This is a common misconception that really bugs me, the idea that just because someone appears overweight, it means they are lazy and just sit around eating fast food all day. There are individuals who truly believe that because someone is “fat” that they absolutely cannot be strong, healthy or in shape. I had someone tell me word for word “I know its easier to just go out and get fast food but you should really try eating healthy for yourself and your poor horse” This person looked at a photo of me sitting on my horse and automatically assumed that I spent my time eating fast food and abusing my poor, squished equine partner. I am literally eating an apple as I type this, but no all fat people refuse to eat healthy, are unfit and just like squishing horses *Insert major eye roll*
Let me tell you a story. Rewind to June 2019, I completed my first hunter pace on Noodle. In the 6 months or so before the hunter pace I had been lessoning 2x per week and hacking 2 more, I had been going to the gym, doing weights and cardio 1x a week each, I had even been eating better. Yes I still like donuts and cheeseburgers and cream in my coffee but my habits had certainly improved and it showed at the hunter pace. I made it through no problem on a young horse who jumped everything with a foot or more to spare just in case there were scary cross country monsters lurking in the logs. Noodle is not an easy ride. Fortunately my new found fitness level enabled to me keep up with my happy young horse no problem, and even better, I didn’t have a single sore muscle the following day.
Fast forward to this year. Last week I completed my first hunter since that June pace with Noodle. This time I took my 6 year old thoroughbred Jackson, we didn't jump anything, and while he was excited he was not difficult to ride and not nearly as strong as Noodle. In the year+ between paces a lot changed. I got pregnant, I stopped riding for almost 6 months because of it and lost a lot of fitness. I also lost about 50lbs. My new found weight loss seemed to help my energy level but did nothing for my fitness. The day after the hunter pace I could barely walk. I mean holy shit, I was so beyond sore.
So yes I'm 50lbs lighter. Am I still fat? Oh heck yes I am, But I was a much stronger and more effective rider last year when I 50lbs heavier but much more fit. I'm working hard to get back to that level of fitness but it's going to take awhile and work. All I care about is being a strong, balanced and effective rider, I couldn't care less about the number on the scale. So as I said… Fat does in no way equal unfit. Remember that next time you decide to look at an overweight person and make assumptions about them.