By Lisa Gregory
I have noticed more and more articles in the equestrian press about current research and I know many riding schools have already reduced their weight limits.
Here at the trekking centre our weight limit is currently 16st, and on the recommendation of our vet I have to think about reducing that. I must put the welfare and wellbeing of my horses first, but I love my customers and I don’t want to deter people from coming here to enjoy our wonderful centre.
What I would like to do is to highlight the extra riding enjoyment that can come from weight loss, even if it is just a few pounds. And I will do that by asking one of my long serving clients, Debbie Butcher, to tell her inspirational story.
Debbie has ridden here for 18 years and is the devoted fan of Brodie, a much-loved horse who has been with me for many years.
She decided to lose weight to make Brodie’s life easier and has been so successful that she is now a Slimming World consultant. I find it inspirational that she did this out of love for one of my horses.
Now she wants to help fellow riders do the same, and I would like people to start thinking about this process. She is passionate about her message and I am passionate about my horses, which is why we are collaborating.
BRODIE IS MY INSPIRATION
By Debbie Butcher
I have ridden my beloved friend Brodie for over 16 years and my weight has yo-yo’d up and down in all that time. I think I have done pretty much every diet that exists!
At my heaviest I was 13st 8lb, which was Christmas of 2017. That was a wake-up call and I decided it had to stop.
One of the highlights of the year here at the trekking centre is our annual day out at the Sheriff of Lichfield’s Ride. It is a long and challenging day for the horses, with a route of over 20 miles, and I knew that I needed to be under 12st, as with any of the five rides that I had by then completed on Brodie.
My best boy is not getting any younger and I decided that I owed it to him to make changes.
I lost some weight on my own and then I joined Slimming World because I saw it creeping up again and I knew I had to do this properly and for the long term.
By the 2018 Sheriff’s Ride I was under 11st 7lb and earned a hugely emotional reward when Brodie and I were awarded the Best Turned Out prize. It was the most fantastic day.
Now I am 10st 4lb and at my ideal BMI. I so loved the ethos and healthy approach of Slimming World that last October I became a Slimming World Consultant.
Of course, vanity and health played a part in my decision to take control of my weight. But without reservation Brodie was, and still is, my inspiration. Because he is a big boy I knew he could always carry me, which is why I had never really got to grips with it until then.
Now, a year on, the difference riding him is amazing. He is flying every time we go out on a trek and it really feels as if he is saying “thanks for doing that”!
And a whole new world of trekking has opened up to me! Brodie will always be my number one, but I can now ride horses that I was too heavy for. I am even riding the gorgeous Capulate, whose limit is way below my previous weight.
There is an unexpected benefit too. I am 56 and I have degenerative knee problems, which have improved massively as a result of my weight loss and improved fitness.
Everybody has to find their own motivation for losing weight. Brodie was mine, and I like to think other riders might be motivated by their feelings for a favourite horse.
I am somebody that understands this from a rider’s perspective. The worst thing you can do is “go on a diet”. This is a holistic approach, all about mind set, eating the right foods, and exercise. And of course, riding is a fantastic form of exercise.
I have become a Slimming World consultant because I believe in this absolutely. We are totally non-judgmental, there is no humiliation. Everything is discreet. This is not about dieting; it is all about changing our relationship with food. If I can inspire other people I will be delighted. My Slimming World classes are Tuesdays (5.30pm) at St Joseph’s RC Primary School, Hednesford, and Wednesdays (5.30pm and 7.30pm) at Heath Hayes Constitutional Club, from Wednesday 5th June I will be moving my class to The Victoria Club, Norton Canes. Have a look at my Facebook Page for further information.
Slimming World Heath Hayes
P.S from Lisa: Debbie is already proving an inspiration! Many of our riders have joined her and their weight loss is incredible. They say their favourite horses are flying under a lighter rider, and they have so much more choice of horses to ride as I am not now limited to who I can put them on. I am so proud of them all!