I agree that the media really hurts us in this aspect.
A few little replies:
Portia - I think that while the hunter/equ area has a big problem with this so does dressage. I have heard stories of judges making comments about weight in the comments section at the end of the test. And really - since this is such a huge issue in society I'm not at all surprised it seeps into amny areas of the horse world. Also I would be willing to guess that there is probably some weight bias in Saddleseat as well - since they have equitation classes just like us (well not just like us but they are judged on position and all like our equ riders are) and that area (subjective judging) seems like a natural breeding ground for weight bias!
IN my opinion part of the problem is this is not just MEN judging women but also women doing it to. I Can't believe women (who I am sure struggle with their weight as well) would judge and make cruel comments about other women's weight. But they DO. One time at a show a judge kept pinning me over my friend who is a better rider than I am and we heard it was b/c of my weight (she is a little heavy). BUt the worst part is the judge herself was really really heavy - and I'm like how can someone that big (the judge was much heavier than my friend) look down on my friend for being like a size 12? It seemed so hypocritical!
And of course this is not just a junior issue - as I said earlier - not is it even a women's issue - it's a people issue. And what it really comes down to is at the root that we judge people by appearances.
Sarah ( & Regal)
what doesn't kill you makes you stronger -
unless it breaks your heart first
Magical, thank you for posting. I was so very upset and worried for cozmo. I hope she knows how much we all care about her, even if we dont know who she is . I myself wont "try to figure it out". It dosn't really matter. All that does is tht she is open about her dilemma, that she and her family are getting help( yes it is a family issue) and that she will be backed and supported by loving friends. Perhaps one day she will be able to help other young women like herself. That will be a greatest blue ribbon she could ever win.
Someone emailed me and asked me why I hadn't posted to these threads. It's not that I have a problem with the topic (being quite chunky myself). I have been busy, but also, in all honesty, I'm too close to the driving person's perspective, I'm afraid.
You see, it's the subjectivity of hunters and equitation that, in my mind, is at the heart of this issue in the horseworld. If you could eliminate as much of the subjectivity as possible, you would go far toward eliminating at least SOME of the impact of the weight issue on young riders.
I love the nature of the hunter horse, but I really, really dislike the hunter industry, as well as the equitation industry. I dislike the subjectivity which allows politics and personal preference to hurt, exclude, embarass and denigrate people. I hate any aspect of life which allows that sort of thing to happen--and, yes, I have very personal reasons for having little tolerance for that, too.
If I were a parent, I would not let my child ride hunters or do equitation. I don't like the forces that are at work there. I don't like the pressures that come with ambition or motivation. I feel those should be generated from within the individual, not beyond (by trainers and judges).
I would encourage my child to foxhunt, pony club, (combined, not pleasure) drive, event or do dressage--sports which at least have some degree of objectivity that my child could understand and thus avoid being frustrated and/or manipulated by.
So, I know I'm being harsh, but IMO, if this is a problem for the hunter/eq industry, the adults on these threads need to show their concern by working together on changing the rules such that it one person's mere opinion doesn't have the power to ruin lives.
One of those city that are big towns, real big!,San Antonio TX
well since these threads are starting to wind down I would like to thank everyone who shared their stories and advice. Its grate we have all of this going on. I encurage everyone who wants to do something about this to get with me and for all of the people who privately contacted me about them thankyou. I have a fue people that have joined me on my personal email that I have been talking with on various things. I encurage everyone who cares to contact me. I do not bite just ask anyone that I talk to. Im pritty easy. To the people who are to skaired to openly post here write me and maby we can do something to help. I judge no one for anything. You all have been a grate group to work with. so here is my email for all of you. firstname.lastname@example.org . I recomend for any of us to reach out to one another. The more the beter. Also I use ICQ and I recomend that the people who want to be productive to get it so that we can talk on on one about things. Take care and I hope this is not sweped under the carpet. Be good and God bless all.
\"I\'m going to go see a horse about a man\" - Unknown
Seeing as I event, I am curious. As a 16y/o girl it bothers me to hear that someone is so distraught over becoming a 6 compared to a 4 that she has to be admitted to a hospital.. I just got comfortably down to a 6! The fact is that we need to learn to accept our bodies, and in my AP Bio class I'm learning ona daily basis what role genetics play in our body types. The fact is, it lies in your mitochondria of every cell whether or not the energy from your food is transferred directly into usable energy (ATP) or energy for later (fat) so if you're genetically programmed to store energy, so be it.
But I'm wondering- by this pic, would I be considered "fat" by hunter standards? I'm 5'4 and 118, this is doing jumpers at a PC rally (2nd time I'd jumped in 2000, 4th time I'd ridden said horse in a year, and hes 23!) www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Gym/3835/cmrallyjmp1.jpg
I know that I'm not fat, while I would like to be more toned, the fact is that not everyone can wear a 5 from The Gap and look good in it [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
I just went to my physician yesterday and was talking to her about weight issues. She told me that her sis-in-law, who is an MD/PhD, did her doctoral dissertation on weight image in Fiji. Apparently, the Fijians don't even have a word for "diet." The women were comfortable with a larger sillouette. I don't know about the health part. When she went back to visit, she found that 60% of the female population was then dieting because two years earlier, television had entered their culture.
Pony girl -- you look fine! I like your following hand release, too. I'm sure GM would like it! I'll be in Tucson on Tuesday!
Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will. - Gandhi
It is clear that this problem of "image" is not limited to our sport or industry. It is an international problem. Media reaches everywhere now. The same kind of people that are responsible for wanting us all to be skinny are in all the media. Dieting is a mega business interest. They make their money from our hide, and therefore have a financial motivation. Their advertising money supports the media.
The horse industry has always been in the avante guarde for "independent free thinking people". I hope that with this issue we can somehow take these stories and issues and turn them into something more important than a symparthy session.
Maybe a serious mail campaign and if we had a donor a serious advertising campaign. To our legals out there, is there some kind of law that would require the media to give all of us women who are not a size 2, equal time for every advertisement they accept from the people who want us skinny and sick?
"I AM WOMAN" and not designed to be a coat hanger. Let's try and turn this into something constructive to unite us against the "image". If the magazines and TV Shows realize they will lose their ratings because we "the audience" are going to turn them off, not read them and that costs them money, MAYBE!
How can we get a law like the one in Spain? I'm all for good health and exercise, and they have made it look as if we oppose skinny we are not for good health. Yet, it is obvious that the program for "skinny" is destroying as many lives if not more (since these cases are kept secret) than a normal weight and size for a "female" person.
[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 04-14-2000).]
Hello everyone! I've been meaning to respond to this thread but I haven't had the time, so here I am now. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
PepTalk- YAY!! I'm not alone!!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] Thanks for sharing. I have actually found an excersize/eating plan that is working for me and I'm losing weight, BUT more importantly gaining muscle and stamina, which to me is the important thing. Personally, as a jumper rider, I don't care if I "look pretty" on my horse, as long as I can out in a good, effective round and give my horses the ride they deserve. With my body type, I think it is much more realistic to set a goal of a size 8 than the size 4 that seems to be the magic number. It just isn't posible, no matter how much weight I lose. I wish people would put less emphasis on NUMBERS... they mean NOTHING! So don't be ashamed to be a size 12. If you are healthy and fit enough to ride well, you are just fine! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
There are several other points I'd like to make regarding this thread. In response to the media issue, I can not argue that the media is partially responsible for the American obsession with thinness, but in my opinion, the trainers, parents, peers, and other IMEDIATE influences that have the biggest impact. If we are raised with high self-esteem and we learn to be happy with ourselves despite our imperfections, a picture in a magazine would not have the effect it does. While I would LOVE to see some normal, healthy, non-size-2 models in teen magazines, I think it is much more important to try to change the attitudes of individuals before we go trying to change the media. Just a thought.
I definitely feel that, as Sarah said, the eating disorder problem in this world is not just a problem for female junior riders... everyone is affected in one way or another by these horrible, frightening, and most of all SAD diseases. Personally, I think that schools, churches, and perhaps even barns should teach kids about eating disorders and the harm that they can do. I know this might scare younger kids, but perhaps we need to use fear tactics on occassion in issues this important. Education is our best weapon in this battle. And it IS a battle... not just for the anorexics and bullemics but for all of us. How could anyone stand to watch friends, families, and even well-known GP riders starve themselves to death? There must be something that we can do to stop this. I think Majical's story is a perfect (and heart-wrenching) personification of my point. When outsiders don't intervene, NOTHING GETS FIXED. (By the way, Majical, I commend you on your courage in posting your story. It must have been difficult but you touched a LOT of people. Thank you.)
As to the GP rider previously discussed, I would just like to say that she is a wonderful person and has SO much talent and potential as a rider that it kills me to see her do this to herself. I used to look up to her, and now I pity her. Isn't there SOMEONE out there who can help this woman? Everyone who's seen her knows. It isn't a secret. So WHY ISN'T ANYONE HELPING HER??? I understand that a certain amount of cooperation is involved but when someone begins to look as terrible as that, there is a point where someone needs to intervene. I would hate to see someone so young and SO very talented meet a horrible fate, and until someone MAKES her get help, it seems inevitable that she will. Does anyone else find this horribly miserably depressing? There must be something that can save her, and those like her, but it's not being done and that is where we are losing the battle.
Sorry this is so very long, but I feel very strongly that this is something that we all are affected by in some way, and I think we need to take a stand, get help for the anorexics and bullemics of the world, and most of all, educate people. It may start as skipping meals or taking a few diet pills here and there... THAT is where we need to intervene... BEFORE it gets deadly. Thanks for letting me state my opinion.
PS~ I am thrilled to hear that Cozmo is getting help. No one deserves a fate like the one she could have been headed towards.
My 2 Cents...Eating disorders are a serious condition that often affect highly disciplined young women. Judges, trainers, etc., may encourage the continuation of the condition by indicating to the victim that a thin body is the ideal body on a horse.
In reality -- my daughter was recently a successful equitation rider without an eating disorder. She is strong and healthy. Muscular and fit. Not tall and not skinny. Many of her peers, also successful equitation riders, are not skinny. They work hard and ride well.
My message is -- don't blame the sport. When I rode as a junior, I weighed more than I do now (not skinny). I was successful in equitation. At the end of my junior career, after winning an important class, a trainer called me (jokingly, I think) a "fat girl". Not long after that, I developed an eating disorder. I worked my way out of it, hopefully before it shortened my lifespan too much, but it had nothing to do with the sport of riding. It had to do with all the psychological aspects that are now understood to contribute to this kind of problem -- a need for control, self-esteem issues, discipline, etc.
If we want to help people with the problem, we have to stick to reality. People who are a healthy weight can and do, do well in hunters and equitation. Don't blame the sport. But do, please, do get help. It's there for you now.
Years ago, it wasn't even recognized as a disorder. At least things have changed to where we can discuss the problem, and there are professionals that can really help.
[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 04-15-2000).]
I think it has gotten much worse. It does run through a lot of sports. Ours should not be one. It starts at the top. I agree with you my girls did really well and they never were less than a Size 6. More often a size 8, and certainly not fat.
I'm afraid that as a mother hen I would not have been very polite to any judge who made such a comment to me, maybe that's why they didn't. (Especially since most of our judges are not exactly thin!)
[This message has been edited by Snowbird (edited 04-15-2000).]
I agree, we should do everything we can to make our sport more sensitive to the problem. And to the influence that a casual remark can have. No matter what a trainer, judge or whoever might throw out as a comment -- healthy riders can and do, do well in equitation & hunters.
[This message has been edited by Bertie (edited 04-15-2000).]
Well, Snowbird, there you have it: they can get all worked up, but they're still not willing to even comment on what they, as a group, can do in a concrete way.
I refuse to believe they aren't intelligent enough to understand the connection between judging standards and this issue, but clearly that's too real and pressing for them to have the courage to address.
Leave it nicely abstract. Blame it on the media. Say it isn't just this sport--find whatever reason you can to talk, talk, talk, but do nothing and completely ignore statements that would force you to turn your opinions into action.
First of all- I am not Cozmo of earlier posts on this thread, but I am glad that she is getting help. I am a 33 yo mommy, trainer, store owner,wife..... I am 5'8" tall , and weigh-gasp 140. Nobody believes me because I am very fit. I wish that the weight issue were not one, but rather health. I wear a size 28long Breech- Pikeur, TS don't fit me, a14 GP show coat & a size 38-40 riding shirt. AND I have people coming up to me & asking why I am so skinny. Well,when I tell them what I weigh & they see how I eat, it is obvious to them that I am not anorectic or bulemic. Yes, I have had people follow me to the bathroom. Since childbirth 8 years ago, I have to pee a lot [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] I do not mind my kids being a little chunky & I have NEVER said a word to them , except to remind them to eat fruit & drink a lot of water.
Portia wrote...."If the pressure is coming from girls being given the idea that "I can't win unless I'm skinny," then we need to make very sure the best rider is rewarded in the ring, not the skinniest, so the trainers and riders can see that things have changed and the best rider will win regardless of body size."
I totally agree. I also wanted to point out to people with this problem that you CAN win if your body is healthy and normal. It happens all the time.
And people without a true understanding of the problem need to realize that, even though it's easy to blame it on such a simple cause, this problem is usually the result of issues that go much deeper than just wanting to win ribbons in a horse show.
But, as I said in my posts above, judges and trainers sadly encourage the condition by promoting the illusion that skinny is good. Even though this attitude, in my opinion, is not usually the cause of the problem, it is adding to it. And we should do everything we can to change this to - healthy is good!
Yes Wynn, I have noticed that at the end of a discussion there is no resolution, no conclusion and no action recommended.
Though I am a Soap Opera addict, there are issues like this that need to be addressed. OH! well Washington is in for a shock in June. I am a Delegate from New Jersey to meet with congressmen and Presidential Candidates. You can bet that in the question section I will inquire about the possibility of a law similar to that in Spain. I will also vouch for the fact that every judge I meet this season will also hear it from me about "skinny".
Wynn and Snowbird
OUCH! But how right you both are. Well, I don't know if its a "next step" or not, but I've already started opening my big mouth to everyone I see in this industry about this sad situation. You know the worst thing? At least the people on this forum are willing to talk about it. Most of the people I talk face to face to say something like "Oh yeh, horrible. Say, did you hear what so and so did the other day?"
Originally Posted by Alagirl
We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.
Unfortunantly these eating disorders are more prevelant in the hunter/eq world than in any other discipline as far as I have heard. I think in dressage we have people addicted to plastic surgery [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] (TOTAL joke, but I have seen quite a few "plastic" DQ's running around!)
CTT, I am so glad you are doing better! You are such an awesome person and I am so glad to have you on this board, you are a true inspiration!
Cozmo, if you are out there reading this, I am so glad you are getting help. You (and your body) will thank yourself in the future for stopping it early. Eating disorders are devastating and very sad. Because no matter HOW thin you get, when you look in the mirror you will always see that extra 5-10 pounds that you need to lose, even if it is not really there. Trust me, I know. I may have never had an eating disorder myself, but I grew up with an anorexic/bulemic mother, and she has in the last several years started to become comfortable with herself. She became that way because my Grandmother on my father's side was always calling her a "heffer" or a "pudge" even at 85 pounds! My mother weighed a whopping 119 pounds at her heviest when she was pregnant with me! It's terrible, and I hope you pull yourself through this. Just remember that no amount of therapy can help if you are not willing to change. Good luck and keep us updated on how you are doing!
Snowbird, I am with you!
Is minic a rinne bromach gioblach capall cumasach
An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse .