A RIDING instructor has said she needs bigger horses to cater for the increasing waistlines of people wanting to get into the saddle.
Natalie Clarke, 30, was speaking as a Government think-tank revealed that excess weight was now the norm and the majority of Britons will be obese by 2050 if weight gain trends continue.
The instructor at Earnsdale Farm Riding School, Duddon Avenue, Darwen, said she was now trying to bring in horses which could carry more than 14-and-a-half stone to cater for the demand.
Natalie said she had become more aware of the numbers of overweight children and adults after losing two and a half stone herself since May.
And she said children now needed bigger horses than 15 years ago, when she started teaching.
Natalie, of Duddon Avenue, said: “I started riding 20 years ago. I was slim and slight as a child and used a 11 to 13-hand pony.
“But I am now finding children and adults are using bigger horses and also the mounting blocks used to get onto horses are being used more and more. People need them as, because of their weight, children and adults are being restricted.
“Children are now riding bigger horses rather than ponies.
“The bigger horses we have can take up to 14 and a half stone and we can’t cater for anyone over that weight.
“Children are now riding adult horses because of the problem.
“This is putting more strain on the animals. It is worrying.
“I have lost weight and I feel the difference when I am riding.”
Natalie is now launching her own Slimming World group to help people lose weight.
She said: “Children seem to be less active today and I hope children as well as adults attend the group I am setting up.
“To make changes when you are older is difficult. It may be easier if we make changes at a young age.”
The largest-ever UK study into obesity, which is backed by the Government and compiled by 250 experts, said that most people are now overweight.
The Foresight think tank warned that in just over 40 years, 60 per cent of men, 50 per cent of women and a quarter of all children in the UK are likely to be clinically obese. Slimming World meets for its first session at 7pm in St James’s Parish Room, Stopes Brow, Lower Darwen, from October 28.
Contact Natalie on 01254 762065 or 07742 257184.
By Nafeesa Shan