(Barré) #1
[ october 2019 | 13 ]

I run a social media account that’s dedicated to
being a role model for other plus-sized riders.
On a daily basis, I receive messages from plus-
sized equestrians around the globe telling me
their stories: how they’re afraid to post photos
or videos of themselves online because of the
backlash they may face. How they thought
they were limited in what they could do with
horses, and then they see my account and
realize that there’s someone out there who
looks like them that’s going out and doing all
of the things they wish they could.
Back in April I took my horse, Noodle, to an
eventing clinic. The clinic was being taught by
international five-star rider Will Coleman. I
signed up on a whim and was so nervous. Not
only had I never ridden with someone of this
caliber before, but I was also afraid of being
shamed for being overweight and daring to
ride horses.
I have encountered this type of hate so much
in my life that I was terrified that this acclaimed
rider would feel the same way and berate me for
it, or even worse, refuse to teach me.
Little did I know that I had nothing to worry

about. Not only was Will one of the nicest people
I’ve ever met, he thought I was a lovely, talented,
and balanced rider who fit her horse just fine.
I rode the high of that clinic for days afterward
until an international friend of mine shared a
photo of Noodle and I from the clinic, sporting her
company saddle pad, on her Instagram account.
The next morning I woke up to hateful comment
after hateful comment: strangers telling me I was
too fat, and how dare I get on any horse, judging
me, calling me lazy, sloppy and an animal abuser.
They rattled off the phrases “poor horse” and
“try eating a salad once in a while.” It broke my
heart. I cried. A lot.
Then I dried my tears, blocked and deleted
all of the hate, and moved on with my life. Not
because I’m brave or immune to the evil and
bullying in this world, but because I know that
the only way to silence the haters is to go out
there and prove them wrong.
In the end, a love for horses doesn’t have a
size, and it’s what unites us as equestrians. It
overrides the negativity and judgement that
divides us. Remember being a kid who just
loved horses and wanted to ride. Don’t judge.
Be kind. Ride above the hate! nHI

is Kylie’s
old Dutch
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