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Equitation & Eating Disorders

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  • Equitation & Eating Disorders


    Really? How much truth is there in this article?

  • #2
    What's more concerning to me is the actual pressure put on some riders by their trainers to lose wait for the equitation classes. Sadly, I know people from very competitive show barns that have experienced this to an extreme.


    • #3
      Even while going through Finals etc. nothing could keep me away from my carbs.
      My riding didnt suffer and the judges still liked me so............
      I DID hear from a few people that I should lose weight but I'll let you guys be the judges:


      • #4
        YOU LOOK GREAT!!!!! Just right.
        hunter/jumper ponies


        • #5
          Agreed - you're fine!
          "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


          • #6
            I agree - you look great! Healthy and athletic! I had no idea there were coaches that pressured their riders to lose weight just to attempt to achieve a certain 'look'. How disgusting.
            I'd rather be riding!


            • #7
              As a curvier rider (I wear a 14 or 16 in street clothes, I have a chest and basically a womanly body) I do know that I have to ride better than I would if I were skinny to place. Case in point - my chest doesn't sit the trot as well as the rest of me. I know this, though, and accept it.
              A proud friend of bar.ka.


              • #8
                It's happening with some of the NCAA equestrian teams as well. In my sophomore year, it came down to me and another girl for the last showing spot. My coach pulled me aside and told me that while I was "by far the more effective rider", she was going with the other girl because she "looked prettier on a horse" (ie she was taller and skinnier). Not saying that the other girl isn't a good rider, because she most certainly is. Just saying that the reasoning I was given for the decision was...interesting. For reference, I am 5'8" and a size 6/8 in street clothes.
                "Are you yawning? You don't ride well enough to yawn. I can yawn, because I ride better than you. Meredith Michael Beerbaum can yawn. But you? Not so much..."
                -George Morris


                • #9
                  I can tell you that it's absolutely true. I knew more than 1 rider on my college equestrian team that faced eating disorder issues, and it was because the coach used to pick on girls about their weight and would not show heavier girls unless she had to. The sad part is that these were some of the best riders on the team, and as they lost so much weight their riding just went down the tubes. I mean when you eat nothing you no longer have the energy and strength to control and finesse a horse. It was really sad to watch, and even sadder when the coach complimented these girls on how great them looked.


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately this is a sad truth in our sport. I've struggled with weight issues my whole life. I've never been "fat" just slightly overweight. When I was a junior, I had a trainer whose boyfriend told several girls at our barn that we would never make good riders because we're too fat. He actually drove one girl to anorexia.

                    Now as a trainer and a coach, I try my best not to pressure my students about their weight. They know if they're overweight, they don't need me to tell them. I have a younger teenage student who is going through an eating disorder phases and I told her that if she doesn't eat, she's not allowed to ride. In my book, it's a safety hazard. With my college girls, I pick the best rider to ride, no matter what their body type. And to be perfectly honest, I haven't seen much effect in the placings due to physical appearance.
                    Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                    My equine soulmate
                    Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


                    • #11
                      There are plenty of overweight men in the GP ring that are quite successful. Lots of womanly shaped female riders as well. As long as your weight doesn't prevent you from riding correctly and effectively, tell the nay sayers to stuff it.


                      • #12
                        When I was a pudgy twelve-year-old (not even remotely obese, especially compared to some kids today!) my h/j trainer told me I needed to go on weight watchers because I was too fat for riding. (The woman had other issues, like her addiction to pelhams, standing martingales on the flat, and draw and side reins as the solution to every problem, but this obviously has stuck with me for almost 20 years.) Even at a healthy weight in college, I was not (and never will be) a stick figure and I know it mattered to the IHSA team. The fact that the school doctors said I would have to starve myself to get down to 120 on my frame (and one doctor said he wouldn't want to have to live with me while I did it) didn't matter, it only mattered how I filled out the breeches. I was NEVER heavy enough it was an issue for any horse I ever rode, from a 14.3 Arab cross to a 7/8 Perch/QH. I've always had a decent leg, good seat, and excellent hands. But I didn't look like a tall thin hunter princess.

                        I don't blame the fact that I was exercise buliemic in college (eg eat a cupcake, work out for three hours) and abusing laxatives entirely on this, as my @$$hole grade- and middle-school classmates also helped a lot, or that I still have a severely distorted body image, but the h/j trainer in particular certianly helped me on my way to being a disordered eater.

                        For some comparison: while it would have been different had I skated as a kid and not in my 20s, my skating coach never, but never, said a word to me about weight (and he had to do lifts with me). And I compete in ballroom, and my dance pros have never commented on my weight unless I asked them, and then the worst they could say was when I was slacking a bit I could tone more. But that again, *with my frame*, I would never be a stick figure and that was FINE. (Also that as far as just looks went, hips and a rear are not a problem for most straight men. And yes, neither was hitting on me.)

                        Riding, honestly, did more to screw with my head about my weight than two of the most image-obsessed sports out there. Even if I buy a horse who might do okay in it, I'm done with hunters forever as I don't want to deal with attitude and the pressure.

                        SNL: If 5'8" and a size 6/8 is "big" for your team, your coach is seriously screwed up. At worst you sound normal for your height. (OMG she's more than 5'4" and not emaciated! Egads! ) gg4918, please tell the next person who says you need to lose weight to go DIAF. If you are overweight we're all in deep kimchee.

                        When the heck did Auschwitz and Andersonville prisoner photos become the height/weight standard?

                        (Yes, I get pissed off about this. After temporarily wrecking my digestive system and possibly doing permanent damage to my metabolism, I feel I earned the right to have issues.)
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SaturdayNightLive View Post
                          It's happening with some of the NCAA equestrian teams as well. In my sophomore year, it came down to me and another girl for the last showing spot. My coach pulled me aside and told me that while I was "by far the more effective rider", she was going with the other girl because she "looked prettier on a horse" (ie she was taller and skinnier). Not saying that the other girl isn't a good rider, because she most certainly is. Just saying that the reasoning I was given for the decision was...interesting. For reference, I am 5'8" and a size 6/8 in street clothes.
                          This. Yes. Also an issue with IHSA as well as NCAA.


                          • #14
                            It certainly happens in eq but isn't limited to it. I never did the eq growing up and focused on jumpers. I had many, many friends that were very anorexic or bulimic. Everyone knew, including the trainers, and if anything they were encouraged to continue by the constant reinforcement ("Wow! You look SO great." When an already skinny rider lost another 5lbs.)

                            It's also NOT limited to juniors or women by an means. Most of the girls I grew up with that had disorders still have them but there are a whole lot of ammies I know that are equally bad if not worse. There are also many male riders that have disorders, including several BNT's who are sadly passing on the poor mentality to their students.


                            • #15
                              Wow, I didn't know this even went on(at least the eating disorders part).
                              My trainer and I had a discussion the other day about what you should look like before entering a George Morris clinic unless you want to get torn to shreds(close to perfect eq. build and already a good rider). The fact that people are so obsessed about being an ideal weight is absurd. I've been lucky and told I have a perfect eq body(tall, thin, long legs, and I can generally "look pretty" on a horse). But even if I wasn't built like that, I wouldn't starve myself to be 100lbs. There are plenty of people who look perfectly fine on a larger or stockier horse. I really hope people can realize that being insanely thin isn't what life is about, no matter what eq team you're trying to be on...


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by indygirl2560 View Post
                                George Morris clinic unless you want to get torn to shreds(close to perfect eq. build and already a good rider). ..
                                Ironically, although George is infamous for his weight comments I rode with him for years in high school and he never once mentioned my weight even when I was struggling with a disorder and yo-yo-ing a little. I was never OVERWEIGHT but other trainers I saw at shows would comment that I had put on a few. GM never once said a word, he focused on my riding and horses. Period. I'm far from the perfect build too (5'4" and 130lbs) with shorter legs and a longer torso so he would have had ammo if he wanted it.


                                • #17
                                  I think looking pretty on a horse is about how well you move with the horse. I have seen plenty of GOOD riders look "pretty" despite a heavier build. I do think it is easier to fake good riding when you're a string bean than if you're a little bigger though.


                                  • #18
                                    I can believe it because just like many other sports there is the push for perfection. However, I have luckily never experienced being judged on my weight at any of the barns I've ridden at thank goodness. Then again, I am not super competitive. I'm sure if I was at the upper levels I would have faced some of this, being 5'8 160 lbs with a long torso and weirdly proportioned legs. I can guarantee I am NOT the perfect picture on top of a horse!


                                    • #19
                                      I think that article took some quotes blatantly out of context.
                                      Here today, gone tomorrow...


                                      • #20
                                        For me it is about being fit versus a certain number on the scale. I am incredibly disappointed in trainers or riders who allow this type of behavior to happen or encourage it. Horses come in all shapes and sizes--so do riders.