That is what someone commented on a photo that I posted on Instagram. A beautiful photo of my new horse and I at our first show. In the photo I’m sitting on Noodle and he has many blue ribbons displayed on his bridle. He ears are pricked, I am smiling and we clearly fit each other just fine. Now why on earth did that person feel the need to leave that comment? Why would they target a random person they have never met and go out of their way to make them feel terrible about themselves?
Sometimes I think the honest answer is that people have a predetermined idea in their brain of what equestrians should look like. She is tall, she has long graceful legs that look great in breeches and works at the barn all day without breaking a sweat. Or maybe shes small and slight and looks amazing riding enormous, powerful warmbloods around a 1.40 meter jumper course. What she isn’t is fat. When narrow minded equestrians, or non equestrians see a big girl on a horse they immediately view it negatively. Then they get on their computers or cell phones and comment nasty things on happy pictures of perfect strangers, they laugh and point at you from the rail of the show ring, or they pin worse riders below you because they make a “prettier picture”.
I’m really not sure if the prejudice will ever end. No matter how many plus size riders prove that they can do it. No matter how many vets clear plus size riders to ride their appropriate sized horses, they will always have a target hanging over their heads. Things will always be just a little bit harder. I have been plus sized my entire life, and I’ve been riding horses since the age of 7. I am used to the comments and the side long glances from skinny horse snobs wondering why I think I have any right to sit my extra large backside in a saddle. I want to be there for other plus sized riders who are still to scared to ride in public or post pictures of themselves online for fear of being ridiculed, I want to inspire other horse lovers to follow their dreams no matter what they look like!