5 pounds.

This was a FEMALE, large R judge. This is college riding, and not the maclay finals. The kid was crushed beyond belief. This is NOT a fat rider, as a matter of fact I would not even call her overweight. She is a big boned girl, almost 6 feet tall, who is of average to below average weight.

As a coach and teacher, I was seriously affronted. It may be that the judge meant well, but since she is a woman (we are ALL obsessive about our weight), you would think that she would have been a little more sensitive. I am not saying that it is any less offensive coming from a man, but men deal with completly different body type issues than women do. I personally know of 3 boy riders in our area in the last 10 years who won lots of medal classes and they were what I would classify as overweight, and yet, I dont think I ever heard anyone make a comment about how they needed to lose a few pounds.

If anyone else has visited the A shows in the past few years, they have seen several skeletal riders. I made a comment to a very well known trainer about one girl and he said, Oh, well, we dont talk about the problem. I was shocked. Did everyone feel that if they ignored the problem then it would just go away. Or was it guilt at having started the problem in the first place.

When is the last time that you ever heard a person who had to diet themselves to the bone to stay thin, telling someone that they needed to lose weight. Hooray for you if you are naturally thin, but dont destroy someones self esteem, because you were lucky enough to have "thin genes".

I know that we have created equitation, with the tall thin rider in mind, but are we willing to sacrifice, what could be a childs life to an equitation championship. What is wrong with people that they are unable to accept people as they are.

All our riders are very physically fit, and if I get a rider that is a bit out of shape, or large, we encourage them to join us in 4 weekly workout sessions to get in shape. Wouldnt it have been more appropriate for the judge to have said that she felt the other rider was more experienced and perhaps a tad more physically fit, and encouraged the rider to run or work out to become more fit. Calling someone fat, never solved any problems with riding. I feel it only creates more.

Sorry this is so long. Please reply with your experiences and opinions.

dennaj
Apr. 2, 2000, 09:42 PM
This weekend at one of our collegiate horse shows, one of my students had to ride off against another of my students for the reserve highscore rider award. She did a beautiful job (she is a novice rider) and came really close to beating my open rider who is one of the best in the region. She asked me what she did wrong and I told her that she looked really great and with a little more mileage she would do even better.

For those of you who dont know, at college shows the riders are allowed to ask the judge questions about their ride after the show. So my happy little novice rider goes meandering over to the judge to ask her opinion on what to work on. The judges reply was that she had nice equitation but she would never win seriously unless she lost 5 pounds.

This was a FEMALE, large R judge. This is college riding, and not the maclay finals. The kid was crushed beyond belief. This is NOT a fat rider, as a matter of fact I would not even call her overweight. She is a big boned girl, almost 6 feet tall, who is of average to below average weight.

As a coach and teacher, I was seriously affronted. It may be that the judge meant well, but since she is a woman (we are ALL obsessive about our weight), you would think that she would have been a little more sensitive. I am not saying that it is any less offensive coming from a man, but men deal with completly different body type issues than women do. I personally know of 3 boy riders in our area in the last 10 years who won lots of medal classes and they were what I would classify as overweight, and yet, I dont think I ever heard anyone make a comment about how they needed to lose a few pounds.

If anyone else has visited the A shows in the past few years, they have seen several skeletal riders. I made a comment to a very well known trainer about one girl and he said, Oh, well, we dont talk about the problem. I was shocked. Did everyone feel that if they ignored the problem then it would just go away. Or was it guilt at having started the problem in the first place.

When is the last time that you ever heard a person who had to diet themselves to the bone to stay thin, telling someone that they needed to lose weight. Hooray for you if you are naturally thin, but dont destroy someones self esteem, because you were lucky enough to have "thin genes".

I know that we have created equitation, with the tall thin rider in mind, but are we willing to sacrifice, what could be a childs life to an equitation championship. What is wrong with people that they are unable to accept people as they are.

All our riders are very physically fit, and if I get a rider that is a bit out of shape, or large, we encourage them to join us in 4 weekly workout sessions to get in shape. Wouldnt it have been more appropriate for the judge to have said that she felt the other rider was more experienced and perhaps a tad more physically fit, and encouraged the rider to run or work out to become more fit. Calling someone fat, never solved any problems with riding. I feel it only creates more.

Sorry this is so long. Please reply with your experiences and opinions.

Weatherford
Apr. 2, 2000, 10:09 PM
Thank you for an eloquent and passionate plea. I couldn't agree with you more.

There were two seriously aneorexic/bullemic female riders in the GP ring at Wellington - and neither look like they will survive til next year.

How many people will DIE from this stupidity? And, believe me, they will die. Or as the Dr with whom I was recently chatting about this said, "I'm surprised those two are still alive.

"We don't talk about it" is norm: don't talk when someone is COMMITTING SUICIDE by starving themself - but blast them because they are normal happy people with big bones, muscular thighs, and breasts. Speaking of sick behavior on the part of judges and coaches. Gee, has it ever occurred to anyone that that round soft shape is NORMAL for a woman??? and in other societies, coveted??!!!

Fitness is key - I know, because for the last 10 years (well, more), I have spent the majority of my time staring at a computer monitor. When combined with certain health problems, my body suffers. And while I did not lose weight during my 8 weeks in FL (actually, I do not keep a scale around, so maybe I did), I did gain a tremendous amount of riding fitness - and that shows.

People - do everything you can to get FIT, EAT and eat right, and find the horse that compliments your size and shape. And DON'T show under judges who make stupid comments such as the one in the above post.

Snowbird
Apr. 2, 2000, 10:10 PM
If that were my student at any level who received that reply, I can assure you that the judge would receive from me a very private letter explaining how she had done so much damage to this child who would have needed body remodeling to remove bone to suit her.

Whether it is a virtue or a sin is for others to decide, but in my opinion whenever look becomes more important than quality and ability it is the judge who is in error, whatever the field or sport.

I speak to you as someone who has had the opportunity to be skinny. I did not find it an asset. I speak as someone who was a model and I think that it is a crime when vanity supercedes ability. My children and grandchildren are beautiful and by contemporary standards might be the right build, I would be very unhappy for them if they grew up believing the looks were everything. What a pity that is! God! made us all different, if it was wise for us all to look the same why not just clone those few ideals for everyone.

What a boring world this would be if every female looked like every other female and they were all size 2. Where then would excellence be?

RolexH
Apr. 2, 2000, 10:17 PM
Denna,

I was at the same horse show and not only did the judge tell the rider, you speak of, that she was overwieght but another girl that she pinned first! This girl was MAYBE 5'1", and did have a little weight problem but flawless equitation... she told her(in front of a lot of riders) that if she wanted to be competetive, she needed to diet. I qoute,"I hope I see less of you next year." I was appalled

I am almost 6 feet tall I wear a size eleven shoe, I am no littlw woman /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif. Yeah college has taken a toll on my figure but I am not a huge beast. I have had a huge difference in my placings due to the weight gain. I am just of a strong rider as I was when I was thinner, but I am not winning everything. I have gone from NEVER I repeat NEVER getting below a first in a flat class during an entire circuit to pinning thirds and fourths. I think it is the weight. I just dont fit the "mold".

I think we need to look at postion NOT weight. That is ridicoulus and painful. I have been very hurt by this steriotype. I have lost a lot of self confidence due to it and it needs to change! Does anyone have any other comments...sorry I babble. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Rolex

chicadee411
Apr. 2, 2000, 10:24 PM
Having competed in IHSA and AHSA shows, I am appalled at your story. I cannot imagine a judge, let alone female, saying that to a rider.
Growing up doing the big eq I know how people act and what trainers say. My trainer never said anything to me about my weight, but I always heard stories of other trainers making coments to their students, even demanding their students to lose weight, even if they were thin.
It also upsets me when people judge based on body type. I had a lot of difficulties because I had shorter legs and arms than everyone else. Therefore I didn't have that "look" that was necessary to win. I think many of the AHSA judges look for the tall thin riders, but the good IHSA judges, I'd like to think, don't let that effect their judging. In my opinion, IHSA shows are a totally different ballpark. After competing with my team, I almost dread going back to regular AHSA shows. I believe IHSA shows truly judge the ride, not how expensive your horse is or what clothes you wear or what body type you have. But your story doesn't exactly demonstrate that, which is upsetting. I think many of the judges out there need to start judging the rider for their abilities, not based on their trainer, their clothes, their $100,000 horse.

Lily
Apr. 2, 2000, 10:41 PM
It really saddens me to learn how widespread this attitude has become in our sport. Right now on the BigEq bulletin board, there is the suggestion that Georgina Bloomberg should be doing the equitation simply because she's skinny." Where is this mindset coming from?
I hope that something is said to this judge regarding her inappropriate comments. I confess I'm not too clear on how the IHSA works, so I don't know if this is possible, but I'd certainly think twice about inviting this judge back.
Fitness is what should matter- not how skinny someone is or isn't. Weight should only matter if it seriously endangers horse or rider.
I agree with everything that's been said. What can we do to change this mindset and instead get people to appreciate healthy, fit bodies?

dennaj
Apr. 2, 2000, 10:54 PM
First of all, to weatherford, one of the riders that you saw in Wellington, in the GP ring, has been a skeleton for at least 4 years that I know of and she is who I was talking about in my first post. She actually looked as if she (thank god because she looks so much better), gained some weight since the last time I saw her. So hopefully, finally someone said something to her, or tried to intervene and get her some help.

Second of all, is there a way to speak about this problem at the AHSA convention? Does anyone who reads this board know how to go about getting this subject on the agenda. This is a really touchy subject, but one that I feel needs to be addressed.

Not to make light of all that Joe Dotoli is doing with the helmets, but isnt the health of our children, nutritionally, just as important as headgear issues.

How can people who are so concerned about not letting people fall off and get a fatal head injury, stand around and watch our children starve themselves to death. Is there someone in our country who could or would become our spokesperson on this?

dcm
Apr. 2, 2000, 11:05 PM
Being a horseshow mom of a 13 year old girl, this kind of thing really saddens me. My daughter will never be tall and thin. She is 5'4" and 115 lbs. Not much fat, but plenty of muscle. If I ever hear of a judge saying these sort of things to my child, I will do everything within my power to see that that judge is nowhere near my child again. Ditto the trainer. Fortunately, her trainer is a gem.

Can the show organizers be contacted about this? Could a circuit start a "black list" for judges that make weight a criteria for winning and not invite them back? Maybe as part of a judge's training, they need to learn about eating disorders and the damage to one's health? What about a letter writing campaign to AHSA?

It seems like there is plenty that we could do, we just need to get organized and get the ball rolling.

JumpFoxy2000
Apr. 3, 2000, 12:54 AM
I think it is disgusting to see mostly skinny riders in the equitation.I am glad if you are just naturally skinny,God gave you that right,but people who starve themsleves to death just for the blue ribbon(most of the time there is no cash profit!)should not be able to ride horses!It is dangerous to be too skinny,you usually lose muscle and then you want to sit on a 1,500+lb animal,give me a break,you can be seriously injured if not killed!I feel sorry for those judges who can do nothing but sit on their butt and judge people how they look and by how they ride, they shouldn't even be called judges but they could be called monsters!I am not from a family blessed with being skinny,but the far oppisite.I have worked hard not to be overweight and I think that if I ride well,screw the judges that think otherwise!I asked to look at the judges score cards once and the girl who got first every time had a lot more faults than I did(and more than other riders as well),so I asked why I placed 2nd behind her in my classes if I scored better and he told me that I didn't fit his "perfect-rider"desciption.So I told all my friends and now we don't go to any shows that have him judging(we have complained to show management also),the result-he no longer judges any more of these shows!We as a whole need to let our voices be heard,equestraian sports are headed to bad times if this "skinny"trend doen't stop!!

Beans
Apr. 3, 2000, 09:12 AM
It would seem writing a letter to the judge wouldn't make any difference. Writing a letter about the comments to the AHSA should be done immediately. I would also like to see a national movement on this issue so the matter can be brought formally to the AHSA - if someone wants to put together a petition...well let's get going. They could be left at tack shops all over the country and I have no doubt we would have thousands and thousands of signatures.

As I've stated before on another thread on this subject - MOSTWOMEN are not built like adolescent BOYS! Those who believe they should be ....need to see a shrink. We have enough skeleton female riders out there now - so grossly underweight you wonder how their heart muscle is functioning - and those skinny skinny male trainers making nasty comments about weight haven't helped either.

I think it's interesting that the Chronicle has an editorial on attracting people to our sport....well HEY GUYS WAKE UP...a sport that blatantly ridicules a rider, not for their talent or their ability but simply for their weight isn't exactly the kind of sport that will attract the masses who ARE NOT SKINNY BOY BODIES!!!

Twister
Apr. 3, 2000, 09:17 AM
I am glad the weight issue reappeared because I have an interesting side note to add.
In Time Magazine this week, there was a chart of the Body MAss Index(BMI) of Miss America since 1920. The trend line was a 45 degree angle downward. Not too surprising, except for teh addition of a line which is the WHO's cut off point for undernutrition. Since about 1965, only four Miss America's were above that line. The only positive note is, it appears 1998 was the second heaviest Miss America ever and 1999 was one of the ten heaviest...
The report came from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

haligator
Apr. 3, 2000, 09:53 AM
Hi All,
I'm a 'r' judge and officiate at both AHSA and IHSA shows. I have never judged a rider based on their weight - to me, that would be like judging someone based on their religion or ethnic background. It is simply prejudice! If a judge can find nothing to mark down on a rider but their weight, I seriously wonder about their abilities. I know I will probably get flamed for saying that, but think about it.

In 1991-1993 when I was learner judging to get my AHSA license, I heard a number of big 'R' judges say some very inappropriate comments about female riders' weights - of course no comment was ever made about the male riders. However, I also sat with some judges who were 100% fair and non-political - and pinned the best rider despite their weight or who their trainer was. But the point is - there are judges out there who are prejudiced against heavy riders, no matter how talented the heavy rider is.

I was actually thanked by a trainer last year at a Long Island IHSA show because her student pinned first in a big, competitive class. Of course her student pinned first - she had a great leg, light hands, good posture, and overall good horsemanship. The student was also about 70 pounds overweight.....which led to me being thanked. The trainer explained that this rider, albeit a very talented and correct rider, never wins because of her weight.
Would this rider be a better rider if she lost weight? Well, that's not for me as a judge to decide - I'm only supposed to judge what is in front of me at that very moment, and judge it fairly. I'm not a doctor - I'm a horse show judge.

This issue, and many like it in our industry, make me angry and incredibly sad. And because I don't play politics, count strides, or penalize heavy riders, I will probably never receive a promotion to big 'R'. But that's okay - I like the horse show world I exist in - where most horses are still pets and ponies get hugged even if they put in five strides in a two-stride combo.

Sorry for the long post, but this issue struck a raw nerve with me.
*Hallie*

Louise
Apr. 3, 2000, 10:09 AM
Hallie,

I am so glad that there are judges like you out there. Thank you for being a fair and caring person. Can we clone you?

Seriously, I think that you have hit the nail on the head when you said that it is the judges business to judge the riding that he/she sees, not what could be better "if".

[This message has been edited by LOUISE (edited 04-03-2000).]

Marimee
Apr. 3, 2000, 10:14 AM
When I rode in the IHSA, I had a judge make a comment that I was "Unfortunate to have pulled the wrong type of horse for my body type, A short-stocky horse and a short-stocky rider make a bad picture!" OK, after that, my then coach (almost 6' and very thin) told me that she would not have chosen me for the team if I had tried out when she was choosing team members because of my height and weight. Can you imagine, being 20 years old and hearing this?

I know that I'm not a small girl, 5' 1" and about 120lbs. I really am not fat but carry lots of muscle. I also made a decision that year, to prove everyone wrong about my riding abilities vs. my stature. I went on to win two IHSA classes and place 2nd, 3rd and 4th my other years. I also won an IHSA Alumni class and got a 2nd and 3rd other year that I rode. So, I didn't do too badly and proved to be a very dependable rider for my team.

For the most part, many IHSA judges are fair about juding the RIDERS ABILITIES. But those few that make these rude weight comments make kids feel awful about their self images. How very wrong to do to the kids of today!

PepTalk
Apr. 3, 2000, 10:32 AM
Hi, all! Right on, LOUISE! Hallie, can we clone you? Pretty please? With a cherry on top? We need more judges like you in the show world! I admit, I am 5' and about 154. And, I have NEVER been pinned down for being overweight! Although, I have only showed in small shows for the last two years, I constantly get pinned in the TOP 4, and the judges like my RIDING, not my WEIGHT! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I know this b/c my trainer has overheard the judge say what a nice rider I was! Without any mention of my weight AT ALL! SCREW JUDGES WHO THINK THAT YOU NEED TO BE 5'8 AND 90 LBS TO WIN! How stupid! Riding SHOULD be based on riding alone, not riding and weight combined! Just my thoughts.

Black Market Radio
Apr. 3, 2000, 10:50 AM
Yes, I think it is sad that people have to STILL be judged not only in the outside world, but in the horse world as well about their weight! One of my friends is struggling with bulemia because she "doesn't want to look like her family". I think that is sad. Hallie, you are not going to get flamed, quite the opposite actually. You pinned it for questioning a judges ability if they have to turn to such nastiness to judge a class. And Marimee, YOU GO GIRL!!! Right on for holding your chin up and proving yourself, that was the perfect revenge! I bet that skinny minnie trainer stuck her foot in her mouth! There are overweight riders who ride beautifly and skinny riders who ride horribly, to me it's black and white. Whoever rode the better course or test should win, plain and simple.

dennaj
Apr. 3, 2000, 11:22 AM
At exactly what forum at the AHSA convention could this subject be addressed. Does anyone know? If there were enough people who voiced their opinion, then perhaps it would have some sort of affect.

Jumphigh83
Apr. 3, 2000, 12:16 PM
I feel deeply for the young woman involved in that horse show. How ignorant of that judge. PLEASE write a letter, not only to that judge, but forward a cc to the AHSA and the Intercollegiate Association. I would not be afraid to mention his/her name either. Alot of us on this board and others run horse shows and I certainly would NOT want anyone like that destroying the self esteem of my clients and coustomers. If I heard that comment I would have addressed it immediately AND involved the Horse show manager and the president (or equivalent) and had it out right then and there..(privately of course so as NOT to embarrass the rider any further)That is so sad that in this day and age of tolerance and celebration of diversity that someones weight (or the lack thereof in some cases) still is the basis for open and hostile commentary by all those that percieve themselves as "holier than thou".

Portia
Apr. 3, 2000, 12:18 PM
dennaj -- It is terrible that your rider had to have such an experience. Sadly, women can sometimes be even more harsh about weight than the men.

Hallie -- brava for you. If only we had more like you. I sincerely hope you do get your "R" license; you and others like you are much needed at that level.

Goodness knows, this is not the only sport (or profession) that focuses on a girl's/woman's weight and appearance. The gymnasts, ice skaters, divers, and dancers, to name a few, have horrendous problems with anorexia and bulimia because weight is such an issue with their sports. That focus on weight has led to tragedy in too many instances. At least in riding there are many areas where those who do not fit someone's idea of "the ideal" body type can compete and be successful, but in those areas like Eq where that destructive attitude prevails, we must fight against it.

Just FYI in case some of you didn't see it and are interested, somewhere buried in the threads from a few weeks ago is one titled "Riding and Body Image" that also dealt with this topic.

KitBC
Apr. 3, 2000, 12:40 PM
Hallie, thank you. Weight is a difficult issue for all Americans, male or female, riders or non-riders. It seems that this realization has yet to make it to the horse show world. There was a pretty good article in Practical Horseman last year about body size & shape, discussing top riders such as Margie Goldstein Engle. I think the horse show publications such as Prac Horseman ought to pick up more on this topic. George Morris is a fan of fitness, but not of emaciation -- perhaps the Chronicle could ask him to address this topic in a coming-up Forum. I respect George's tough attitude towards things like turnout, fitness, etc. -- I may not always agree with it, but he is always fair, and he challenges us. It's up to us as individuals to know our limits of dedication and of our resources -- both time and financial.

Regarding judging, how about taking a good hard look at the horse's reaction to its rider -- for example, you can easily tell if a rider sits too heavy or makes the horse uncomfortable. Shouldn't this be a better indication of riding ability and effectiveness than a rider's weight? And, if a heavy rider has a better seat than a skinny rider -- you tell me whom you'd rather have school your horse!

stop4
Apr. 3, 2000, 01:13 PM
I know of more and more people with eating disorders. Especially at the bigger shows. The eating disorders are everywhere now too. Im a freshman in highschool and there are 8 in my gradeof 100 with an eating disorder. It is sad how if you listen to little kids even pony riders at the concesion stand saying "I dont know if I should eat today, I dont want to gian to much weight!"

Erin
Apr. 3, 2000, 01:18 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dennaj:
First of all, to weatherford, one of the riders that you saw in Wellington, in the GP ring, has been a skeleton for at least 4 years that I know of and she is who I was talking about in my first post. She actually looked as if she (thank god because she looks so much better), gained some weight since the last time I saw her. So hopefully, finally someone said something to her, or tried to intervene and get her some help.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I know everyone has the best interests of these riders at heart, but I'm assuming most of you are fortunate enough not to have had to personally deal with someone who has an eating disorder. An anorexic/bulemic's mind works differently... if you tell her you think she's too thin, that actually REINFORCES the behavior. Tell her she looks better having put on five pounds, and she'll probably panic and cut herself down from 10 carrot sticks a day to two.

"Saying something" to people like this isn't necessarily a good idea. (This is also why I've asked people not to name names when this discussion has come up in the past.) I'd suggest talking to someone else who's close to the person (parents, a trainer, etc.) and asking them to contact a counselor with experience in eating disorders who can tell them what to do, and what not to do.

I'm not an expert in this by any means, but I've been through it with a very close friend. It's an extremely frustrating experience...

loopdeedoopdey
Apr. 3, 2000, 01:58 PM
I myself am a very skinny person. I eat more than enough for my age, it's just my metabolism. I am 15 years old, 5'3 and 85 pounds- the ideal EQ figure, tall and skinny. However, I don't like it very much. It makes me feel pretty low when another rider, obviously better and more secure than me, pins below me in an equitation class simply because she weights 30 pounds more. If I'm going to pin well, great, but I want it to be because I'm riding well, not because my bones stick out.
I've had nonriding people stare at me and ask if I'm anorexic, if I ever eat, etc. I've had people tease me, sometimes in fun sometimes not. Even my best friend calls me string bean. However, horse people are different. They are forever telling me how they'd die to look like me etc. Yeah, they'll die to look like me because some people just can't be naturally thin, they have to KILL themselves. Is it worth it? No. So why? Because of the George Morrises out there who take 6 year old pony riders and tell them they're too fat. That pony rider's going to grow up and starve herself so that the Georges will pin her and admire her bones- never mind that when the class is over, she goes into her horse's stall and cries because she still needs to lose- so she thinks- 5 pounds. When she loses five pounds she still needs to lose 3 pounds. It's sick. I agree that someone needs to do something about the judges that are looking at your weight and not your riding, because they're going to do serious damage to the sport we love.

hoopoe
Apr. 3, 2000, 02:37 PM
Jumphigh is 101% correct. Write a letter to the AHSA and IHSA about this judge.

Loose 5 lbs? FIVE??? come now give me a break! A tactless comment. I think if it were me I would have said " I will as soon as my chemotherapy is done" And give my best A**kissing smile.

Coreene
Apr. 3, 2000, 04:45 PM
I would have been up the AHSA's backside with this faster than the speed of email!

Thank goodness for judges who pin based on one's riding and not the size of one's back end. Otherwise I'd have biffed lots of classes because of my butt and thigh size.

Maybe if the judges and trainers (because boy oh boy are there a lot that go on about the size of one's butt) concentrated more on the riding and less on the size, we would be able to achieve the same success as our compatriots in other countries, where rarely do they worry about such nonsense.

I entered Lane Bryant's contest for new models a few years ago (whoo hoo, and got through a few cuts), and one of the pictures I sent in was of my fat butt riding a polo pony. And that's why the 18-24 company is such a success, too - because they make great clothes for butt-sy and busty women. All the gals on my mom's side of the family are reeeeeally tall and nice strapping gals. I've never had a problem with it - too bad there are so many narrow-minded judges who do.

And have you ever noticed how a gay trainer that knows nothing about women or their metabolism seem to be experts in weight loss?

Lily
Apr. 3, 2000, 05:00 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by coreene:
And have you ever noticed how a gay trainer that knows nothing about women or their metabolism seem to be experts in weight loss?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Coreene- I think your reference to sexuality is really inappropriate.

Coreene
Apr. 3, 2000, 05:24 PM
Sorry, didn't mean to offend. I apologize for that, you're right.

Snowbird
Apr. 3, 2000, 05:26 PM
The place for this discussion would be at the various judge's clinics. Therefore, aside from sending a letter to the judge you send your mail to the Licensed Officials Committee.

If it were one of my kids, and I mean students too. That judge would receive a very direct letter from me. And, I wish that judge has a problem of over weight before she goes out of this world so she will understand how it feels.

I happened to have been one of the skinny ones even though I ate enough for a 300 pound football player. I spent most of my early years trying to put weight on. After the middle years it went into reverse. So, now I can sympathize with all of those who actually eat like a bird and put on a pound.

My two daughters were a classic example. My older daughter had the short leg and a chuky look even though she wasn't at all chunky but muscled. She by the way wound up a National Champion in the IHSA. My youger daughter had the look. It was really amazing how much better the older girl had to be to even get looked at, and the younger would be forgiven major errors.

So, this campaign is not new to me. PLEASE! send your thoughts by email to the Licensed Officials committee for the instruction of the judges. We may by that means be able to save not only many good riders who don't have the look but many young girls who become ill and are injured because they have the look.

AHC
Apr. 3, 2000, 05:32 PM
Not to attempt to interpret Coreene's words for her, but I felt that she was making a valid point. I think that most men, gay or straight, can't even begin to understand what young women go through psychologically in their attempts to deal with weight, height, looks, bust size, etc. Therefore, men may think nothing of making offhand comments about women who "need to lose weight," having no idea how damaging those comments can be.

I'll cast my vote for fitness, which makes sense for riding, other athletic endeavors and hopefully makes us live longer!

BTW, weight is not a personal problem (although I'm only 5'1" so don't fit the riders body mold), but I had a college roommate who was bulimic. Her roommates, there were three of us, were the ones who made her get help and made her tell her boyfriend (happy ending, they're married with kids today). It was a very difficult and emotional year for all of us. Anyone else who has dealt with this in a friend or family member understands how totally devastating eating disorders can be.

I'll support judges who rate riding ability above weight and height any day!!!!

Lily
Apr. 3, 2000, 05:33 PM
Thanks Coreene.

Flash44
Apr. 3, 2000, 05:46 PM
Boy, those insensitive comments by those judges have me burning. That is a direct admission that they were not judging the class by IHSA/AHSA standards and rules, but by rules that they made up on their own! That is grounds enough for a formal complaint to the AHSA, and for the AHSA to hold a hearing regarding regarding the ability of a judge to hold a license.

I just did a 5k race yesterday, and some of those not so skinny girls KICKED MY A**! They were definately more fit than me even if I weighed less.

Coreene
Apr. 3, 2000, 06:15 PM
I think it's a double whammy for those of us who are "strapping gals" and have no problem with it to be reminded that some insensitive clods do.

Regalmeans
Apr. 3, 2000, 06:21 PM
I really hate this issue. I am 5'5 and about 118 - but I have worried about my weight for a long time and that worry will likely always linger there.

It makes me so mad - this is a big enough issue in society - look at any women/teen magazine to see that. Why must it get dragged into our sport? Does it really even matter?

Does the average horse really *care* if his rider weights 110 or 160? I know my thoroughbred certainly doesn't! Does weight really effect how you ride? Not really at all - if you are following your horse and have that 'feel' you will ride well no matter what you weight.

I'm sick of people obessing about weight - sick of people thinking *I* am anorexic, sick of over hearing trainers at shows telling their clients (after they didn't win a HUNTER division "oh you should have won I can't imagine why they pinned her over you you looked SO much better and besides she's fat!!" (umm.... hunters... = judged on the HORSE!!) - sick of seeing diet ads in my horse magazines - sick of this national weight craze - sick of watching girls at my lunch table diet.

When will we be able to move past this and see each other as PEOPLE, not weights or dress sizes?

Sarah

haligator
Apr. 3, 2000, 06:40 PM
Hi Everybody,
Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm glad that so many people value horsemanship over weight! I am actually judging an IHSA show this weekend at Dartmouth - if anyone is riding or coaching there - come by and say hi to me at the end of the day.

Darden, I've tried e-mailing you but the e-mail keeps getting bounced back. Please try e-mailing me at haligator@aol.com.

Hallie /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

dennaj
Apr. 3, 2000, 06:45 PM
Does anyone here want to help with a letter writing campaign to the AHSA about this weight issue. If you would like to E mail me at dennaj@gnv.fdt.net I will send it on to the AHSA with a letter from me and letters from the rest of the University of Florida team members. Perhaps this will bring up the discussion in the judging forums (I doubt it but it is worth a try).

stop4
Apr. 3, 2000, 07:24 PM
I never thought I was fat untill I started showing more. There are just so many people out there that are thin, it makes it really hard if you are a size 6 like me and people still think that you are too heavy. When ever I eat at shows some of my freinds look at me like "what are you doing eating?? I thought you were needed to loose weight."
I know that it is easy to sit here and say that it is awful that kids are starving themselves but it is not so blck and white for a young girl who lost a class b/c she isn't thin enough.
Reagalmeans, Im sick of all this, too. Like all the wieght loss adds in horse magazines and little pony riders thinking they are too heavy. But think how much influence that would have over you if you were a young girl who wasn't a size 2.

Regalmeans
Apr. 3, 2000, 07:38 PM
One different note here -

If the horse show industry/mindset is so obessed with being thin and slim - then why is almost all the food sold at shows really fatty?

As someone who doesn't eat red meat or cheese or many other 'fatty' foods' and usually restrains from junk food while competing I find it very hard to eat at shows

- if they're all going to make us feel guilty for that hamburger/hot dog/bag of chips woudnl't you think shows could find a way to sell sandwiches, salads, or lower fat snacks? I mean I know at big shows like Devon you can get anything but at most smaller shows even rateds there is hardly any food - if I can't bring my own I usually can't find something I feel like eating.

Thoughts?

Sarah

mintee0257
Apr. 3, 2000, 07:47 PM
this weight issue is not new. when i was riding for my college team 25 years ago, my trainer told me that i would never be an equitation rider because i was too hefty. at that time i was 5'6" and weighed 135 pounds. i wish i was that now. also just 5 years ago at a george morris clinic, there was a young lady riding who was a liitle overweight - she did all that was asked of her by george - and did it well. after 2 days of riding with him - his final critique of her was - "if i see you next year - i hope you'll look like MISS TWIGGY NOT MISS PIGGY. how awful can you get. i am on overweight adult rider - i go out there and do the best i can. i know that i'm an effective rider but because of my weight may not be a pretty rider. i guess i'll just have to deal with my faults.

loopdeedoopdey
Apr. 3, 2000, 08:04 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by mintee0257:
also just 5 years ago at a george morris clinic, there was a young lady riding who was a liitle overweight - she did all that was asked of her by george - and did it well. after 2 days of riding with him - his final critique of her was - "if i see you next year - i hope you'll look like MISS TWIGGY NOT MISS PIGGY<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
That is really mean. I can't stand that man- he's a great trainer, I'm sure, but his comments about weight are really out of line.

JumpFoxy2000
Apr. 3, 2000, 08:10 PM
Okay,I've already posted here but I need to make one thing clear and so to those of you who may be offended,I'm sorry.
The judges have no right to tell people that they need to lose weight, but it is important to see that some riders ARE overweight.In most cases being overweight can or will make your heart work harder and make it difficult to breathe.Now then,you want to sit on a horse,okay,make that a summer show and you have a dangerous situation.
It's not the judges nor the trainers place to tell the rider that their fat,but it is up to their friends and family to advise them to watch their weight(I do not mean developing an eating disorder).
And yes sometimes to a horse,it makes a difference between a rider that is 110lbs and a rider that is 160lbs.But that also depends on the horse(size,build,etc.).
I am in no ways trying to say that it is good for people making comments about a person's weight, but I am saying that no one should be able to become too much OVER-weight.Again this depends on the person(age,height,build, etc.)
And again please don't tak this the wrong way.
-Leslie /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif
P.S.-I am not skinny(5'4" 150lbs,but I carry it well /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif )

showrider
Apr. 3, 2000, 08:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dennaj:
This weekend at one of our collegiate horse shows, one of my students had to ride off against another of my students for the reserve highscore rider award. She did a beautiful job (she is a novice rider) and came really close to beating my open rider who is one of the best in the region. She asked me what she did wrong and I told her that she looked really great and with a little more mileage she would do even better.

For those of you who dont know, at college shows the riders are allowed to ask the judge questions about their ride after the show. So my happy little novice rider goes meandering over to the judge to ask her opinion on what to work on. The judges reply was that she had nice equitation but she would never win seriously unless she lost 5 pounds.

This was a FEMALE, large R judge. This is college riding, and not the maclay finals. The kid was crushed beyond belief. This is NOT a fat rider, as a matter of fact I would not even call her overweight. She is a big boned girl, almost 6 feet tall, who is of average to below average weight.

As a coach and teacher, I was seriously affronted. It may be that the judge meant well, but since she is a woman (we are ALL obsessive about our weight), you would think that she would have been a little more sensitive. I am not saying that it is any less offensive coming from a man, but men deal with completly different body type issues than women do. I personally know of 3 boy riders in our area in the last 10 years who won lots of medal classes and they were what I would classify as overweight, and yet, I dont think I ever heard anyone make a comment about how they needed to lose a few pounds.

If anyone else has visited the A shows in the past few years, they have seen several skeletal riders. I made a comment to a very well known trainer about one girl and he said, Oh, well, we dont talk about the problem. I was shocked. Did everyone feel that if they ignored the problem then it would just go away. Or was it guilt at having started the problem in the first place.

When is the last time that you ever heard a person who had to diet themselves to the bone to stay thin, telling someone that they needed to lose weight. Hooray for you if you are naturally thin, but dont destroy someones self esteem, because you were lucky enough to have "thin genes".

I know that we have created equitation, with the tall thin rider in mind, but are we willing to sacrifice, what could be a childs life to an equitation championship. What is wrong with people that they are unable to accept people as they are.

All our riders are very physically fit, and if I get a rider that is a bit out of shape, or large, we encourage them to join us in 4 weekly workout sessions to get in shape. Wouldnt it have been more appropriate for the judge to have said that she felt the other rider was more experienced and perhaps a tad more physically fit, and encouraged the rider to run or work out to become more fit. Calling someone fat, never solved any problems with riding. I feel it only creates more.

Sorry this is so long. Please reply with your experiences and opinions.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I am very upset with people that think that "heavy"people have no business on horses. I am heavy. After all, I have 3 small kids. People like George Morris open state that heavy people should not ride horses at all. I have news for jeks like that....there are alot more of use less than perfect weight people riding than the so called perfect sized riders.
I have owned my mare for 15 years now. I started with her when I was a size 6, and yes we did go up to the "big Equi". We also did the open hunters at all the "A" shows. Now that she is older, and so am I, I only do the small 2'6" stuff. It has NOTHING to do with my size.
I really don't care what people think of my weight right now. I will lose it but only when I want to. The unfortunet part is that I know that I have lost alot because of it. The sadest part is that I don;t do the Equitation because of my weight. I only do hunters, but still my mare doesn't get pinned.
Just because I am not a size 6, doesn;t mean that I can't ride. I might not look pretty like the equi kids do, but I am extremely effective. And for those who are laughing at this saying that I put my weight into it...you are WRONG. I can get on most anything and ride it......and ride it well. Better than any "perfect" person that is taught to sit there and look pretty.

Jumphigh83
Apr. 3, 2000, 08:48 PM
That's why I do jumpers...Even though I'm fat, I can ride reasonably quietly and pretty effectively. My horse is 17 now so we are slowing down but I'll be back in the A/O jumpers as soon as her baby is ready. If I had the means, I would be in that division still..so weight or not, I'll ride as long as I can get up on the horse. (I have an auto immune thing so I take alot of drugs like prednisone, but stop riding???NOT while I still CAN)

woodbern
Apr. 3, 2000, 08:54 PM
Children today have enough to worry about without this crap about being overweight. (Since I am in my 40s, my definition of children has become anyone 18 or under.....).

I was a skinny-minnie until I was about 35 years old. Not skinny in the modern definition of today, however. I was slim, athletic and muscular. This was partially due to luck of the draw, lots of exercise. Tomboy upbringing, playing only guy-type sports - including tackle http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/cool.gif football - as I was the only girl in the neighborhood. I hiked, hunted and fished. Walked a lot, and rode whenever a horse was around..... In fact, I was one of those oddballs who took TWO sports every quarter in college while everyone else tried to avoid even one!)

I began to slide around 35, and have been sliding ever since. I carry a good extra 40 lbs, and it is no longer muscle. I know it because I feel it, the mirror tells me so (and so do my clothes). I am sure my wonderful mare knows it, although she has been kind enough not to mention it.... I don't feel healthy in the saddle, and I don't feel healthy in general. I am working slowly but surely towards Adult Onset Diabetes. Thankfully, with age, I have come to realize just how important it is to have your health, and have begun to implement certain "things" to help myself in that area.

The responsibility for my welfare as an adult is mine and mine alone. Yes, as an adult, only I can stop undermining my health and undermining my enjoyment of physical activities in which I have participated so long.

The keyword here is ADULT. I am here to tell you that it is hard enough to deal with all this body image stuff as a grownup - and the rest of you grownups know it! It saddens me and actually frightens me to hear some the comments made at horseshows, not only by the children about one another, but by the "alleged" adults as well.

With butting in inappropriately, I think all of us should be aware of just how deeply youngsters can be hurt by careless or mean-spirited comments .... I don't have children, so I don't know quite how they function in modern times - and - I don't think it is my place to correct the vipers who make such remarks .... but if the occasion arose, I wouldn't hesitate to put my arm around the shoulder of the child who was singled out, and give them a smile and a hug and remind them that "everyone is not the same, that and never will be - buck up and try not to take those stupid comments to heart!"

And P.S. I would also remind them that "pretty is as pretty does". Like they say about grandma's chicken soup to fight a cold.... it might not help, but it won't hurt!

[This message has been edited by woodbern (edited 04-03-2000).]

dennaj
Apr. 4, 2000, 12:25 AM
I think that the major problem with this issue is that most people who make comments on peoples weight, are unwilling to accept that there are actually, very physically fit individuals that are not twigs.

I do not speak from my own personal experience, as for most of my life I have had to keep telling people that I did not have an eating disorder (which any one who has ever had a meal with me will attest too), but I speak from experience as a trainer.

If your plan is to let someone know that they are out of shape, i.e. they look like working out in the gym would make their riding easier from both the standpoint of health, but also in the way the rider looks and feels about herself. Why not suggest that the rider might want to work on fitness or strength.

There seems to be a trend developing in this country. Tell someone the first thing that pops into your head, no matter how hurtful, and call it honesty. How many of you on this board have had someone say something to you, that affected your self esteem, and your body image, and had the individual who made the hurtful comment, follow it up with something like, I am just being honest, or I am just trying to help.

Get real, what ever happened to the old addage, if you cant say something nice, dont say anything at all.

And to all of you who posted and said things about being overweight or underweight. As long as you are happy and healthy with the body that god gave you, then you are PERFECT. Dont change a thing!!!!!!!

teddy
Apr. 4, 2000, 03:32 AM
I have a feeling that I am going to get slammed pretty hard here, but I really feel that I must say something in response to all of this. I will try my best not to cause any offense or be misinterpretted... but we'll see.
Everyone knows that talent is not enough to win you a blue ribbon in the hunters or the equitation. It certainly is a most necesary ingredient, but there ARE other components, as so many of us are all too painfully aware. Like it or not, we ARE judged on how we appear. Our aesthetic value is of great importance inside the showring, and no type of rule will ever change that, nor should it.
As a lover of perfection, I think one of the most beautiful things in the world to watch is a perfectly executed hunter/equitation round. There is just such an inherent beauty in a flawless trip, where the rider and the horse work together as one machine instead of two, uniting to embody grace, majesty, and pure loveliness. Say, in a particular equitation class, two riders achieve the great feat of executing a flawless round ("flawless" is a subjective adjective, of course, and so I would therefor encourage the reader to conjure his or her own image of what a "flawless round" is). These two riders had trips of the same caliber. Say that these riders are girls of the same age and that they are equally well mounted. Girl A, however is 5'9" and 135 pounds, while Girl B is 5"4 and the same weight. If I were judging the class, Girl A would win. Does that make me a horrible person? What can I do to change the fact that I would have the thinner girl win? I can not help it, a tall and slim girl will always seem more attractive to me on horseback than a girl carrying more weight. There is no happy solution either, because you know what? If a judge in the above situation was thin and pinned the thin girl first, then people would say that he/she was disgusted by larger girls. And if the judge was heavy and he/she awarded the larger girl the victory, then the people would only say that the judge did it because he/she wanted the larger girl to beat the slimmer one.
You can have a horse groomed to perfection and in glorious shape, but if you put an unattractive rider aboard it takes away from the picture. I wish that this was not a truth, but undeniably, it is. As this thread so clearly demonstrates, few of us have not had to witness the mentality of "thinner is more attractive" in the horseshow world at nearly every turn. I am, perhaps, a cruel pessimist, but this mentality is going nowhere and is unshakable. Nothing can be done, so we must all cope.
I am slender and tall now (at 19), and I eat like its going out of style, but I am no fool. I know that it will all most likely catch up to me in due time. I will fight off that day, but when it does eventually come, I can only hope to accept it and move on. If a thinner girl beats me to a ribbon that I once would have gotten in my more slender days, than so it is. I will look at that person and know that it is a more pleasant experience for the judge to watch her go around than me. I will look at that person just as I looked at the girls who beat me in my junior days who could afford nicer horses and more time riding instead of working. I envied those girls, sure, but they WERE better in the ring, how could I fault them for that? Life is most certainly not fair, but as long as I am trying my best and having my fun, who cares? I love my horses and I love this sport with all of my being... and that is what I let count. If you need to win or even place high to proove yourself and feel good, then so be it. But you won't catch me feeling that way. There are much better ways for me to proove myself. If it is your weight that is getting in the way of winning for you then that it is extremely unfortunate, but something that only weight loss will change. Don't let politics and personal opinions take away from the sport... those aspects are here to stay. You are left to love this whole silly thing that we all do for its thousands of other splendors... if you are unable to appreciate that then there is really no use in spending all of the money required in this sport... I suggest you pick up tennis or piano.

woodbern
Apr. 4, 2000, 05:18 AM
Ah ..... to be 19, tall and slim ... and to know it all.

AHC
Apr. 4, 2000, 08:47 AM
Yes, there are people out there who are overweight, and some of them ride. There are also riders who are thin but not physically fit (I would fit into that category these days, although I'm working on it). Neither situation is ideal, but the thread started out talking about judging riders and basing results on who was thinner. That is just plain wrong.

There is so much pressure already on women, teenagers and young girls to be thin from other parts of society, it would be great if we could remove some of that pressure from the horse/horse show world instead of making it yet another part of the problem. It seems to me that those of us who are older must try however we can to help younger women understand that the many different shapes and sizes people come in are normal and acceptable! We should teach them how to ride well, how to care for their horses, how to be true horsewomen, how to be good sports, how to value exercise and fitness, etc. That is what matters.

Moesha
Apr. 4, 2000, 09:35 AM
Not all trainers accept the "heavier" look in male riders. The pressure to stay thin may be an exception for male riders but definitly exists. In fact recent research, published in the Washington Post, NY Times etc. has shown an alarming "miscalculation" in the statistics for serious eating disorders in men.

KitBC
Apr. 4, 2000, 09:43 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by woodbern:
Ah ..... to be 19, tall and slim ... and to know it all.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is a pretty sensitive topic already without throwing more juice on top. I like reading a lot of different opinions, whether they come from a slim 19-year old or a heavy 40-year old mother of 3.

Beans
Apr. 4, 2000, 09:58 AM
Ah yes I second that comment to be 19, slim and know it all!!! Get ready for gravity, age and hormonal changes my dear....try as we all do our bodies do change and trying to keep your 19 yo slim body won't be as easy as you might think. I can remember skipping lunch for just a few days and easily dropping 5 pounds - now at 49 I could skip lunch forever and maybe lose 3!!!

As far as the comments about heart stress and weight....well let's not practice medicine here without a license, because many people who have dropped dead of a heart attack did so in prime weight and condition as top athletes because of genetic heart problems. Also severely underweight individuals - primarily female often have cardiac arrest due to the fact that their bodies have no fat to burn so they start burning up muscle tissue - i.e. the heart muscle.

I feel sorry for the people who can't dis-associate the rider's body type and size from the overall impression of the ride. I know of plenty of body slim riders who are just plain distracting when they ride - they seem to need to be "noticed" (especially in Dressage) and I find myself looking at them instead of the ride. I personally feel the best riders are the ones that just aren't even noticeable - regardless of body size - that work so completely with the horse that they just blend into the whole picture.

I think the Florida Team should identify this judge who made the comment. Judges who make such comments should lose their judging privileges and if they don't - let the market dictate. If horsepeople know they are biased well - DON'T HIRE THEM!!! When they don't get any work - well that solves the problem.

It's bad enough we have some judges who have bias about certain breeds of horses - AND OPENLY. My niece has a wonderful pinto pony, correct, great mover and wonderful jumper. Some judges won't pin anything but bays and grays in the hunter ring and don't seem to care who knows it! What does this teach kids who ride? The issue isn't the color of the horse or breed - it's how well they went and carried their rider. We've gotten so far from what a HUNTER should be in the show ring it makes me wonder what the point is anymore.

BTW - regarding rider size & weight - check out the people riding with ANY major Fox Hunting Association here or overseas and you won't see a bunch of skinny minnies and mickies riding those big field hunters - how the heck would they pull them up in the field? And how would they last they day out?

I agree with posts above - get a letter to the AHSA & the Intercollegiate and post the identity of this judge and any other judge who makes a comment. State the date and the location and let it be known. Equestrians deserve to know which card carrying judges have any type of open bias - they should be left standing on the rail and not judging in the ring.

Jumphigh83
Apr. 4, 2000, 10:31 AM
It's easy to cast stones when you are "tall, slim, and 19..." Walk a mile in my shoes and feel the prejudice..They an glare at me for being fat and be "ok" but I can't have an opinion about them being anorexic, bulemic, a bad rider pounding on their horse, gay, straight whatever.. There are many areas of life where we are judged on physical beauty. That doesn't make it morally or ethically correct. Hundreds of years ago a beautiful woman was "Rubenesque" Round and firm and fully packed.. It is society that dictates what is beautiful..There is NO standard of beauty. I hope those people that only see the slim person as attractive never have a catastophic incident in their lives where they are marred or scarred or (god forbid) in some way mutilated and live to go out in society again. They will then see how shallow their assesment of an individual is based on appearance alone. We can hope they "mature" out of it.

Glasgow
Apr. 4, 2000, 11:23 AM
You are, unfortunately, correct Woodbern. Criticism based on weight and/or a "svelt" conformation does not begin and end at adolescence.

I am a 40 year old adult who began riding only 10 months ago. When I first began searching for a lesson barn, I went to one facility (that shall remain unnamed) where the instructor advised me to forget about riding b/c I was too muscular. In her opinion, my athletic build would detract from the "streamlined appearance" that riders should seek to achieve.

Hearing this comment as an adult, I was able to laugh. In fact, I roared. My outburst very nearly sent the wispy young instructor tumbling backwards head over delicate heels.

I assured the young woman that despite my balanced diet and overall fitness, I would indeed learn to ride and ride well, that I had paid an exhorbitant amount of money for an hour of her time, and that I intended to extract every second of that time from her even if I had to use one overly developed arm to physically carry her from the office into the ring.

We got along just fine after that exchange, but needless to say, I never went back to that particular barn.

Unfortunately, ludicrous comments like the one made to me are more often directed at kids and younger women who may not yet have the self-assurance to recognize and dismiss them.

I agree with the majority of you posting here that governing organizations should be made aware of judges whose subjective prejudices are detrimental (or dangerous) to young competitors. Because judging is, by definition, subjective, it may not be possible to eliminate the problem entirely. However, where it is known that a judge uses weight or physical appearance as a criteria in evaluating a rider, that judge should be called on the carpet.

I am encouraged that societal attitudes on the weight subject seem to be changing. Ultimately, this type of global shift in outlook is what is needed. Destructive attitudes about weight and appearance are pervasive throughout American society -- as attitudes change in society generally, the horse world will follow.

In the meantime, kudos to all of you young women (and men) who refuse to allow the current asinine prejudice re weight to deter you from your goals.

Portia
Apr. 4, 2000, 11:56 AM
Article 2208. Position.

1. General. Rider should have a workmanlike appearance, seat and hands light and supple, conveying an impression of complete control should any emergency arise. ...

2. Hands. Hands should be over and in front of the horse's withers, knuckles thirty degrees inside the vertical, hands slightly apart and making a straight line from the horse's mouth to rider's elbow. Method of holding reins is optional and bight of reins may fall on either side. However, all reins must be picked up at the same time.

3. Basic Position. The eyes should be up and shoulders back. Toes should be at an angle best suited to rider's conformation: ankles flexed in, heels down, calf of leg in contact with horse and slightly behind girth. Iron should be on the ball of the foot and must not be tied to the girth.

4. Position in Motion. At the walk, sitting trot and canter, body should be a couple of degrees in front of the vertical; posting trot, inclined forward; galloping and jumping, same inclination as the posting trot.

5. Mounting and Dismounting. To mount, take the reins in left hand and place hand on withers. Grasp stirrup leather with right hand and insert left foot in stirrup, toe in girth and mount. To dismount, rider may either step down or slide down. The size of rider must be taken into consideration.

Article 2209. Appointments.

1. Personal. Exhibitors and judges should bear in mind at all times entries are being judged on ability rather than on personal attire. ....


Those are the rules for hunter eq. Someone show us where it says in these standards: "Personal Appearance. Rider must be tall and slender."

The only reference in the hunter eq rules to a rider's size is that the judge the size has to be taken into account when mounting -- meaning the judge should factor in that a kid who is 5' tall will look awkward trying to mount somebody's else's 17 hand horse, regardless of how good a rider they are and not hold that against them. I realize that the tall and slender thing is ingrained in the minds of Eq judges, trainers, and riders, but someone ought to point out that it is not engrained in the rules.


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

TropicanaP
Apr. 4, 2000, 12:02 PM
Wow, I am really glad I event and do jumpers and dressage. I have never been a skinny person. I have an hourglass figure and yes, I do carry extra weight. But most of me is muscle, I am on a syncronized swim team at school. When I first started riding I had the owner of the H/J barn tell me that if I lost 15 lbs. I could ride the best horse in the barn at the shows that season. I was crushed and didn't lose the weight. B/C I didn't lose the weight I had to ride the worst horse in the whole place. The owner of the facility said that b/c of my size I was the only person able to ride that horse (a draught cross). She got to chose who rode which horse, instead of the trainer making these decisions. She said that all the other riders were to small to handle him. They always stuck me with the hard horses b/c I had so much muscle that I was able to get them around any course. It made me a much better rider but I never won anything.
When I hit puberty I got even curvier and a new trainer came into the barn. He told me during one lesson "we are going to have to do something with your chest. You are so large that the judges will be looking at your breasts so much they will miss the rest of your ride." (I am a 34" D cup). I had to wear 2 bra's, (1 with underwire, the other a sport bra), and get my mother to wrap my chest with a standing wrap and duct tape, during shows. Then there was no movement to distract the judge. I laugh about it now but back then it was really embarassing!
I went to a couple horse trials to check them out and after getting to know the riders, trainers, and judges, I decided that I belonged there more then in the H/J ring. My parents didn't have much money so I couldn't afford the nice horses, nice clothes, and lessons from the best trainers. I went on to compete my horse in the Intermediate young rider championships and was quite sucessful. I have won many awards for eventing, dressage, and jumpers.
It's really to bad that the hunter judges can't see beyond the look. People that are overweight can still be very athletic. Trust me, I am. If a swim team let's me compete for their team, why wouldn't I win in a hunter ring?

Colin
Apr. 4, 2000, 12:35 PM
The weight problem is definately a big issue with "children", but it doesn't just go away when they become "adults"....which makes this an even bigger problem.

I am 32 years old now - my weight problems started when I was 14-15 years old showing on the A circuit. I wasn't skinny like the other girls....big issue....trainer said drop a few pounds... well, one thing lead to another, and anorexia set in several years later. I used to be a pretty good rider, but having lost 20+ pounds I turned into a space cadet that couldn't concentrate or focus....I may have been skinny, but I didn't win.

The weight issue has been with me ever since - it's not something that you can just get rid of. Although I have learned to live a healthy life, it was not an easy road, and I am still overly concerned about my weight and appearance (5'3", 100lbs). I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone.... not even my worst enemy. It is truly an all encompassing evil that tears you apart...and never really leaves.

I hope that people realize this and stop with the thinness pressure. It's a nasty world out there, especially for "children".

Nylar
Apr. 4, 2000, 12:48 PM
I'm probably what most people would classify as a "child" still. I just jumped up to the Adult Am. classes this season, been showing junior hunters and equitation on the local level for a good 4 or 5 years now. Even on the local circuit there are stereotypes. I'm 5'6 or so, and I weigh about 145. I'm perfectly within a "normal" size, and I'm healthy and strong enough to ride well. But even though I know I'm not overweight and that most of it's muscle, there's still that voice that tells me to skip meals or only pick at my food so that I can lose a few pounds. This has been going on for a few years now, and I managed to starve myself enough one summer to lose 20 pounds when I didn't need to, and a lot of it was because I thought I would pin better if I looked like one of my friends, who was blessed with the "look" and natural talent.

Frankly, there is just as much of a problem occuring with eating disorders in the hunter/equitation world as there are in sports like figure skating and gymnastics. I skated for years, and still stay involved as a spectator, and the problems there are evident as well in girls that I know from riding.

chief
Apr. 4, 2000, 01:36 PM
Regalmeans- you are so right about the food at horse shows! It drives me crazy and I could not imagine wolfing down a greasy hamburger minutes (even an hour) before my class. Why don't they sell Power bars, smoothies, yogurt/ protein concoctions? We're supposed to be athletes, right?

I was just telling my husband about a recent editorial in the Chronicle in which a plea for a "Tiger Woods of Riding" was mentioned... wouldn't it be great to have healthy companies like Nike, Gatorade (the best at summer shows) or Power Bar sponsor equestrians athletes/ horse shows? Big money for all involved there!

I've also heard George mention the weight issue but he is more apt to harp on it ruthlessly if the rider is slightly overweight and does not carry it well. I rode in a clinic with him last summer and a rider in a lower division was rather overweight, but she carried it well and it did not hamper her horse's jumping ability- I know, that probably sounds bad, but the rider was very solid, bigger, but just fit and confident. So, maybe George picks up on those who are self conscious about it, although it doesn't make his comments right! He did say, however, "The thigh can never be too long or too thin, but it must be fit." Take that for what it's worth.

I am riding with him in two weeks and have already found myself worrying about my weight and any comments from him- I'm 5'9" and 135... I don't think I am fat or overweight but it's sad that THIS is the issue I am worrying about with George!

Coreene
Apr. 4, 2000, 01:54 PM
I know lots of friends who won't ride in a George Morris or Robert Dover clinic because it is a big waste of money to spend a few hundred bucks to have insults hurled at them.

I met a gal who now rides with an unnamed California trainer. She is a brilliant rider. She also has a physical problem which requires her to take prednisone each day. When she was back East training with Dover, he made her go to the gym for FIVE HOURS EACH DAY because he refused to believe that it was "just the prednisone."

I'm very tall and wear a women's size 18. Although I wouldn't by choice sport myself in a swimsuit in front of an audience, I've never had a problem otherwise. And if some trainer, no matter who they are, think that it is appropriate for them to slam my body type in a clinic, it is at that moment that the clinic ends for me and I get a refund.

Maybe the next George and Robert victims should remind them that their vulgar comments, when said over a microphone in front of other participants and onlookers, constitutes slander. And you'd better believe that I would go through with the threat.

Coreene
Apr. 4, 2000, 01:55 PM
not to sound like I'm shouting but MAYBE WE SHOULD ALL FORWARD THIS THREAD TO THE AHSA.

woodbern
Apr. 4, 2000, 03:31 PM
KitBC .... if you feel the need to do a "value assessment" on any post on this thread, I suggest you spend less time on my 12 words (count them!), and back up and take a closer look at teddy's original post.

Given the tenor of teddy's ... ah, uh ... astounding comments, I hardly think my one little quasi-sentence added much fuel to this particular fire.....
http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif

And, have a nice day everyone, whatever the scale says! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Duffy
Apr. 4, 2000, 04:24 PM
OK, I've kept my hands quiet on this one for quite awhile. . . .But. . ..

I was one of those kids that could eat and eat and never gain weight. My pediatrician was still telling my mother and I at age 16 (yes, I was still seeing my pediatrician at that age - didn't have any reason not to) to feed me more and with more calories. Then it happened. . .the summer before my freshman year at college and that fall. . .my metabolism took a complete turnaround. . .It was devastating. . .And school pressures didn't help. My weight used to fluctuate up to 30lbs / year. I'd pretty much lose it every summer, then balloon up and down again. Talk about expensive to have even jeans in all those sizes! Somehow I managed to have one pair of chaps - forgiving, stretching leather!

Kip Rosenthal came up to do a clinic a couple times during my four years and she was fantastic. She had just judged an intercollegiate show the weekend before and I had not been there. She yelled across the indoor ring, complete with who knows how many other riders, plus people in the bleachers, to my coach and asked her why I hadn't been at the show. My coach yelled back to her that "after she loses 15lbs, she'll be back on the team again". Talk about mortifying. I think Kip felt worse than I did. I can't remember whether there was just silence or those embarrassed laughs, or what. I got over it, as we all have to. But I still remember it and it was over 20 years ago.

So, two children later, past smoker, all sorts of adult stresses (and I hate to tell you kids - that you may think you know what stress is - I thought I did - but you don't yet) and my weight still fluctuates. And my body is NOT the same, even when I've gotten down to "fighting weight". The same clothes that used to fit me at that weight just don't look the same now. (I really do need to clean out that closet.) And being "single" again has got me thinking about my weight even more and that makes me extremely mad at myself! (At least I haven't started smoking again to try to get skinny!) I'm not fat, but I know I could look better. But I get so upset with myself that at my age I should feel better about myself the way I am, and not be worrying about how people perceive me who may or may not even know me. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that the weight hang-ups don't go away as you get older and sometimes trying to fight them is just as hard. I dislike the fact that I'm a much more confident person when I feel "thin" than when I don't. Am I making any sense?

On the other hand, I never ate healthy in my youth and I can't say that I do even now that I supposedly know better. I'd still rather get my calories from chocolate than from something I wouldn't enjoy as well. So I guess one could say I deserve every pound on me and I would have to agree. But I am healthy today and for that I'm extremely thankful. And ultimately, I guess that's the most important thing. That, and the fact that my family and friends love me no matter what I look like, including my animal friends!!

Coreene
Apr. 4, 2000, 04:30 PM
Duffy, you rock! More women should be as secure as you.

It's no secret why Mode Magazine is such a success - because most of us in the real world are larger than size 12.

hoopoe
Apr. 4, 2000, 04:37 PM
Where is Heidi Robiani (sp?) when we need her???

Chief, you sound like you have a great figure. If anyone gives you flack, strip nekkid and ask them where you are to loose weight.

wadino
Apr. 4, 2000, 04:41 PM
Regalmeans (Sarah),
You say you are 5'5" and 115 pounds? I'm 5' and 113 pounds. Ypu, my friend, are NOT fat...Me on the other hand..I'm chubby. and not afraid to admit it. I could give a flying leadchange about what people think of my appearance. I care about what I think..not others.


Ryan

KitBC
Apr. 4, 2000, 05:46 PM
Woodbern, I think we should attack the issue, not each other. If your comment was not intended in that manner, then I apologize. I do commend Teddy for speaking her mind when she knew she'd probably get flak for it. As stated, I enjoy reading everyone's views . . . on the issue.

Black Market Radio
Apr. 4, 2000, 07:55 PM
When I was in bootcamp, we had recruits that were overweight and were put on diets. But they were never made to feel bad about themselves or anything like that. In fact, the DI's were motivating, and never faulted anyone for body type. But there is a major difference in this issue. The reason that people need to be a certain weight in the Marines is because you are in the military and need to be fit. But there were many different sizes and shapes and they took into account body type for what your weight should be if you were muscular and such. I had the problam of always being underweight, but I gained quite a bit in muscle while I was there. I think that fitness is VERY important, and I think it's sad to see so many frail people around who starve themselves. I think it is terrible for a judge to pin people solely on weight and body type. There are not very many tall thin people out there, the majority are "normal"
...to be continued, I have to leave!

stop4
Apr. 4, 2000, 08:03 PM
Maybe in a perfect world, you wouldn't have to be the thinnest one to win but that is the way that it is. So it is no wonder that there are so many riders that have eating disorders (myself and some of my freinds included) It's really hard to be 14 or 15 and know that what it taked to win is not just being smart and in shape, sometimes it takes more sacrafice.

If you go to any big hunter show and look at all the people who won classes, I can bet you almost anything that the riders winning the big classes are all thin. At local shows and smaller divisions the judging might not be any different for heavy riders but you would be hard pressed to find an even slightly heavy girl winning a competitive hunter class and that is the way it is.

J. Turner
Apr. 4, 2000, 08:15 PM
To the poster who wrote that she would place a taller rider of the same weight higher than the shorter rider of the same weight:

Suitability has something to do with it. The shorter rider may be on a larger barrelled horse ... or whatever it takes to complement her body type. Properly mounted, you might noteven notice.

I think fitness is the main issue. Ladies who do crew, for instance, are often over six feet tall and sometime heavy boned, carrying a lot of muscle weight. Don't tell me these ladies aren't fit. In fact, the overly skinny (even anorexic) individual may actually have little stamina and fitness.

Call me out of shape, but don't call me fat -- unless I'm truly unhealthy by even unathletic standards.

Also, when was the last time that GM (or anyone else for that matter) called Hugo Simon, Mark Leone, or Katie Prudent "fat," or even "not the ideal riding figure."

dennaj
Apr. 4, 2000, 08:22 PM
We are not sheep or lemmings!!!!!! WHY is it that everyone is so O.K. with things the way they are. If no one ever tries to change things, they will always, always, always, be the same and unfair. Dont any of you want to do something about this???????? And before someone writes back asking what it is that can be done, SUGGEST SOMETHING! I know with all you really smart people, who are horse people all gathered here, we can probably figure out some really great ideas on how to try and fix the situation. Come on people, give me some ideas!!!!!!

Flash44
Apr. 4, 2000, 08:46 PM
Some of you people need to get a life. I can't believe you look at someone and think negative thoughts about them because of their weight! Especially the person who was worried about a heavy person having health problems in the summer. I think that a girl who has not eaten properly in who know how long is more likely to pass out at a show on a hot day than someone who is well fed and getting all their nutrients every day. And YOU CANNOT JUDGE A PERSON'S LEVEL OF FITNESS BY THEIR BODY!!!! My sister just ran a marathon, and is NOT SKINNY! In fact, some of you princesses may even call her chunky. Well, she ran 26 miles in 5 hours. I know plenty of skinny eq riders who have to ride everything in a pelham because they don't have the strength and ability (Or fitness) to use their hands and bodies effectively.

AND ANOTHER THING...if you notice an overweight person participating in a sport or otherwise physical activity, you should not think, "look how fat she is," or "she would be better at that if she lost some weight." You should think, "Gee, look at that motivated person who is out there doing something good for her health and enjoying herself." After all, riding is exercise, right?

JRG
Apr. 4, 2000, 08:54 PM
I have read everyones post and I will start by saying where I stand on these issues.

I agree more healthy things should be sold at horse shows.
I also agree that the judges comments should have been left to her self, she can think them it is still a free country but decorum should have prevailed.
I also agree you are there to learn to ride not be condemned for the size you are. I am talking about clinics.
As for the weight issue. This is not ment to condemn anyone.
A horse should only carry a portion of its own body weight. I am not going to state it because I don't have the web page in front of me to take an exact quote. Anymore and it hinders the horse physically. This refures to obesity not just moderatley heavy.
I am a firm believer in "Fit horse, Fit Rider" no matter what the size is, and suitablility to count. I think that a overly thin rider is or can be just as unfit as a heavy rider.
This is a sport where fitness only helps in the task at hand.
But I don't think it is just a case of a couple of trainers and judges being misguided. The media plays a huge part in the way we all look at ourselves and each other. Fitness should be the issue here not just a type or size, and lets not forget about suitablity.
I think that a larger rider on a small horse looks just as poor as a small rider on a horse that is too large. After all you go to a show to be judged. You are compared to everone else in the class and placed according to one or two peoples opinion of what a good ride looks like. It is very subjective.

shiloh
Apr. 4, 2000, 09:14 PM
5 lbs? 5....I'm stumped - how and where did she see this awful blemish of 5 whole lbs? Noticing 50 I can see but 5 - bite me. And another thing - I didn't know that only skinny people were allowed to ride; so I guess that counts me and my big ol' flabby booty out. Glasgow - I love what you had to say - what a picture - LOL!!

I can't get over people's obseesion with thin is good. Like the skinnies here (I mean that nicely) have discovered - thin doesn't always mean good or healthy. I am appalled by that heartless judge and all the other heartless judges, trainers, etc that think they have to crush dreams because you don't fit their accepted little mold. My best friend is heavy and she is an awesome rider - so light and graceful, clinicians rave about her. Even skinnies ride like clumps ( I am one of them but I'm trying to fix that =)).

Darden
Apr. 4, 2000, 09:46 PM
DennaJ is asking for suggestions. How about writing a letter of complaint with the judge's name to the committe that handles AHSA Licensed Officials and to each IHSA Region president?

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

dcm
Apr. 4, 2000, 11:45 PM
Okay, so what are the names and postal addresses/email addresses for the appropriate committee members? Is there someone who can form a "guide" letter for us to use? Shall we bombard them with copies of this and the other thread mentioned?

I will do my part.

Side note to JRG: I recently was home sick on the day ESPN2 aired a USET Reining Qualifying competition on the "America's Horse" program. The one thing I noticed was that most of these highly qualified and highly respected riders were either pushing 200 lbs or pushing 6' and above - nary a skinny-minnie in the bunch. They were riding quarter horses that were for the most part under 16 hands and under 1000 lbs. Under the scenario of "A horse should only carry a portion of its own body weight", how does this compare to teenage girls ave under 5'7" and ave under 140 lbs riding 16+ hand, 1000+ lb Tb's and Warmbloods? http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/confused.gif If you could look up this website, I would really be interested in viewing it.

Black Market Radio
Apr. 5, 2000, 01:09 AM
OORAH Flash44! VERY well put. And thank you to the person who said that fitness does not mean a certain mold of a body type. There is a level of fitness for each individual person and everyone can be fit for whatever body type they are and should not be condemmed for trying it. I could see a judge saying something to a 300lb person riding a 14h arab, but a few pounds? COME ON!! It'ts so terribly sad. I also suggested to Erin that COH should do an article on eating disorders in the horse world. Or we could write letters to the editor for some of these magazines protesting the diet ads and such. I think they are terrible! My mom struggled with Anorexia/bulemia, and one of my best friends right now is bulemic. It is not fun. It's terrible. I hate to see her go through this. She is on medication that makes her not want to throw up. But she has been this way for four years! It's sad because they are so weak and frail, and yes, they ARE more likley to faint and become dehydrated during the summer months. I think this is something we really need to focus on and change. For those of you who say "that's the way ot is, it's never going to change..." Well, what if the early revelutionaries took that tone? We'd still be under English rule! Change comes from people standing up and protesting. It'ts like that Garth Brooks song "Go Against The Grain" the words are "nothin ventured, nothin gained, sometimes you gotta go against the grain" If you don't like something, fight it! That is how things change! Don't just sit in a rut and decide nothing can be done about it. earthquakes and volcanoes can't be controlled, but if the members of the HS world stand up and protest, then the comtrol will shift to the members. THINK 60'S LOL!!

Louise
Apr. 5, 2000, 06:51 AM
Duffy, you go girl. This weight thing permiates our entire society. Though the focus on the problem has been, and rightly so, on the young, the problems that weight perceptions cause contnue well into adulthood. As I wrote on another thread, right now you would look at me and say, whew, fat lady. And I don't deny it. I am carrying too much weight. Not quite as much as I was a couple of weeks ago, because I'm starting to take it off slowly and safely, but that is because I am concerned about my future health, not so much because of the way I look.

Yet, I'm a strong and healthy individual. One of things that I'm doing is walking more, with a neighbor who also wants to get more into shape. On the way home, we have to climb a steep hill. She is 10 years younger and not carrying nearly the weight I am AND she walks her big dog, who likes to pull her along. When we get to the top of the hill, she is the one who is puffing and wheezing, I am fine.

The problem is, that though I know all this and mostly believe it, there are times when I get so discouraged. I have a very pretty Mom, who has always been focused on looks. As a fat kid, there was always the sense that I was disappointing her by not living up to her idea of what good looks are. Even today, she'll occasionally mention how much better I would look if I were thinner. Today, as an adult, I am much more able to cope with that kind of an attitude, though it still hurts, but I remember how I felt when I was younger and it makes me so sad to think of all the youngsters who are going through the same thing.

I think that it was Jumphigh83 who said that you have no idea of what the prejudice is like until you walk a mile in our shoes. She was so right! Until we all start judging people for who we are, not what we look like, we will all be poorer.

So, tell me where to write and I'll most certainly write. It is unfair and so terribly damaging for judges to make the kind of comments this one made. S/he and others must be made aware of the damage that they are causing.

JRG
Apr. 5, 2000, 08:25 AM
I believe it is the Source but I will get the exact addy.
With your calculations, Dcm that horse could still carry over 200lb. But don't you feel sorry for the little horse underneath? and how is his legs?
I have seen more people make 2yr old legs look like they are 15. I have also seen working horses that have the utmost care, because they need to be sound to work.
I feel that in some cases, (I have seen a couple) where the instructor should have put the person on a larger horse but didn't want to say anything about it. I can understand that theory.
But if you are at a show why wouldn't you want to show everyone to the best of there ability no matter what size they are.
One way may be putting someone who is larger on a larger horse, as to off set the difference.
I used to be bulimic in HS, I stopped purging and gained 50lb. I have a small frame and I felt terrible, and unhealthy.
Since then 15 yrs ago, I am very fit and I still think I look bad on a horse that isn't suited to me. I still stand behind suitability and function.

dennaj
Apr. 5, 2000, 08:55 AM
Louise, I think that it is great that you are exercising to become more fit. Every time that you get discouraged though, you should think of all the people that love and like you for who you are. How you look does not make any difference to a real friend.

My friends come in all shapes and sizes and I love them all equally, because of who they are, and not how much they weigh or how they look.

Good for you that you have decided to be healthy, but remember that being happy comes from the inside not the outside. So enjoy the time that you spend exercising, because you share that time with a friend. If you exercise alone, enjoy the time because you are healthy and ABLE to exercise, there are a lot of people who cant. Go for it, and become the healthiest person that you can be. Kudos to you for trying (some of us who shall remain nameless, keep promising themselves that they will exercise, but dont actually do anything about it).

AHC
Apr. 5, 2000, 09:22 AM
Erin posted yesterday saying that the Chronicle is going to do a story on drug and alcohol abuse at shows based on a thread from this board. A good argument can be made that this subject is as important and should be addressed in the Chronicle and many other magazines.

Unfortunately, the body image/thinness issue is so pervasive in our society that it's easy to think that small efforts may be futile, but if we don't try then things will never change. Letters/emails to the editors of magazines with offensive ads, letters/emails to the IHSA/AHSA regarding judges who make inappropriate comments, letters/emails to those at the AHSA involved with judging to remind them that the rule book does not say that suitability means only tall and thin. (If I remember correctly, a few years ago GM was highly criticized for his comments about riders' build and weight in his Practical Horseman jumping clinic and he has softened his comments since then. Even if it's just better editing, it's a small step in the right direction.)

Here's a wild idea... wouldn't it be great if we could find a show rider, or group of riders, who would speak out on this issue in a wide variety of forums. Positioned properly, that could bring some good publicity to our sport for trying to put health and fitness above body type.

This one is too important to ignore. The mental and physical health of too many women of all ages is riding on it!

Flash44
Apr. 5, 2000, 10:52 AM
I think a horse can carry 25% of it's healthy body weight.

Jumphigh83
Apr. 5, 2000, 11:26 AM
That would be about 300 lbs for the average warmblood or big TB of 1200 lbs...But..I need to start up on the ***saddle*** issue again..(sorry but it is germain)..those QHs can carry those big men because their saddles spread their weight over a greater surface area of their backs which protects the back from deep spots and or pressure points..alot of weight pressing on say 300 (or so) square inches of saddle area (small prix type saddle) can feel alot more uncomfortable than that same weight spread over roughly 900 square inches of stock saddle. That's why saddle fit is crucial to performance. Sorry to start the "saddle thing" again. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Darden
Apr. 5, 2000, 11:35 AM
The addresses for the IHSA Region and Zone contacts are listed here: http://www.ihsa.com/address.htm

EqRider
Apr. 5, 2000, 01:40 PM
I've read most of the replies, and I think that in most cases when a judge cites a weight issue it is uncalled for. But there are time when riders DO need to loose weight for the well being of themselves and their horses. An example: My trainer recently told a student that she either needed to loose weight or find a new trainer. This girl was very very very overweight, and her horse was in alot of pain. THe rider wanted to move up to bigger jumps, but my trainer would not let her until she lost some weight b/c it was harming the horse. He was getting chronic back problems and was very uncomfortable. needless to say, the family left and the girl found another trainer that would let her do the higher jumps. Perhaps if a judge have said something to this girl it would have motivated her to loose some weight.

Unless there is a serious weight problem that is affecting the well being of the horse, I do not think a judge should say something. The rider is probably already aware of the problem and is self-concious anyway. i would report any judge that made an uncalled for comment like that. But remember, if you ask the judge what they think and you WANT their opinion of your riding, you are going to get what they really think!

I myself have the "perfect" equitation body. I 'm 5'10", 123 pounds, and I eat EVERYTHING! I eat 2x as much as everyone in my family, I just have a really fast metabolism. People may think that I am anorexic or whatever, but I'm not. I got LUCKY! Sometimes it is totally genetic and you cannot control what your body looks like! You just have to work w/ what you have and make the best of it. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

~Sarah~

Jumphigh83
Apr. 5, 2000, 01:49 PM
Trust me on this one..No "helpful" suggestion from a judge or any other "stranger" will motivate weight loss. It is a VERY sensitive isue with most of us. The only way to kindly deal with the "problem" is to have a very close personal friend or family member perhaps start a discussion about nutrition and/or fitness in a very impersonal tone. This could lead to a door being opened, but if you force the door open, you might find your fingers getting slammed in it when it pushes back SHUT. If the horse was suffering, I am surprised the individual wasn't more sensitive to the needs of his/her horse in terms of comfort level rather than his/her own weight. I know I am very accutely aware of how my body affects my horse and take great pains to see that she is comfortable AND sound.

JRG
Apr. 5, 2000, 04:54 PM
I agree that no amount of suggestion will work if the person does not see the problem.

For those that think your weight doesn't affect the way your horse performs here is two areas to look at,
Equine Vet. Journal, supplement 18, and On To Atlanta 96. The later has alot of great publications in it that go into explaining alot of exterior effects on horses.

Being as fit as you can be will only help you with what you are trying to accomplish with your horse.

Glasgow
Apr. 5, 2000, 05:07 PM
I've always competed in sports where success was objectively determined - i.e., by time. This thread is making me want to go to the jumpers and avoid hunter judges altogether.

Moesha
Apr. 5, 2000, 05:25 PM
Something being "ideal" is one thing, most likely the beginning of prejudice and discrimination, but being downright rude is uncalled for. Everyone should be happy with who they are and what they look like, forget the "stupidity" of people who judge others on superficial reasons and ignore the truth. Speaking of ridiculous body images, what is up with the crazy adds for various riding pants with almost shirtless women leaning over fences and trees sticking their butts in the air, how often do you see that when you pull into the barn!!!!!!!

Duffy
Apr. 5, 2000, 05:41 PM
Glasgow - I personally haven't found many judges to judge unfairly based on weight, IMO, at least in the Adults. There are still obviously some skinny adults out there, but there are also plenty of us that may not seem in "ideal" shape for this sport. I think that a lot of the pressure is more self-imposed as we get older. If you feel OK with yourself, than others will too, including the vast majority of the judges.

I know I'm looonnnngg since out of the Juniors, but I still watch them and most of them are beautiful riders on beautiful horses. It's a tragedy that some of them have eating disorders. As others have mentioned, it's extremely difficult to help these youngsters without actually having the opposite effect. Hopefully through education, threads such as these, articles in magazines of interest to them, etc. we can start the battle against this negative self-image.

Needless to say, action needs to be taken pertaining to any judge that makes such a derogatory remark to anyone of any age. But as posters have mentioned, I don't think the inherent problem lies with the judges, per se, or at least not many of them. It's driven by far more insiduous methods in society. Peer pressure, trainers, public image, and even parents have a part in this as well (not all, obviously). And as so many factors contribute to the problem, so too, many factors will have to contribute to rectify it. Please know that I fully support any changes in the equestrian world that will help with these self-image problems. And hopefully some of results of these actions will trickle to other venues as well. There are a lot of us that could use some help in the self-image department, not just the Juniors. I just realize that if we don't do something to help the younger folks out there now, then they'll be even more adults out there in the future with these same issues that don't have to! There's also the fact that people die from these eating disorders and won't even make it to adulthood. . .

Nora
Apr. 5, 2000, 08:36 PM
I'd just like to say that I'm very happy to see this issue discussed in such a mature fasion. I ride in the equitation, and I am 5'5", 145 lb. Guess what? I hardly eat at all. I go directly from the barn to the gym. I ride 6 days a week , and sometimes more than one horse a day depending on hif I have time (I take all honors classes in high school, so I have to keep my grades up, and of course, I do go to the gym every day after the barn)
I do not look overly heavy on my horse. Yes, I WILL AGREE, a thinner rider might "create a better picture". But the point is, you shouldn't penalize a rider that has an extremely nice position just because she is heavy. I know this kind of dicrimination occurs due to several things. I showed in the 12-14 Eq. last year (I do 15-17 this year) and I pinned VERY inconsistantly in the flat classes. I would WIN (or be top 3) in an Eq. class with 20 or more riders under certain judges at bigger shows, and then at the same time, in smaller shows, under certain judges, I have not even pinned at all. Not to brag, but I work very hard on my position, and the flat classes that I won I deserved to win.
I have tried starving myself to lose weight. I have tried not eating anything, just eating certain things, and watching my friends eat while I sat hungry and LITERALLY just starving myself, it was no fun. When I do not eat I get very sick (I have a blood sugar problem. I ended up riding WORSE and pinning worse under no food than I did under a full stomach. I had to learn that I WAS fit. I work out. I try my hardest. And no, I will not ever be a size 2. I will most likely always be a size 8 or 10 like I am now. LOL when I was showing in FL I was watching a girl that did the EQ. against me and she was VERY VERY thin. I commented to my trainer (who, BTW, is EXTREMELY thin herself, and altough she encourages me to lose weight, she realizes that I'm healthy and that I try as hard as I can to stay thin)well, anyway, I commented to her that "I want hips like that for my birthday"...she laughed at me and said "I don't think it is physically POSSIBLE for you to have hips like that Nora.." It was funny.
So to sum things up, I am very sensitive about my weight. I would be offended if a judge or someone that I cliniced with made a comment to me like the ones that I've heard made on this BB. However, I woudln't take it out of proportion. I would accept that that is one individual's opinion of me, and move on with my life. I would love be thinner, but I know that I'm doing my best to stay as thin as possible, and you can only do what you can do. So anyway, even though I'm not completely satisfied with myself, who is? No one, really is, and if it's not your weight you are unhappy with it's something else. So I guess we all just have to take what we get and work with it.. Some people are blessed with the fact that they can eat what they want and stay thin...that is great for them. Others, like myself, have to watch everything we eat if we want to stay at least normal weight. Oh well, this is the end of my long, drawn out, essentially pointless post : )

Nylar
Apr. 5, 2000, 09:04 PM
Thank you Nora! I'm the same way, and I too attempted to starve myself into that ideal build, which of course I'm not physically capable of having. Your post was definately not pointless, it's nice to see that I'm not the only one out there who's still fighting it!

rusty
Apr. 6, 2000, 06:37 PM
I have been lurking in this thread for quite some timeand have tried to figure out how to say what I want with out going on for evere or offending any one.
First on the reining horses add another 50 lbs to the rider for the saddle and pads. THese horses all seem to be happy and able to get their jobs done with out skinny minnies riding them.
Second as a trainer of adolesent youths I would never mention any thing about their weight because it is devastating to have it happen(been there). I have a lot of timid girls that ride with me that are over weight and seem to place well in the shows we go to. I tend to stress horsemanship and riding skills and let these girls deal with how they can get their body to do what they need to ride correctly.
I also have a couple of kids that are so skinny (not malnourshied, but very skinny body type) that there is not enough of the rider to keep their thy on the horse with out me seeing day light under their leg.
I think it is horrible for a judge to make that comment that started this thread, I think he could have come up with a better commet.
AS far as my riding I was never the skinny one as Jr. Lost weight as an adult to tyhe skinny ranks. At that time I won more I hope it was because my skill as arider improved not because I was skinny. Now I am battling the fitness issue not the weight issue, I feel that when I get myself fit myriding will improve and my weight will drop to where I am comfortable. I don't use scales I go by how my clothes fit.
THanx for listening to my soap box.

Cozmo
Apr. 6, 2000, 08:19 PM
I recently had a very bad experience at a horse show involving my weight. I'm 5ft 8in, I weigh 120 adn I wear a size 2. Here's my story- I was at a horse show last weekend and I was really nervous. I had just shown and I was waiting for my score (it was a WCHR horse show). The next person was finished and my score had still not been announced. I'm trying to qualify for Devon, and I needed first place points really badly. I asked a trainer (who is also friend) if they heard my score. Just then I heard it - I had gotten an 89. I won the class, and when I was walking out of the jog, I overheard a trainer telling my trainer what a talented rider I would be if I lost ten pounds. They were both agreeing how much more I would win. Later I won the AHSA medal. The judge came up to my trainer after the horse show and told her I should get an eq horse and that I should be doing the eq too, b/c I shouldn't waist my "body". The judge also said if I was planning on going to Devon and do the eq I should go on a diet before I went! I don't get it! I didn't think I was fat before last weekend! Now, every time I look at food, I just wasnt to vomit b/c I think the only way I'll win is if I llose weight!

Snowbird
Apr. 6, 2000, 10:17 PM
Cozmo,
Let me tell you that the most important part of growing up is knowing who you are. If every comment from people who don't even know your name is going to matter and change your life, you weight won't solve the problem. There is ALWAYS some reason, some excuse some alibi about why you don't win.

Step 1. Winning doesn't matter
Step 2. They all agreed that you were a good rider.
Step 3. Love yourself and do what makes you happy.
Step 4. An Unhappy rider doesn't win either.

This is from a trainer who's a MOM first. In my book they have the problem not you! And, guess what sometimes people are just plain jealous. And, Sometimes they're not thinking at all, just a little (open mouth, tongue flapping disease). Hey! how skinny were the guys talking? Maybe you should tell them you'd take their advice better if they were skinnier and knew what it felt like.

Regalmeans
Apr. 6, 2000, 10:36 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Cozmo:
I recently had a very bad experience at a horse show involving my weight. I'm 5ft 8in, I weigh 120 adn I wear a size 2. Here's my story- I was at a horse show last weekend and I was really nervous. I had just shown and I was waiting for my score (it was a WCHR horse show). The next person was finished and my score had still not been announced. I'm trying to qualify for Devon, and I needed first place points really badly. I asked a trainer (who is also friend) if they heard my score. Just then I heard it - I had gotten an 89. I won the class, and when I was walking out of the jog, I overheard a trainer telling my trainer what a talented rider I would be if I lost ten pounds. They were both agreeing how much more I would win. Later I won the AHSA medal. The judge came up to my trainer after the horse show and told her I should get an eq horse and that I should be doing the eq too, b/c I shouldn't waist my "body". The judge also said if I was planning on going to Devon and do the eq I should go on a diet before I went! I don't get it! I didn't think I was fat before last weekend! Now, every time I look at food, I just wasnt to vomit b/c I think the only way I'll win is if I llose weight!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

You so DO NOT need to lose weight! I'm 5'5 and 115 (good day)- 120 (bad day) and 1/2 the people I know think I'm anorexic (yeah, whatever). Trust me you don't need to lose weight! But if you really think you do see a doctor and ask them - and then do things like workout more (running, biking) or eating carrots instead of junk food or chicken for red meat - DO NOT throw up to lose the weight!

And trust me - these people are wrong! furthermore if you never 'felt fat' before last weekend obviously you weren't - you just need to be able to laugh it off. At shows people will always say nasty things - I've had people say my horse was lame and a horrid mover and I was fat and a bad rider just b/c they ere jealous that I beat them!

Good luck - and please don't let these people make you doubt yourself - if you're riding well, and happy (and winning /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif) and all you're doing it right and there is no need to make yourself sick over it!

Sarah

Weatherford
Apr. 6, 2000, 11:01 PM
Cozmo - you sound like you need to lose weight about as much as you need another hole in your head (although, if you had a lobotomy, you might loose that 10 pounds /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif!

I am also 5'8", and even when I was aneorxic during my college days, I was never below 145 - (unless I fell below it when I wouldn't look at a scale, which might have been possible). I have a large frame, very very long torso, lots of muscle, and very dense bones (it took TWO doctors once to insert a needle into my spine for a spinal tap....) (I was also pulled back to reality from the eating disorder by a dear dear friend before I landed in the hospital.)

I think if you look at the MetLife standards for height/weight, you would find yourself well well below norm/average/whatever.

And a size 2??? That didn't exist when I was your age (no kidding - a 1950's size 16 equalled a 1970's size 12 - I found a pattern once from the 50's and compared the size charts!)...but, it sounds awfully small to me...so you must have very fine bones - I hope you drink lots of milk to keep your calcium levels up!

So, you know what, next time you hear ANYONE telling you you need to lose weight, you just turn around and say, "yeah and wind up in the grave like Karen Carpenter?" (Oh, if you don't know who she was - a singer - the people you are talking to probably will) (and sooner or later you will be able to use some horseperson's name there, too) - and tell them to take their comments, and do something useful with them - eat them?

And, we'll back you all the way!!!

By the way, CONGRADS on your wonderful accomplishments - you might even track the judges/trainers who comment on your "weight", and refuse to show under those who are prejudical! Start a new trend!

Look forward to seeing you at Devon, where I am sure you will be a star!

Bascule
Apr. 7, 2000, 09:40 AM
Cozmo: I am aghast!!!!! You do not need to lose anything--except maybe your trainer for agreeing with them. Let me tell you something from very personal experience. As thin as you already are, if you lose weight, you WILL lose strength. Do you want to throw Devon away because you have listened to these fools? Change nothing, if you are riding well and you obviously are. If you listen to them you could frankly blow it. Eat healthy, treat your body well and nothing can stop you. Except stupid comments from ignorant people.

Duffy
Apr. 7, 2000, 10:30 AM
Cozmo, Listen to Bascule!!

JB
Apr. 7, 2000, 11:45 AM
Cozmo! I CAN'T BELIEVE that someone, not just one, but THREE people would say that at 5'8", 120lb, you need to lose weight, much less 10lb! My Gawd! I'm 5'5", between 115 and 120, and I am NOT fat! I wear a size 4. OOOOO, some people. Ignore them, totally. If you feel good about your body (think back to BEFORE this incident), then to heck with your trainer and that idiot judge. Please do not attempt any weight loss diet. You'll reget it the rest of your life, much more than you'd ever regret not winning. But good luck - if you're the best rider, you'll win (sheesh, at least I'd like to think).

Glasgow
Apr. 7, 2000, 12:06 PM
Hey Cosmo,
It sounds to me that, in reality, you know that you are healthy and fit and that you should ignore uninformed comments from others. If you feel good, ride well, and are athletically sound, weight is a nonissue. Make your decisions about healthy diet and exercise based on how you FEEL. You are, after all, first and foremost an athlete. You'll be the best rider you can be by focusing on your athleticism and forgetting about ignorant remarks made by anyone.

CTT
Apr. 7, 2000, 01:46 PM
Ok finaly I can have some time to sit and write on this issue. Im 5'3 just to let all of you know. I battled my weight for many years ( most of my life)no I wasn't overweight I was underweight. I want to try to hit both Being heavy and too skiny. When I was a chiled I had alot of babyfat. By 4th grade I was the tallest person. My body was developeing too quick for me to keep up. I was 5ft and only 74lbs at that point in my life. Most of me was muscle but the skelaton I saw in the miror horified me. but to many I looked Ideal. Nerves were a major factor for me. If I was at a show I hardly ate. I went on this 8 week show campaighn one summer and by the 7th week I had to stop. My body was too weak to go any farther. As I got home from the show I was at 71 lbs mind you at thid point I was 5'3. About a day later I couldn't get out of bed cause I was too weak and the decision was made to have me admited to a hospital. From not eating I was in worse condition than apeared. My vitamin levals were way down, my antiboties were not in existance, ect. The worst part was that this affected my liver and kidnies. At this point I had a failing kidnie and my second kidnie was headed that way. I spent 2 weeks in the hospital because of this. I don't talk much on this subject because I was ashamed of myself for being so ignorent. As I left I was barely hitting the 100 mark but my system was back to normal. Time had passed and I began to gain weight. What I didn't realize was it was a affect of my system being shut down so my body was relearning how to cope with solid foods. I saw this big bloated girl in the miror and was ashamed. The first day i returned to school that year someone made the coment that I looked fat. see from all of the fluids I was bloated. But I didn't know that. That afternoon I was so upset that for the first time I vomted on perpose. This was the start of balimia for me. this continued for about 5 weeks untill one night I was sitting on the couch and went to reach for a glass on the table. I fell over and went unconchense. I was rushed to the hospital and sustained in critical condition. My kidnes were both failing. Due to my ignorence I sacraficed my life. I was in need of a transplant so the testing started to find a doner with in my family. My middle sister was a match for me and the surgery began. I became healthy again and gained weight till the bigining of january in 99(7years later)I Had a bad case of depresion. I got extreamly sick and my body couldn't handle the flue I had. I was admithed into the hospital on my 19th b.day but this time it wasn't my kidnied it was my liver. I remained under monotoring for 14 days. I found myself at the end of this weighing a meer 93lbs mind you before all of this I was at a healthy 120 and was so energetic and hapy. I was healthy in my eyes. Its been a little over a year and Im still bataling the weight. I eat healthy exercise when my energy is their and keep on top of myself. My goal is to get back to that 120 mark. Ok for me that might soung heavy but I felt good there and nomater how hard someone can convince me im not going to aim any lower. Im hapy with my goal and I dispise people who are as ignorent as I was for thinking they had to be at an ideal weight. When you starve yourself it affects your matabalism. If at a young age you diet and starve yourself later on in life your matabalism will slow down and the weight will go on. For the young people here listen to me. A friend of mine gave me this advice and for people like me I pass it on to you. " To be an ideal person is so ordinary. no one person is alike. Look at yourself in the miror and be happy. Bueaty is not exterior but interior. To be truly happy with yourself the first step is to acept yourself as it is and not by what other people say. Stop listaning to the voices cause in the long run you will be right. Its your body and not someone elses."
At the end of all of this Im still reminded of the horor I put myself threw. Nomater how hard I try to forget I can't cause there is a little bottle with pills sitting next to my bed and everymorning I wake up and I take them. These are called rejection meds. For the rest of mylife I will be on them and if I forget a day I could end up whare I don't want to. There are so many consaquences to what we do yet we forget to look at the whole picture. If we were to be Ideal then god would have made us that way. I hope one of these days we get to the point where we are not judged by our weight but by our preformence. now on the over weight topic I personaly find it rude to call someone that. Havent some people heard that obecity is not from eating too much but its ginetic. Ok some people eat but they need to eat not to gorge themselves but to sustain enough energy to be active. i one time met this woman who looked to be what society calls fat bu if you felt any part on her body it was mucle toned and not true fat. I have more respect for people who society calls fat that go out and remain active. That is true heart. They are out there doing what they love despite their size and haveing fun at it. People sit their and say "man I feel sory for thathorse" but the fact is alot of horses are built to handle weight. Remember what they did before they became a sport. The amount of weight was more than 300 lbs that they were dealing with. For these people to be happy with the way they apear is wonderfull. I wish more people had their self confadence. Remember we are all diffrent and should be proud of how we apear. For thoes of you that are on the skiny thing Send me an email and some of the pictures I can send you of me will change your mind on wanting to be skiny. I have a grate pic of me sitting their with tubes all over me that would send you into a reality check. Take it easy and Im sure some people will disagree with me but hay Im happy with myself.

JB
Apr. 7, 2000, 02:18 PM
Wow, CTT, you never cease to amaze me. You are truly a special person. Thank you so much for sharing your story, hard as it must have been. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

CTT
Apr. 7, 2000, 02:31 PM
i sometimes amaze myself. To think Im still so young yet have concured so much in my life. Form me now this is a therapy to sit back and feel more at ease with myself. every day I open a new door where I get stronger and Sure I wish I could have changed my life but Ive learned more lesons that have made me a better person. And for thoes lessons Im happy to be me.

Lily
Apr. 7, 2000, 02:32 PM
Yes, CTT, thank you for sharing your story. I have admired you since I first heard about you from Portia, and my admiration has only grown.

Coreene
Apr. 7, 2000, 02:34 PM
CTT, I got chills reading your story. How brave you are to share it with us, and how I so dearly hope that lots of trainers have this topic forwarded to them so that it will - hopefully - register.

PepTalk
Apr. 7, 2000, 02:47 PM
Hi. I really admire you CTT for sharing your story b/c that's what I sort am doing right now, except I am not eating. OK, I am eating but sometimes I skip eating something in the morning and lunch on perpose. I can't help it. It's SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO tempting right now. I am showing in my first rated horse show in less then 3 months and I have to lose 20-50lbs by that time, which I don't think I am going to do, at the rate I am going. Sometimes I fall off and pig out one week but then I feel guilty for eating. My trainer said I should lose weight and I agreed(this was last year), but I have not kept my part of the bargin.I once tried to not eat anything for a whole day until dinner and I nearly passed out. Man, you don't know how much I envy those people that can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound. My mom and I had this disscion about losing weight before the show and she said not to worry about it. But, I am worried about it. What's happens if I don't get pinned b/c of my weight? What happens if I get talked to by one of the judges about my weight or heck even whispered about behind my back? It's SOOOOOOO tempting to starve myself right now. I know it's not right but............That's all for now.

hoopoe
Apr. 7, 2000, 02:53 PM
Wow, This is such an issue. I thought at the beginning that it was just one comment from a thoughtless judge, but this problem sounds pervasive. This young lady aiming for DEVON has my full backing. She sounds slim, fit and VERY light boned with long thin muscles. I second the pleas for her to NOT listen to the Yahoos whom she thinks matter and listen to her own self and her doctor.

That is right. Is there not one GP on this BB who can talk about weight issues in pre and adolescent girls and boys? Does someone know of a rider who is also a practitioner who they can share this thread with. I feel the AHSA needs to look into why this trend is building. In the general population the information on how anorexia nervosa and bulemia is killing our young adults is well known. People who put themselves in leadership rolls of youth (trainers judges) need to be versed on how their off hand comments can lead to big trouble.

Remember, the comment on how this thread started was over the opinion that the rider needed to loose FIVE pounds. I could appear to loose that much weight with a well tailored coat.

Lily
Apr. 7, 2000, 02:57 PM
PepTalk, I'm not an expert on dieting, but losing 20-50 pounds in 3 months sounds unreasonable to me- and starving yourself certainly isn't the way to do it! If you're determined to lose weight, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss a healthy way of going about it.
In my experiences, the best rider has won- regardless of weight. A judge who discriminates based on weight is just as bad as one who will let the color of a rider's skin influence his placings.
Please talk with a doctor or nutritionist about the healthy way to lose weight- and don't worry about what some silly judge may or may not say.

CTT
Apr. 7, 2000, 03:07 PM
I too hope trainers register this cause its not a funy issue and sometimes it can be deadly. I was lucky to live but what about the next girl. I feel we need to do something about this. Anyone have any ideas. Hey I just thought about something (just this moment) Why not start a posative body image campaighn. Ok I sound insane but I feel that people like me need to do something about this problem. Its not OK for riders to think they half to be in a body image rhelm. Its unhealthy and it causes perminate damage. People nead to see the afects of all of this. Only till someone comes upp with a way to stop this our future riders will continue to be drilled that they half to live this image life. IT NEEDS TO STOP NOW! We need to do something to preserve our future. We need to let riders know its ok to eat but its not OK to force them selves to vomit, starve thamselves, use un necasary drugs, smoke ( well i shouldn't be talking but yesterday, sory I half to share this cause Im so proud of myself but I have started the first steps to quiting. This is a big step for me and I wish more kids would folow me in this cause I realized its sick and I want to stop), and what ever else they do these days. I wish trainers would stop this cause its not them thats going to get hurt in the long run its the people who are doing what they ask. Ok now that I got this out f my system I realized I have now a nother project to work on. Any one interested in joining me to stop this before its too late. e-mail me please

CTT
Apr. 7, 2000, 03:37 PM
Peptalk Here me out. I don't know how heavy you are but to atempt to loose weight in the method you are useing is not good. Im not going to sit here and bash you actualy i want to open you eyes to see what is hapening. You say you skip meals. Well here are some things you are doing.... First of all think of your liver and kidnies.... You liver and kidnies work as a team when you go for time with out eating your system is in active the longer you go the harder it is for your system to properly function. I know this hapens alot but think about when you eat how after words your system feels upset and you feel slightly nautious. Whats hapening you are causeing a shock to your system. at the same time you are makeing it harder for your metabolites to work. So your digestive system is working harder and at the same time you are causing small damage. this is not a jokeing mater. you feel that you need to loose weight to fit in the image rhelm but in actuality you are overlooking a biger image. You might worie about failure if you don't loose the weight. This in itself is not brought on by the weight loss this is actualy a self conchence thing. You have been drilled over time that you are heavy and in order to win you must loose this weight. Actualy you will loose not because of the weight but because your prioraties are in the wrong place. Look at yourself in the miror (best if done when newd) and think about how unyou you will be. You won't be the person everyone loves you will be a person that has become tourtured by this weight thing. Do you realize how I envie you. And yes I do envie you cause you have something I battle for everyday. I try to gain and gain but its hard. Envying people like me is not healthy. trying to loose this type of weight takes years to do. No mericle drug out there can help you in any healty maner no mater how good they say it is. If you realy want to start to loose weight you must first look at your diet. I despise calorie counting just to let you know. But eating healthy and exerciseing with in limits will in time help you become that person that you feel to be. Im not saying don't loose weight what Im saying is think about your body first before damage is done. Skiping meals is not good. eat but within reason. The best thing medicine has come up with is what is called a newtritionist. If you want to feel beter about yourself yet want to cause as little damage go to one and have him or her help you learn ways to eat a better life. I hope you realize something here and maby this note will help you look at diffrent goals.

AMom
Apr. 7, 2000, 05:04 PM
First I want to say to CTT that, if the idea of speaking in front of groups doesn't scare you, I wish you would consider being a youth leader or speaker at high schools or youth organizations. It is most definitely a personal and private battle you have fought so being in that public role may not be appropriate for you, but thank you so much for bringing your story to the BB.

I also want to second what you have said about the effect that improper nutrition and crash dieting has on the metabolism. I struggled with bulimic behavior as a teenager and was CONSTANTLY on a diet. I really believe that all the starvation and super low calorie diets I was on affected my unltimate ability to lose weight. Ironic isn't it?

Pep Talk, 20-50 pounds is A LOT of weight, and it is too much to lose in just 3 months. I have lost 50 pounds myself in the last three years and have managed to keep it off and build up good muscle tone--but, believe it or not, I eat ALL DAY. I eat lots of fruit, low fat cottage cheese, almonds, veggies, meat--everything. I just do it in a bunch of small meals to keep my metabolism up. I once starved 24 pounds off in six weeks for a horse show, but gained it all back after the show because there was no way I could sustain that level of not eating.

If you really feel you need to do something to prepare for this show, work on your fitness. Look at the thread on cross training or the one from a couple of weeks back about rider fitness and concentrate on that. And don't be a slave to the scale! So many people, trainers included, think that there is a magic number that we should be and concentrate on that even more than on what a person actually LOOKS like.

This is perhaps the most valuable thread I have read on the BB. Thanks Dennaj for starting it and to all who have contributed their stories!

CTT
Apr. 7, 2000, 05:35 PM
Thanks CWP actualy when i have time I volenteer alot of my time down at the health clinic. I spemd alot of time with Mascectamie(SP?) victims. No I didn't loose mine to cancer but I did loose one and frankly I like being diffrent in that matter.Im not ashamed of it and actualy i like bringing things like this to peoples attention cause when people first meet me I look normal. But I do alot of counciling with women my age who are faced with loosing their breast. I have this comfort thing. When I sit down with a new group (usualy the ones that are going in for surgery) I were a tight shirt that is visable. Then I sit down for a fue and begin to talk but I make sure no one knows that I had mine removed. Then after about 15 mins I get up for a brief minuiet and remove my prostetic. I then sit down and continue till someone brings it to my attention. When they see such a young person sitting there they begin to ask questions and then I begin to explain and what happens is the people become more comfortable with the idea that they too will be like me. What my jod at the clinic is to comfort people and to let them know that they are not alone. When Im not there I do alot of work with with other various groops. I love what I do I just wish we could take some of the everyday programs and aply them to the hoorsee world. As a mater of fact Im going to Dallas next weekend to talk at a school about various isues. I love working with people. Im not ashamed of who I am and the more people know about me the better I feel. I love when people come to me on an isue and confide in me. I feel beter about myself and I feel beter for that person cause they are reaching out to me. I just wish we could do something about the health problems in the horse world.

Lily
Apr. 7, 2000, 05:45 PM
CTT, you are rapidly turning into one of my heroes! I think it's great that you give so much of yourself and are so open to sharing your experiences. You are certainly a role model and inspiration to us all. Thanks again.

JrLeagueGoddess
Apr. 8, 2000, 02:15 AM
This whole "you've got to be skinny to win" thing is horrid...

Something NEEDS to be done in this sport...

WHAT can WE do?

I see a bad, bad trend here, and personally it scares me.

I can tell you right now,if I ever had a child...she wouldn't be showing in the AHSA...
where (apparently)you have to be a minute away from a heart attack (caused by anorexia) to pin.

CTT thanks...you really are a great person!( and your posts are getting VERY easy to read!)

rusty
Apr. 8, 2000, 03:25 AM
CTT you are remarkable!!!!!

Cozmo For Get about losing the weight you sound fit and healthy to me.

Peptalk I am not a GP but as the daughter of a dietician you should not try to lose that much weight (50 lbs in 3 months?) you can do some serious damage to your self. Some of these things were mentioned in other posts by CTT et.al. Try a good Balanced DIet, not a fad one. THis will give you a good foundation for excercise to help you loose what ever pounds you need to by getting in better shape. I am stressing in better shape not lose weight.

I would like to do what I can to help withthis issue. I think it is terrible that it has become an issue at all. But I think that ability and sportsmanship should be stressed not how much some one weighs or what brand of clothes they wear.

It is a shame that some adults have ruined or are ruining somthing that started out as a fun form of recreation and excercise for kids to do.

Thats all for now I am sure that I will rejoin this thread again.

J. Turner
Apr. 8, 2000, 09:43 AM
What can we do? Emphasize fitness. Over and over and over. Everyone has a weight over which it is not healthy to be.

I'm 5'4" and when I carry over 145 pounds my hips start aching and I find my wind isn't good. It get out of breath doing flights of stairs, etc. Now I'm pregnant and 170-something and I can really feel the difference that a lot of extra weight makes. My back and hips hurt badly, especially after a day on my feet teaching (high school). My ideal, semi-fit (I say semi, because I don't mean obsessively "ripped", 10-miles-a-day fit, just averagely fit) body would be about 135 (I'm very large-boned). I hope I can do that after the baby. But I am lazy. I hate working out. I have yet to find something I like. I'm one of those types that I have to a workout buddy to help motivate me. I haven't found that yet.

Has anyone noticed how much more expensive it is to eat healthy -- to buy fresh fruits and veggies, etc? It's so much cheaper to load up on starches -- bad for my body type.

CTT
Apr. 8, 2000, 12:32 PM
Lily and JRLeaugeGoddes Thanks for your coments. I got a kick out of yours JR about me. wat we can do is start in our barns. from their go on to other things but we need to see hands on who feels this is a problem and want to do something to stop it. Im sure you have friends who share your views. Get together and have them educate within teir diffrent barns on this topic. there is so much we can do it just takes time to get it accross.

As for J.turnners coment on the price of foods. Yes it is expensive. but it doesn't involve eating the xpensive stuff. Its just adjusting our diet and cooking habits. there are so many thingsthat we can do. Some starches are not bad. look at your plate and think of ideas of incorparateing a well rounded dinner. Im in a diffrent spot im trying to gain weight so my advice on eating habits are more geared twards people like me. But on your other coment about how you can be lazy. Hey im lazy too. I realy wish you were back in CT since my sister is their. She is who helped me get more in tune with everciseing and eating right. Another thing that was brought up is Time. How do we do it when we don't have alot of it. Im a college student and for me it is sometimes hard. but takeing 30 mins out of your schedgual a day is suficent. we are constently active and see no time and the first chance we get to rest we take it but by incorparateing exerciseing as a stress reliever is a way to start. If your not active then try this. We all love to walk when it comes to relaxing. Right? well start their and get yourself in the ruteen of going out and just walking. then you can develope that time to expand. Its not posable for someone to do it every day but atleast 3 days a week. It takes disapline id the bottome line and the more disaplined we are with our health the better and more we are able to utalize our time properly. Remember it takes time.

Flash44
Apr. 8, 2000, 04:50 PM
I think eating healthy is much cheaper. There are always specials at the grocery store, and as long as you eat in season fruits and veggies, the cost is cheap. WE have a 3'x3' garden and get alot of fresh produce from there. And we are in a town house, so we have very little space. Compared to canned, frozen and prepackaged food, fresh food is cheap. When boneless skinless chicken breasts go on sale, I buy 6 packs.

Very few people have much free time, especially those who ride! However, you can get a pair of running shoes (get good ones taht fit!) and get a great workout in as little as 20 minutes by stepping outside your front door. I thought I was too busy to exercise, but my health is more important than that magazine (People junkie) or TV show.

showrider
Apr. 8, 2000, 06:39 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Portia:
Article 2208. Position.

1. General. Rider should have a workmanlike appearance, seat and hands light and supple, conveying an impression of complete control should any emergency arise. ...

2. Hands. Hands should be over and in front of the horse's withers, knuckles thirty degrees inside the vertical, hands slightly apart and making a straight line from the horse's mouth to rider's elbow. Method of holding reins is optional and bight of reins may fall on either side. However, all reins must be picked up at the same time.

3. Basic Position. The eyes should be up and shoulders back. Toes should be at an angle best suited to rider's conformation: ankles flexed in, heels down, calf of leg in contact with horse and slightly behind girth. Iron should be on the ball of the foot and must not be tied to the girth.

4. Position in Motion. At the walk, sitting trot and canter, body should be a couple of degrees in front of the vertical; posting trot, inclined forward; galloping and jumping, same inclination as the posting trot.

5. Mounting and Dismounting. To mount, take the reins in left hand and place hand on withers. Grasp stirrup leather with right hand and insert left foot in stirrup, toe in girth and mount. To dismount, rider may either step down or slide down. The size of rider must be taken into consideration.

Article 2209. Appointments.

1. Personal. Exhibitors and judges should bear in mind at all times entries are being judged on ability rather than on personal attire. ....


Those are the rules for hunter eq. Someone show us where it says in these standards: "Personal Appearance. Rider must be tall and slender."

The only reference in the hunter eq rules to a rider's size is that the judge the size has to be taken into account when mounting -- meaning the judge should factor in that a kid who is 5' tall will look awkward trying to mount somebody's else's 17 hand horse, regardless of how good a rider they are and not hold that against them. I realize that the tall and slender thing is ingrained in the minds of Eq judges, trainers, and riders, but someone ought to point out that it is not engrained in the rules.


[This message has been edited by Portia (edited 04-04-2000).]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I really think some Judges need to go back to school, and study everything in these 2 articles. I the past 4 years of showing, I have been asked to dis-mount and re-mount only once, and that was in a pleasure class back in '97.
Although I am large, I am very mobile. I ride 3-4 horses a day, and none of them are "packers". (I should be that luckly.) The most unfortuent part is that in the Hunters, it is NOT judged on MY performance. It is judged on my Horse's. And like these articles state, the way of movement. Not on how skinny the rider is.
Unfortunetly, I can't do my horse in Jumpers where we are not "judged". She is too Hunter-typed to run. She is a pretty mover, and has a gorgeous front end when she jumps.

CTT
Apr. 8, 2000, 07:17 PM
Im glad this was reposted/ Ok where does it say? it doesn't? but so many kids and adults have been drilled into thinking they must be thin. So where did this realy start. I rememberd hearing someone once saying that when they were at a clinic they were told that they were heavy. Is this person realy the start or was this just a catalist of something else. Do we realy need to be critacized for this? It began with someones standards and then we folowed. But nobody has woken up and sed this needs to stop now till now.

Weatherford
Apr. 12, 2000, 11:37 AM
Just moving this up so it does not get lost. From here, you need to read Weight issue II and Weight issue III.

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

js
Apr. 12, 2000, 03:33 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by dcm:
Okay, so what are the names and postal addresses/email addresses for the appropriate committee members? Is there someone who can form a "guide" letter for us to use? Shall we bombard them with copies of this and the other thread mentioned?

I will do my part.

Side note to JRG: I recently was home sick on the day ESPN2 aired a USET Reining Qualifying competition on the "America's Horse" program. The one thing I noticed was that most of these highly qualified and highly respected riders were either pushing 200 lbs or pushing 6' and above - nary a skinny-minnie in the bunch. They were riding quarter horses that were for the most part under 16 hands and under 1000 lbs. Under the scenario of "A horse should only carry a portion of its own body weight", how does this compare to teenage girls ave under 5'7" and ave under 140 lbs riding 16+ hand, 1000+ lb Tb's and Warmbloods? http://www.chronofhorse.com/ubb/confused.gif If you could look up this website, I would really be interested in viewing it.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I show with the AQHA, and if you look at the majority of the females riders (especially the adults) they are a size 3 or smaller (of course not all, but a vast majority) especially in the pleasure classes. Sorry, but thin is in - in the western world too (at least for the women, doesn't seem to affect the men as much). I've seen plenty of wonderful heavy riders passed over for thin riders of less ability. Guess this attitude carries through every discipline.

Weatherford
Jun. 2, 2000, 12:56 PM
These are the other weight posts:
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).]

echo1
Dec. 4, 2000, 12:54 AM
Marimee - I believe that I rode under the same IHSA coach that you did. We were probably even there at the same time, since I too was selected for the team by the previous coach. I only rode for IHSA for 1 semester. After that, the coach changed, and I got into several nasty confrontations with the new coach. All this after I won every single open class at every show my first semester. And all our "discussions" were about how I didn't look right on a horse. I was 5'5", 140 lbs. IHSA was the only way I could afford to keep riding in college, but I walked out of the meeting when the official coaching change took place. What could this person possibly have to teach me?

JRG
Dec. 4, 2000, 10:17 AM
Just because people do it doesn't mean that it is right of good for the animal. Read the study, University of Guelph has a copy a very thought provoking study. Don't you think that an animal would have an easier time doing what it was asked if the load was lighter?

A horse will try to do what you are asking if they understand, no matter what size a person is. I am just stating that not everything we do for the horse is good for the horse. Sure we feed, water and stable for shelter, but if you where a horse and had to run a pattern or jump a course and had the choice of carrying a 200lb person or a 140lb person, what would you choose? I would choose the lighter. JMHO

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

Regalmeans
Dec. 4, 2000, 10:36 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JRG:
had the choice of carrying a 200lb person or a 140lb person, what would you choose? I would choose the lighter. JMHO

[This message has been edited by JRG (edited 12-04-2000).]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I would choose the better more effective rider. A horse can carry up to a certain % of their body weight and for most good sized hunter/jumpers I really don't think it matters. Besides would you rather have an anorexic rider who weights next to nothing and passes out in the middle of the course?

JRG
Dec. 4, 2000, 10:46 AM
If you look at any of my posts you will see at no time I commend or applaud the anorexic rider. I am an advocate of "fit horse, fit rider", suitability to count and the education of horsemanship. All of it, not just the part that seems to suit people and what they are choosing to accomplish. It is an everyday learning experience.

Regalmeans
Dec. 4, 2000, 10:51 AM
I did not mean to seem as if I were attacking you - but I really don't think it makes a difference - ESPECIALLY from the horse's view. A healthy horse can easily carry like 25% of it's body weight. For example my 17 hand hunter weights (I'm guessing) maybe 1200 or so - so he could carry like 300 pounds right...alright that number may be a little high let's say maybe like 250?? So if he *could* carry that why would it affect him if I was like 160 pounds instead of the 118 I am now? I don't really think you can use the horse as the argument in most cases. YES, I am sure there are situations where are rider is physically to heavy for the horse but I don't think that is the case in the majority of situations.

Rosie
Dec. 4, 2000, 02:03 PM
Let's face it -our society as a whole "worships" and rewards beauty , and one aspect of being considered beautiful is being thin.

There are all kinds of studies that have been done that indicate being attractive influences the way people treat you and their perception of you. The equestrian world is not alone in its favorable regard for a certain body type.

So, what do we do about it? Well, for one thing, if my daughter's trainer EVER encouraged her to lose weight in order to place better in an eq class she would lose us as clients. If a judge ever told her that he/she placed her lower (or even higher) because of her weight, I would do everything in my power to see that that judge would be censored. I would want to send the message to them, but more importantly my daughter, that such behavior is unacceptable.

My daughter, who is 14, is lucky to have long legs and a slender build. But even so, she is conscious of her weight -primarily because of her friends. Most of the time she won't eat lunch - because her friends don't - and when she does, it's not healthy stuff but junk food. We have had girls spend the night that wouldn't eat certain foods because they weren't the " fat-free variety". One girl told me her mom wouldn't have any food in the house unless it was fat-free.


I've repeatedly had talks with my daughter about healthy eating and watch carefully for any signs of eating disorders. I try to base my praise on things besides appearance - "you did a great job riding that course " or "you worked hard on that exercise".

Of course, I am just her mom, and as such what I say isn't nearly as important as what others say. Which is why it is so important for parents to speak up to trainers and judges and anyone else who influences the behavior of our kids.

DMK
Dec. 4, 2000, 02:25 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JRG:
Just because people do it doesn't mean that it is right of good for the animal. Read the study, University of Guelph has a copy a very thought provoking study. Don't you think that an animal would have an easier time doing what it was asked if the load was lighter? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I know the point you are making JRG, and I don't disagree entirely. I think it is valid at the extremes of overweightness, but that would also compromise a rider's effectiveness. Another factor is the horse's size/build. For example, which would you consider to be the "better" choice for a 16'0 1250 lb horse of moderate bone:

1) a 5'4, 140lb rider, who runs 5 miles a day, swims and lifts weights (resistance weight building); or,

2) a 5'4 130lb rider who has little or no fitness program, and is a size larger than her 140lb counterpart (remember, muscle weighs more than fat); or

3) a 5'8 145lb rider who does little else except ride and some weight lifting (reps, not resistance).

IMHO, all 3 would not be out of the extreme realm for "acceptable" riding weight, but all things being equal, the lightest rider would probably be the one the horse needed to work hardest with...

WHOA!
Dec. 4, 2000, 04:07 PM
Hmmm...ok. The 14 and 15 year-olds who are posting on this thread and saying that they have no choice but to starve themselves for ribbons are going to give me nightmares. You guys are just wrong. I'm 6'2" and a rock-solid 180 lbs, and I win or pin a pretty good percentage of the time (not just at local shows, but at A shows and at IHSA shows where I've drawn horses that made me look like a giant). I've ridden with girls who are not extremely slim who win every time they go in the ring. Yes, you will run into judges (lots of them) who have unreasonable standards about riders' sizes. You'll also run into lots of judges who don't pin grays or paints, you'll run into plenty of judges who'll pin a fancy horse who missed his changes over a homely one who puts in a perfect trip. Skipping your meals won't win you blue ribbons at every show. Instead, do something productive; go eat a turkey sandwich and then ride without stirrups for a while.

Oh, and those of you who think carrying too much weight is bad for the horses, give me a break. My TB gelding goes great for me and my trainer most of the time, but has eaten more than one light-weight rider for breakfast.

VTrider and Sea Urchin, will this work as a post that people can flame me over? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

VTrider
Dec. 4, 2000, 04:28 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by WHOA!:
VTrider and Sea Urchin, will this work as a post that people can flame me over? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Where is Clemson Rider...We will whip out our favorite Sir Mix A Lot song...I like big butts and I can not lie...

Anyhow...I have a big butt and big boobs and I don't care...I am 5'8" and 150# and damn proud of the Southern Cooking I was raised on...

But seriously...WHOA looks so pretty on a horse...as soon as I find a pix of her riding...I will scan it and share it with the rest of y'all - Sea Urchin can vouch for her riding as well. When I was on the IHSA team...our best riders weren't the nasty skinny ones...The last time I checked...guy judges liked big boobs...LOL!!!

Regalmeans
Dec. 4, 2000, 05:07 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by WHOA!:
Hmmm...ok. The 14 and 15 year-olds who are posting on this thread and saying that they have no choice but to starve themselves for ribbons are going to give me nightmares. You guys are just wrong. I'm 6'2" and a rock-solid 180 lbs, and I win or pin a pretty good percentage of the time (not just at local shows, but at A shows and at IHSA shows where I've drawn horses that made me look like a giant). I've ridden with girls who are not extremely slim who win every time they go in the ring. Yes, you will run into judges (lots of them) who have unreasonable standards about riders' sizes. You'll also run into lots of judges who don't pin grays or paints, you'll run into plenty of judges who'll pin a fancy horse who missed his changes over a homely one who puts in a perfect trip. Skipping your meals won't win you blue ribbons at every show. Instead, do something productive; go eat a turkey sandwich and then ride without stirrups for a while.

Oh, and those of you who think carrying too much weight is bad for the horses, give me a break. My TB gelding goes great for me and my trainer most of the time, but has eaten more than one light-weight rider for breakfast.

VTrider and Sea Urchin, will this work as a post that people can flame me over? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

AMEN TO THAT WHOA /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I totally agree. There are idiots everywhere - why listen to them if what you are doing works for you?

I admit I have in the past struggled (okay, I'll be honest I do struggle) with my perception of my weight and honestly I hate the fact that I do that (so does my trainer who I love, who lectures me constantly on the topics of *why I must eat at the shows * why I must eat before the shows & why I did not eat enough at aforementioned the shows* etc etc)

Sarah

LisaW-B
Dec. 4, 2000, 05:13 PM
I haven't read any of the responses to this, but I think what the judge said is sick. FIVE pounds?!?! That's nothing, much less nothing to comment about. That's water weight, not even body fat. I'm sorry you and your rider had to experience such a comment.

Kelsy
Dec. 4, 2000, 05:49 PM
Okay I'll be totally honest with this topic; I missed it the first time around but anyhow...

As I've been growing up in the "A" Circuit World, the idea of being thin has always been a prevalent thought in my head. None of my trainers have ever told me that I need to lose weight, but they have made it clear that it is not frowned upon to lose weight. Currently I'm 5'8" 1/2 and 140, and I have never felt so fat in my life. To see all the other riders (all of my friends), be so thin just makes me more than anything want to be thinner. I don't have an eating disorder, but sometimes the IDEA of eating makes me want to vomit and on some days I feel terrible about myself if I eat.

Last year, I was starting to outgrow my ponies, and I thought maybe I'm just too fat. I started smoking cigarettes so that I wouldn't get hungry. Every pound I lost was such a victory to me. I went to counseling, and I'm glad to say I'm better about it, but I don't think I'll ever totally be OKAY with my weight. In so many ways I did, and still do, equate thinness with happiness. As I'm sure a model or actress has to deal with this, it's hard to grow up in a world where thinness and perfection is so greatly emphasized.

To me, being thin is, as far as I'm concerned, perfection, but perfection which you can't ever fully achieve...

In any case, I just wanted to say from a junior's perspective that this is such a big issue. It's something which I wish so much could be helped because I know from experience that it can ruin lives.

Anyways, I can't believe a judge would ever say that to someone because I know how much it hurts to hear someone else say it.

So guys, don't think I'm weird becuase I posted how I felt about food... I mean, I'm getting better about it, but I just wanted to show how big of a thing it was.

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

Regalmeans
Dec. 4, 2000, 06:41 PM
Kelsy I admire you for posting that....I can totaly relate b/c that's how it is for me - in addition to the fact that I am very compulsive and perfectionist about things - I can't 'just diet' either I eat or I don't and it kinda sux.

I really wish you didn't feel that way - I really wish weight wasn't an issue - I really wish I didn't skip meals and obsess over what I ate. I really wish our society didn't judge people on weight - b/c that is where this all comes from - it's not really a riding issue per say b/c this exists everywhere - it's a people issue and it's about accepting one another and yourself.

As for me I say all this, I know all this, but I'm still fighting my own battle. A few weeks ago I had an assignment for a class to write down everything I ate for a weekend - and you know what I couldn't do it b/c I couldn't bare to look at that list - I just couldn't. Even being my third year of 'recovery' it is just to hard sometimes. There are days when I physically 'cannot' eat. But those days are fewer and fewer.

This is something many juniors (and others as well face) and they should not be being told by judges or others to lose weight. I hope all you trainers and parents support your kids and DON'T yell at them about weight - trust me it doesn't help anything at all.

Sarah

Magnolia
Dec. 4, 2000, 06:50 PM
Kelsy-
Your post makes me so sad! Cigarettes are so awful. I just read Christy Turlington has emphysema! I bet she'd gain 10 lbs to lose that diesease, which will be with her forever.
Do yourself a favor. If you think you are too fat, have your body fat compostion measured. At 5'8, 140 lbs, unless you have absolutely no muscle (which is so very unlikely), you are probably pretty thin.
If you still feel the need to lose a few pounds, come up with a healthier method than smoking.
I feel bad for all of you juniors. I grew up fat, and am still fat (and I won my combined test this weekend!). I try my best and exercise, but it just sticks around. I have a sense of humor about it now, but the teen years were god awful.

Squirrelly92
Dec. 4, 2000, 09:30 PM
I can totally relate to what Kelsy is saying. Growing up around ALL thin and tall people when you are short(4'11) and not fat, but definatly NOT skinny(120) and it does get to you. For this whole past year I have had on/off eating disorders and I am not proud of it. But the preassure of winning and constantly being around thin people, I dont know, it just got to me. I wanted to be more like them. I mean I won my fair share, but I just still wasnt satisfied. Also, lie Kelsy, every pound lost was a victory for me, it just felt soooo good! I am getting alot better, but I still think about it very often. I hope I havent said too much! Now I feel kinda stupid for sharing all this with people I dont even know, but I hope it can help someone. Trust me people, it is SOOOOO NOT worth it!!! Thanks-
FLASH

Lori
Dec. 4, 2000, 10:44 PM
I was so hesitant to post here (hoping the computer crashes or something), but I almost feel the need to make some comments.

The weight issue and what is "pretty" really strikes a nerve in me. I cannot accept that someone would pin someone above another due to weight. Geesh, pick on something more relevant. No 2 people can put in an EXACTLY the same round. If a judge thinks that, something has been missed somewhere....

Judges making such severe "boo-boos" should be banned for an alloted period of time from judging. Sorry, but if it saves the life and future of a youngster, it is more than well worth it.

I will never, ever be a tall, thin person. Sorry, guys, but at 4'9", it just won't happen. To say that a short person looks unsuitable on a horse is not always correct, either. (bells are just NOW ringing in my head as to why I did not place against the taller, lesser riders I competed against in my youth) Eq classes and classes that specify "horse" for the mount give no option of a pony to the rider. Also, I can ride more effectively than lots of tall riders that I know. My trainer felt I was more than suitable for showing my husbands 15.2hh QH gelding when I was working with him.

*Kelsy*, please, please be careful. Your walking a fine line. Your patterns, the way that you talk and the way you have described your feelings are suggestive of the beginnings of eating disorders. You do not have to actually vomit to have an eating disorder. It is a disease that can get rather complicated to try to explain because everyone is an individual and that must be taken into account first.

I would HATE to see anyone have to travel the road that I did. *CTT*, you could not have said it all better. No, it really had nothing to do with eq or A shows or anything. Some was the modeling I was starting to get into, some was just plain old low self esteem. I had "quit" showing at the time due to my disgust with the subjective thing and this issue tops it.
However, I will say that when I hit rock bottom of 67 lbs (too small for a size 0 clothes by that time!) and was hospitalized for 3 months, it kind of sent a wake up call. I will add that the doctors all discussed the fact that I was "hopeless" and was not going to make it. Yes, I still struggle. I would lie to say that I feel "thin" at about 90 lbs (don't ask me to get onto a scale, it is a no-no---but by now I can tell my weight by looking in the mirror). What really angers me is that I fell into a stupid trap set by "society" to be some sort of lemming and look like an "ideal" model or something (yeah, right, my whole entire body is just as tall as the "ideal" models legs!!!). UGH. I have always been a rebel, never a follower. I suppose that is what caused me to survive. Plus, and this is NO lie, severe hunger is very, very, very physically painful. I cannot even describe it in words right now. Ironically, one guy who saw me a few weeks after my release was in awe at how "good" I looked so thin. I was like "yeah, I just got out of the hospital you idiot" and walked away.

I still cannot look at magazines that have thin clothes models strutting their skinny stuff. I cannot watch any television station without feeling "less than" when the modeling/swimsuit/etc shows come on. I struggle daily with this issue, ask my wonderful, patient husband (who came into my life a few years after I got out of the hospital).

It sickens me to now find out that my beloved sport of showing hunters has stooped to such low, low levels. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif Even if someone is "obese", it gives one NO right to tell them that they cannot ride. For some reason unknown to me, people think that anyone "overweight" is sloppy, lazy and unhealthy. This is so unfair. You have NO idea why a person is the way they are. You can also not change genetics. Leave them alone, is my feeling on the subject. At least they are out there trying.

There are ultra thin people out there that are that way naturally. It is also unfair to pick on them.

I only wish that I could be satisfied with the way that I look like some of you have posted here. Ahh, the envy of my lifetime. I don't care what size you are, the fact that you are not bothered by it either way is such a remarkable trait. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

How many people hear "make sure you GAIN 5 to 10 lbs by the time you get to the next show?" Maybe if that was heard more often, then things would change. Take it from me, I was SO weak, a slight spook would send me hurtling to the ground. I messed up a lot in my body and that is very, very sad. My hormones were so thrown off that I have now been "spayed" due to constant pain and troubles. I suppose I avoided more troubles to the body than some due to the fact that I was not "dieting" or "fasting" until the age of 19 or 20. Had I done this younger, I could possibly have been dead.

Sorry to ramble on, I just wanted to give another "first person" story to those out there who still walk the line.

Regalmeans
Dec. 4, 2000, 10:50 PM
Thank you Lori, like everyone else who has shared on this thread ou have inspired me - you are all so strong for what you have overcome and I admire you. I have been there and I know the feeling - hunger so bad it eats you from inside b/c you are hungry not just for food but for validation and acceptance.

For me there are still good days and bad days - but I was in one hell of ugly place 3 years ago and I'm not going back there no matter what - screw the judge or trainer who tells me to lose weight - from here out it's my way at my weight or not at all. It's all about you - you and your health and your sanity - in the end no one else's thoughts really matter. You have to choose on your own.

Trixie
Dec. 5, 2000, 04:13 PM
Christy Henrich.
She was a gymnast who died at about 60 lbs of anorexia.

My best friend is a recovering anorexic... I used to make her drinks at the coffee shop - a small, skinny hot chocolate, nothing more.
The day she walked in and asked for a large hot chocolate with whole milk and whipped cream was a huge victory.
Especially after she told me she'd just finished a 6 inch turkey sub.

But it's a horrible thing to have to worry so much about your weight. I've always been skinny, and sometimes I get whined at about it. Sometimes eating sucks. The thought of it will make me sick, I'm 5'3" and 100 lbs and I know that I'm skinny but the images going around can make anyone feel fat and worry about their weight.

Robby Johnson
Dec. 5, 2000, 04:44 PM
I'll give you my perspective on weight issues.

In 1996 I began having pretty severe anxiety attacks and I couldn't eat without throwing up. I didn't want to throw up, but my phobia was actually from being in public and losing control of my gag reflex and hurling (a'la Kyle from South Park)at random. This stemmed from (in addition to other life-changing issues I was experiencing at the time) a trip to Los Angeles when I woofed down two cheeseburgers and hurled in the bushes at Universal Studios, in front of a lot of people that I didn't know and will never see again. I know. Lovely, eh?

Anyway, for two years I literally couldn't eat, because I couldn't go out it public if I did. So I lost a surprising amount of weight. I am 5'11 3/4" and am now 185 lbs. 2 years ago I weighed 145 lbs. I am hoping to lose about 10-15 lbs., because I am actually the heaviest I've ever been. But I kind of needed a few years of being "fat and happy" to offset the suffering and torment of having food as such an enemy.

The sad thing to me was the people who would say, "you're so thin - God, it must feel great." And all I could think was, "if you only knew how tortuous this is." I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

There is such a thing as being athletic and fit. I would never encourage anyone to diet or lose weight who is 14 years-old! I would encourage a healthier lifestyle for them to pursue (proper nutrition and exercise), but never "lose weight."

It's so unhealthy.

Robby

Nevsky
Dec. 5, 2000, 05:05 PM
How about treating ourselves as well as we treat our horses? I told my trainer that was my New Year's resolution (haven't achieved it yet, but will keep trying). If a tall, narrow Thoroughbred was the ideal horse, you would not try to starve your Quarter Horse to get him to look like that - we all know that would not work! You just keep your horse fit and at the weight that looks best on him.

JumperEq
Dec. 5, 2000, 05:20 PM
Okay...at 5'4" and 113 lbs, I know that I'm not fat, per se, but I feel too big for my body. (If that makes sense, its the only way I could think of wording it) I hate looking at my 5'9", 108 lb friend... She's all legs and skinny as a rail while I have kinda short legs and a long torso. It makes me mad that she's quitting riding when I know she could go so far in the eq divisions while I "suffer" through living in my body.

I don't have a eating disorder though. I manage my diet so I eat between 1000-1500 calories of healthy food a day. What hurts the most is when my friends make fun of me when I eat things with less calories then what they do (i.e. I buy water at the movies instead of pop) And I don't just depend on my "diet" to lose weight. I also run and play basketball. I'm trying to convince my guidance counselor into letting me into the athletic skills class (for school athletes) which would put into weight lifting but he feels that me being on our school equestrian team doesn't qualify me as a student athlete.

Its not just the show world that puts pressure on teens (specifically) to be skinny. I get it from tv, magazines, people at school, etc. I hate it when people joke around that I'm getting a little "pudgy".

I'll probably add more later when I think of it.

~Erin