From being on permanent lookout for the nearest mounting block, to having to wear kids’ clothes, here are some of the problems of being a vertically-challenged rider…
1. No, there’s no way you’re going to get on a 16hh horse from the ground. You’d struggle with a 12.2hh, to be honest. You dread having to get off your horse out hacking, because the chances of being able to get back on again are slim to non-existent. You can’t wait for someone to invent a portable stepladder.
2. You couldn’t live without your hole punch — it’s an essential piece of kit for the stature-ly challenged. Your stirrup leathers have an extra eight holes on both sides. In fact, they’re now more hole than leather.
3. Finding long riding boots that fit is a nightmare for the short-legged. Most of them cut you off – painfully – at the knee. Not to mention that that they look more like waders than smart dressage boots. It’s a strong look — just for a fisherman, not a rider…
4. Jodhpurs – in fact, all trousers – are an issue too. It’s not that you’ve got fat ankles, it’s just there’s at least three inches of excess jodhpur material tucked away inside your boots.
5. No, you don’t want to be a jockey, thanks very much for asking.
6. It is kind of handy that you can ride a 12.2hh without squashing it — but if you have riding lessons at a riding school, you know this means you’ll always end up on one of the naughty ponies while the taller riders get the elegant warmbloods and hunters. As your cheeky native wheels out his best bucking bronco impression just for you, you reflect that it would be nice to ride something bigger than 14hh once in a while…
7. …But when you do ride something bigger, everybody double-takes when you’re out hacking, wondering why some overly-ambitious parent has put their kid on such a huge horse.
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8. How come you ended up with the highest saddle rack in the tackroom? You’ve developed incredible abs from having to weight lift your saddle over your head every time you ride.