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Body Image and Riding

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  • #21
    I'm 15, 5'4" or thereabout, and around 100 lbs. I don't count calories. I do eat. I get comments about being anorexic (I ate lunch around 4 instead of noon, but that was because of the meds I was on, which I eventually told my doctor I couldn't take cause they made my appetite far too off balance) or bulemic, neither of which was the case.
    I have friends with eating disorders, some of whom I've made get help. There's been other disorders too, but we won't get into that. There's a girl at my school who clearly tries impossibly hard to be perfect, I've never seen her eat, and she's absolutely anal about everything being done perfectly. She's blonde and incredibly skinny. There's no reason for her not to eat.
    There's no reason for anyone to feel un-beautiful. I've met few truly ugly people. The people that I call ugly have been pretty on the outside, but inside they're just plain nasty. Isn't that what counts anyways?
    They're small hearts.


    • #22
      I think Cody is a total cutie! I went and looked at the picture and there is nothing wrong with her. The experience I have had with younger girls with a little more "baby fat" on them is that they grow taller and thin out. My cousin did that. She was by no means a small girl, and then one summer she shot up about 4 inches or so and it all thinned out. One of my very best friends is struggling with Bulemia, she is getting help, but it is so hard. Now she doesn't eat hardley at all. People have thought that I am anorexic, because I am thin (5'3 and about 100 pounds) but I am also a size 7. I don't look like it, but because I work out at the gym every night my stomach muscles have grown [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] I don't think size matters as much as fitness. Of course it is more sensible to eat right and stay in shape. I am trying to gain weight, which is a major struggle for me. It is so hard, when I was in the Marines I had 3 squares a day, and now that I am out I don't have nearly the amount of food I had when I was in because I don't have an entire caffeteria full of food! But I do eat very healthy and drink fresh sqeezed orange/carrot juice everyday. We grow wheatgrass as well but I can't get into that I think I will leave the grass munching to my equine companion [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img] Anyway, I do think it is sad that people place si much on body image. ANd I think it is great to see good role models out there for us and the younger juniors. You go Cody! You are AWESOME!!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
      Is minic a rinne bromach gioblach capall cumasach
      An awkward colt often becomes a beautiful horse .


      • #23
        Heelsdown, your comment about George Morris reminded me of one of my favorite books as a kid, 'A Very Young Rider'. It follows a girl who shows ponies on the circuit in the 70's. At one point in the book, she reveals that her sister, a medal/maclay rider, crash dieted to the point of fainting after her trainer said that only skinny girls will win. I'm sure you can guess who this trainer was...


        • #24
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by lynne:
          Heelsdown, your comment about George Morris reminded me of one of my favorite books as a kid, 'A Very Young Rider'. It follows a girl who shows ponies on the circuit in the 70's. At one point in the book, she reveals that her sister, a medal/maclay rider, crash dieted to the point of fainting after her trainer said that only skinny girls will win. I'm sure you can guess who this trainer was...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

          Do you know where i can find a copy of this book? i'd love to read it
          "would you give nothing to be sitting on top of the world with your legs hanging free?" -dmb-



          • #25
            Jax, you might check amazon.com Even if a book is out of print, they can usually get it. The author is Jill Krementz, and she did other books like A Very Young Dancer, etc.


            • Original Poster

              You know, I based my initial post on a picture that was in the printed Chroncle. Then I looked at the East/West picture online and I thought - well, you're a dummy aren't you? The one I saw was apparently just a bad picture --- God knows I have plenty of bad photos of me hiding in drawers never to see the light of day! I hope the point still stands though, that while she's just darling, she's not tall and willowy and incredibly skinny, and she still wins. So she is still a good example to show those who say it is necessary to have the "right" body type to win that they're wrong. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
              "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


              • #27
                From the Queen of the "wrong" body type (medical condition and medications) I say to hell with the stereotype and ride because you enjoy it! I don't care what people think (they rarely know the whole story)! If you don't get out and DO something, that "baby fat" will never go away! Don't stay off horses because this one or that one has a nasty comment. Getting out and excersizing can only HELP your health! As for my horse(s), I have seen plenty of "skinny" riders that ride like a pile driver and plenty of "big" riders that are soft and effective. Be sympathetic to your horse and do your best and let George Morris and the anorexia foundation go pound salt.
                The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.


                • #28
                  I am a Dressage rider, and let me tell you, if there is any discrimination going on - it's here. Wow, I can't believe the number of people (tack shop owners, judges, etc.) who normally would never think of insulting (yes, insulting) people in public will tell me I am too fat to ride. I am 5', and am far from grossly overweight, but I could stand to lose 15 pounds. My height makes me look even rounder. Some people have no idea what it's like to go into a tack shop and be told straight out that there is no way I will ever fit into off the rack boots, my legs are too fat. It's a mortifying feeling, it makes you want to crawl under the carpet. I eat healthy, well balanced meals, ride 4 times a week, but cannot lose that extra weight. I spend all my disposable income on my horse - I cannot afford to join a gym. I walk twice a week, but I live in a big city where going out by yourself at night (I work full-time) is dicey.

                  I am comfortable with the fact I will never look like Nicole Uphoff, but I love riding, and want to continue - despite I can't find a decent pair of boots without spending $800!! It is heartbreaking.


                  • #29
                    Shop at 1824 and they will NEVER make you fel that way EVER!!! (www.1824catalog.com)
                    The thing about smart people, is they look like crazy people, to dumb people.


                    • #30
                      As a junior I definitely struggled with my weight/self-image. My trainer--a very thin adult at 5'7", 108 pounds--had also been an overweight junior whose trainer watched her like a hawk and was rather cruel about it. Luckily for me, her experiences with her trainer and crash diets meant that she stressed fitness over thinness. As a result, although I was never as thin as the other girls, I had a very successful junior career. Ironically, I did much better in the medals than I did in the hunters because I was strong and had good skills--and a horse who didn't jump all that round in the hunters but could jump a big jump. I didn't show in eq on the flat though because we both thought I would be penalized there.

                      Were there instances of prejudice? Yeah, I think there probably were. But I think I won when I deserved to. I do remember one show in particular where I won two medals and was champion Jr. Hunter. The day before the show started I couldn't pull my boots on and missed my first class. This is not the way you want to start ANY show, not the mention a big A show. Got the boots stretched, pulled myself together, and rode as well as I could. I was rewarded with some really great wins, but felt so awful about myself. My trainer and I ran into the judge in the horse show office after the show ended when he complimented me on my riding and told me he thought I would be almost unbeatable if I lost weight. Talk about emotional roller coaster!
                      There was another show when I watched a girl who definitely didn't have a "perfect rider's body" but rode so well and was lovely to watch. Artie Hawkins obviously thought so to because she won a couple of medals there while he was judging. (I at least made every workoff).
                      Anyway, I guess my point is that there are judges out there who are more than willing to judge horsemanship over appearance. My thoughts as an adult who has finally started to master the weight thing is that physical fitness is the most important thing for a rider. Run, bike, swim, lift weights--whatever. I ride better now than I did then not because I'm thinner, but because I am so much stronger and have more endurance. Even if you are lucky enough to have multiple horses to ride, I think additional conditioning is important. Just my $.2--sorry it's so long, guess I have a lot of issues related to this!


                      • #31
                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by CWP:
                        I was rewarded with some really great wins, but felt so awful about myself. My trainer and I ran into the judge in the horse show office after the show ended when he complimented me on my riding and told me he thought I would be almost unbeatable if I lost weight. Talk about emotional roller coaster!

                        My God! The rudeness of some people! To say something like that.... no wonder 13 year olds are eating laxatives and making themselves throw up.

                        I hope the young women on this board are reading these threads. I know they read the ones where I try to get them to wear approved helmets! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] I hope that by speaking of these issues openly, and within the context of a sport whose love we all share, that positive change can be effected. Proper nutrition during a young womans growing years builds a foundation of solid bone, good physical and mental health/happiness.

                        I watched Katie Monahan Prudent compete at the Sunday Grand Prix on Belladonna March 5. She is a superb example of fit and strong rider and does not resemble Alley McBeal. And she won. There were 71 entries, including her husband [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] and Katie beat them all on her mare. I took a bunch of photos that day, I think this is her... on the last fence of the jump off. http://albums.photopoint.com/j/ViewP...121&p=17581134

                        You can a look at the rest of the album, this one might not be her! But she's there somewhere.

                        I'll shut up and go back to work now.


                        • #32
                          well i'm 5'1" and 115lbs...for a long time I thought that I was fat etc etc...especially cause a lot of my riding friends are my weight but 5'7" or taller. I ride 5+ horses Saturday and Sunday and I'll start riding everyday once I get my liscense. My mom kept telling me "muscle weighs more than fat" and finally when I was shopping with friends and they made me try on those trendy capri pants they couldn't beleive the muscle i had in my calf. since then i've been ok with my weight, since i realized for once i hadda let my madre be right LoL


                          • #33
                            A great example of an imperfect (ok, overweight) but effective rider with great equitation is Alan Chesler. He rides in the senior grand prix at WEF, and I was really impressed with him despite his size. That said, I agree wholeheartedly with the other poster that we can't forget that this is an athletic discipline like any other (actually unlike any other, because there's another living thing involved) and all riders should prepare like any other athlete -- to be fit and work out like competitive athletes do in other sports. Plus, the horses deserve to have fit riders on their backs. I'm in no way implying that the body type should be skinny and tall -- but with a level of fitness to enable a sensitive and balanced ride etc.
                            ROYAAL Z (Ramiro Z x Fanny Girl Z by Ferdinand)


                            • #34
                              You are all so right! I mean, don't we monitor our horse's feed for quality and exercise them regularly? We are competing as well. If you can do something, even run in place, for 30 minutes 3x a week, your fitness and health will improve immensely.

                              An idea for those who are short on time and money - get a Rubbermaid step stool from Walmart (about $7) and a step aerobics video and do it in your living room. Or watch Want to be a Millionaire or something.

                              Another thought - what extremely successful female GP rider has the "wrong" body type? About 5'2, fit but not skinny? Initials M.G-E?
                              Man plans. God laughs.


                              • #35
                                Heels -- I looked at your photos, and saw the one you took after Nona went off course. I was there too - let me tell you I was SO upset for Rythmical! One of my favorite horses of all time. They definitely would have won the class, I don't know what she was thinking, going around the combination that way. I saw her in tears afterward, I felt really bad for her.

                                One thing's for sure, it sure proves that "it happens to everyone." lol
                                ROYAAL Z (Ramiro Z x Fanny Girl Z by Ferdinand)


                                • #36
                                  Well, I am definitely NOT the perfect build... I admit to being semi-overweight, but it does not in any way affect my ability to ride well and effectively. I do jumpers where you can't really get penalized for that, but I still feel that you can be an effective rider in ANY discipline and be a less-than-perfect size. I am fairly fit and have never had a problem w/ getting worn out or fatigued at horse shows when I'm doing 3 horses in the same class at a show in the 90 degree heat (well, no more than anybody else [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] ) When I posted the address to my website on another BB (www.geocities.com/paintchaska if you're interested), someone made a crack about my weight... it hurt, but I suppose you need to ignore the people who want to beat you down. Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who made positive comments on this post... I would like to lose a few pounds, but I don't want to starve myself to do it. I'm working on it the HEALTHY way... and in the meantime, I'll be enjoying riding as much as anyone who may be *gasp* thinner than I am. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]


                                  • #37
                                    Thank you Portia!
                                    To go along with this post I would just like to say how greatful i am for having, and being able to participate(sp?) in this sport. Riding has not only taught me responsibilty, but also sportsmanship, the love of outdoors and person skills, and it has taught me a lot about myself. i am 15, and some of the girls at school are SOO weight concious(sp?) that its really sad, but it doesnt stop at school. FOr me riding is my world, i dont like to go to the mall, and just shop, I would rather be buying my horse a cooler, or spending it on a horse show. I love to go to the barn because it is an escape from all the peer pressures from school, like how you look, what your wearing, you are constantely judged, and its not like riding where you are judged on your talent! I know that no matter where you go you will always be looked at physically, thats natural, but, for me at the barn, we are focused on horses, not what guy is looking at us.....
                                    From riding I have learned dedication, and going out isnt that important, I mean I like to look nice and all, but the material things, like weight aren't very important, although I have to say that i havent had a problem with it.
                                    - About the outdoors, I jsut have to say this...:
                                    Last summer when we had that beautiful day(one of the many) when the wind was blowing but the sun was out so it was perfect day,,, my friend called and I said wasnt it a GREAT day, and she said "i wouldnt know" i was at the mall....
                                    thanks..sorry to ramble on about myself! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]


                                    • #38
                                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by RZ:
                                      Heels -- I looked at your photos, and saw the one you took after Nona went off course. I was there too - let me tell you I was SO upset for Rythmical! One of my favorite horses of all time. They definitely would have won the class, I don't know what she was thinking, going around the combination that way. I saw her in tears afterward, I felt really bad for her.

                                      One thing's for sure, it sure proves that "it happens to everyone." lol

                                      Oh RZ didn't is just break your heart! It broke mine, I really like the way Nona rides and Rythmical is a favorite of mine too. From where I was seated I couldn't really see exactly where she went off course, and I was shocked when it happened. It was such a big class, 71 horses, only those five went clear and then to go off course... I would have wept if I were her too. I've often wondered how the riders memorize those courses so well for the jump offs, especially if you happen to be last in the first round and the first in the jump-off. Yikes!


                                      • #39
                                        Yes, my heart broke for sure! (I was the one with my head in my hands in disbelief)... I think maybe you and I were sitting near eachother -- I had a slightly cut off view of that combination as well -- if you're looking out at the field, I was to the right of the bridge, on the grass in the corner area.
                                        ROYAAL Z (Ramiro Z x Fanny Girl Z by Ferdinand)


                                        • #40
                                          The important thing for all of us to remember is that MOSTWOMEN are not skinny or obese...we are built the way we are for reasons.

                                          I was active in sports from a child and am actually sick to see what's going on with pressure on young girls and women who are active in all sports right now. I'm 49 and am pretty much the same shape I've been since my late teens. A little heavier and yes gravity takes it toll (on men too!). But I have to turn away when one famous young Grand Prix jumper rider enters the ring. So grossly anorexic many of us wonder how long this young woman can continue to live. It is highly possible that she can suffer cardiac arrest at any time...even on course. What then??? Will GM and the rest to advocate thinness be asking themselves...how did this happen?? I'll tell you how it happens. Making any young person feel their worth relates TOTALLY to their size and shape.

                                          MOSTWOMEN have hips, and more fat than men - fighting that is fighting thousands of years of evolution. As far as our ability to be competitive in sports well we've moved past that challenge. Our progress in just about EVERY sport is on a much faster track than our male counterparts. O.K. in some sports we still haven't achieved equal speed, etc. but we are catching up.

                                          As far as equestrians - size/shape - well it's just like horses people. There are horses in history who wouldn't pass ANYONE'S conformation evaluation but those horses went on to be world class athletes and win millions on the track. Having the right body type helps, but it also comes down to mental ability, talent and heart. We often talk about that "look of eagles" in some of our horses and we just know nothing will stop them from succeeding - they want it!

                                          It's the 21st century - lets take the pressure of the female side of the equation - if men want skinny, no boobed, no hips females ....well that sounds like an appropriate build for a young boy!!! Take a look at the most successful long term relationships and those men have women in their lives that look like MOSTWOMEN...US!