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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post
    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.
    It's not "denying the perception" to point out that someone like Brianne Goutal who rides well can be very successful in the equitation without being a tall stringbean. It's a statement of fact.

    As another example, I know of a rider who won quite a bit as a junior. When she went to college, she put on the "freshman 15" and then some. She showed in the IHSA at school, and she still won a lot, since she was still a good rider, and rode rings around many of the other kids who did not fare as well with the IHSA format of hopping on a strange horse and jumping around a course with no practice.

    So regardless of the perception, the fact is that riding ability is more important than size or shape. If more people can grasp that fact, all the better.

    As for GM, I have the utmost respect for his abilities and accomplishments with horses. That doesn't mean he's perfect. Or that every word he says on every subject should be taken as gospel.

    And anyone who thinks this is a new problem is showing their lack of mileage. The new twist is that maybe it's more widely known and discussed. (A Twitter feed? Really?) The problem itself is not new.


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  2. #82
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    The Chronicle has actually addressed this topic; we ran an article about eating disorders in the hunter/jumper world a few years ago. I will try and see if I can dig it up.

    We also published this cover story last year in our digital publication, The Chronicle Connection... http://bluetoad.com/publication/?i=74003.


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  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Molly Sorge View Post
    The Chronicle has actually addressed this topic; we ran an article about eating disorders in the hunter/jumper world a few years ago. I will try and see if I can dig it up.

    We also published this cover story last year in our digital publication, The Chronicle Connection... http://bluetoad.com/publication/?i=74003.
    Great article, but I wished it showed pictures of equitation riders. Because equitation over fences is judged on how the rider looks along with riding skill, a rider's size definitely has a impact on placings, especially on the AA circuit. Look at equitation on the flat. I have rarely seen riders asked to do anything complicated. The most they are asked is sitting trot. The tall, thin riders is going to place over the shorter heavier rider.


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  4. #84
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    I guess we were due for this topic to come back....

    I think GM is harsh with his statements but at the same time there is definitely truth in them. We Americans as a whole eat too much, plain and simple. After traveling abroad the past couple of years I am always shocked at the size of portions in other countries. We are a country of CONSUMERS and love a good quick fix. The last clinic I went to GM touched on the subject of weight/fitness. He said two things are critical- "Shove back from the table once in a while" and to "take up running" (or walking in his case since he is quite a bit older). While the way he said it may sound pretty crass, portion control and exercise are truly the healthiest way to lose weight and increase fitness. I think it sometimes strikes a nerve with some people because they simply lack the discipline to lose weight the hard and slow way.

    Secondly, I am glad someone brought up Becky Holder. Yes she was quite overweight and yes she was competing at the top. But she also dropped a lot of weight (50 or more lbs if I remember correctly) at one point and said she has never ridden better. So you CAN indeed ride well with extra pounds but you may indeed ride much better without those pounds.

    And lets be real here. A few extra pounds is not the end of the world but when we start talking about 10-20+ pounds overweight it does start to effect the way you ride. I have noticed with my riders who are overweight, they don't have the same flexibility/range of motion, they lack stamina, and often have a harder time with balance as you tend to get more top heavy with more weight.

    And meup brought up a good point. I think these comments are just that... they are comments. It is up to the person to perceive them a certain way and make decisions. I would guess that some people (thick or thin) are more likely to develop disorders while others are not likely to go to those extremes. That is where a good support structure (ie. good parenting, friends, etc) play an important part. It is easy to put all the blame on GM but I don't think he is the sole reason why kids are anorexic or bulimic.


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  5. #85
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    Molly,
    Why don't you interview some judges for an article and see if they answer honestly?


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  6. #86
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    Before I started reading this forum, I wanted more than anything to show on the circuit, just once. However, after reading posts about drugging, having to be unhealthy to win EQ, and posts like "what jeans and hair styles are going to make me fit in while showing on the circuit", I'd rather go to the dentist and the gyno in the same afternoon then waste my time and money getting anywhere near the circuit! It's just awful that its so dark.

    I'll take my local shows any day. There are fat, skinny, tall, short girls and the best rider actual has a chance, even if she is heavy.


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  7. #87
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    George Morris has always considered the hunters, and even moreso the Big Eq, as the "farm team" for the jumper ring. Whether that is in fact any longer the case is beside the point. Seen in that light as he does, assuming the rider's aspiration is to move up to riding fast and hard over big fences, GM's seeing noticeably excess weight as a disadvantage is logically consistent with his worldview. Obviously, the weight carried over fences affects the horse's long-term soundness as well.

    Being somewhat dated, George's worldview likely also includes that ignorant one still shared by a great many, that being overweight betrays a lack of self-discipline, self-control, and the goal orientation he would deem necessary to success in the show-jumping world.

    What George and many, many others have NOT caught up to yet is that 25 years of constant exhortation by the "health" wonks to eat "6-11 servings" of grain products a day, while cutting out the natural animal fats that make you feel full while replacing them with sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, has now resulted in the present generation of Junior riders being in all probability BORN insulin-resistant and who even at their young ages are already trapped in a vicious cycle of endocrine-disrupted fat storange and will be for life. There is a REASON why "in his day" there weren't many Big Girls in the saddle--there were far, far fewer overweight people in the population because the food was very different.

    Until the "health" community comes clean with the populace that "calories in/calories out" is NOT the operative equation in obesity, that in fact NO ONE, EVER could possibly exercise enough to "burn off" calories in the form they are consumed today, this "epidemic" is only going to get worse.

    Now that said:

    (1) Nobody makes you ride with or for GM. Vote with your checkbook. That goes for any other judge who you think drops your placing because of your thighs. Go to a different show and ride before a different judge. Ditto clinics. If it's impacting your self-esteem, for heaven's sake tell him to go blow!

    (2) Nobody makes anybody ride the Big Eq to begin with. Pretty rarefied stuff. Plenty of Big Girls in Western Pleasure and nobody notices or cares. In fact, that "healthy" corn-fed look is rather de rigeur out there. It's entirely possible to live a fulfilled life without dying for those egregiously expensive blue ribbons, or for that matter being a runway model for Karl Lagerfeld. First World problems, ladies!

    (3) If you find yourself starving to make weight, fit the description of anorexic or bulimic, or are finding significant negative personal feelings attached to competing, fer chrissakes get yourself out of a Toxic "Sporting" Environment ASAP and find yourself something positive to do! Horses should be FUN!


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  8. #88
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    I had a mightily tough time getting over horrible anorexia while I was in college. I can't deny that I considered fitting into smaller breeches as a major perk, but really it was about control. Feeling like you have no control over what happens in your life and knowing that your food intake is one thing that you can control and that no one else can take away from you. Just wanted to add that. It's not usually "just" a superficial body image issue.

    And in terms of riding, it definitely didn't do me any favors. My first year at IHSA nationals I was so weak, tired, and sad at 88ishlbs that I was jumped out of the tack at every fence and cried like a child afterwards. The pictures make me cringe. I fared much better with a little meat on the bones



  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    The large set of disparaging comments about women's weight by GM makes it hard to cut him slack for the "stand alone" comment. And it shouldn't take the "fat cow" magic words to find in the wrong here.

    Given GM's sexual orientation and the horrific history of homophobia (that was plenty virulent during GM's generation), I can't see why anyone wouldn't expect more compassion from him toward another group discriminated against. It's not good enough to cut him a break as a misogynist because "everyone was doing it."
    If he is indeed gay as implied (oddly I've never heard anyone come right out and say it but I assume he is by the snarking; it's not a dirty word, you know), then I'll be non-PC and say that makes it even less surprising. The worst skating coaches for harassing their female skaters about weight are the gay men, ime. (Not as many as you would think.) And not necessarily the gentlemen of an older generation (who, again, ime, usually have the MANNERS of an older generation), either, but the younger ones.

    And sheesh. Maybe I can see it better because I'm not insulated in a single sport, but congrats to the apologists for making skating and gymnastics look downright progressive about fitness versus appearance. It's the same as arguing that because a skater has breasts and hips and her thighs aren't the same width as her arms, she's not at her "ideal" weight for jumping. There's no way to parse "all other things being equal" and NOT make it about appearance rather than cardiovascular fitness. By definition, if two rides are winning-quality equal, both riders are fit enough to do their job. Choosing based on who is heavier is not about rewarding fitness, it's about rewarding the one who looks prettier *while doing the exact same athletic job.*


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  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    The fact that he grew up in an earlier era may be an excuse for chauvinistic attitudes toward women, but it's not an excuse for the nasty comments he's made about their weight or their figures.
    Just thought I'd point out that GM is neither chauvinistic or misogynistic. He's an equal opportunity hater of fat. He doesn't care if you are a male or female rider, he would prefer you to not be fat. Your horse would probably prefer it as well. I know mine would. I think Courageous Comet appreciates Becky holder's weight loss.

    Now...if you think those comments mean you need to be sickly thin? There are other issues going on. They just mean your horse wants you to be a healthy weight and in a good level of fitness.

    For whomever said us olders can't understand the pressure of youth today? Seriously? The 60s and 70s were pretty crazy when it came to being skinny...and the avg weight in the U.S. was a lot lower then. These days the message is " love yourself no matter what because you were born this way". That wasn't the message I grew up with...as the "fat" kid. Believe me, we've come a long way towards acceptance of a wider range of body types.
    Last edited by RugBug; Feb. 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM. Reason: to add paragraphs the the iPad didn't allow
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
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  11. #91
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    I think we can say that George Morris is a product of his time, an exceedingly knowledgeable horseman and resource to the sport, and also someone who is known for making judgmental comments about weight that are not necessarily reflective of fitness, without any of these things being contradictions. It is possible to acknowledge faults without it taking away from the value someone brings to the sport.

    I have a lot of respect for him as a teacher and horseman but I believe that what I read as his crusade against fat riders was inappropriate- and I am glad that he has toned down his expression of it.

    One of my instructors used to say she likes "fat horses and skinny people." Societally we could make a great change in body perceptions if we stopped focusing on percentage of fat and on weight (which is only a measure of gravitational pull) and focused instead on physical fitness.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
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  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Eboshi View Post
    Nobody makes anybody ride the Big Eq to begin with. Pretty rarefied stuff. Plenty of Big Girls in Western Pleasure and nobody notices or cares. In fact, that "healthy" corn-fed look is rather de rigeur out there. It's entirely possible to live a fulfilled life without dying for those egregiously expensive blue ribbons, or for that matter being a runway model for Karl Lagerfeld. First World problems, ladies!
    Western pleasure is not Western horsemanship (equitation). It certainly is an advantage to be long-legged, long armed and thin in the Western world, too.

    I rode for medals and in the big eq/horsemanship (western) primarily back in the 60s and early 70s. I was expected to maintain my weight, and on top of that, had to wear what we referred to as an "iron maiden" so that no skin jiggled or there was no muffin top under those tight-fitting eq suits. Heaven help you if you had to pee.

    Nothing has changed over the last 40 years. Anyone thinking this "thin" thing is a new issue must have been born yesterday, literally.
    Fan of the Swedish Chef


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  13. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    It was not considered "atypical" by everyone.

    There is at least one person out there (me) who never thought of her as "heavier than usual for an EQ rider" or who framed any part of their assessment of her based on anything to do with weight whatsoever.

    I am sure there are more like me out there.
    I'm one. I have to admit I watched that entire Animal Planet "Road to the Maclay" thing on youtube, and there were lots of shots of Brianne on and off a horse. Never, never, never did it enter my mind that her build was "atypical." She always looked lovely, IMO.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post
    I think we can say that George Morris is a product of his time, an exceedingly knowledgeable horseman and resource to the sport, and also someone who is known for making judgmental comments about weight that are not necessarily reflective of fitness, without any of these things being contradictions. It is possible to acknowledge faults without it taking away from the value someone brings to the sport.

    I have a lot of respect for him as a teacher and horseman but I believe that what I read as his crusade against fat riders was inappropriate- and I am glad that he has toned down his expression of it.
    Yep.
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    If he is indeed gay as implied (oddly I've never heard anyone come right out and say it but I assume he is by the snarking; it's not a dirty word, you know), then I'll be non-PC and say that makes it even less surprising. The worst skating coaches for harassing their female skaters about weight are the gay men, ime. (Not as many as you would think.) And not necessarily the gentlemen of an older generation (who, again, ime, usually have the MANNERS of an older generation), either, but the younger ones.
    Interesting food for thought here about gay coaches. I don't know anything about this from personal observation, but it's interesting.

    (By the way, I think there's little doubt about GM's sexual orientation. In the recent CoTH article about him and his career accomplishments, he himself doesn't use the word "gay," and tiptoes around the topic, but he refers to what he calls his "situation" :

    "He also struggled with his personal life. In those days, as a bohemian man living in a conservative world, he felt out of place. 'It was not easy for me—never was, never has been, never will be—living a very conventional life,' he says.'Especially in those days, my particular situation was very hush-hush and not accepted nearly the way it is today. So, that was also a big factor. That was affecting my whole life.'”)
    I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne



  16. #96
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    GREAT post, Lady Eboshi!

    (P.S. You don't have to be a big eq winner to be successful in the horses—Georgina Bloomberg immediately comes to mind, as does Paige Johnson who only very, very briefly did the equitation. Neither are twigs.)



  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by baxtersmom View Post
    You might want to have a talk about that with Olympic eventers Becky Holder and the late Amy Tryon. If weight were really going to affect a horse's way of going, I think it might show up after three phases, including a 4 mile XC run. And of course, all those male riders that, even fit, weigh more than most female riders.

    I think it's interesting that you are so busy smoothing over GM's remarks. He never said a thing about athletic, or healthy, or fit, or "big shouldered," or properly tailored. He's made his notion of the "appropriate" rider build very clear. What's not very clear is what your perception of own weight has to do with it.
    I know that you have a beef with GM, and I've seen you bring up Becky Holder as your pillar before. However, Becky herself is quoted speaking about her weight and how it affected her horse's ability to perform and how she needed to lose weight to be a better athlete and make it easier on her horse.

    I think it's incredibly unfair to expect a horse to pack our fat asses over fences because it's not PC to talk about weight. It's a sport and we don't just hurt ourselves if we're overweight, we hurt our partners. There is an enormous difference between wanting people to be fit and of a good weight and wanting them to be waifs. I think we owe it to our horses to be athletes as well.

    If you watched GM's lastest set of videos on USEFnetwork you can see that those riders are FIT. Anorexic riders would probably drop dead halfway through.


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  18. #98
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    People who want the REAL "toolbox" may find this book very helpful:

    http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Get-Fat...why+we+get+fat

    Way past time we ditched the "sloth & gluttony" myth; someone should gift dear ol' George with a copy.


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  19. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
    I'm one. I have to admit I watched that entire Animal Planet "Road to the Maclay" thing on youtube, and there were lots of shots of Brianne on and off a horse. Never, never, never did it enter my mind that her build was "atypical." She always looked lovely, IMO.
    Since I brought her name into it I want to clarify my meaning. I grew up reading my nther's equitation textbooks and watching the equitation finals. A number of the successful riders were more the tall drink of water type of build. None of them looked a lot like the way I looked (broad shoulders and hips, strong bone structure, muscular.) These girls all looked like my sister! I did not recall seeing someone in the eq spotlight who looked more like me until I watched Brianne ride. That was very important to me, especially as it was around the time that I was starting to become conscious of the societal pressures (in and out of the barn world, though there was definitely some pressure there too to have "the look") to look like Heidi Klum even if we're built like Mindy Kaling. I did not see many people in my sport who looked like I do.

    I did not at all mean to imply that I thought Brianne is anything other than fit and healthy. Just that having a role model who looks like I do was encouraging and very important to me and made a profound impact on the choices I was making about my physical fitness. (Mind you, one of these days, maybe I'll learn to ride a little more like she does, too!)
    Last edited by Renn/aissance; Feb. 1, 2013 at 05:59 PM.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
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  20. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunterrider23 View Post
    I really think that unless you're currently a teenager or very young, as in under 23, you don't understand today's mindset. You say, well people should think positively about their body and not let GMs comments affect you when in reality it's not that easy to turn a blind eye to bad comments about yourself.
    Woohoo! I'm so happy to be a "very young" 23-year-old. My friends and I are always b****in' about how old we feel.

    On a more serious note, trainers should take the responsibility to make sure their students are being healthy, inside and out. GM such a BNT that most riders don't know him personally, but I hope that other trainers are careful to emphasize performance over appearance. If you have an overweight rider, you can work on aerobic fitness and muscle strength and flexibility without insisting that someone be X size or weigh X pounds.

    And it's very often the tiniest people who feel the most pressure to stay tiny. I try not to be indignant but it really bothers me when people comment on my small size, even when it's meant as a compliment. I'm naturally small; I'm not small because I starve myself or exercise excessively or purge after eating the tasty meal on my plate. And it makes me feel incredibly self-conscious when people make that assumption or congratulate me for the "work" I've done. I'd much rather people tell me I "look good today" than say, "wow, have you lost weight?" when I have neither lost weight nor have been trying to do so. It would be one thing if I'd voiced my struggles and concerns about my weight, but to receive unprompted comments about my size makes me question my past behaviors and habits. When you're receiving such a "compliment", don't you want to live up to it? I promise, you're not doing a skinny girl a favor by praising her skinniness.

    We'd do better to ignore size and promote things that people have more control over, like horsemanship and athletic skills.



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