Peters on weighty matters

20130201_jbl_WFC_1955Dr. Steve Peters, the neuropsychologist whose collaboration with horseman Martin Black produced Evidence-Based Horsemanship, joined the call for better horsemanship through better personal health with his recent Personal Statement, posted on the Evidence-Based Horsemanship facebook page.

It echoed recent BestHorsePractices posts, which explained research and implored riders to be mindful of the impact their weight and fitness have on their horses. Read research on Rider Weight. Read related blog post.

Reprinted with permission, Peters writes:

Everyday I counsel patients on what we refer to as “Chronic Metabolic Diseases”. The medical field is concerned with the epidemic of obesity and the diseases linked to it such as diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. I don’t counsel and educate these patients to be demeaning or find fault, but to help them manage their risk factors so that I don’t have to see them in the hospital with a stroke at relatively young age of 50.

This message is one of the few that can actually be life-saving and benefit your horse’s health and well being.

I think many of us fear not being politically correct or do not want to hurt someone’s feelings when we note that they are too large for their horses.

fat3-300x184 To know if you are the right weight use the 20 percent rule which includes you and your saddle’s weight in the formula. This weight combined should not exceed 20 percent of your horse’s ideal weight. This does not mean that simply fattening up your horse helps..It makes it worse. We are talking about the horse at its ideal weight. For example, if I weigh 150 pounds and I have a 50-pound saddle, the combined weight is 200 pounds.Therefore, I should not be riding horses under 1,000 pounds. The wear and tear on their joints and back have been shown to be excessive when we exceed this limit.

I am hoping that more people will begin to consider riding draft crosses. We own a Belgian cross who has become quite agile here in Utah’s mountains and fun for our bigger friends and family to ride.

I would like to challenge you to make some lifestyle changes if necessary to maintain the 20% rule because I want you enjoy your horse into your golden years and to have many happy horse-related days with kids and grandkids.

I wish you healthy days ahead and the best care you can provide your horse.


Dr. Steve Peters


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