A rider who has lost nearly two and a half stone to be able to ride says this has “changed everything”.
Nicky Pearsall was unable to join the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) Saxon Group in January as, in accordance with RDA policy on horse-rider combination, she was not of a suitable weight for any of its horses.
As a result, she joined Weight Watchers, going from about 12st 7lb to 10st 1lb, and is now able to ride all seven of the group’s horses.
“I hadn’t ridden at that riding school before, and when I went, they realised they didn’t have a suitable horse,” Nicky told H&H.
“I was in shock. It gave me the impetus to go and lose weight, and it’s changed everything. It’s given me my life; losing the weight has meant I’m able to do things I’d never been able to think of doing.
“This has boosted my confidence, I’m a different person now.”
Nicky was one of two Saxon riders who took part in an RDA mid-west region musical ride at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe on 4 August as part of the RDA’s 50th anniversary celebrations.
H&H responds to the latest news on a big issue for the equestrian industry
Results of a landmark pilot study show the negative effect heavier riders can have on horse performance
If you want to keep up with the latest from the equestrian world without leaving home, grab a H&H subscription
“It was superb,” Nicky said. “I met Princess Anne, who gave me a rosette and a sash; it was the best thing I’ve ever done, and it was all possible because I’d lost the weight.
“If I didn’t ride, I’d fall to pieces; it brings the spark out in me like nothing else ever does.”
Nicky also works one day a week at the Wiltshire riding school, doing stable duties as well as supporting other RDA riders.
“It’s amazing to feel someone wants me, and needs my help,” she said.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.