Not going to lie, I do like to write a strongly worded letter and email every so often. More than often I am ignored or replied to along the lines off “I don’t appreciate the aggressive nature of your writing” or “No need for such aggressive vocabulary.” Although I find that highly offensive to begin with as the language I use is generally just a little more eloquent than usual. Using the odd latin based synonym, just throws in a bit of eccentric spice. Like having a Nando’s peri peri sauce on your meal deal “just ham” sandwich.
All the above is relevant to a recent and not so recent email that I sent to the BUCS head office on some of their rules and regulations, in particular Equestrian events.
This is me, photographer, Briony-Molly on a horse. This is the first time in around a year, wearing a collection of people’s horsey gear as at last second I was told I would be competing in place of one of the A Team at Anglesey. Just to clarify, I didn’t mind getting on a horse to ride a dressage test, (and I agreed to it as I had the correct memberships and what not.)
The reason I stepped in as there is a new weight limit at the riding centre, the team was not previously made aware about. The previous year the same team member rode the horses of the riding centre in a BUCS competition without issue without being confronted that they were too heavy to ride. Hence the confusion. How is it that a trained experienced rider isn’t allowed to ride if they are slightly over the weight limit in comparison to a rider who has questionable balance and no training for years be a viable alternative?
I’ve done my research. I’ve poured through the forums and websites and twitter arguments about the correct weight for riding a horse, and of course it does depend on the breed and size and work the horse does. There are the consistent appearance of figures that horses can carry (maximum) between 15-20% of their body weight, the horses that do more jumping and running work alike to racehorses obviously having a lower weight limit than say a 17hh cob that does a bit of flat work and a bit of jumping. However, if a rider is well balanced and has plenty of experience then the weight limit may be exasperated as the horse has less uneven pressure and erratic potato sack movements of an inexperienced rider in the saddle.
True heavy built horses look being and strong and are often regarded as the “weight carriers” but they still only have one back. If a heavy horse standing of 17hh or taller does happen to have an overweight rider of 20+ stone who is not experienced, sits badly and ends up being a dead weight on one point of the horse this would damage the horse’s back in the long term. That is an extreme case. But usually there is leeway when factoring height, weight and experience so not to say to an experienced rider slightly over the limit that they travelled 3 hours to competition not to be able to ride due to their weight.
In this instance I hadn’t sat on a horse for over a year, or competed in dressage since first year, (and thats a while back) getting back into the saddle to do a dressage test with an hours preparation isn’t the safest or smartest thing to do…
My complaint to BUCS if they ever actually read this or open my emails, is that it should be a policy for riding schools to proliferate their weight restrictions to the teams that would be coming so if there is an issue its before the competition. Secondly, riding centres should be addressed of the potential riders of the team before hand – it will stop with the faff of paperwork and also make it easier for them to source appropriate horses for the riders. Thirdly, on another note, BUCS, sort out your Equestrian scoring! It makes little sense and is highly complex for this sort of competition. Maybe take note from BHS, BSJ and BD. They seem to be a little more in tune with the horsing world.
Let this be so I can continue being a photographer and not a surprise reserve!
Shout out to Aberystwyth University Equestrian teams for letting me join them round Wales in competitions taking pics and holding things!
Thanks for reading and have a great day!
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