Am I too overweight to ride a horse

maggiesmum

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Dec 13, 2006
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Hi i really want to get my first horse so that i can learn to ride. I am finally at a stage in my life where we have the room and funds to take care of a horse but im afraid that im too fat to ride a horse. I am ashamed to admit that i weigh 230 pounds (105kg). I really want to start riding soon so that once my son is old enough to start to learn we can ride together. is it possible for a horse to carry me and if so what size should i be looking at.
 

KarinUS

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May 20, 2001
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I think by statelaw in Texas rental places have a set limit of 225 pounds so you are not far off at all. I am sure you can find a riding school that will accept you as a student. Perhaps check into what kind of state restrictions you have where you are at.
I do believe though that you migth be better of taking lessons first adn then buy a horse. That way you will get a much better idea of what kind of horse you will click with, etc.
 

Shadowlark

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Dec 31, 2005
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Find a stable willing to teach you.

Your weight is not unreasonable for an appropriate horse to carry. Start making some phone calls! When I was teaching full time we had 3 horses bought and trained to be safe sound mounts for larger individual's. I had students heavier then yourself jumping with them and generally enjoying ridding. The ridding also got them active and in turn helped them to realize some weight loss goals they had even before beging.

Take your time,. research and find a good stable where you feel comfortable and welcome. Learn as much as you can before you take the plunge and buy a horse. Lessons will help you find what you want in a horse - and what you want to do as a rider.

Best of luck!
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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In the UK someone would have a horse you could ride. Don't know about the states. I know they have weird ideas about Icelandics over there and put weight limits of about 10 stone (140lbs) on them where in Iceland they'd be carrying your weight every day without blinking. The average man over there is your weight ( and I have to say a lot of the women over there make me look like Twiggy) and TBH I don't think 16.5 stone (230lbs) is overly heavy for anyone to ride a suitable horse.

Any of the draft breeds, if you are worried, will carry you without blinking. Many of our UK natives, ie Highlands, Fells, Dales and Welsh D even a New Forest with a balanced rider would manage, if you could ride lightly. The New Forest Society have a special show class for riders over 11 stone only, (154lbs)
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I dont think it is easy to learn to ride a horse comfortably if you are too thin.
But being too heavy also has its problems - for the rider rather than the weight bearing horse. Depends where you carry your weight. It is the lower part of your body that has to fit the horse which is the problem.

The fatter your upper leg, the wider apart your knees will be, and it has the same effect as riding a wider horse. My hips dont open properly; I cant actually sit straight on wide horses.
Riding schools are quite slow to pick up on crookedness caused by physical limitations of the rider. They think you are able to alter it and get straight? But if you go for some lessons (a very good idea), that is something you should check. Are you able to sit straight across the horse with your hips parallel to his shoulders and without one of your knees going slightly forward of the other?

Having fat thighs also raises you feet. I know that, if I put on weight, I need to take up my stirrups.
With shorter stirrups one may be less secure on the horse. Doesnt matter if you are an experienced rider with a good seat, but for a beginner it is harder. When one is taught to ride, one does work without stirrups to help one get a secure seat on the horse and to lengthen one's legs. And the fatter your legs the harder it is.

I carry all my weight on the lower half of my body. And it is not helpful.
 

Sarah-B

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Oct 8, 2005
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No you're not too heavy to ride!! I have a good stone on you and I have two horses, one I ride, one I drive. You obviously can't ride just any horse, but choose your mount carefully (cobs/draft/draft x's or Icelandics if you'd prefer something smaller) and you can have as much fun as anyone else!!

This is me and TC (Suffolk Punch X) a couple of months ago:

TCMe2-Oct06.jpg


Don't let anyone tell you you're too heavy - with the right horse you'll be fine!!
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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Sarah B you are SO, SO lucky.

If I lived in a place with no bogs I'd have a Suffolk, If I EVER come to live on the Mainland, I would save up and get a turnout for a Suffolk. I adore them. You will never find a more honest face than a Suffolk Punch.

Was he the one who needed the giraffe reins? If so I can see why now! !!!!
 

Sarah-B

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Sarah B you are SO, SO lucky.

If I lived in a place with no bogs I'd have a Suffolk, If I EVER come to live on the Mainland, I would save up and get a turnout for a Suffolk. I adore them. You will never find a more honest face than a Suffolk Punch.

I know I'm lucky, he's a special boy - I am utterly in love with him. I have never felt such a bond with a horse, he has such a lovely temperament - I'd recommend a Suffolk to anyone....

Was he the one who needed the giraffe reins? If so I can see why now! !!!!


*NODS* - yep he's the one you made the giraffe reins for!! They're perfect - it's so nice not to *have* to ride on the buckle because there is no rein left!!
 

Wally

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Apr 16, 2000
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I have some Shetland driving reins that are shorter! ;) ;)

Maggiesmum, you are not alone, there are lots of us out there more than a size 12 and over 8 stone. ;). I have Fjords Icelandics and Shetlands, nothing over 14hh, but nothing has any bother carrying me......not the Shetlands obviously, they pull my and my arms out.........with another 3 passengers inthe cart too.
 

maggiesmum

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Dec 13, 2006
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Thanks :) I feel much better now. I will get the courage to try and contact a riding school now to see if they will accept me. I live in Queensland in australia and we dont really have very many near buy so im hopeing that the ones we have are kind. once again thanks.
 

sugarcubes

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Dec 13, 2006
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Im larger sized as well. I rode when i was younger and started it back up in august. I called round a few schools first and was honest with them, some places may be snobby about it, but dont let it put you off, you will find a school with a suitable horse. Im now sharing a horse, again I was honest with the owner, however before starting my share, from having a half hour lesson once a week, i lost two and half stone in less than 3 months! Once you start riding the weight will just fall off of you! Now im mucking out and riding 3/4 times a week, im hoping i will loose lots more.

There are also some tack shops online which cater for larger riders so if you do stick with it you can get comfy and flattering jodphurs, chaps etc.

You probably will get some unpleasant responses from some riding schools, many are very snobby but please please do not be put off, you will find somewhere really nice!
 

Retty

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Max is a Clydesdale X - I am size 14/16 (god knows what I weigh!), and he easily carrys me! I think riding schools can be a bit over the top when it comes to weight etc.
 

vince42

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Aug 17, 2005
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Um, well I was a bit heavier than that when I started and it was riding gave me the motivation to lose weight - I realised that losing wieght would allow me to ride a wider range of horses. That said I did start on a medium weight (but he was a monster 18+hh) then rode mainly heavyweights while I gradually got a grasp of the basics.

Riding schools are a bit precious but then you have to balance the weight and experience of the rider against the total work the horse is capable of doing i.e. a heavy beginner is hard work for the horse. Once the rider has basic balance and isn't working against the horse weight is less of an issue.

Plenty of horses could be suitable for you so don't get stuck on finding a big horse if you find a smaller one with the right temperament.

Vince
 

Bay Mare

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It depends on the school that you go to, many of them over here have weight limits of about 14 stone because even if their horses are weight carriers they are working longer hours than the average domestic horse so they have to look after their backs. Getting lessons during the week when it's less busy is often an option in some cases as the horses will be doing less work then. After all, whilst a horse MAY be a weight carrier it doesn't mean that it should be expected to carry up to weight hour after hour.

The other consideration is your seat, position and balance. A heavier rider who has a better seat etc will ride lighter than a lighter rider who sits like a sack of spuds.

I'm sure that you'll be able to find something to suit you and riding may even help you to loose weight which will open the options up for you :)

Good luck x
 

loulou1972

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Aug 10, 2006
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Hi just to let you know i had the same thought when i returned to riding.

I am 5.11 and a big girl i was just under 16stone and since returning to riding i have ridden 15.2 welsh cobs and my instructor told me not to worry they were capable of carrying heavier, which i found hard to believe:eek: but i ended giving it a go and i have lost weight and i am just around the 15 stone mark and going down, so you will loose it. As i get better i am starting to ride a lot lighter but i think horses are better than weightwatchers for helping you to loose weight, also try Pilate's this will help your inner core muscles to regain strength this will help you to be much more balanced and easier on the horse.

Whilst on holiday in Canada this i thought i would like to ride western and the guy totally amazed me by putting me on a 14.2 pure Arab such a strong little mare who bounced around all day take a look you can see I'm slightly fatter than everyone else but she didn't care just took me for a really lovely hack.the chap who took us said she would carry much more weight than me,

2006-09-2914-47-34_0106.jpg


Good luck and enjoy that's the main thing :D
 
Last edited:

jeano

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Dec 4, 2006
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Maggie's mum you are not too big to ride. Here's a helpful formula I ran into the other day concerning riders weight and horse's ability to carry--this is based on combined weight of horse, rider and tack. You can get a pretty good idea of the horse's weight using a weight tape. Your basic 15 hand horse is probably around 1000 lbs. You add up the 3 weights and divide by the measurement (in inches, sorry all you metric guys, its how its done here!) of the horse's front cannon bone half way between the knee and the pastern. You divide that result by two. Ideally the number will be close to 70, and under 80. More than 80, you need a lighter rider, lighter tack, bigger horse or horse with bigger bone. Both my horses are around 1000lb, i'm 190, my saddle is a lightweight synthetic, so we're dividing 1225 or so by 8 inches of lovely bone and yay, final number is 76 ish. Could be better but I'm not killing them. Now, having said that, my sis in law, who is probably 230 in her socks rode one of my horses for several hours, in a heavier but still fairly light synthetic saddle. The horse in question is pushing 20 years old, barefoot and carried her easily, was a tiny bit tender footed over some gravel but she's not used to it. She also has history of cracked hoofs and hoof abcesses so I'd be astonished if she wasnt careful of her footing. She not only coped, she outwalked my 13 years younger gaited mare, who was carrying me (a lighter rider) with a lighter saddle. Flat went off and left us in the dust. So dont worry too much, just be aware that depending on where your excess baggage is you might have some issues with balance or effective aids. it was interesting to me watching my sis ride, she hadnt ridden regularly for years, shes in her mid fifties (I'm still clinging to my early 50s!) and built like the Michelin man, I was scared to death every time the horse sped up or sis leaned or turned that she was going to get dumped but she stuck on just fine. You go, gilr!
 

Rebellion

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Horses are really much stronger animals than we give them credit for and with the right riding school you will get a good idea about the right height size horse for you. You said you're in QLD and there are some fantastic riding schools around that cater for everyone. If you're around Brisbane/ Gold Coast email me and I'll tell you where the good ones are ;)
 
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