BY RENNIE DYBALL
May/June cover story, Stephanie Peters, knows what it’s like to hide at the horse show, falling victim to a secret shame. Many riders who fall outside the sizes we see in magazines and catalogs can relate. Read Peters’ cover story on her journey of love and acceptance through horses. Here, we dive into the complicated state of body positivity in the equestrian industry.
Peters didn’t know a hormonal disorder was to blame for her large stature until she was 30 years old. Always a big girl growing up, she was shamed for her size in the horse world at every turn.
“I’ve even had a trainer tell me I had to lose 50 pounds before I could ride my own horse,” she recalls. Peters is 5’10,” wears a size 12 boot, and needs her boots and show coats custom-made. But she’s proven her doubters wrong with great success in the show ring from her junior years to the 3’6” Amateur-Owner Hunters, laying down impressive scores everywhere from Devon to Indoors.
“Some people have seen me on a horse and said I’m a great plus-size rider. That’s positive and rewarding for me, but at the same time, they don’t even know why I’m plus-size,” she says.
“Feeling misunderstood is a big part of this. People think I probably don’t take care of myself or that I overeat. They don’t know the reason I’m bigger is due to a disease I can’t control. I do hope that one day our industry can get to the point where ‘plus-size’ isn’t a thing that always needs to be pointed out. You don’t have to be thin to be an elegant rider. A body is just a body. And good riding is good riding.”
About the Author: Rennie Dyball is the author of several books, including The Plaid Horse’s middle grade novel series, Show Strides. She’s also a contributing writer for TPH and a ghostwriter for celebrity books. Rennie lives in Maryland and competes in hunters and equitation.
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