By Kate Kosnoff

Dear horse show judge, from the fat girl.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl you write off as soon as she trots into the ring for having “a little too much” hanging over her breeches.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who was told from a young age that she didn’t have the natural build for riding.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who feels your disapproving gaze all the way across the ring.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who was told that her show jacket would look better if she lost ten pounds.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who can’t help but feel ashamed when she canters around the warm-up ring alongside riders with long, delicate limbs and slim midsections.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl whose face still looks a little too round no matter what helmet she wears.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who tries to sit as tall in the saddle as she possibly can so that you won’t stare at her fat rolls.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl whose chronic illness took her metabolism and energy from her, but left behind a fiery passion for riding and horsemanship.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who instantly blames her weight for not placing despite a perfect round.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who has cried herself to sleep more times than she can count because of the way she looks.

Dear horse show judge, from the girl who can’t stand to see pictures of herself riding because she doesn’t want to be reminded of what she looks like in breeches.

Dear horse show judge, why must I feel embarrassed while doing what I love?  Why do you care more about the sizes printed on the tags of my clothing than the way I ride and treat my horse?  What can I do to prove to you that I’m more than just the percentage of fat on my body?

Dear horse show judge, why am I not enough for you?

 

Kate Kosnoff