Young too heavy to ride

Laura White
Laura White

An attraction on Dartmoor is to close because its young riders are too fat for the horses and ponies.

For years children have visited Babeny Farm near Poundsgate to ride. But recently youngsters have become too heavy. The farm recently had to turn away a 13 year old who weighed 12 stone.

The owner of the business Dee Dee Wilkinson has said that she will concentrate on the farm side of the business will be selling off her ponies after the trekking side of the business closes in September.

She said: “Over the last seven years obesity has become a big issue. It’s a welfare issue for horses, we had a five foot, 16 stone woman who wanted to ride. We had to turn her away. It’s a safety issue not just for the horse but for the person. They have no core strength and can’t balance themselves properly. They are riding a live animal at the end of the day.

‘It’s both adults and children, I had a 12 stone 13 year old the other day, it’s just the way people eat, it’s fast food and takeaways, no one does any exercise. The horses are at an age where they need replacing and getting those good replacements can be difficult. We are finding increasingly that people are getting heavier, so we are unable to let them ride as it isn’t fair on the horses.”

Britain is starting to overtake America in the obesity rates, with the latest figures showing that more children in England are classed obese at the age of eleven than in the US. The sale of the horses will take place on 8th September.

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