I met you when I was seven years old, I was wide eyed and excited and completely horse obsessed. My mom rode at your farm when she was a kid, obviously you didn’t own it then, but she had had such an amazing time there that she wanted me to have the same experience. You didn’t take on students who were under the age of seven so even though I had been horse crazy since the age of two, I had to wait. I learned gymnastics, I did tap dancing and karate but all I wanted to do was ride horses. So when I was finally old enough my parents brought me over and my life long love of horses began.
Lessons were great at first, you taught me the basics, how to stop and steer. How to groom a horse, how to post the trot, and I will never forget the first time I cantered. But as I grew older I realized that there were little differences in the way you treated me compared to the way you treated the skinnier girls. There is one instance in my mind that is still so clear. I was riding Twinkle in a lesson, I was young, I don’t remember exactly how young but it was before I started riding Liberty and I started riding him when I was only 10 or 11 so it was before that.
I was riding Twinkle and you made me get off of her, in front of everyone, and told me to come up to the house with you. When we got up there you made me get on a scale, and informed me I would no longer be allowed to ride Twinkle. Now there are a lot of things in this world I don’t know but I do know that I was not too big for that 14 hand mustang pony when I was younger then 10 years old. What I don’t understand is why you would embarrass me that way. Why you stop a lesson, call me out and make me get on a scale. I never told my parents about it, if I had they probably would have pulled me out of your barn and made me ride somewhere else, but all of my friends were with you I wanted to stay with them.
I can’t count all of the times you told me that I could only ride draft crosses, or that there were no horses on the property except 2 that I could ride because I was too fat for the rest. It never dawned on me at the time just how much you held me back. I was a talented rider. You put me on the hardest horses on the farm, your personal horse Charlie, your daughters jumper Surprise and I rode them well, I
never came off them. Yet in lessons you never let me take any of them over a jump higher then 2ft. When we went to shows you put me in cross rail classes… You put me on horses to test how well they would handle a fat rider.
You got in a young thoroughbred named Clover, I loved him. You let me start working with him, grooming him, teaching him to halter and lead and lunge. I had a real bond with him. Then one day you told me that I couldn’t work with him anymore because I was too fat to ever ride him so what was the point in my working with him. It broke my heart.
You offered to let me lease your own personal horse. We had leased horses before we knew how much it cost, but when dad went to talk to you about leasing Charlie you told him it would be over $100 more then previous leases because you were “going through a divorce and needed the money”. After that my parents decided to buy me my first horse. They did not like you. But I wanted to stay with my friends. Despite the back hand comments about my weight, your farm was still my home away from home. When I got my first horse you hated him. You hated him because you did not pick him out, I did not buy him from you, you got nothing out of me owning him, he was not your idea and you didn’t like when your students had ideas that weren’t yours.
His name was Phoenix and he colicked 3 times while at your farm, bad colics. We put him on probiotics, daily de-wormers and more to keep him healthy. When the real problem was that you fed him crap. We were able to take him off everything when I left and he never colicked again.
You told me because of my weight I would never be able to jump higher then 2ft. I will think of you as I’m doing the 2’6 jumpers next season, and laugh when I get up to the meter, I might even do a class in your honor, dedicated to the woman who told me I wasn’t good enough, the woman who told me I was fat and would be better off doing something that didn’t involve horses.
I loved you like a second mother, I wasted 12 years of my life at your crappy run down back yard barn. 12 years of it, and when I left to go to college and asked you for a job reference you ignored me. You laughed about me to your other boarders saying things like “I’m sure she's mad at me because she asked me for a reference and I just ignored her.” Who does that? After I left for college I came back once, for one more lesson. I brought my saddle and you wouldn’t let me use it. You made me use this crappy old cloth wintec saddle because I was already to fat to ride your horses and my saddle would just make me heavier for the poor 16+ hand big boned solidly built paint horse you were having me ride.
Now I have no idea if this will ever find its way to your eyes. But if it does just know that I am very successful in the horse industry. I am a capable rider, I learned how to do things properly after I left your farm because the majority of what you taught me was wrong.
I am the person I am today in spite of you not because of you.
The student you fat shamed for 12 years