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.
P.S.-I am not skinny(5'4" 150lbs,but I carry it well [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] )
Formerly Norhtern Jersey, Now on the Eastern Shore of God\'s Country
<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.
Instead of Save a Horse, Ride a cowboy......Ride a horse, Dump the COwboy.
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)
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
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).]
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!!!!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.
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.
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).]
"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
I left my heart in SF. I am temporarily in Raleigh, NC
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?
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".
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.
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!
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.