I am so excited to post our first article written by a R4WB ambassador! This is the first of many, so stay tuned. Thanks, Liddy!
I’ve been riding for 12 years, and I started showing on the A/AA Circuit on and off three years ago. I’ve always struggled with body image, always so aware of how my thighs weren’t as lean as the other girls, how my tummy maybe wasn’t as tight and trim as the other’s, and how my arms seemed to have a little more meat to them. It got especially bad when I started showing, I was handed books written by my idols so that I could learn more about what I was doing, and I hung onto every single word that came from my trainer’s mouth. At 12 or 13, already incredibly conscious of myself, I was reading tidbits on how judges prefer tinier riders and staring at passages that claimed skipping a meal could help me win that next equitation round. I was hearing things from my trainer like “I can’t wait till you get taller and skinnier” and “I hope you’re watching what you’re eating.” At 13! How damaging!! I was too young to understand what kind of BS this all was, and naturally all I wanted to do was please her. I began starving myself and working myself super hard, because I so badly wanted that blue ribbon, and maybe if I dropped a few pant sizes I could have it. This was extremely damaging for me, and not going to even sugar coat it, it sucked. It took me two years to learn that not only was my body wonderful and strong, that I was so much more than my trainer’s and George Morris’ outdated views. (Also, in their faces, I’m a size 30 and I won my medal last weekend :))))))!)
This is where Kate’s wonderful campaign comes in: a healthy body image is important on and off the horse, and I think it’s grand that she’s decided to make it known to the world. In the past couple of days I’ve learned that I’m not the only one that struggled and is still struggling with body image in this sport! This means that there’s definitely an issue present, and I think it’s our calling to fix it. It’s time to push the fact that every healthy body is the right body, especially in this sport! No more bringing other girls down because their body might be more round that yours, or calling someone out because their body doesn’t hold the same curves as yours. We’re queens, we all slay, and it’s time that we stop bringing each other down and start bringing each other up! That girl in the equitation with a big booty and short legs should get the same attention as the girl with a smaller booty and long, slim legs; may I add, not negative attention, positive attention. All of us are equals here, no matter our pant size, and it’s time that we start realizing that we’re all the right body type. The right body type is not what your trainer (if your trainer comments on your weight, get a new trainer), George Morris, or the judge determines; the right body type is where you feel comfortable and capable of handling your horse, as well as taking care of yourself. That is what is important. So next time you ride, realize your body type is the type. #RidersforWellBeing