Getting horseback riding lessons as a larger person can be difficult. However not impossible. Generally, as long as you’re under 250 pounds, you’ll be able to find somewhere that will take you. Your options open up a little bit more if you can get down to 200 if that’s possible for you. Almost all horse stables will have a horse that can carry a 200-pound person. Still, it’s best to call to make sure they’ll have a horse available for you.
You might struggle to mount your horse. Or to dismount it, like in our video. This is especially true if you’re shorter. Lots of people – even experienced riders have problems mounting their horses. For those of us that are shorter and maybe a little heavier, it’s even more challenging. But don’t be nervous about this. It’s totally normal.
Also, the most important thing about riding a horse isn’t your weight. The most important thing is how well you’re balanced. Remember that a well-balanced heavy person will do better at riding than a light person without good balance, so don’t be discouraged if you’re larger.
But if you think your balance isn’t good enough – tell it to your riding instructor. They can equip you with a saddle horn/grab strap. These work as a sort of training wheels to ease you into the process. The saddle horn/grab strap are both placed in front of you so you can hold on to them in case you’re feeling uncoordinated.
Remember that anyone up to 250 pounds can ride most horses at a stable, under the right conditions. A horse can comfortably carry up to 20% of its weight, according to this study from Ohio University in 2008. And if you’re simply interested in purchasing a horse for yourself to ride, you’ll probably need a horse that is five times heavier than your weight.