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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
    To get ready for the show season this year, I'm going to go on the cardiologist's diet...if it takes good, you have to spit it out.
    Haha! I'm promising myself that if I drop two sizes, I'll buy myself Pikeurs. (Don't panic, anybody, I'm definitely not anorexic in any way, I can stand to loose the weight, lol.) So now when I finally get home, I'm like, "Caramel Moose Tracks/Peanut Butter Cup ice cream or a pair of breeches... Caramel Moose Tracks, new breeches..." So far it's breeches, 12, Caramel Moose Tracks, 2.

    But yes, when I hear about any sort of Eq Diet it's anorexia with a fancy name.


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  2. #22
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    I'm working on a similar thing. When I get within 5 lb of my goal weight (a healthy competitive weight) I will buy myself custom boots from La Casa De Las Botas.


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  3. #23
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    "It really isn't that hard to cover up. I wake up too late to eat breakfast, buy lunch and throw it away, parents aren't home till dinner. "

    Really?? Wow! At least give it to a homeless person instead of throwing it! This is ridiculous....



  4. #24
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    Here is an article from 2002. I believe it is more prevelent than most people want to believe.

    I Was The Skinniest Girl In The Barn - Jane, October, 2002

    Shelly is horse crazy. She started riding when she was 5. In fourth grade, she had a growth spurt. Suddenly she reached 5 feet, but the rest of her body couldn't seem to keep up, and her weight stayed at 74 pounds. "I was horrified," she says now. "I looked like a skeleton." But the people in her riding classes thought she looked great, the perfect petite rider.

    So when the Texas native grew three more inches over the next year, she freaked out that she might gain a few pounds. She decided to starve herself. By the time she was 12, she had to drop out of some of her horse shows. " I was 71 pounds," she says. " I couldn't get our of bed because I was too weak. I ended up having to go to the hospital. My vitamin levels were down, my anitbodies were nonexistent, and my liver and kidnerys were failing." The next year, she had to get a kidney transplant from her sister because hers were so damaged. She'll be on rejection medications for the rest of her life.

    Shelly puts much of the blame on the "thinner is better" culture of the horse-show world. "Anorexia isn't a life I chose because I wanted it," she says. "But it was the only way to keep up with the corrupted mind of our judges, who told us whtether we were good."

    According to various doctors and psychotherapists who specialize in equestrians, the incidence of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating within that group has risen noticeably over the past 10 years (unfortunately, no one has bothered to officially track this). But unlike in ballet and gymnastics, there are no programs in place to try to prevent eating disorders in its ranks. Apparently, these problems are not supposed to exist in a sophisticated world of big bucks and sleek animals. And if they do, they're not supposed to be openly discussed. Here's how the nightmare begins - and it sure isn't from something the girls ate.

    "They don't say flat-out that you have a big butt"

    Lynne Evans suffered from anorexia when she was 10, but she had pretty much recovered by the time she turned 16. Part of the reason she chose to go into horseback riding was because she thought it wasn't abuot looking like a Barbie doll. SHe had just managed to get up to a healthy weight, and she thought this would be one sport that wouldn't drag her back into the illness.

    Then she started carefully listening to her trainers. "They kept telling me, 'The horse and rider need to be light. You need to have a light step and help the horse with that'," she says. Her size complex started to return. "I was young and I thought, 'What does that mean? Are you saying I'm really, really big and I'm weighing down my horse?Oh God. I can't eat anything."

    The one day, when Lynne was out in the field with the other students, she overheard one of the girls laugh and say, "Which is the horse's rear and which is Lynne's? At 17, Lynne started throwing up her meals.

    She points out that the messages to lose weight are often subtle. "None of the trainers say flat-out that you have a big butt," she explains. "But then the thinners girls get the compliments and praise, even if you really have the same ability. It's not enough to be fit - you have to be below normal weight to fit the physical ideal."

    In equitation, or horsemanship, only the rider is judged, not the horse. Part of this means looking elegant in breeches, riding coat, boots and jaunty hat. There are no weight limits in the rules for equitation determined by USA Equestrian, Inc. (formerly the American Hourse Shows Association) - only the proportion between horse and rider is supposed to matter. However, looking elegant often seems to mean looking thin: The getup is not only expensive, about $350 to buy a new set of jacket, boots and chaps, but also tight.

    "I couldn't face going into the arena," Lynne says, explaining how the emphasis on weight casued her to drop out of the competitive scene. "The people are there to cheer you on, but at the same time they're there eyeballing you in the outfit that you hvae to wear. I'd gained a little weight, and I started to feel really bad about myself."

    Karry Davis, 22, is nine months pregnant when I speak to her. She's been riding in horse shows for 12 years and has battled with anorexia for eight, but she recently vowed to stay healthy for the baby. "The main reason I want to have the baby right now is so I can start losing weight again," she admits. "I want to go to a horse show in a month and a half, and I'm looking at my riding clothes thinking, "I've got to fit into these.' I don't want to do anything to hurt myself or anything, but it's like, 'How am I going to lose all this weight?'"

    "They're judging a beauty contest instead of a horse show."

    A year and a half ago, Denna Johnson, a trainer, started a thread on the Web site for The Chronicle of the Horse, a well-respected magazine. Called "The Weight Issue," the thread attracted more than 300 posters and revealed a problem that shocked those who took the time to read it.

    On the thread, Denna described a college horse show she and her student went to. One of her novice riders competed against a more experienced student and came close to beating her. The girl asked Denna what she did wrong. Denna told her that she'd kicked ass, and that with a little more mileage she'd be golden. Happy, the girl then went over to one of the judges to ask what she should work on. The judge answered, "You have nice equitation, but you'll never win seriously unless you lose five pounds." Denna couldn't believe it. "The girl was hysterical and told me, 'I'm fat and ugly, and I can't ride,'" Denna recalls. The student was 5-foot-10 and 130 pounds. Denna was livid.

    Longtime rider Vikki Siegel knows all about what goes on in some judges' minds. She has two daughters who also ride. One is considered to have the perfect rider body type - slender with long legs. She started noticing that at the shows, her shorter, stockier daughter had to work a lot harder to get the same points: "She had to be twice as good as anybody with long legs. And my thinner, younger daughter - they just forgave her major faults."

    She adds, "I run a lot of horse shows, so I talk to a lot of judges. And there is no doubt that right now instead of judging a horse show, we are judging a beauty contest."

    "Trainers don't consider this big enough to address."

    "Most barns like mine, where every single one of the kids idolizes the trainer, " says 20 year old Eleanor of Maryland. "If the trainers were willing to talk openly about eating disorders, it would do amazing things for the students." Eleanor dropped 20 pounds one summer to try to look like one of her friends blessed with "the look." These days, she keeps a sharp eye on the younger kids in her barn. "I feel like it's part of my job to make sure they don't mess up like I did," she says. "But not too many trainers seem to consider this enough of a problem to address."

    Some instructors, like Denna, do go out of their way to not say things that could make the teenagers associate successfulness with being a certain size. Other trainers don't seem to realize the effect their words can have.

    George Morris is a world-class coach who has trained several Olympic equestrians. He's won numberous equitation championships, and he's pretty much thought of as the shit in the show-jumping world. And he's also known for being shockingly open with riders about how he feels about weight. One of his mottoes is, "The best exercise a rider can get is to push away from the dinner table."

    He's only too happy to elaborate. "You see these overfe, over-self-indulged girls and ladies," he says, enunciating each word. "Their riding coats are tight and bulging a little through the seams. They are galloping around on top of the saddle. It makes them top-heavy, like a cork on top of a wave. They hate me, they don't want to hear the truth."

    George, a former judge, says he would "absolutely" take points from the heavier rider if two people were equally skilled in a competition. But he doesn't think this leads to many eating disorders. "That's called going to extremes," he says. "But I don't know that I've had any anorexics over the 30 or 40 years that I've had a barn. People say, 'Oh, this one was anorexic and that one was.' I didn't see it. I didn't know it. I don't think I created it."

    Later George tells me, "I hope you don't water down my quotes like you people do, soften it up and whitewash it. It'll sell magazines like crazy to have a scathing article. Send it to me, now, with the pages burning.

    "The richer girls were envious because I was the skinniest."

    When now 35-year-old Claire was on the junior hunter and equitation circuits in highschool, her mother strongly encouraged her to beat one of the wealthier neighborhood girls in the shows. Claire felt that one way she could increase her odds against the student, who had a way more expensive horse, was by being way thinner than her. So she started to take a lot of diuretics.

    "For a while, I was the skinniest girl in the barn," says still-ultra-thin Claire, almost proudly. "The richer girls were envious." She would spend winters showing in Palm Beach,Fla., with the other students and a tutor, away from their parents in New Jersey and from anyone who watched what they ate. Or even whether they ate. "So many of us had eating disorders," she says. "Part of it was that our parents had spent so much money on the horses and training. We felt we had to do well at all the shows to make it worth it.

    The thing is, these women might already be predisposed toward eating disorders. "It's not that the horse-show world breeds eating disorders," says Kristen Humann, as equestrian and psychotherapist in Washington,D.C. "It's more of an economic issure. It takes more money to deal with horses than other sports. And anorexia and bulimia are predominantly upper-class diseases. They're looking perfect on the outside and in a lot of pain on the inside."

    The environment, it seems, only adds fuel to the fire. Claire and her friends' days in Florida were filled with competitive riding; their nights with puking, diet pills and endless diuretics. When socializing, they would compare the merits of various vomiting tips, whether it was easier to puke after eating chinese food or drinking diet soda. Palm Beach had turned into Lord of the Flies, debutante-style. "We were pretty much out of control," Claire recalls," and our parents were hundreds of miles away, so they had no idea."

    "One day there is going to be a serious accident."

    Maybe it doesn't need to be said, but trotting around on a 1,000 plus-pound creature isn't too safe ir you're woozy from lack of nutrients. One day during class, after taking many diuretics and then roasting in the heat, Claire passed out. The instructors ran to help her. "I'm fine," she insisted. They didn't ask her many questions, and after a few minutes she got back on her horse and continued the class.

    Even George Morris says that underweight riders can be injured, or killed, by a horse. As Vikki explains, "It takes a lot of strength and muscle to be able to hold a horse, and riders won't be able to do that it they're too weak. One day there is going to be a serious accident because of this."

    Elizabeth, a 16-year-old rider from MIchigan is 5-foot-4 and weighs 118 pounds. Last year, one of her friends who competes in bigger shows slipped into anorexia. "I saw that when she lost weight, she started doing better," says Elizabeth. "So I thought if I got skinnier, I would do better too." She fasted and dropped 10 pounds. "But I started to feel weak on my horse, and I would lose my concentration," she says. She was scared she ws going to be thrown off the horse. "That's when I knew I had to stop." Fortunately, she's now back to her normal weight. Elizabeth begged me not to use even her real first name, because her mother doesn't know any of this.

    "Do you think any of us want to acknowledge this?"

    One rider with a prominent job in the industry said he didn't think eating disorders were a big problem among equestrians. Then a few minutes laterm he mentioned that one of his riding friends had died from anorexia: "She was riding with this emaciated appearance. We were all worried, trying to get her to do something about it, because it affected her strength, and her bones were brittle. She ended up suffering a fall, and didn't make it." But then he refused to give more details, and asked me not to indentify her.

    One person's name keeps coming up again and again among men, women, trainers, judges and ever people in the equestrian federation. They whisper things like, "She looks like a Nazi victim," and, "This child is probably going to die before anybody will do anyting to help her." But no one will go on the record talking about this successful rider's possible disorder. They don't want to make waves in their close-knit community, or insult her with their concern.

    When I get her on the phone, she lightly tells me, "I was very fortunate in being blessed with a naturally thin figure. I've never really had to work with staying thin." She denies having an eating disorder and says she's never felt pressured to be skinny: "Nobody has ever told me to lose weight. My problem has more been being strong enough and heavy enough. I think eating disorders might be a problem with the younger riders, but not with the others."

    Okay then, whether it's a problem for younger riders or older ones, many afree that it's not being dealth with in the open, which is perhaps the scariest thing. I ask Alan Balch, the director of USA Equestrian whether that will ever change. "Maybe we need to have our equitation committee take up this question a little more formally," he says, sounding sincere. "If these are things that are out there, maybe we should have some official campaigns."

    Shelly, who's walking around with her sister's kidney, hears denials of eating disorders all the time among horseback riders. "Do you think any of us want to acknowledge that this life wreaks havoc on us?" she asked. "This all began with someone's standards about weight and then we followed. But nobody has woke up yet and said, 'This needs to stop.'"


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  5. #25
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    Very eye opening. This is serious stuff. A few years ago my husband and I hosted an exchange student from Italy. She was an avid horse rider (jumpers). About a week after she arrived I suspected she was bulemic. And sure enough, after several weeks we had proof. Don't want to go through details. But she said a lot of girls at her barn did the same thing. While she was here, we were taking her to a doctor, and psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a nutritionist. I feel bad for her, but it was TOUGH for my SO and I. We didn't have our own kids, so nothing like being thrown into the fire. We, of course, were in contact with her parents the whole time. But we tried to work through it because she did not want to go home. But eventually she started self mutilating (biting her arms) so she had to go home. She was here about six months.

    OP, if you are still reading this, this is SERIOUS stuff. It's not about looks. It CAN be life or death. Are you seriously going to risk it look what you THINK looks better in breeches? I REALLY REALLY encourage you to talk to your school counselor and maybe ask about getting a nutritionist to map out a healthy meal plan and see if you are at a healthy weight. Please don't do drastic dieting. It's very bad for you, and you'll be weak up in the saddle anyway.
    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
    ¯ Oscar Wilde



  6. #26
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    As an eating disorder patient, eating disorders don't go away. EVER. I am now 5 years out, and while I am a healthy weight, I fight the unhealthy thoughts EVERY DAY! Let me tell you, those few years of being so weak have RUINED my riding. I lost a lot of strength and muscle that took years to build. I wasn't involved with the Eq when I was younger, but I listen to a lot of girls talking callously about eating disorder and going "anorexic". Anorexia doesn't have an on/off switch. That is a starvation diet, that can spin out of control. When I look back on my eating disorder, I seriously regret the damage I did to my body (that know of, who know how much damage I did that I still don't know about). OP if you want to know what an eating disorder is REALLY like, PM me and I will tell you the details. It is not pretty. It is skin, bones, and raw emotions.


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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoonLadyIsis View Post
    As an eating disorder patient, eating disorders don't go away. EVER. I am now 5 years out, and while I am a healthy weight, I fight the unhealthy thoughts EVERY DAY! Let me tell you, those few years of being so weak have RUINED my riding. I lost a lot of strength and muscle that took years to build. I wasn't involved with the Eq when I was younger, but I listen to a lot of girls talking callously about eating disorder and going "anorexic". Anorexia doesn't have an on/off switch. That is a starvation diet, that can spin out of control. When I look back on my eating disorder, I seriously regret the damage I did to my body (that know of, who know how much damage I did that I still don't know about). OP if you want to know what an eating disorder is REALLY like, PM me and I will tell you the details. It is not pretty. It is skin, bones, and raw emotions.
    Thank you for being so willing to share what you went through.

    Anorexia is not glamour, it's not a diet, it's a disorder. It will ruin your life if you let it. I'm very thankful I was able to recover twice now, but it is still a battle.
    I've heard there's more to life than an FEI tent and hotel rooms, so I'm trying it.



  8. #28
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    People need to start understanding you can just not eat for a few days and call yourself anorexic. After dealing with bulimia for 2 years, it's a disease not a choice. You don't just wake up an anoretic.
    .אני יכול לעשות הכל על ידי אלוהים


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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunterrider23 View Post
    People need to start understanding you can just not eat for a few days and call yourself anorexic. After dealing with bulimia for 2 years, it's a disease not a choice. You don't just wake up an anoretic.
    absolutely... there are lots of things that can make someone go a few days without food. I know I don't eat when I'm very stressed out, and that doesn't mean I'm anorexic or sick.
    Kind of like all those little kids yelling and running around throwing tantrums in restaurants or stores: Too easy to diagnose them all with hyperactivity or ADD...
    Diseases have to be taken seriously and people need to stop diagnosing themselves.


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  10. #30

    Default Message to Very Young Riders

    In fact, George did address this topic in the book read by millions of young girls, "A Very Young Rider," in which he's quoted as saying that "There's nothing uglier than a fat rider."



  11. #31
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    He's only too happy to elaborate. "You see these overfe, over-self-indulged girls and ladies," he says, enunciating each word. "Their riding coats are tight and bulging a little through the seams. They are galloping around on top of the saddle. It makes them top-heavy, like a cork on top of a wave. They hate me, they don't want to hear the truth."

    George, a former judge, says he would "absolutely" take points from the heavier rider if two people were equally skilled in a competition. But he doesn't think this leads to many eating disorders. "That's called going to extremes," he says. "But I don't know that I've had any anorexics over the 30 or 40 years that I've had a barn. People say, 'Oh, this one was anorexic and that one was.' I didn't see it. I didn't know it. I don't think I created it."
    ...Okay, time warp! It's 1994 and the gymnastics (in particular) and skating coaches are saying the same thing in "Little Girls in Pretty Boxes"! Paging Bella Karoli, George Morris is cribbing your quotes. (Actually Karoli on some level thinks he's teasing and/or toughening girls up; I think George is serious.) I skate and dance as an adult, but I became a disordered eater long before I ever bought a good pair of skates or saw a rhinestone because from age 12 riding had me convinced I was fat and ugly. I worked in a skating club and I have heard the same thing he's saying here out of the mouths of coaches who have had kids with eating disorders no matter what kind of denial they're in. My boss even had to set a policy that we (the cafe staff) were not the food police-we sold you what you ordered if you gave us the money, we did NOT take orders from coaches about denying kids food. If she hadn't put her foot down, they'd have done it.

    Never tried anorexia but bulimia is not fun, no matter how you go about it. It does not do great things for your brain, either. Yes, looks matter, and people in the sport who deny it are kidding themselves (I'm surprised no one's popped in yet going "That writer is TOTALLY GETTING IT WRONG and the mother even says her fat daughter can still win sometimes if she works hard so the whole thing is null and void") but making yourself painfully sick isn't worth it.


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  12. #32
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    He's only too happy to elaborate. "You see these overfe, over-self-indulged girls and ladies," he says, enunciating each word. "Their riding coats are tight and bulging a little through the seams. They are galloping around on top of the saddle. It makes them top-heavy, like a cork on top of a wave. They hate me, they don't want to hear the truth."

    George, a former judge, says he would "absolutely" take points from the heavier rider if two people were equally skilled in a competition. But he doesn't think this leads to many eating disorders. "That's called going to extremes," he says. "But I don't know that I've had any anorexics over the 30 or 40 years that I've had a barn. People say, 'Oh, this one was anorexic and that one was.' I didn't see it. I didn't know it. I don't think I created it."

    Of course he didn't notice, he was too focused on the male riders.


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  13. #33
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    Another reason I so admired Brianne Goutal when she was winning the big eqs- there was a normal-sized girl who rides the hair off her horses and who was winning, never mind she didn't have "the equitation look." I never had "the look" either and watching Brianne, who is built like I am, win the equitation classes went a long way towards keeping me from making worse choices about food than I already was at 14.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
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    Horse Isle 2: Legend of the Esrohs LifeCycle Breeding and competition MMORPG


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  14. #34
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    people will do drastic things to win. I wish more judges would choose the best rider rather than the most expensive horse...or the rider that "fit the bill" best becuase of clothes or a certain body type.



  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post
    Another reason I so admired Brianne Goutal when she was winning the big eqs- there was a normal-sized girl who rides the hair off her horses and who was winning, never mind she didn't have "the equitation look."
    I beg to differ.

    She absolutely had "the equitation look-" good position, great eye, lots of feel for the horse. Those are the things that matter. That's why she won all the finals, including the Maclay, where George Morris was one of the judges.

    That's also why she's still doing well today in the jumpers. Those qualities carry over to the other rings.


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  16. #36
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    As a person who's best friend struggles with cutting, anorexia, and bulimia... it is not pretty. It's me watching her pick at her food and then excuse herself to the bathroom. It's therapy 4 times a week and skin and bones and genuine self hatred and watching the light of your life burn out right in front of your eyes. It's the hardest thing I've ever been through and it's not even me going through it.
    Proud member of the COTH Junior (and Junior-at-Heart!) clique!


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  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alternative1 View Post
    Of course he didn't notice, he was too focused on the male riders.
    This got me thinking, how much have the boys/young men been affected by the need to be thin in equitation? Do they struggle too, or is more acceptable for the male rider to be a normal weight?

    I always thought Conrad Homfeld looked too skinny when he was riding, but I know he was also really tall, and its not unusual for men like that to resemble "string beans" when they are young. But I'm curious if anyone have any anecdotes about male riders struggling to make the ideal "Big Eq look".



  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by MHM View Post
    I beg to differ.

    She absolutely had "the equitation look-" good position, great eye, lots of feel for the horse. Those are the things that matter. That's why she won all the finals, including the Maclay, where George Morris was one of the judges.

    That's also why she's still doing well today in the jumpers. Those qualities carry over to the other rings.
    MHM- you know what I mean, I think. Despite what you pin and despite what should pin, a rider's build, shape, and weight is perceived to be important in the eq ring and that perception does not come from out of nowhere. Since extreme unhealthy dieting and eating disorders are still problematic in the sport, I don't think denying the perception of "the equitation look" being a tall slender string bean of a person is going to do us any good. I should hope we all know that you have to actually ride.

    I would imagine that the pressures are not dissimilar for male riders.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
    - Harry Dresden

    Horse Isle 2: Legend of the Esrohs LifeCycle Breeding and competition MMORPG


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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post
    Another reason I so admired Brianne Goutal when she was winning the big eqs- there was a normal-sized girl who rides the hair off her horses and who was winning, never mind she didn't have "the equitation look." I never had "the look" either and watching Brianne, who is built like I am, win the equitation classes went a long way towards keeping me from making worse choices about food than I already was at 14.
    Absolutely!
    And she just won the Grand Prix at WEF last weekend



  20. #40
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    Wow, apparently this never made it to the Arabian world, or I was oblivious to it (in the 90s). I won and was very competitive in equitation (western and hunter) and I was on the heavy side. I'm much thinner now and have more of the "typical" equ. body, but I'm in my mid 30's so well past caring.



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