Rider Loses Eight Stone After Surgery
Obesity is a serious problem in the UK. The proportion of people who are overweight continues to rise and so it is inevitable that the issue will impact horse riding. There have been concerns for some time that overweight riders could be impacting the wellbeing of their horses. But one rider, at least, has taken drastic action to reduce her weight.
Gastric Bypass Surgery
Amanda Firman had reached 20 stone and had become concerned that she was too heavy for her show hunter Ted. She was also keen to lose weight for the sake of her own health. She decided that a gastric bypass would help her to achieve her goals. Amanda had the surgery two days after competing in the SEIB Search for a Star final at Horse of the Year Show. The 51-year-old chose surgery which would reduce the size of her stomach and would reroute her intestines.
Impressive Weight Loss
Two years after her surgery, Amanda has lost an impressive eight stone and five dress sizes. At one stage, she had been a size 22 and had to have her riding jackets specially made. She had felt awkward riding and often found herself to be tired and in pain. She had developed arthritis in her knees and ankles and it could take her up to two hours to simply muck out a stall. Her issues meant that she had to take pain killers five times a day. She also underwent steroid injections.
When Dieting Doesn’t Work
Amanda had tried dieting but lacked the willpower to avoid temptation. She would always regain any weight that she had lost. Her weight issues had begun when she was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). This is a debilitating illness which caused her to seek out high-sugar foods for energy. She was eating all of the wrong things and the result was massive weight gain. She was eating more whilst becoming less active and could only ride her horse for a few minutes at a time.
Life After Surgery
Two days after her surgery, the hospital discharged Amanda. She was back to work the following week and was riding a few weeks later. Her weight began to reduce quickly as she was only able to consume small amounts of food. She was forced to avoid rich food as this would make her feel sick. Smaller portions and healthier food choices were to lead to a total transformation. After losing eight stone, the pain in her joints disappeared.
Amanda had a new lease of life and was determined to make the most of it. She bought a house with land and stables and then treated herself to a new horse which she hopes will enable her to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show in 2018. Amanda continues to suffer from ME but the tiredness is less problematic now that the joint pain has subsided. Amanda is able to ride for up to 40 minutes at a time and is learning to ride more athletically.
Not everyone who is overweight needs surgery. But for those who are seriously obese, the surgery can help them enormously. It is vital that equestrians control their weight, for their own benefit and for the sake of their horse.