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Pls explain - 'no core' in overweight / obese people?

(32 Posts)
reallifegetsintheway Thu 24-May-18 16:23:23

Hi I read an article about a riding stables shutting down - predominantly because overweight and obese people wanted to ride the horses. I think it was in Dartmoor. One reason the owner gave was 'no core' in overweight / obese people to balance on the horse.
I assume she means 'core strength' - but why does it apply to overweight people so much? I am overweight and would like to think I could ride a horse. Please explain / clarify? Thanks.

MVLipwig Thu 24-May-18 16:25:16

Overweight people are less likely to be active, activity maintains core strength. Also you need more core strength the larger you are so the effect is amplified. I'm overweight (size 14) but probably wouldn't ride For the sake of the poor horse

sonjadog Thu 24-May-18 16:32:27

Can you link the article?

NotARegularPenguin Thu 24-May-18 16:35:27

I don’t think it applies just to overweight people but the effect of a large weight on a horse is amplified by someone with no core strength who doesn’t sit well on the horse and rolls around as they’re sat on top.

A lighter person may also have no core strength but them lolling about on top of the horse Won’t be as bad for the horse.

PlowerOfScotland Thu 24-May-18 16:38:36

reallifegetsintheway Thu 24-May-18 16:41:23

Ok - thanks for explanations - makes more sense now. I could understand the weight part but not the significance of the core but do now!

NotARegularPenguin Thu 24-May-18 16:49:31

I should imagine it’s more the insurance costs which is the major issue.

Trekking centres are shutting down all over. I used to manage one and it’s a lot of money/outgoings for an irregular income.

Ginorchoc Thu 24-May-18 16:51:42

My core strength or lack of is shocking, I’m fairly fit, did a Tough Mudder last year, can I do a plank, no, after 20 seconds I have to be helped up!

RiddleyW Thu 24-May-18 16:52:54

* I'm overweight (size 14) but probably wouldn't ride For the sake of the poor horse*

Are you very tall? I’d be amazed if you weigh more than a reasonably sized man. Men ride horses!

Ollivander84 Thu 24-May-18 16:55:48

I'm a size 14/16, have my own horse and plenty of core strength! I have also done pole fitness and aerial hoop

MVLipwig Thu 24-May-18 17:01:14

TBH I know nothing about horses so no clue what they could take. Would feel sorry for it even if it could take my weight me as I have poor balance so a useless rider

Floralnomad Thu 24-May-18 17:07:27

There is a difference between an overweight person who can ride riding a horse as opposed to an overweight beginner riding the same horse IYSWIM, mainly due to balance which is down to your core in a sense . I would imagine at a trekking stables a lot of the clientele are novice or inexperienced riders.

randomsabreuse Thu 24-May-18 17:11:07

The other issue with larger riders is beyond a certain size chunky thighs get in the way of sitting well on a horse. As a 12 who carries weight on my thighs this affects my position.

Plus there is a limit to the size of saddle that fits a given horse - and the bottom needs to fit properly in said saddle or it really messes with the horse's back.

So a 5 foot 3 woman of the same weight as a 6 foot man would have a larger backside so would have more trouble fitting in the saddle!

Pippylou Thu 24-May-18 17:11:49

I'm obese but have excellent core strength. Even thin/light people can have terrible core strength (DP, BMI 23 as an example), it's just easier to manage as there's less load.

The issue with horse riding is that it does need a lot of strength to do properly, as it's quite co-ordinated and an unstable surface. The bigger the rider, the larger the horse required too!

reallifegetsintheway Thu 24-May-18 17:12:00

Another daft question then - how do you know how good your core is?

PunxsutawneyHogwash Thu 24-May-18 17:14:21

Think of it like carrying a child on your hip.

If the child supports their own weight, is relatively balanced, and moves with your movement then all will be well (hopefully).

If the child flops about, is unbalnaced and moves against you then you will have a heck of a job and will be tired out quickly increasing risk of injury to both yourself and the child.

That's how I imagine a horse feels when carrying people. Good core and balance = easy, move together well, smooth; bad core etc = very hard, possibly dangerous and can cause injury/falls/strains.

PunxsutawneyHogwash Thu 24-May-18 17:17:31

I judge my core by whether I can get up from the sofa, floor, bed without using my hands to lift/steady myself.

I can lift heavy things bending from the knees without much effort.

Can balance easily on either leg for long periods (yes, I test myself).

And loads of other balancing/lifting things that are easy to do.

I work with horses and the chores help keep me in shape for the riding part.

senioritabonita Thu 24-May-18 17:18:53

It can be very difficult to run a small business these days if you can't provide full services for every member of the community, and people are scared of being sued.

I have a friend who has a small cafe with one small toilet - it is in a medieval town and on the bank holiday a woman became very angry that she could not fit thru the ancient stone arched doorway due to her wheel chair. Manager offered her an outside table with an umbrella but the woman was furious as she wanted to go into the cafe and use the toilet - which was upstairs. She has now received a solicitors letter and is terrified about her business closing.

My NDN successfully sued the NHS for discrimination when he couldn't be quickly transported to hospital as he was too large to be carried down the 20 steps leading up to his house. He did manage to walk down step by step but felt the NHS should provide stretchers and teams that can carry his weight (I'd guess 25-30 stones) at any time.

I'm not sure what the solution to this is. Obviously access and equal rights are incredibly important.

PunxsutawneyHogwash Thu 24-May-18 17:20:42

And just to add I have known lots of overweight, and even a few obese (they had horses to suit) riders that have excellent core strength. But the key thing with most of those is that they had had horses for years and did most of the work themselves which helps train the body.

Kattymanners Thu 24-May-18 17:21:18

Might also be a size of horse issue.

Yes of course men ride horses but they do tend to be rather large ones. Some people are a bit freaked with a gentle hack on something the size of an elephant grin

NotARegularPenguin Thu 24-May-18 17:22:58

My ex boss used to have a very good showjumping horse and I remember once when her very overweight son was riding it (just hacking) a friend was horrified and said to her was it fair to let him ride the horse. She said she had no concerns because he was a very good rider and therefore “light” in the saddle. I think that will only apply so far but yes I would agree he would be better for the horse than a novice of the same weight.

Peanutbuttercups21 Thu 24-May-18 17:25:35

This must apply to beginners?

Anyone who has ridden a bit knows you don't "sit" much, on a horse. You spend a lot of time standing in the stirrups and slightly "hovering over the saddle" , or maybe not quite, but you can't just sit on a horse like a bag of potatoes. It's a vey dynamic activity that does require (and develop) good core strength...and leg muscle (inner thigh....ouch)

Have heard of lots of horses with ruined mouths as well, as people just "sit" on the horse and "hold on" with the reins....

PunxsutawneyHogwash Thu 24-May-18 17:27:49

Yes Peanut.

If I had a pound for every time I've heard 'It can't be that hard, you just sit there and kick to go and pull to stop' NO NO NO angry

LadyLance Thu 24-May-18 17:42:01

It is a weight vs height thing as well- the same weight is differently distributed on a taller person and this does affect your balance (especially on a horse). If you are a novice and relatively top heavy, then you're more likely to fall than someone who's weight is relatively evenly distributed.

I used to work at a riding stables that offered treks to beginners in the tourist season- our stated weight limit was 16st, but we would sometimes accept someone who was say 6ft tall, 16.5st and relatively fit, but refuse someone who was 15.5st and 5ft tall. We would also sometimes accommodate regular customers within the riding school if they slightly exceeded our weight limit.

Also, everyone lies about their weight- which is a pain in the arse when trying to assign horses. And if someone turns up having said they weigh 16st, but clearly weighing a lot more, what do you do? If you turn them away, you've potentially lost your money for that hour, but if you let them ride, they could injure the horse and affect your ability to earn more money over the rest of the summer.

Our largest horses were theoretically capable of carrying about 18st (although this weight would need to include the saddle) but people of this weight often tend to lack balance as well as the agility to mount and dismount safely (don't forget that trekking center horses will be mounted and dismounted more times a day than someone's private horse, and mounting especially can put stress on the back, even with a decent mounting block).

Dismounting is a real issue, actually, because it's difficult for first time and beginner riders, as it's intimidating, and sometimes an unnatural movement. We'd usually assist or support beginner riders when dismounting to help avoid accidents- but it's very hard to assist a 16st rider dismounting when all your staff weigh <12st!

Anyway, none of this really answers your question about core strength! Most tests of core strength require you to have some physical fitness, but one I'm aware of that most people could attempt:

Video yourself when doing this-
Get on all fours. Extend opposite arms and legs out until they're straight- hold for 10-15 seconds, then bring them back in and touch your elbow to your knee. Repeat x5 or whatever you can manage for each side.
Watch the video back and see how stable you look while doing this. In someone with good core strength, the body should stay pretty still and you won't see much wobbling. In someone with poor core, they will move around a lot more and may not be able to maintain balance.
If you can do this easily, then try it in a plank position!

reallifegetsintheway Thu 24-May-18 19:48:34

Hi all - thanks for all replies. very informative, especially the horsey parts too. Will check my core later Ladylance - doubt it is very good!

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