Submitted by Jennifer Mutchler: This is me on Elation KF, a 2009 KWPN gelding, showing at Intermediate I. I purchased Eli as a 4 year old and he has been very challenging and very rewarding!
July is Plus Size Rider Month on
YourDressage and we recently asked our social media followers to share stories, photos, memories, goals, and accomplishments of dressage riders who consider themselves “plus size” or who have once been “plus size.” And boy, did they deliver!
Follow along all month as we share and showcase their favorite riding partner, go-to brands for the best breeches and boots, and training routines to get that last medal score! We have also teamed up with
SmartPak to offer three awesome prizes for readers and writers of our celebration of Plus Size Riders month! Check out how to enter here!
Love this ❤️ – Cindy L.
– Marissa M.
I have been involved in the equestrian sport since I was 8 years old. I have always been larger than the average equestrian rider but that has never stopped me from doing what I love. Finding riding breeches has always been a struggle for me so when I find a pair of riding pants I like, I make note of it and look up multiple websites to see who else carry’s them. I have had the BEST luck with Kerrits! Tall riding boots with a zipper has also been a struggle because I have a short lower leg and thicker thighs, but I came across these tall boots in a store here in the Greater Cincinnati area called ‘Equus Now!’ – Elizabeth R.
My name is Lela and I’m a plus size rider! I also own Cavaliere Couture and our tagline is #Everybodyisanequestrianbody 🖤 This is me and my 7 year old Lusitano gelding, El Dorado 💛 – Lela NOTE USDF strongly recommends all riders wear protective headgear when mounted
I just want to say to all the plus size ladies! I am there to support all the way! You see, I was the “show mom” running around after my daughter as she rode. Years I wanted to be able to ride again and show and achieve goals. Last year I had bariatric surgery and went from over 250 lbs to I am proud to say currently 164 lbs! Here is the deal, it is very hard to find good people to support you in a weight loss journey. I spent years thinking I would never ride again in a show to getting blue ribbons in the show ring…all in a year! Please support the plus sized riders! We want to enjoy riding as much as the next rider. We need encouragement and support not distain and negativity! – Lorie R.
– Kym B.
I’m 200lbs here. Size 34/36 breeches and custom tall boots to fit my 18” calves. – Samantha S.
I am also a TBI survivor and a para-Dressage rider. – Jessica
Here is my partner Houdini and I. I am a legally blind rider that also does dressage musical freestyle with Houdini. – Teresa R.
I am constantly struggling with this myself. I’m harder on myself than anyone else is on me. – Stephanie S.
In a world and a sport that’s based off image and judgement it can be extremely hard for someone “plus size” or not of average build size. I’ve struggled with this my entire life. People making comments about your weight and thinking because you may have “extra weight” makes you unfit or unhealthy. But it doesn’t make me any less of a rider then the “average” person. What more people need to realize that is a “plus size” person can still be fit and active.. At the end of the day we are just human.. we don’t choose to be plus size or average size… we cannot always control our body, or our body composition. – Sara B. Read Sara’s story, Heart of Gold!
I’m a plus sized GP trainer/rider, always have been. It has been difficult for sure. I’m glad you are addressing this in such a positive light. – Jodie C.
Plus size on a fabulous Lipizzaner mare, solid war horse 💞💞 – Talitha H.
I find it shameful how riders of different sizes are treated. Absolutely, you must consider horse welfare… but size is not the only thing which needs to be considered. Undersized riders with giant horses seem to be a bit of a norm right now, but then at the international level we see a very diverse range in reality. Edward Gal and Hans Peter Minderhoud both tend to have legs hanging below the horse because they are so tall. Isabel Werth may be at the top of the rankings due to her experience, but she isn’t that long and lean shape the media applauds so much. I’m not a plus sized rider in any normal store, but here I am in *the largest size made for this coat* in custom made boots because nothing off the shelf fits around my calves. I’m not plus size to most of the world, but in the horse world, I magically am. – Annette G.
– Cari S.
A year ago, I went to a horse show (same show in picture) and the Dressage judge commented on how too heavy I was for my OTTB. I’m 180 pounds of Muscle and my horse isn’t bothered by my weight but how my “seat” is when I ride him. Too heavy of a seat bothers him like every OTTB. So I had to learn to sit more quiet. – Neena O.
– Donnette H.
Here I am doing a chill Second Level test to start out the show season with my goodest girl, Maya Centenario. I consider myself heavy, but in a farm-girl-strong sort of way. I don’t see it as a disability, and neither do my trainers, my horse dealer, or my saddle fitter. My mares work out just like I do, so we are each strong enough to do our own parts of the dancing. I buy bigger breeches to fit my thighs and then cinch them up with a belt, and I have to do my own boot modifications. My mares and I are big ladies dancing together, and it would be nice for the judges to grant me my last two scores toward Bronze, but my trainers and I know what my mares and I are capable of. – Anneke C.
– Antonia A.
– Carol O.
I find myself to have mixed feelings on this……1.) because this is a sport that consists of many women and also many young girls. 2.) because I noticed so many NORMAL bodied women in the comments have experienced some sort of shame; either self consciously or directly—which, to me, signals a problem. 3.) I’m seeing interesting comments from people who have associated body type with; athleticism, skill, & ability to be a successful rider😬 I consider myself a confident woman, but have whole heartedly experienced similar feelings of insecurity and inadequacy. I have big boobs, a small waist, and a big butt and can rock the hell outta a bikini as a brand ambassador 😎🔥 …but I also look like absolute 💩 in white breeches at a horse show🙃. I certainly don’t have a body type that makes riding dressage easier (and there are definitely days I question wtf kind of hobby did I delve into! 😂) …but I also know I can ride. Period. And my body type, well, that’s only part of the equation when it comes to GOOD riding. Your hand, your seat, your contact, confidence, ability to think and feel your horse all effect your skill as a rider. ✔️Everyone has a challenge to overcome ✔️Everyone has insecurities ✔️Success is achievable, even if you are not the “industry standard” and lastly…this soooo important—- ✔️media can be so toxic and unrealistic (not just in dressage but in all aspects that it defines beauty). We need to normalize normal bodies and reinforce positive talk/behaviors👏🏽👏🏽. As we have young girls in this sport who look up to us as examples. Women come in all shapes. And we are beautiful💕 ~Keep riding ladies🥂♥️ – Jordan K. NOTE USDF strongly recommends all riders wear protective headgear when mounted
here is me in my plus-sized goodness and my new gelding Shadrach ♥️ My entire riding career, from a teenager to a college athlete to now a comfy AA, through all variety of weights, I’ve been at the top end of breeches and boots sizing, if a company’s sizes fit me at all. 15 years of brands subtly telling you you’re too big does a number. I’ve gone through phases of not wanting to ride for guilt of being too heavy for my previous horse. I’ve been told things about my weight as a rider that might never leave my head. It’s a lot and it’s complicated but representation matters and it helps, truly. – Jennifer B.
– Amanda H.
Before my 85lb weight loss on my Irish Draft gelding – Courtney B.
Submitted by Free Rein Sporthorses
Me on Murino. He is 26 and I am 75. Officially obese too. – Cynthia S.
Charlotte is my new lesson partner, I’m back in the saddle after 16 years! Glad to find many more ridding apparel options that fit than the last time I purchased breeches!! – Amelia M.
I used to do dressage on one leg! Since I moved to Texas it’s been hard to find a new barn to ride at 😞 – Sarah S.
Not defined to plus size – but an active equestrian athlete. Thanks for the representation! Me and my Westphalian debuting at first level this year! – Colleen C.
Type 1 Diabetic Equestrian! – Shariden J.
Submitted by County Lee Farm
Here I am on my AQHA gelding, “Dan.” I am very self conscious about my size. Thank you for recognizing those of us that are normal size or larger. 😊 – Jennifer M.
Not in Dressage attire. But starting in dressage. My mare was 20 in this photo. – Victoria B. NOTE USDF strongly recommends all riders wear protective headgear when mounted
My first dressage show with my mare, I was a hunter for about 12 years and found the dressage showing environment so much more welcoming after we switched! – Alyssa P.
Thank you USDF for acknowledging those of us who dont fit the “ideal” body image. I hope this will become more integrated into the normal everyday images and not just a one time thing. Thank you again!! “My Fair Lady” Aka Lucy. Classic dressage, western dressage, jumping, saddle seat, world youth champion costume class winner, hunt seat and certified therapeutic riding horse. – Carly C.
(In response to Carly C.’s post at left) Gotta love a haflinger! I have a Belgian… the overgrown cousin to the haffie! They are just absolute dolls! – Emily N.
💜🥰 – Morgan D.
As a plus size rider I LOVE my Cavaliere Couture breeches. They hug me just right and make me less lumpy 🤣 they are also super comfortable and breathable. – Lora H.
I have been judged over and over again for my weight. But i have a fantastic support system with my trainers who have my back along with my dance partner. This mare found me and i am so lucky we have found each other, a true heart horse. I never got to compete usdf until recently. Luna and myself have so much potential and we growing more and more every day together. From a oops backyard horse to a dressage horse. 💚 – Aubrey P. Read Aubrey’s story, My Moon and Stars!
I am here with my Shagya Arabian Samurai. I am a plus size model on Television network QVC and have been riding my entire life. As a kid, I hated wearing Breeches and actually was a western rider primarily because of it. Now I’ve learned to embrace what I’ve got and love dressage! – Adrienne M.
– Nancy D.
I’ve always been big. At 13 I had a friend’s mom tell me that I’d never be as pretty as the other girls on horses because I was just so much wider than every other teen girl in my size 20 coat. At 19 I had a judge tell me I was too big for my 17.3 hand Dutch Warmblood. (This was way before SafeSport) Yet I found an amazing coach that believed in me and helped get me to Grand Prix. It used to hurt me when I learned that local trainers used me as an example for their plus sized students, but even at my absolute thinnest, I was still a size 18 jacket even wearing much smaller breeches. So I’ve embraced it. I’m going to just be the big girl that rides. – Sara J.
– Christy D.
Handsel *Pb* got me to PSG and my USDF Silver Medal. We were 0.5% short of his ATA Preferred Silver recognition before he had to be retired. I was very lucky to find a Piker coat at a resale store in Barrington IL, it was as if it had been made for my short body and arms, my show breeches were Smart Pak silicone full seat, my boots have always had to be custom due to my chubby calfs. – Nancy B.
Me with my best friend, Gavotte. I remember girls making fun of me in kindergarten and saying I had “fat thighs” when I was perfectly average in size. I’m glad to see more size-inclusivity in equestrian sport these days compared to even just five years ago. – Christa T.
My heart horse we got our USDF Silver Medal together – Dorie F.