Here’s the thing about body image: we all struggle with it. Even if we didn’t have to worry about our own negative thoughts creeping in and making us self-conscious, riders’ bodies are constantly under a magnifying lens. In fact, a few years ago, my trainer told me I would look better in my show coat if I “pulled a few pounds”. In this sport, it seems that if you’re not thin, tall, and well-proportioned, you’re an outcast and won’t pin well at shows. Why do we allow this to happen? As a sport and as a community of equestrians, we idly stand by and let the vicious cycle of eating disorders, unhealthy diets, and bullying continue.
This stops now.
No longer will we teach young riders that they must look a certain way to compete on the show circuit. No longer will we criticize the rider who is a little overweight and suggest he or she “lose a few pounds” or “give her poor horse a break”.
Starting today, we will embrace a new way of thinking. We as equestrians will come together to promote being strong, happy, and healthy. We will realize that “healthy” comes in all shapes and sizes and looks different on everyone. We will stop telling each other to starve or eat more salad. We will realize that for the love of our sport, we need to start making a difference. I am calling this campaign “Riders for Well-Being”. My goal for this campaign is to bombard social media with body positivity and encouragement. I want to see riders banding together and supporting one another instead of tearing each other down.
Stay tuned for further announcements about this campaign, and I hope you will become involved. Please contact me with any questions or suggestions by commenting on this post, tweeting me (@bay_on_ce), or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.