A thousand horse and none to ride! –
With flowing tail, and flying mane,
Wide nostrils never stretched by pain,
Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein,
And feet that iron never shod,
And flanks unscarred by spur or rod,
A thousand horse, the wild, the free,
Like waves that follow o’er the sea,
Came thickly thundering on,…
~Lord Byron, XVII, Mazeppa, 1818
My latest little endeavor has taken me into frightening territory. I am attempting to find a local to begin horseback lessons. I took a year of riding lessons, even rode English saddle for competitions on the school team, back in college. That has been over 6 years though now. After so long I would consider myself solidly back to the stage of beginner (or “Advanced Beginner”). And I’m fat. At 250 lbs; finding a stable willing to let me ride is a long search.
My first attempt was rejected and redirected elsewhere; since horses can only carry about 10-15% of their weight according to the stable owner. I don’t think that is always the case; having heard anything from 10-33% of a horse’s weight can be carried easily, depending on their leg strength and other variables (if a horse is able to “easily” handle working with a 180 lb college girl; I’m not sure why I’d need a horse that weighed approximately 700 more pounds to handle a 250 pound woman. BUT I am also not willing to put up with anyone who would tsk tsk at the unsightly fatty trying to ride); but I will graciously allow for the excuse; saving both the horse and the stable owners having to deal with such a weighty problem.
So while I am finding it a challenge to buck up and continue sending emails to prospective locals, being upfront about my weight and potential needs (oh for a good and solid Arabian or Belgian!); I am feeling very good about just how ready I am to accept my own weight and still go out and try to start up a dream that I let go a while back. While I stopped riding in college for financial reasons, I didn’t really start back up because I feared the weight was impeding me. If I just lost XX pounds; THEN I could look for lessons. I needed to have a more solid exercise regimen first. Any number of excuses.
But why? Why continue with that Fantasy? Stop using weight as a reason not to live NOW. Encouraged finally by another woman searching to end her reliance on that fantasy; I am going to continue my search. Someday again I will ride. This time, perhaps Western saddle as I did with my husband out in Colorado a couple years ago. I have come to grips with my body; it is time to start LIVING with it and enjoy doing things I love.