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Too heavy for my horse?

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  • #21
    Originally posted by tweeter View Post
    I've seen some incredibly heavy people at shows. On the ground they looked so heavy I promised myself to watch their ride. 95% of them were beautiful riders, so nice that I never noticed their weight! I'd kill to ride as well as they do Their horses looked happy and relaxed, definitely not stressed by the weight they were carrying.
    I have to say, quite honestly, that I have never witnessed this phenomenon, and in addition, the point is that the OP's horse IS in physical distress, regardless of whether that is caused by the OP's weight or merely coincidence.
    Roseknoll Sporthorses


    • #22
      The word is LOSE, not LOOSE!

      Anyway, Yes---you're too fat for eventing.

      Yes, you should lose weight for yourself and not just your horse.

      Don't jump your horse.

      You don't just weight 260...your saddle, bridle, pad, stirrup irons and your clothes/boots are probably getting near 285-290 for your horse to carry.

      You're riding english, the bearing surface on your saddle puts a lot of pounds on each square inch of your horse's back. Ride western until you lose weight, these saddles will have twice the bearing surface, helping to spread out the weight on his back (even though most western saddles are heavier than english...there are the non-leather lightweight saddles).

      Good luck with your challenges...lose the weight for both of you.
      "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


      • #23
        Originally posted by Ashby View Post
        Look at it this way: 260 pounds is nearly 24% of your horse's body weight. Twenty-four percent of your body weight would be 61 pounds. Imagine being asked to run around and jump over things while carrying 61 pounds.
        When horses have 2 legs that comparison may be worth making.
        ... _. ._ .._. .._


        • #24
          that is about my weight

          and that is why I got another big horse [#3]
          when the one pictured in my profile was retired.

          start saving the money saved on groceries for that new horse.
          even if we are thin our horses will likely become infirm and die B4 us
          is it realistically time for your horses retirement?
          more hay, less grain


          • #25
            Originally posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
            I think that focusing on whether your weight caused the horse's physical problem to determine whether you should keep riding him at your current weight is somewhat of a mistake. The fact is, your horse HAS a physical problem now -- sore hocks and back -- so the issue is really, whether 260 lbs is too much for an 1100 pound horse that has sore hocks and a sore back to carry -- NOT whether that weight is too much for a sound horse to carry. I also think there is a difference, as far as the horse's comfort is concerned, between an overweight woman and a man (or woman) who is fit but happens to weigh the same because of height / muscle mass, because the weight is distributed very differently on an overweight person, for one thing.
            I couldn't agree with the above more.
            Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


            • #26
              People do it all the time (ride horses they are too big for), but I do think it would be wise for you to try and lose some. He may seem fine, but he may also just be a really good trooper that would only complain with sore hocks and back.

              I have seen plenty of large sized men (not necessarily fat, but 6 foot and muscular= a lot of weight) on 15h range QHs and also seen some large people ride pony/hony sized gaited horses. My husbands friend was every bit of 250 and broke the 14.1 hand 2 years olds they bred. I am by no means condoning this, but think you are way above the curve if you are thinking about your horses health, most people seem to care less what affect they may be having on them, so kudos to you, for this!

              Best of luck!
              Celtic Pride Farm
              Become a fan on Facebook!


              • #27
                It sounds like you believe that you might be too heavy for your horse, especially with his current physical issues. Some people have made some fine suggestions: stop jumping, try a western saddle (lightweight, perhaps synthetic), etc.

                Trust your gut instinct. Best wishes!
                "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


                • #28
                  I know there are these "magic" formulas that people try to use and make their decisions by - but the magic rule is, that there are No Absolutes. Everyone is different. Every horse is different.

                  HAlterfit, find the source of your horses physical problems, if it is rider weight then make the necessary changes. If you take some time off and do ground work and have the chiro and vet check him again and he's no longer sore then maybe it is weight. If you are working him without a rider and he is still sore then, well, you've got more research to do.

                  I get really sick of people posting pictures of little horses carrying big riders *proving that they can* because we have no idea what is happening to the horse in the picture. Maybe one of those horses is suffering from a bad back/knees, etc. Maybe that horse is an exception to all the crazy rules.

                  EVERY horse and rider combination is different. Listen to your horse and figure it out.

                  Good luck.


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by King's Ransom View Post
                    I can't say whether you are too heavy for your horse or not, though a 260-lb woman is plenty heavy. I just want to say that comparing a 260-lb woman, obese woman to a 260-lb, fit cowboy is NO COMPARISON. Sure, it may be the same weight, but I don't care how well you THINK you ride, an obese woman does not ride as well as that fit cowboy (heck most fit women can't ride as well as a fit cowboy!)

                    I was pretty heavy when King and I were jumping, and he is not as big as your horse. No one ever said anything to me about needing to lose weight to ride him. Having said that, however, I know better now. And so do you.

                    Maya Angelou says that "when we knew better, we did better." I think it may be time to take this wake up call, get off the horse and walk alongside. Cut out all the fast food, all the junk food, all the soda pop. Drink tons of water. Count calories. I'll bet, at 260 lbs, you can lose 30 lbs fairly quickly just by cleaning up your diet and getting 60 minutes of exercise per day. If you walk alongside instead of riding, you can probably get your horse time and your exercise time in at once.

                    YOUR back will thank you, too.

                    And, good luck! No shame in being overweight. Maybe a little shame in sticking your head in the sand and pretending that it doesn't matter. It does. And you know it.

                    Wow, hum- first thing, no most fit cowboys do not ride better than fit women- I worked with cowboys for many years, and actually a lot of them didn't ride very well at all- they were "self taught" and tended to rely to much on the their hands and spurs...

                    Also- why do you assume that the OP eats like crap just because she is overweight?

                    Lastly- do you know the OP to know that here 260 lbs is all "Fluff" and that she isn't carrying a great deal of muscle on her body? She could very well be every bit as balanced in the saddle as a 260 lb man.


                    • #30
                      If your horse has a sore back and hocks, that needs to be resolved whether it is caused by you or not. You really should not be riding a horse with a sore back and hocks- period- whether you weight 100lbs or 300lbs. Get the issue resolved through saddle fit, chiro, medication, and rest. Obviously- consult your vet.

                      And fitness matters for riding. Especially eventing. I can't imagine that at 260 you are fit enough for eventing. I may be wrong. I think there is a line between being overweight in a "my butt looks bad in breeches but I am fit and can pull my end of the bargain" and being overweight in an "well, I'm not strong, I have no respiratory fitness either". We don't need to be skinny minis, but we do need some muscle tone and respiratory fitness. Looking at 260- not knowing how tall you are- I think you are at that line.

                      Riding XC is a serious matter. You need to have excellent body control and balance to keep your horse in balance and you need cardiovascular fitness to stay strong ennough at the end of the course. If at 260, you can look at yourself and honestly say that being that size that you still have the strength, fitness and balance to not interfere with your horse, then you don't have a problem. I was once that size- bigger even and I did not ride. Even 30 lbs. thinner I could not get around a simple hunter course without being winded.


                      • #31
                        I really do support the 20% rule when you're jumping, although there is a caveat to that. A 260lb man or woman who is simply tall, but otherwise thin and fit, will be much less of a burden to a horse than a short, overweight 260lb person. It's the physics of it - when you have excess weight, the weight shifts where it is, pitching you out of proper balance, even if it is ever-so-slightly. Your horse compensates for that, and pays the tab for it at the end of the day. A tall, fit person who can balance themselves more easily and who is not carrying any 'excess' does not burden a horse as much, because they (if the are a good rider) control their weight distribution mostly on their own and manage it better. That said, a tall, thin, 260lb rider who has no idea what they're doing (think dead green beginner) can be just as much if not more of a burden for a horse as a short and overweight 260lb experienced rider.

                        So in short, I would suggest you maybe really cut back the jumping until you lose 50 lbs. I think for light trail you are fine, but to put that extra 50lbs on a horse who is already sore in the back and the hocks and ask him to jump may be a little stressful for his body. Not cruel, certainly, but to ensure that your partner stays fit and healthy for life, you need to ensure that you do the same for him. I know 50lbs sounds like a lot, but you can do it! A tip I have is cut out red meat and pork - I've lost almost 1/2 of the weight I wanted to lose and kept it off so far!
                        Last edited by 00Jumper; Aug. 4, 2008, 10:05 AM. Reason: huked on fonics wurked fer mee

                        "You keep one leg on one side, the other leg on the other side, and your mind in the middle." -- Henry Taylor, "Riding Lesson"


                        • #32
                          Wow, this thread is quite different from the last thread about overweight riders we had.

                          Several people have made good points, such as "the fact of the matter is that your horse has bad hocks/back, and your weight may be a contributing factor."

                          The people who are outwardly saying you're too fat to ride need are, IMHO, incorrect. You may need to find a more suitable mount for the moment, and at 260, yes, it would probably be healthy to lose some weight, but I'll digress from repeating what was repeated ad nauseam in thread I linked to. Check it out.
                          Big Idea Eventing


                          • #33
                            I have a simple rule. If you aren't an athlete on two feet, you simply are not going to be one on four. I think it is admirable that the OP brings this thread up, truly, but we live in a country where obesity is rampant. People are getting better and better at making excuses- I know I am- for their being over weight- or even beyond large. There are no excuses, aside from the rare health issue.

                            Being fit is hard work. Asking your horse to be fit for you- when you aren't? Hmmm...

                            Think, for a minute, about the pressure your thighs bring to bear on that horses back. Think about what being even slightly off balance can do.

                            Obviously, you care enough to ask- so here it is. Do ground work with your horse, Longe him, long line him, take him for cross country walks. Get thee to a nutritionist, Dr., and get yourself on a proactive plan to better health.

                            It will be better for BOTH of you!
                            When someone shows you who they are, BELIEVE them- Maya Angelou


                            • #34
                              Ouch! That had to be hard to hear. But perhaps something you needed to confront.
                              As you are losing weight for your sake as well as your horse's, I would cut back but not eliminate riding. I suspect that you need to keep at it and I think once his current physical issues are resolved, your horse will be able to handle light riding (no pun intended!) Using the best saddle possible, I would continue light hacking and some easy trails. I would not do jumping. It is harder on him and can be really punishing during a "miss" when you are not correctly positioned during the jump. As my horse is currently in "light work only" I am concentrating on my riding - doing a lot of position work and no stirrup work.
                              I hope you can get the best medical advice for your horse and yourself and both of you can "get better" together. Best of luck!


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by hAlterfit View Post
                                It has come to my attention this weekend that I may be to heavy for my horse.... I've been trying to lose the weight, obviously, but the person who brough this to my attention said I should stop riding my horse NOW, until I lose 50 pounds.
                                Just curious - who 'brought it to your attention'? Friend? Visitor? How much is their opinion worth? There are two separate issues here

                                - this horse at this moment and what's best for his health right now
                                - the rider's weight and what riding if any she should be doing on any horse

                                You have to decide the first one for yourself, of course. The second one?
                                I think a lot of the weight advice given here is bad. We're a society that hates fat; if losing it were as simple as cutting out soda, nobody would be fat. Losing weight is hard, but it's fairly unique in that people who accomplish it (however temporarily) always want to emphasize how simple it is. In contrast to, say, drunks, who place a ton of emphasis on how hard it is for them to not drink, fat people are forever trying to believe that it'd be simple for them to eat in moderation and exercise appropriately.


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by gloriginger View Post
                                  Wow, hum- first thing, no most fit cowboys do not ride better than fit women- I worked with cowboys for many years, and actually a lot of them didn't ride very well at all- they were "self taught" and tended to rely to much on the their hands and spurs...

                                  Also- why do you assume that the OP eats like crap just because she is overweight?

                                  Lastly- do you know the OP to know that here 260 lbs is all "Fluff" and that she isn't carrying a great deal of muscle on her body? She could very well be every bit as balanced in the saddle as a 260 lb man.
                                  As I read KR's post, she was comparing fit large male cowboys to less-fit large woman riders, and the comparison was not of riding ability but just the straight burden on the horse. This is an important point because if said rider's 260 lbs is all muscle, that is 260 lbs that can be controlled consciusly. We have no control over fat ... it bounces around as it will. Just ask my boobs! The OP indicated that she does, in fact, consider herself to be overweight and carrying fat that she would like to lose for her own, as well as her horse's sake. I've not seen anything mean-spirited or suggesting the OP "eats like crap" or any such. All I've seen here are very common suggestions that might help some people who are striving to lose weight. I tend toward the chubby; I've given and recieved all this advice, and it's all useful. We each just need to sift through find the things that work best for us.

                                  The other factor is that the OP notes that her horse has current back and hock soreness. In such a horse, looking strictly at the weight he is asked to carry ... discounting muscle versus fat, excellent rider versus poor, etc. ... just looking at the weight of the load and setting a strict limit on that load is a good idea.

                                  I know plenty of people who gained a lot of weight -- after childbirth, after an injury, or just in the course of becoming more financially successful and more deskbound -- who opted to stay off their horses or curtail their riding (easy rides with lots of walking, using a western versus an english saddle, etc.) until they got to a weight they felt was easier for their horses and at which they felt more fit and controlled in the saddle. I think it's wise and considerate to her horse for the OP to consider this. (And I say this as someone who is overweight -- but losing, and finding a strong motivator is concern about how my weight might affect my horses.)
                                  Equinox Equine Massage

                                  In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                                  -Albert Camus


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by gloriginger View Post

                                    Lastly- do you know the OP to know that here 260 lbs is all "Fluff" and that she isn't carrying a great deal of muscle on her body? She could very well be every bit as balanced in the saddle as a 260 lb man.
                                    The OP said she is short and 260. Unless she is built more heavily muscled than Arnold Schwartznegger, that AIN'T muscle!!!!


                                    • #38
                                      I don't want to come off mean-spirited, but just honest. I have lost almost 100 lbs over the past 3 years. It was not easy, especially after I lost the initial 40 lbs, that's when it started to get really hard.

                                      I am over 50, so my metabolism was not on my side. I thought I was "fit but fat." I thought that because I rode horses, mucked stalls, hauled feed & hay, and led what I considered an "active" life.

                                      Ha! Just for the record, you don't get to be morbidly obese by eating fruits, veggies and lean meats. Nope. Big Macs usually figure in there somewhere. And you don't carry around a lot of muscle underneath all that fat.

                                      I lost 40 lbs just by cleaning up my diet. That's it. I committed to myself that I would NEVER eat food from a drive-thru, food wrapped in paper, etc. In fact, I went a step further and committed that if the label contained an ingredient I could not pronounce, I would not eat it. I just decided to eat FOOD. I never was a soda drinker, but I cut out even the diet sodas. I lost 40 lbs just doing that. No change in my routine other than -- I started cooking instead of running to the drive-thru. To this day, I will NOT eat fast food, and seldom eat at restaurants either. It's a commitment I made to myself.

                                      I weighed 240 lbs, very close to what the OP says she weighs, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what she's going through. I was jumping, too. Wish I could take it back. I didn't know any better, and nobody told me. I do love my horse, and if I could take it back, I would.

                                      After I lost the 40 lbs, I stalled out. Just cleaning up my diet wasn't enough to get me to a fit weight. I went to see a personal trainer. I thought I was still "fit but fat." Boy! Was I wrong!

                                      Here's a challenge for anyone who is obese and thinks they ride "light in the saddle." Go to a gym and sign up for a free assessment with a trainer. After you're completely embarrassed at how weak you really are (lift a 50 lb feed sack? great! now do it 10 times, and then go run 2 laps. call me back!), go get a Bosu ball. Turn it upside down, so the flat part is "up" and the curved part is on the floor. (Now, stand on it. If you got this far, you're way ahead of where I was!) Now, balance on the ball with your feet a little more than shoulder-width apart. Still on? Good for you!

                                      Now post. Or, as your trainer might say, squat. Do 3 sets of 15 squats. A little deeper than posting, you need to bend your knees deeply.

                                      If you can do that, then my hat's off to you. Maybe you are "fit but fat." I was not. I could only BARELY do this exercise with the Bosu ball laying flat side down.

                                      And every time I do these now, I think about King, and how much he would have enjoyed it had I been this fit back then. And believe me, I do love the old man, and it makes me want to kick myself in the arse that I did not know any better, and I probably hurt him every time I got on board. Stupid me.

                                      You know better. You're way ahead of me. Now, do something about it!


                                      • #39
                                        If you expect your horse to be an athlete, then you need to be an athlete too. Even a low level event horse is an athlete. So is the rider.

                                        If you're asking if you're too heavy to ride your horse - you already know the answer is yes. Especially since your horse already has physical issues.

                                        Do you stop riding until you reach a certain weight? I don't know if you should stop riding - but if I were you I would really take a step back and reevaluate.

                                        Consider that riding is not the only method of training or conditioning a horse. If you want to want to work the horse in hand, on the lunge, there are techniques that will help him improve his topline. If you want to ride the horse, maybe go on a trail ride, consider dismounting and walking or jogging alongside him. He gets exercise without weight on his back, and you get more exercise too. You can work him over cavalletti, grids, all sorts of things that will improve his dressage as well as his jumping. Without a rider, and without actually jumping.

                                        Look at this problem a different way. You need to lose weight for your own health as well as your horse's. But the horse still needs exercise. So do you. These needn't happen at the same time, or while mounted.

                                        Whether or not you ride your horse is your decision. If you do ride, you just have to know that your weight - even normal weight -does affect the horse. If you want to spare him - if nothing else to preserve his hocks - consider other methods of conditioning and training. That would be true if you were within a normal weight or not.

                                        Good luck.
                                        Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                        Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                        -Rudyard Kipling


                                        • #40
                                          For those who have remarked on the tendency of 250-pound male western riders to ride 15-hand Quarter Horses: I spent my share of time in the western world as a young woman, and I was unable to avoid noticing how often these Quarter Horses were permanently sore by the time they were six years old. Coincidence? I don't know. There are a lot of variables.

                                          That said: I weigh 135 pounds, which is slender for my height. My horse has some hoof problems right now. She is not sore when she's running around by herself, but if anyone gets on her, she's sore on both front feet. So I'm not riding her. Why is this even a question? If your horse is in pain when you ride, for any reason, how can you consider riding?