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!
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!"
<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...
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.
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?
<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.
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.
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!!!!
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.
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 ( & Regal)
what doesn't kill you makes you stronger -
unless it breaks your heart first
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
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.
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.
Sarah ( & Regal)
what doesn't kill you makes you stronger -
unless it breaks your heart first
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.
<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.