Gifty, I understand your feeling that the cover blurb certainly did give the impression that all, or the majority, of riders are anorexic or bulimic, and that the article may have given that impression to a casual reader.
They did, however, include several photos of women who they specifically said do not have eating disorders. (One caption reads, "These women pictured do not have eating disorders -- they're just demonstrating a girl's love for horses and the importance of not passing out for lack of food [referencing an over fence photo].")
They also included a statement from a therapist that the horse show world does not breed eating disorders, but that since showing costs a far amount of money and eating disorders are more often found in affluent groups, certain of the young women from affluent families who participate in showing may be predisposed to eating disorders.
On the incorrect facts, there were lots of quotes from various people about their personal experiences and opinions, but I can't see those as misstatements of fact. The one I did notice was the statement that "The getup is not only expensive, about $350 to buy a new set of jacket, pants, boots and chaps, but also tight." I guess we'd like to be able to get all that stuff new for only $350! What were the other incorrect fact statements that you found?
"I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry
It seems like there is a lot of jumping to conclusions about this article and it makes me wonder if all of the people who are sounding outraged read the article.
Really, it is time for people to become aware of this problem within our industry and our sport.
I just read the weight issue threads and I was appalled by the posts that were there.
Having participated in horse shows for many years, and not having an eating disorder, I was not insulted by the article at all. If it helps one person to identify their eating disorder or to call out for help then its great.
I do think that GM is getting a lot of heat that he does not neccessarily deserve, as he seems to want people to be healthy, and fit, more than just thin. We tend to read something or hear something and because of human nature jump to the conclusion that the speaker means something that he/she doesnt. It does seem to me that he is a bit mislead to think that none of the riders that have ridden with him had eating disorders, because you just have to look at the show ring in west palm beach and you can tell that there are a couple of grand prix riders that definatly have a problem, and I thought that most of the grand prix riders rode with him at least once in their life.
It occurs to me that maybe because he is a man, he doesnt realize just how sensitive teenage women can be. I mean, if he told me to lose some weight, I would probably starve myself half to death to please him. Maybe he doesnt realize that he has that effect on people. Besides which, I have noticed that the teenage boys that hang out at our barn are really kind of lazy and they dont go out of their way to please anyone, even the people that they like, and the teenage girls will do almost anything to win, look good, be popular, and ride like their idol (whoever is current in the horse world), where the guys are all like, if you dont like it who cares.
GM is a guy, so even if he is as meticulous as I hear he is, maybe he doesnt realize that girls are different in this way. What he percieves as weakness (I hear he thinks girls are spastic) is just an inordinate need to please and gain approval (perhaps a weakness in its own right).
One of those city that are big towns, real big!,San Antonio TX
Being out of touch for some time I came on today and saw this sitting there and thought to myself after reading this, have some people forgotten that our sport has a verry thick carpet of lies and seacrets? When I opend up the article I saw there a long article that I half to say I did not get insulted one bit nor upset me. Ill half to read it again before I compleatly comprehend it cause I read it so fast but thats besides the fact. If I was to write the article I would have put the same stuff in. It made me cry to read the opening paragraph and read about Shelly. She reminds me of myself. I guess cause we are the same person. Instead of blirbing on about this whole issue I just want to say one thing.... If this in front of any of you was a bunch of BS do you think a magazine like Jane would take the liability to publish it? NONE OF THIS IS A JOKE OR A BUNCH OF LIES!
With one note there is a correction Im not native to Texas, native to Conn. and that is where the whole story started. But it could have happend anywhere. I do now though consider myself a Texan cause here I began a new life.
\"I\'m going to go see a horse about a man\" - Unknown
While I think that there is truth in that article, I really resent the picture painted to look like everyone on the show circuit all around the country supports having eating disorders. It makes it sound like a healthy rider is the exception. My 5'7 114lb. daughter eats like a trucker and competes in at least two scholastic sports each year in addition to riding two horses. She already resents uniformed busybodies implying that she has an eating disorder - she doesn't - but her best friend, who does not ride, does. Her school (400 students) has ongoing problems with a very high number of girls on the crew team dealing with the issue. Except the coaches don't seem to think it's a problem as it serves their needs. The rate at school is much higher that what I have seen in our barn or the circuit in our area in general. The title of the article is purposefully misleading and is the worst part of the article. I will never buy the magazine again.
I just read the article, and must agree with Portia, et al, who did not find it offensive. In fact, the tone of the article did not differ much from many of the weight discussions we have had on these forums. The author used examples of both healthy and unhealthy riders, and was very balanced in presenting what I think we all know is a real problem. I respectfully disagree with the poster who said she felt the article portrayed everyone on the circuit as "supporting" eating disorders. I think it simply showed that the pressure to be thin exists in the horse show world, as it does in many other sports, that it can be very destructive, and that there are many people who are blind to the problem.
I am planning to save the article to show my non-horsey friends and therapist to whom I have been trying to explain the body image pressure I feel as a rider. (I often say "I don't think I'm a fat _person_, I think I'm a fat _rider_" Unhealthy, I know, but I'm working on it).
I agree that the tag line was tasteless, but the title and the rest of the article I think was right on.
(and if anyone knows the therapist, Kristen Humann, that was quoted in the article and has her email, I think I rode with her as a junior, and would love to get in touch with her).
BUT! In fact at my lowly and inconsequential C-Show it was brought to my attention that an exhibitor (in Beginner rider, no less) received the impression from a judge that she was too heavy.
Well, she isn't slim but definitely not obese a chunky teen-ager who will probably slim out later but with a short leg. I thought I had properly advised her and her mother not to take the comment seriously since the judge was also not very skinny, and in fact varying from the long legged skinny image was not a reason to penalize a rider.
I was horrified, they did not come to me this time because I learned that this girl had been compelled by her mother to lose a pound a day from that show to this. Imagine losing 21 pounds in 21 days, and, her ribbons didn't improve. The mother's reaction was well we'll go home and lose some more weight.
This is an issue for us and it is a travesty of logic. I may be able to understand that George Morris would believe that looking like a little boy was better, I might be able to understand that he believes that girls are out of balance because they have breasts. But, then what about boys who cannot totally comply with the forward seat for anatomical reasons.
Have we become so shallow and so vain that horsemanship is dependent on an image? I was always proud to brag that this sport was the rare exception that did not care what a rider looked like but whether or not the job got done.
I think this may have changed while we were not looking. I don't know if my quotes were included because I am sure they were quite banal for their sensational approach. I would like to know if anyone has the issue. They did not extend me the courtesy of a copy.
But, please do not look the other way, do not think this is not affecting our children...it is serious. We can attack an unsophisticated mother or call her various names but that does not change the fact that in order to help her daughter accomplish a goal she believed it was an important factor.
We need to address this problem and make sure that judges are taught this is not a criteria for any judgment. I am sure it slides into place under the cover of general appearance. But, unless we are going to have equitation classes that are beauty pagents for the riders instead of measure of the riders skills we had better define the criteria. To me, general appearance referred to things like clean tack, groomed horses and polished boots. If these are to be beauty pagents then guys, I'm outta here.
I have spent my life teaching both girls and boys that it's not how you look but what you can do that matters to the world.
My friend knew I was addicted to the COTH BB, so she sent me a copy of the article. I had the same impression that Portia did. I never saw the front page blurb, only the article itself, and I thought it was very well written.
CTT, I was thinking about you when I read about "Shelly" because I remember the things you posted a long time ago. I was wondering if that was you.
I second what Megan said, and I also agree that exercise is the best way to lose weight. You'd be surprised how much of a difference walking can make. If possible, walk to school, work, the grocery store, instead of driving. Or bike. After I got my license I drove everywhere--it's part of the novelty but now I'm, gasp, carless. I walk 50 mins to and fro class every day, I ride my bike to my horse (20 mins) or at least walk to the bus stop.
Another awesome dieting strategy is to not eat (much) after 6 pm. That's when you're probably least active and your metabolism slows down and the calories add up. Since I live in dorms we eat at 5:30 and even if I'm hungry later I'm too lazy to go down to the caf and get something to eat-I just keep crackers and fruit and soup in my room. It's been 3 weeks and I've lost 5 lbs without really doing anything.
P.S. Robby please don't generalize. I'm 5'9" and 125 lbs (and a size 28 in breeches!), but I'm very fine boned and that's a good weight for me. It's like those machines where you plug in your height and they tell you how much you're supposed to weigh--it just doesn't work like that.
And Jr*, don't worry about your weight. I take it that you're younger; your body is probably in a funny stage right now and your real body type most likely won't materialize for a few years. As the "skinniest girl in the barn" I used to cry because my legs were sticks and guys went for the girls with boobs and they teased me for being "flat." It sucked. Thank goodness things have changed--I'll never be "well endowed" but I appreciate myself just the same. Remember there is no such thing as the perfect figure.
"The question is not can they speak or can they reason, but can they suffer?"
I bought the magazine, and can tell you that I won't be again for a long time. What a trashy piece of... well... trash! Did anyone notice that, after the mag finished berating girls with eating disorders, about 20 pages later, there's a model wearing a (horrendously ugly) wool dress, with legs like freakin' toothpicks?!? No joke. They shouldn't cross lines the way they did in the horsey article if they are going to run ads like that. That's not to say that eating disorders aren't a very serious and dangerous presence in the horse world, but they could have written a much better article that didn't make it sound like ALL riders "enjoy" puking, etc.
sorry for generalizing, but quit being micro-anal. Reread my post, I said "it's highly unlikely." I always encourage everyone to follow their doctors guidelines for weight and height. Beware of those "plug-in" systems ... if a diet company endorses it, it's probably inaccurate (to make you think you need to lose weight). My friend, coincidentally, just lost 19 lbs. She had an "Herbalicious" diet chart. It said for a man of 6'0" (like me) and medium build (like me) that a realistic weight was 145-162 lbs. Well, at the height of my eating issues, I weighed 148 and in photos I look like a skeleton with a big head. I'm happier and better at 175. My doctor agrees with this. Her chart says I should weigh between 165-185.
When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.
I agree with you! I have read in a few magazines that at 5'0" (which is what I am and forever will be), I should be 95 pounds! Uh, yeah right, what planet are YOU on? Lets try 5'0" and 155. I know some people are like, "Um you are WAY overweight, girl!" Which in a way, I am. But in another way, I have huge breasts (a size C or D, I can't remember) and really WIDE hips. I told my mom that I wanted to lose 30 pounds before next summer(for the show season) and she was like good luck. She told me that I am way too, um, ENDOWED, to lose beyond anything like 10 or even 20 pounds if I am lucky! And she knows what she's talking about because she's been working in a doctor's office forever! I will always wish to be tall and thin, but that won't happen to me in this lifetime! Instead, I hope to get into an exersize(sp?) program, eat well and get some muscle on me by next year's show season. If not, so beat it. I personally just wish that some trainers, judges, riders, parents etc. would stop worrying about what their kid(s) weighed and start worrying about whether they can RIDE a 1200 pound animal over a course of jumps!
I say, let the best RIDER win, not who has the best body! For gosh sake's, if you want to get judgeded on your body, go enter a beauty pagent!
And do it because it will prolong your life! I've been exercising regularly for about 3 months now, and I cannot tell you how much better I feel. I walk 3 miles about 4x per week (up and down hills, with my Jack Russells ... we pretend we're getting ready for a three day), and use my Bowflex machine 3-4x per week as well. I'm making changes to my diet, but not radically so. I've probably not lost any weight, but my body shape looks different. Particularly my upper torso, which is becoming much more musculuar.
Muscle does weigh more than fat. Remember that when you begin to exercise. As a woman, too, it's important that you exercise to increase bone density, as this will begin to diminish as you age.
By working your muscles, and making them lean, you WILL burn fat. And, yes, boobs can weigh a lot. I will tell you that I have had several friends who've had breast reduction surgery and swear by it. Of course, they were HUGE and were beginning to have real issues like back aches, etc. I'm certainly NOT encouraging you to go under the knife, but do remember that it could be an option if you begin to experience negative health problems due to being top heavy. Do talk to your doctor about it!
The most important lesson in all of this, to me, is to be the best you can be, and be who you are. No one can ever take your joy away from you unless you let them.
When blood is the beverage of choice, the sharpest fangs feed first.
Did anyone notice that, after the mag finished berating girls with eating disorders, about 20 pages later, there's a model wearing a (horrendously ugly) wool dress, with legs like freakin' toothpicks?!?
Surprise! Surprise! This is Jane we're talking about... so hip, so progressive, wouldn't DREAM of biting the hand that feeds it (or tries to)! I work in the fashion industry, and their models have tended to be the skinniest around, even scrawny... personally, I wouldn't believe anything that I read in a magazine that still considers Courtney "Ahhhwk, Is My Silicone Slipping?" Love to be a role model.
Now, can anyone tell me where to get that $350 show outfit WITh chaps? [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img]
\"It is by no means the privilege of the rider to part with his horse solely by his own will.\" -- Alois Podhajsky
Jane magically appeared in my mailbox a year and a half ago after I moved from one state to another (so much for not getting any junk mail for a while!), and continues to appear every month, and I have never paid a penny for it. I really don't care for the magazine, but usually find an amusing article to read.
First, my personal views:
I am an overweight person and an overweight rider, who has been through two episodes of eating disorders, but never for the purpose of looking better on a horse (which makes sense, as I don't show). I have ridden horses since I was nine (I was a fat kid, too), and you know what? When I was feeling the worst about myself, feeling that people didn't like me and my family was disappointed and embarrassed by me because I wasn't thin, the one solace that I had was that the horse didn't care. What I've found as a young adult is that most horses I've ridden have a harder time with a lighter rider who is unbalanced or whose seat is dependent on their hands than a heavier rider who is balanced with a secure, independent seat, and light hand. If I seriously wanted to show, yes, I would need to lose weight. No argument there. If I just want to ride for fun, perhaps go to the occasional show, I'm not going to kill myself to get into smaller breeches.
Now my response to the article:
I read the "horsey set" article with interest and a relatively open mind. I'm a person who rides for personal pleasure, is closely involved with competitive dressage, and has a best friend who's an eventer. I composed a long letter (which I have yet to send) to Jane, presenting the other side of the story: how in dressage, the movement that the horse performs is what is judged, not the rider; how in jumpers it doesn't matter what you look like as long as you can go clean (and then clean and fast); that any person without caloric reserves would pass out on a foxhunt; how in endurance riding there are actually *minimum* weight requirements; that eventers have to have the strength and stamina to get around a cross country course, and so on and so forth. Maybe I'll still send it. I'm surprised nobody here has mentioned Frankie Chesler, a very successful rider who is sponsored by and is a model for 1824 (for those of you wearing 26s or 28s, you've probably never shopped through this catalog [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif[/img] ). Anyway, I suppose what my point is is that the need to be thin does seem to pervade some equestrian disciplines, but certainly not all. I wish that the article would have reported on some of the other disciplines, even if it was along the lines of "In dressage you can have a fat butt and big boobs and still succeed (even though those white breeches make you look bigger than you are.)"