Horse riding and EDS

Hi everyone, is there anyone else out there who has EDS and still rides horses? I own a horse and am finding it increasingly difficult to ride. Lately, I have had to cut short amazing rides because my knee subluxes or my back goes out and I can't sit up straight. Is there anyone else having these problems? What do you do? I haven't found a knee brace that would work for riding does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

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I ride, and I know that the doctor I see treats other EDS patients who ride. For me the riding is not as much the problem, but lifting and horse care activities. Riding is good for my core strength and more importantly my soul. I have switched to ponies and pony and pony crosses, at 5'2 they are much easier for me to manage.

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I have ridden and trained horses my whole life but when the spinal surgeries and doctors told me about the instability in my neck and back, it was time for me to stop. I guess I will always miss it along with karate but I feel that even though I love it, being paralysed just would not be worth it to me. So that's how I knew when to stop, maybe this will help you.

God bless,
Lexie2

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Hi, I'm writing my first post while recovering from a hip arthroscopy. I own a lovely horse and she's given me so much pleasure, yet I've come to the point when I seriously need to think whether it's worth risking more injuries and surgery by carrying on riding.
Now I'm facing at least another three months before I can even consider getting back in the saddle. I'm due to have my other hip operated as well and that would mean more time off. My horse is quite lively, and I've had some nasty falls. It's not that she does anything bad really, just being a horse and can be spooky or keen, never bucking or rearing. With these weak and painful joints, and a less than brilliant balance, it sometimes doesn't take much to unseat me.
Just grooming her, let alone other stable tasks, have also become increasingly hard. I'm stubborn and would love to carry on riding, but my head already says no, there's no point risking getting worse quicker and risking bad injuries. My heart's not yet quite ready to accept it.
Also, she's not young so it would be almost impossible to find a new home for her. And I couldn't risk her ending up not looked after properly. I'm currently looking for someone to take her on loan, which isn't easy as there really isn't much interest at the moment.
When I was young, I went to a riding school, as I wasn't lucky enough to have my own. To have her was a dream come true - I didn't have a diagnosis when got her - and now it's sadly turned more into a nightmare. I probably could ride once or twice a week something smaller and more laid-back. But as horses aren't like some equipment that can just be swapped to something more suitable or, indeed, left in the garage to wait for better times, I'm feeling pretty desperate at the moment.

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I have had both of my hips operated on. Both hip had the bursa taken out and the tendon cut. I was back on my horse with in 3 weeks. I truely believe it is up to the person and how hard you ride. I have had no problems but I only walk when I ride for now. I think you just need to trust your body and don't push it. We have EDS we are not dead and the old saying if you don't use it you loose it is so true. Just be smart about it. I also believe that anyone with a newly diagnoses of anything that is life long/changing should go see a counselor. It doesn't have to be forever but at first it will help you get in touch with what you feel and how you need to handle it.

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@milliej

I'm sorry to hear you've had such a difficult time getting back on the horse :(. It would be wonderful if you could find a decent rider who could help you care for your mare in exchange for free riding! I am trying to sell my 7-year old Appendix QH gelding right now, more because I am in college and cannot afford to bring him with me, but also as he's just too strong for me and the risk of injury is not worth it. It's hard, especially when you've had them for so long..I've had him since he was 7 mos and it's going to be heartbreaking to let him go, but I'm hoping to find someone who will show him and invite me to come watch!

I wish I had more advice, but know that you aren't alone and I'll be thinking of you as I try to find a home for my guy. There is someone out there she is meant to reach, and that you've just got to trust that eventually that person will find her! In the meantime, I hope you can recover enough to enjoy spending time on the ground with her and watching her make a beautiful pasture ornament :)

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Hi millie, I'm so sorry for what you're going through. I've been there with my back problems, and my heart broke when my horse was taken away. But I knew I couldn't carry on. Each of us is different and some people are able to continue, and that's great. But only you know how you feel. Personally, I can't even get in a bath anymore let alone on top of a horse. Even a hard chair is out of bounds for me. I still love horses deeply and when I see them on TV I get a tug at the heart strings. But I will never ride again. I got over it and I'm happy, and found other things I love to do. So if you have to make that decision just know it won't hurt forever. But my heart goes out to you it's such a tough situation. I really hope your recovery goes well x

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Thanks elliecw & ceindeg, it's good to hear from other people who have gone through the same and know how heart breaking it is to even think about giving your horse up.
At least I've got someone to look after her for a few weeks while I'm recovering. Then I'll just carry on doing some work from the ground and wait for the right person to turn up to take her on loan. She's got lovely manners from ground and I enjoy playing with her. It just the riding when she gets strong. And as she's sensitive, she'll notice when I'm feeling weak and insecure and unfortunately that makes her more nervous and spooky. If I was well, her being a bit silly wouldn't bother me. But it's become too much for me to cope with anymore.

Elliecw, I hope you'll soon find a good home for your beautiful boy and can then go and see him happy and well looked after. It must be so hard especially when you've had him since he was a baby.

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I never had the chance to own or ride horses, but I was a horse-crazy teen--still love them. At the ripe old age of 47 with a discectomy under my belt, ulnar nerve compression in my arms, and a hypermobile diagnosis, I took two intensive groundwork/"Horse Whisperer" courses through a private trainer and through adult ed. At the end of the courses I got to ride somebody else's horse only once, in an arena, but it was magical since I learned so much through the training and developed an intimacy with horses that was incredibly fulfilling. I've ridden a few trail rides since on hardened, jaded rental horses, also with magical results. Since I feel no further need to ride, now, I think I did all the healing work I needed to fulfill my dreams. Subsequently I transfered the knowledge to teaching my poor abused show dog rescue to love life again, and I consider our dog/human relationship to be one of my all-time personal success stories.

The best rides I've had were on Rocky Mountain foxtrotters. I've never ridden a Hanoverian or a warmblood, but I can imagine.

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RIDE!! I grew up on the back of a horse and thought that with all the problems I was having that riding was a risk I couldn't take. I kept my baby for 2 yrs just feeding her but then talked myself out of that for money reasons. Sold all my tack last month along with my Dads saddle which meant the world to me. Now all I have to show for it is severe depression and that takes its tole on you faster than this stupid disease. Don't ever give it up even if you just ride for 5 mins. I will again own a horse someday just to have one to look at and talk to.

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Dontgiveupfaith I'm sorry you are having such a rough time. I know I would feel the same way because when I was a teen I owned a horse and was forced to give her up and she was a terrible horse but I was devastated and missed her, riding, and everything horse. I couldn't even watch movies with horses in them because I was so depressed. Now I have my big boy and he is the bet horse I've ever met. There is no way I could ever give him up and when I got him I promised I would be his last home. So even if I can't ride I am determined to keep him and do what I can. He is a bit older (17) and a retired jumper so I'm sure being just a pet would be fine but I think I still have a couple more years of light riding to give him which is probably best for him anyway. He makes me so happy just being with him and that to me is worth the money it costs to keep him even if I can't ride. For very one else that had to give up their horses I'm sorry I know it must have been so hard :(

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Keep riding. When I had my hip replacement and both knees replaced I just slowed down from eventing to dressage and western pleasure although I do take the occasional fence from time to time. When I was told to stop riding I said no way and started doing side saddle-and driving to put less strain on the hips and knees for a while. I just saw it as a time to learn a new discipline. As all your trainers say strengthen your core muscles as much as possible and that will help I also train full time in circus arts and all with VEDS. Do what makes you happy and what your body lets you. Only you know what good for you. Have fun be safe be happy.

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Ride... I do. I ride bareback to keep my knees from hurting, if you want a saddle get stirups that are like english stirups. I don't do much running or trotting and I have had three hip surgeries. I don't normally hurt while riding or afterwards, walking on my own is worse for me. Riding is really good for core muscles.

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Are you doing PT after your hip arthoscopy? Please make sure you do. I have had three, one to trim the labrem on my rh and then two on the left, one to trip the labrem and to clean up an inpingment on the lf, the another on the left because it didn't feel any better and they reshaped the ball of the joint. My pain tolerance was so high that I was walking without crutches the 2nd day and I should have done excercises, because a lot of the muscles and tendons quit working right and now I am horrible with bursitis. Please ask for PT. Good luck on your healing, my surgeries were 6 and 7 years ago.

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Hi Packetgirl. Thanks for the encouragement, to others too! I've had similar surgery to yours. My mri showed only a small labral tear but when they went in there was also an impingement lesion and some articular damage, and the labral tearing was actually over a large area. The plan is to have the other hip done before the damage is as extensive.
I'm doing PT. My PT's very good, we take things slowly. I'm still using one crutch (3wks post-op), mainly for extra support as can bear weight now. I can't walk much though, as other hip, crutch-side shoulder and feet are not brill either :-(
What worries me with riding is that for a couple of months I was only having the hip pain in saddle, everything else was fine. Gradually it started affect other things, too. I suppose just need to wait and see how good it will get after surgery and if it will tolerate riding.
My mare isn't a good candidate for bareback. She's got a very high and bony wither, also can be a bit of a handful to ride. I've got Sprenger flexi-stirrups, which are great. I'm in England, so in english tack anyway (just thinking about lifting a heavy western saddle, ouch). I keep trying to find someone to ride her for the time being, and hope that I'll be eventually able to do a little bit. Still realistically, I think I have to prepare myself that my riding days - at least as an owner of a lively and fast horse - may be over.

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Hi MILLIEJ

If you want to try the western check out the WINTEC synthetic saddles they are a fraction of the weight ( and cost) of the tradition western saddle also the stirrup flap is very flexible so it has an easy for your knee unlike again the leather on the traditional ones. I agree with you on the Herm Sprenger irons they really help a great deal.

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Please let me know know more about your hip surgeries. I would love to have my bursas removed and the tendon lengthened. My old Ortho said she was going to lenthen the tendon when I had my last arthoscopy, but didn't. I am with Kaiser now and their doctors say that it is not successful. Please advise.

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milliej
My horse also is very high withered and boney... just through on a pad... it also keeps your pants somewhat clean. As clean as a person hanging out with a horse can get. LOL

There is something about just spending time with my horses.. It takes all the stress and pain and depression away when I am with them. Now I understand, why my elbows used to hurt if I had to use the reins real hard... stupid EDS. I just thought I was a wimp.

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Yes there really are so many ways to benefit from being around horses. I feel like a little girl again with no worries what so ever.

Oh the times I used to think I was a wimp because I struggled with the pain. It's still there somewhere in my head, though I should know better now. Before this stupid hip I had my elbows really bad for nearly 2 years. Learned to ride in a very light contact ;-) Ended up paying others to do most of the mucking out for me. Then it was a shoulder. Now this hip which seems the worst so far. Isn't it interesting, that when you think things couldn't possibly get any worse, you soon learn they certainly can :-(

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