I am fat.
You don’t need to tell me – or any other fat person that. We already noticed.
Last week a post of mine got a whole bunch of shares on Facebook. My words resonated with a lot of people, and I got a ton of wonderful feedback. And a few – very few – comments that said my words meant nothing because I was too fat to be driving a Miniature Horse. And one that simply said “Big lard arse passenger, poor pony.”
It’s the internet, so of course it’s not the first time I’ve had comments like this. But it is the first time I’ve felt like I wanted to address them – I’ll explain why at the end.
First of all, yes, we do need to be sure that what we’re asking our horses to do is within their capabilities. 100%
Second of all, yes, I AM fat. Tall and fat, yet.
That means that I do need to be careful that my harness is well fitted and my cart well balanced. I need to listen to my horse and make sure they are fit enough for whatever I’m asking them to do.
But, spoiler alert, that is true for every single horse person ever! We ALL need to be sure our horses are comfortable and capable of what we’re asking of them, both physically and mentally.
This is the photo that sparked those comments. At the competition where this photo was taken, following the marathon portion, Rocky won an award for being best conditioned, chosen by the veterinarian who examined him at the conclusion of driving up and down the hills and through the trees for 7 or 8km.
That’s a pretty darn objective evaluation that says I wasn’t too heavy for him.
And on that day when a veterinarian deemed him the fittest, I was worried about his fitness. I had gotten a late start on his conditioning leading up to the event, so I started the marathon prepared to withdraw at any time if I had even the slightest inkling that he was finding it difficult. And I would have done it. I’ve made that decision before, withdrawing from the marathon when he was sitting in first place in the competition because I felt it would have been too much for him.
It’s great if you’re legitimately concerned about the well being of my horse. But if you’re calling me – or anyone else – nasty names, then you’re not actually concerned about the horse. Concern sounds like questions, not accusations. If you’ve never had the opportunity to drive a Miniature Horse, then ask if that’s something they can do, and actually listen and consider the answer before you jump to a conclusion.
I know my driving horses are comfortable and I know that I’m always going to listen to them and do my very best to make sure they’re able do whatever it is I’m asking, both physically and mentally. My horses are the important thing, and they don’t care what I look like or what strangers on the internet think.
But here’s why I’m making this post.
I also sometimes get messages from people who say they would love to drive their Miniature Horse but are worried they’re too heavy for them to pull. And I don’t want them to read a mean comment posted to me and decide they need to miss out, because I’m confident there is a way they can drive their Miniature Horse. In some cases they might need a lighter cart, or a slightly bigger horse, or learn to drive a team, but there IS a way. Miniature Horses love to drive, and it would be such a shame for them to miss out on the fun they’ll have together because of the judgement of strangers.
Be kind. And if you can’t be kind, be quiet.