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Karma
Oct. 6, 2009, 08:55 PM
Let's all introduce ourselves and any program that we may work with. I'll go first...

I am an occupational therapist and work at NARHA Premiere Accredited Somerset Hills Handicapped Riding Center in NJ. We offer adaptive/therapeutic riding, equine assisted speech, occupational and physical therapy (hippotherapy), school programs, equine assisted psychotherapy, therapeutic driving and seasonal vaulting. I work with NARHA and AHA.

It's great to have a forum that focuses on riding skills for those with disabilities and the challenges that riders with special needs face.

Penthilisea
Oct. 6, 2009, 09:46 PM
Well, I have fibromylagia and am 90% healed from chipping my spine in a silly fall. I also worked as a volunteer at two of the local handicapped riding centers, both as a side walker/warm body and also as a more hands on instructor for high functioning riders. My TB did a stint as a therapuetic mount for riders who were learning to canter and do small cross rails. I also have experience in driving that I want to share with the paraquestian community if possible.

Ellie&Werther
Oct. 6, 2009, 11:04 PM
My name is Ellie, I have cerebal palsy, that effects primarily my left side. I used to do low level hunters up to 2'6. I am currently riding dressage and classified as a Grade III para FEI rider. I just started riding dressage and spent my first season doing training level. My plan is to do the grade III novice test and first level dressage next year.

Wayside
Oct. 6, 2009, 11:52 PM
Hello everyone!

I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=gene&part=eds3) , Fibromyalgia, and Pernicious Anemia.

These days I'm taking dressage lessons on my Anglo-Trakehner mare, but I have also done hunters, jumpers, eventing, driving and a whole lot of trail riding in the past.

I'm not the competitive type, so I'm not planning on showing much, though I am going to try to haul my youngster out for some exposure next season. And if I could get some clinics in, that'd be great, too.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 7, 2009, 02:53 AM
I'm here sort of by proxy - Special Horses Inc supports 501(c)3 organizations that directly rehab, rehome, rescue, or foster equines, but we also support 501(c)3 TH and EAT and Hippotherapy organizations. To me, there is much that all these organizations can do to help each other, as well as the larger equine community.

Of course, in addition, I'm here to support all my friends - just as they have supported me!

jeano
Oct. 7, 2009, 12:52 PM
I'm an old warhorse psych nurse, used to work with a guy who did equine assisted therapy but alas he has relocated to TX and is working for the Army last I heard. I wanted to get into the EAT stuff but it didnt work out, plus funding disappeared for a lot of our clientele... so plans to investigate EGALA (sp?) and such are on hold indefinitely.

Anyway, my "disability" (besides being old and fat and generally getting creaky) consists of osteoarthritis that is present in several joints but is most troublesome in my right hand. I will soon resort to tugging up billets with my teeth, they are still in good shape.

I'm real interested in the topic of traumatic fear as an issue that disables riders as surely as injuries. Seeing a lot of it in my immediate vicinity and age group, have some experience of it personally.

Tiffany01
Oct. 7, 2009, 02:15 PM
My name is Tiffany and I have a learning disabitly and I have a 9 yr old paint mare named Beautiful and we do HUS and EQ.

Natalie A
Oct. 7, 2009, 06:00 PM
I'm Natalie, I have a rare genetic/neurological disorder (Moebius Syndrome (http://www.moebiussyndrome.com)) which effects my balance/coordination/strength/endurance/vision/probably some other stuff I've left out. I've taken dressage/centered riding-focused lessons for the past few years, prior to that I did some h/j stuff in college and high school. I don't currently show, but hope eventually to show lower-level dressage (and if I come upon the right horse, the para stuff). I also volunteer at a local therapeutic riding center as a horse handler and exercise rider, which I love doing and helps me keep everything in perspective.

equineartworks
Oct. 7, 2009, 07:25 PM
I have MS and severe OA and some other issues thanks to a bizarre immune system :lol: My DD is an Aspie.

I have been studying and working with animal assisted therapies for more than 10 years now and have trained two dogs to service level. Now I just have semi-unruly farm dogs that I adore and a couple of them do some work in the community.

Over the past few years I was able to bring my love of horses to my daughter in hopes that Equine Therapy would be a beneficial alternative for her. It surpassed that...it changed her life. Over the years we became more involved and this year we started our own small facility.

We offer a farm based escape for children and adults with special needs, women and children learning to trust again, and children and adults who are in hospice care. This winter we will finish a 3 acre sensory trail and will begin the outdoor riding arena. A major part of our program is also evaluating and training horses from rescues and rehabs for new lives as therapy partners.

This year we will be offering our program not only at our farm, but at two other locations in our area...something we never expected to achieve so soon.

I love what I do. :):)

starrunner
Oct. 8, 2009, 08:11 AM
Hi guys!

I have a bilateral hearing loss. I don't have a specific discipline, but I love to ride what my horse enjoys and am always game to try something new. :D

I was also accident prone and have several joint/cartilage injuries that do make things difficult from time to time.

Jay-N-Jete'
Oct. 8, 2009, 09:12 AM
I'm Katelyn. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which is currently worst in my low back, neck, wrists, ankles, hands, and big toes, along with the neuralgia and tingling/loss of sense that goes along with it all.

I also have a pacemaker, asthma, and went through Thyroid Cancer surgery/radiation. Plus, the general old "horse crash" injuries we all have - i.e. torn rotator cuff, broken bones, etc.

I have an 8yr OTTB mare, who I just started in June. I've ridden dressage, up to 3rd, before I retired my gelding. Did hunters non-competitively as a teen.

I am working on a Master's Degree in Special Education and would like to do my Thesis on Hippotherapy, but am having trouble finding any peer-reviewed research to support my question.

Anyone who has any materials that might work, would be REALLY appreciated or I'm going to have to find a new question!

equineartworks
Oct. 8, 2009, 10:59 AM
Katelyn did you try the Horses and Humans Foundation? They have gone above and beyond for me since late 2006. When I have questions or need literature, abstracts, or studies they are my first stop. I don't have the web address handy but a quick google will find them easily.

I have tons and tons of materials here, shoot me a pm with some specifics and I will see what I can dig up for you.

equineartworks
Oct. 8, 2009, 11:01 AM
I'm here sort of by proxy - Special Horses Inc supports 501(c)3 organizations that directly rehab, rehome, rescue, or foster equines, but we also support 501(c)3 TH and EAT and Hippotherapy organizations. To me, there is much that all these organizations can do to help each other, as well as the larger equine community.

Of course, in addition, I'm here to support all my friends - just as they have supported me!

And DGRH also serves on the BOD for my program so she is much more involved than she lets on :winkgrin:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 8, 2009, 11:25 AM
:D ssshhhhhhhhhh!!!!

IronwoodFarm
Oct. 8, 2009, 01:58 PM
I am not disabled, but I help a WONDERFUL paraplegic driver compete my horses.

betsyk
Oct. 8, 2009, 02:28 PM
I'm a NARHA Advanced Instructor and have been involved with NARHA centers for almost 20 years. These days, I teach mostly riding skills to kids and teens with a focus on riding as sport, rather than therapy.

baymare
Oct. 8, 2009, 02:48 PM
I am a farm owner and long-time horse business professional who is a NARHA certified instructor and in the process of developing my therapuetic riding business. I am neither a NARHA center nor a non-profit at them moment, and would be interested in hearing from those of you who are also mulling over those options. I should add that I have a major bureaucracy phobia.

I currently work with kids in our own and neighboring school districts who have learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and/or are trauma victims. My primary interest is in teaching actual riding skills and basic horsemanship-- I am comitted to the idea that the therapy is inherent in the activity.

I am located in Springfield, VT, in the Conn. River valley about 50 mi north of the MA border.

cadriver
Oct. 8, 2009, 03:43 PM
I'm a T10 para. I did ride a bit after I was first injured but it took to many people to help and they had to just stand around and watch.:) So I took up driving because I can drive with the help of 1 and they don't even have to be a horse person, just follow directions and able to call 911. I compete mainly in CDE's driving single, pair and tandem. Currently competing an Adv single and a prelim pair. I've competed in the East but mostly in the west and been to Europe a time or 2 for World Championships.

I have a need for speed, and I love driven dressage. My main Adv. driving horse has also been ridden and shown extensivly in ridden dressage.

Diane Kastama
Arroyo Grande, CA

redears
Oct. 8, 2009, 06:53 PM
I am on the autism spectrum (high functioning, genius really) and I do eventing.

IdahoRider
Oct. 8, 2009, 09:35 PM
My name is Sheilah and I have Cauda Equina Syndrome resulting from a soft injury to my spinal cord at L-4/L-5. I am numb from the waist down, but can walk and ride (although I don't ride well at all).

I was involved with horses before my injury, and became an older, adult re-rider 4 years after my injury. I have been taking dressage lessons for 21 months.
Sheilah

ClassAction
Oct. 8, 2009, 09:47 PM
I have bipolar disorder. I ride any horse anyone will let me but I hope to do eventing competitively when I get my life together.

Orn1218
Oct. 8, 2009, 10:00 PM
Hi, I have had fibromyalgia for last seven years. Although I do not post often, I read the Coth just about daily.

Although fibro brings me aches and pains (I am currently nursing a sprained ankle I don't remember spraining) my horses allow me to have mobility and they keep me fro wallowing in fibro fog or malaise. I have a 17 year old arab mare and a 10 year old spotted saddle horse.

Thanks for bring this board about!!:)

AllyandPete
Oct. 8, 2009, 11:47 PM
I am so excited that they added this forum! I am a special education teacher (k-6) and I also have volunteered and done internships with different therapeutic centers. I also teach lessons and one of my students is a 7th grader with an auditory processing disorder. I have wanted to be a full time therapeutic instructor pretty much since I knew it existed...but the opportunity hasn't come along yet. Still praying for it!

WaningMoon
Oct. 9, 2009, 07:39 AM
Hi, Im Cathy, age 49. I have severe spinal stenosis, 3herniated discs, degenerative disc+ joint disease as well as much nerve damage which presents as numbness, sometimes no feeling at all in one leg, rarely both. Also have diabetes. Just started riding a yr ago or so after a 12 yr break. Doctors tell me I can't ride, but Im stubborn. I haven't been horseless for 40 yrs.

wateryglen
Oct. 9, 2009, 10:13 AM
I'm just a decrepit old nurse with the usual decrepitudes of age & my profession & lifestyle!! I'll be lurking here so ya'll watch out!!! :winkgrin:
My particular interest here is chronic pain and the psychological aspects of fear with riding. I have some experience with some of the things you've mentioned. I want to be a positive encourager to anyone trying to deal. We all seem to get good medical advice but the emotional aspects or psychological aspects always seems to be neglected.

Wateryglen is 57, formerly morbidly obese (weight loss surgery/lost #200) with multiple medical issues & orthopedic stuff. Phoey to all of it!!
JUST DO IT!!!
My motto? Stop whining, shut up, take your pills and RIDE!!! :D:D:D:D:D

equineartworks
Oct. 9, 2009, 10:25 AM
Wateryglen is 57, formerly morbidly obese (weight loss surgery/lost #200) with multiple medical issues & orthopedic stuff. Phoey to all of it!!
JUST DO IT!!!
My motto? Stop whining, shut up, take your pills and RIDE!!! :D:D:D:D:D

I love you :lol:

Roan
Oct. 9, 2009, 10:26 AM
I'm Eileen and I've been hearing impaired since birth. My impairment was not discovered until I was in grade 1 when we were learning phonetics. This was back in the 60s, so there were not a lot of options for kids like me.

When I was 26 I noticed a huge drop in my hearing abilities. Several audiologists later and I was told that I read lips and body language. Had no clue I did this at all. I was fitted with hearing aids and went on my merry way.

I wore them for 5 years. Hated them. I found they didn't help much at all and that I got along better relying on lip reading et al. So, I stopped wearing them.

I've been told that I should be deaf by the time I am 60. I'm 48 now and don't see that happening even though I only have 15% hearing in my left ear and 25% in my right ear. I just read lips too well :D

Reading lips and body language is a hoot when you go out for dinner with a bunch of people and "eavesdrop" on a conversation three tables over. Especially if you relay said conversation to your fellow diners :D

The hearing impairment IS a problem with riding, however. I cannot hear my instructor nor is she close enough for me to lip read. So I use walkie-talkies on VOX. Hate that :D

I have a wonderful 9 year old Lipizzan mare that I hope to compete in dressage. She just lost an eye to a long illness, so we're more of a team than we were before. She's my ears and I'm her eye and together we're gonna go FEI :D

Eileen

Rubyfree
Oct. 9, 2009, 11:17 AM
I'm Amy, I'm 28 and I enjoy long walks in the woods... wait.
I volunteered for a local Equine Assisted Therapy program for a brief stint many years ago and LOVED it, and I just married a physical therapist (saturday!) who is very interested in learning more about horses and their use in therapy. He's prepared to start a program the minute we have a farm :lol:
I also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is no where near as bad as it was in my youth. However between the CFS and a lot of abuse, my joints are all sorts of messed up, especially my knees and neck.
I'm currently leasing a lovely old trak-x mare who is kindly teaching me how much I suck at dressage. Someday, when my dressage doesn't suck so bad, I will return to eventing.

Drakaina16
Oct. 9, 2009, 06:34 PM
I'm Stephanie from NC, and while I don't think my condition has a name (at least not one I've heard) it basically amounts to all of the bones in my sacroiliac and hip joint grinding together constantly after a pelvic break didn't heal correctly. I also jammed my spine, which is straight instead of curved. It leads to constant, teeth-grinding pain, an inability to sit or stand for very long, or bend at all. And yes, I managed to do all this to myself in the span of one riding lesson. :P

That happened in 2002, and I managed to keep riding until 2004, at which time it became too painful, and I required help mounting and dismounting. Prior to that, I mostly lived in Hunterland, with occasional forays into western pleasure, eventing, and dressage.

Ethalo2
Oct. 9, 2009, 08:43 PM
Hi everyone, I'm an instructor for Therapeutic Riding at Narha certified center Maryland Therapeutic Riding. I also lease my QH gelding to them for use in lessons. I'm so very glad that the Chronicle decided to start this forum for all of us to have the opportunity to exchange ideas and information.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 10, 2009, 02:21 AM
Look how many of us are making connections where we didn't know each other before. Wonderful!

pintopiaffe
Oct. 10, 2009, 01:42 PM
I started volunteering with severely MR & physically disabled children two days a week in the summers as a pre-teen.

I'm in Law Enforcement, with specialties in Crisis Intervention, Hostage Negotiation and Critical Incident Stress.

I have done Special Olympics in the past, and work with children of families in the homeless shelter system and special adults with horses.

I am praying for a Wounded Warrior program to start up.

Several years ago I had an accident that left me with a degenerative hip I work around and ignore mostly these days (Thank you Heather Moffett & the Fhoenix saddles for getting me back into full riding/training!) Two years ago I was double barrelled kicked in the chest, and have a herniated C4, and degenerative disks T8/9, 9/10, 10/11. In many/most saddles I end up with sciatica and my right foot goes numb.

It has been both frustrating and enlightening to suddenly be on the other side of it, after teaching those with physical challenges for almost 35 years... :sadsmile:

dizzywriter
Oct. 10, 2009, 09:08 PM
I have peripheral neuropathy in my feet (sometimes my left hand if I lean on my elbow too much), but it's more of the numb-pain type rather than just numb, which -- given a choice (of which we have none in such matters) -- I prefer. The pain is tolerable.

For reasons I don't understand at all, it doesn't affect my riding. Even the numb-pain doesn't happen with my stirrups, even though I can feel the pressure of my feet in them. And my feet actually feel better after I ride. I do sometimes feel unstable when I'm standing still, on the ground -- but not when I'm moving. It's weird. But at 50 yo, I consider myself lucky that this is the worst of my problems.

It affects my driving a car more than my riding. I just can't sit on the highway going at a constant speed for very long or my right leg starts to cramp. Yes, I know, figure out the cruise control. I'll get to it. For now, I stick with back roads where I can change speed and shift my foot around.

Nootka
Oct. 10, 2009, 09:21 PM
I am not with any programs but I have taught lessons to children with disablities.

Mainly autistic and dyslexic...

I am in citrus county FL and if anyone has programs that need some help let me know:yes:

Nootka
Oct. 10, 2009, 09:23 PM
Hello everyone!

I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=gene&part=eds3) , Fibromyalgia, and Pernicious Anemia.


My sister and I have Ehlers also... very interesting :yes:

HannahsMom7
Oct. 11, 2009, 01:45 PM
Let me introduce myself. I read the dressage column faithfully as there seems to be a lot of great info posted. Two years ago I had a stroke and lost a lot of my balance. Today I am selling my still green-to-canter Belgian cross.

I feel a sense of failure in myself listening to everyone above in their stories . I cannot seem to get this horse trained, even having instructors.

He also has a big spook and run in him that scares me to death. :( He has run off me in the back track a bunch of times and now I am afraid.

I am 55 now, and getting a bit creaky on top of the stroke. My boy has misbehaved out back of the barn too many times for me to trust him anymore and I'd like to ride there. After all, being at THIS barn means using all the facilities and we do not have an indoor.

Once I get him sold, I may either take lessons for a while or drop out of riding. I can't decide. I'm so stressed between work(another story) and riding (which was fun).

However, I guess I am looking for tips to handle loss of balance. Plus some lack of feeling in my right hand/side.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 11, 2009, 01:55 PM
DO NOT FEEL LIKE A FAILURE. You need a horse in which you can have confidence, and it sounds like your Belgian is young and green.

I do find that my time at the barn is a fabulous de-stressor. I don't have to ride (though when I do, I end up feeling even better). When I get to the pasture gate and (in this weather) he's calling to me, and snorting, it just makes me laugh.

Balance is key. What has helped me enormously is Pilates and Yoga, to increase my core strength. I started Pilates a year before the Yoga, and I was amazed - even though I am not very supple, that has greatly improved, and my focus and balance were way past what I thought they were, which was very encouraging.

Even better, with the right instructor, there are modifications to any of the exercises, so that you don't do any further damage, only help what you have.

pintopiaffe
Oct. 11, 2009, 04:28 PM
Hannah'sMom--do not get on yourself.

We don't just not match some horses mentally, but PHYSICALLY it ca be an issue too! More than once my teacher told me my guy was 'not an easy ride.' Of course, I disagreed. Then I started his son, and realized how much easier his son was. Just a better 'fit.' That has nothing to do with being a failure, it just has to do with the fact that the match between horse and rider is probably the second most intimate match on the earth... think about it.

And *I* feel like a complete failure when I whine about my aches or fatigue and then I read about people out there DOING it ... so many...

So we all make comparisons--but then we ask if we're doing anything to make those comparisons bother us less... and you are. That in itself is an accomplishment.

HannahsMom7
Oct. 11, 2009, 06:49 PM
My Belgian Cross is 9. When I bought him at 4, he had very little training. I had a very good instructor, but I did all the riding. Foolish of me now to think about this. He needed someone on him, not just me who was not a trainor.

I found riding to be a great de-stressor because when I rode, I was "in the minute". Now I am struggling all the time, too much outside hand, use more inside leg, why won't he push over? grrrrr maybe more inside hand and so on.

And of course my guy won't listen to me does what he wants. I give up!

I love doing Pilates but just don't seem to have the time. Between riding and work, I have no time left in my day. :( I might have to ride less and maybe it won't matter since I don't enjoy it as much anyway.

thanks for the kind words, Pintopiaffe and Dressagegeek.

Marci
Oct. 11, 2009, 06:53 PM
Hi I'm Marci and suffer from severe OA of the knees, feet, and now its moved into my hands. Plus an old back injury where I crushed a vertabra in a horse back riding fall.
My Chiro told me he thought I also had fibro, but with no health insurance no diagnosis of this.
I have one older Arab mare, Shadow who is 23 and will probably be looking into a gaited (or at least a smoother) horse. I mostly trail ride for fun, but would love to try some endurance riding someday-but not on my bouncy beast. LOL:winkgrin:

Invite
Oct. 12, 2009, 12:56 PM
Okay, where the heck is Whicker as I am here revealing all of my secrets?!?!?!

My name is Elizabeth, though everybody calls me Beth. I have had a compromised immune system for my entire life. My issues which affect my riding are severe asthma, myoclonus (which is kept under control with meds), and a progressive nerve disorder which is in the MS family, but I do not yet have visible lesions. The neuro does not want to do an LP b/c my body reacts very badly to anything it thinks is trauma. My nerves are what would be considered normal for an 80 year old...that isn't the greatest since I am 31!

I rode hunters and did eq when I was younger. I started in dressage lessons to help me with an unbalanced, strung out gelding and I fell in love with it. Iwould love to compete again. I did a cliniv with Missy Ransehousen and she felt I would be a Grade 2 para-equestrian.

I am currently pretty much bedridden due to a riding accident. My nerves have been kicked into high gear, so I am rather immobile. I am staying positive and just hoping everything will work out. One thing I do know is that I WILL RIDE AGAIN and nothing is going to stop me. I don't care if I have to be velcroed on. I will ride again!

Wayside
Oct. 12, 2009, 03:40 PM
My sister and I have Ehlers also... very interesting :yes:

Agreed. I was diagnosed relatively recently, and of course, we're finding that my mother, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother, and so on all have it. We knew we'd inherited some odd health concerns along the line, but didn't realize what it was. Interesting stuff!

pintopiaffe
Oct. 12, 2009, 08:34 PM
It's awesome to see some delurk action on this thread. :cool:

Invite, GLAD to see you back. I'm sporadic online right now, but feel free to email if you need cheering up/commiseration/or just conversation!

Invite
Oct. 12, 2009, 08:44 PM
It's awesome to see some delurk action on this thread. :cool:

Invite, GLAD to see you back. I'm sporadic online right now, but feel free to email if you need cheering up/commiseration/or just conversation!

Thanks so much! I agree that this thread is having some major delurking power :) I hope folks continue to break out of their shells!

heartbeat warrior
Oct. 12, 2009, 09:02 PM
Hi!
My name is Janice ( Heartbeat Warrior) I have a 501c3 non-profit that serves wounded warriors and their families in WA state. I am getting ready to implement a new program for our wounded warriors. Equine Assisted Therapy to include Hippotherapy and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

I have Medical people on board and a NARHA trainer. I have someone who is donating their ranch and some horses for this. I am excited and learning all the time!

this is a great board!
Heartbeat Warrior ( Janice)
www.heartbeatforwarriors.org

sadlmakr
Oct. 13, 2009, 02:29 PM
I have been reading the posts of you ladies and wanted to get my 2 cents in here.
After a long life in the horse world , I now have joint and back pain and what some call fibro-myalgia. I can not straddle a horse now. Oh I could but I'd pay for it for weeks after.
I had posted elsewhere about the ladies I have made sidesaddles for. Most have similar problems to what you listed.
I am very careful now about what horses I ride. I had a horse bolt and run with me last year and I was so thankful I was in my Western sidesaddle. I gripped the horns and pulled him in with all the strength I had.
I feared if I fell off in that huge field no one would find my body until they mowed the hay.
I hurt for a week after that. I had pulled muscles in my arms and chest and my knees were sore from the grip I had on the sidesaddle horns.
I find our Grandmothers knew what they were doing by riding sidesaddles. And also most only rode "Lady Broke " horses. I can suggest from my own experience for you to ride only safe and sensible horses. For the lady with the 1/2 Draft 9 year old, get rid of him before he really hurts you. Look for an old retired gelding that is unflappable. You need a steady horse that will take care of you. There is one out there for you. You have to search for him.
Horseback riding is theraputic for all. What ever problems you have, when you are riding a horse it is all left behind. Horses are good for the heart, mind and soul.
And also the body. I do not ride much now but I do my saddlemaking which brings me a lot of joy.

Keep on with your riding and be careful of the horses you choose to ride.
Keep on and enjoy yourself.
Kind regards, Sadlmakr

Bluey
Oct. 13, 2009, 05:10 PM
I am on the autism spectrum (high functioning, genius really) and I do eventing.



Welcome to the club.:cool:

I do want to mention that high functioning doesn't automatically mean genius, but glad it did for you.:cool:
Stating that so offhandedly just makes the rest of us less gifted feel left out.:(
Also may further the idea that high functioning equals gifted, which is really not always so.:no:

Training and competing with horses, we find that they are a great equalizer, at many levels, are they.;)

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 13, 2009, 06:17 PM
Bluey - so true!!! Working with my horse keeps me humble - in academe, it tends to be a somewhat rarified atmosphere, and you speak a different language (Geek). I have been doing this for so long that I just know how to do it. Working with my horse on the ground or under saddle reminds me just how clueless I can be about so many things!

And I am sure my students appreciate that!

Bluey
Oct. 13, 2009, 07:07 PM
Bluey - so true!!! Working with my horse keeps me humble - in academe, it tends to be a somewhat rarified atmosphere, and you speak a different language (Geek). I have been doing this for so long that I just know how to do it. Working with my horse on the ground or under saddle reminds me just how clueless I can be about so many things!

And I am sure my students appreciate that!

Would that be classic or modern "greek"?;)

Yes, it is so nice to have a partner in a horse that doesn't speak the same language, but we still learn to communicate with so well and make friends with.:)

I wish more kids had a chance and interest in horses, because even if they never again as adults are around them again, to have learned to interact with other beings that are so different is an asset everyone should have.

As we can see in this roll call, horses have helped so many and beyond what anyone that doesn't know about horses could imagine.:yes:

equineartworks
Oct. 14, 2009, 08:56 AM
I wish more kids had a chance and interest in horses, because even if they never again as adults are around them again, to have learned to interact with other beings that are so different is an asset everyone should have.


And to interact with a horse is just leaps and bounds different than anything else. Talk about self-esteem boosters! I love how my super quiet daughter has no problem saying "I lug around 1200 pound beasts all day, don't mess with me" :cool:

I was talking with some friends who *still* don't realize that equestrian sports are indeed SPORTS. And she said something jokingly about DD having an eating disorder because she is so thin and all she does is brush "ponies" and ride.

LOL! :lol: :lol::lol:

I quietly told her that handling those 1200 pound "ponies" burns off quite a few calories each day :lol:

I have yet to find anything that a horse isn't good for. Well, the bank account maybe...

TouchstoneAcres
Oct. 14, 2009, 12:08 PM
Hi, I'm a rusty older woman with lots of wear and tear arthritis, but what interferes with riding is the lower back. Spondylolisthsis--L4 slipped out over L5, pinching nerves--spinal stenosis, facet arthropy, SI arthritis trying hard to freeze the joint, and degenerating discs. I can ignore feet, knees, wrists, etc. but when the back nerves pinch everything stops. I get nerve root injections that keep me going. NSAIDs mess up my digestive system but are necessary. If I can walk, I can ride. Riding is no harder or more painful than sitting actually. I have an office (bank) job that allows me to work at home a lot. That helps with morning stiffness. DH nad some good farm help keep the animals happy. I was planning to do most of the farm work when we bought the place, but that very summer my back went on strike. When I am on my horses, I forget everything else and it is worth the effort.

redears
Oct. 14, 2009, 01:40 PM
Welcome to the club.:cool:

I do want to mention that high functioning doesn't automatically mean genius, but glad it did for you.:cool:
Stating that so offhandedly just makes the rest of us less gifted feel left out.:(
Also may further the idea that high functioning equals gifted, which is really not always so.:no:

Training and competing with horses, we find that they are a great equalizer, at many levels, are they.;)

Oh, most definitely. I split a lesson with a less experienced horse/rider combination on Sunday, just as I was feeling not challenged enough by the two foot fences, I crashed through an 2' oxer over my mare's head.

I'm not like mensa genius or anything, I didn't mean that in a smug way or anything, I'm sorry if it came across that way!

chai
Oct. 14, 2009, 02:14 PM
I am Sue and I am an apprentice NARHA instucor, going for my certification in Dec. I have been a volunteer in TR and Hippotherapy for 13 years, and I'm trying to decide whether to go back to school for a degree in OT, Nursing, Education or Counseling to further my TR career or become qualified as a Hippotherapy Instructor down the road. I still can't decide, but I have seen miracles happen with horses. My ultimate goal is to set up a program for abused women and children to help them heal through horses.

sadlmakr
Oct. 14, 2009, 03:33 PM
Dear Sue,
Go for it girl. We need more like you.
I too have seen miracles happen with horses and kids as well as adults.
Autistic children will often come out of themselves and enjoy horses immensely.
I have seen them blossom with horses to love and ride.
Our young veterans who have lost limbs can ride. They have to be shown they can ride and ride well.
It is good for their souls to be able to do so.
KR's sadlmakr


I am Sue and I am an apprentice NARHA instucor, going for my certification in Dec. I have been a volunteer in TR and Hippotherapy for 13 years, and I'm trying to decide whether to go back to school for a degree in OT, Nursing, Education or Counseling to further my TR career or become qualified as a Hippotherapy Instructor down the road. I still can't decide, but I have seen miracles happen with horses. My ultimate goal is to set up a program for abused women and children to help them heal through horses.

Bluey
Oct. 14, 2009, 04:08 PM
Oh, most definitely. I split a lesson with a less experienced horse/rider combination on Sunday, just as I was feeling not challenged enough by the two foot fences, I crashed through an 2' oxer over my mare's head.

I'm not like mensa genius or anything, I didn't mean that in a smug way or anything, I'm sorry if it came across that way!

I was kind of kidding about all that, I know how you meant that, really and it came thru true and genuine, nothing to be sorry about.:)

I don't tease too good, should remember that and watch not to do it.:o

I hope your crash didn't hurt your mare, yourself or your pride too much.:eek:

(There I go again. Incorregible. :rolleyes: )

Bluey
Oct. 14, 2009, 04:19 PM
Dear Sue,
Go for it girl. We need more like you.
I too have seen miracles happen with horses and kids as well as adults.
Autistic children will often come out of themselves and enjoy horses immensely.
I have seen them blossom with horses to love and ride.
Our young veterans who have lost limbs can ride. They have to be shown they can ride and ride well.
It is good for their souls to be able to do so.
KR's sadlmakr

We had one of the kids today in our hippotherapy group that was born with a severe brain defect.
He has improved tremendously in the last year, with two times a week hourly lessons, along with all other kinds of therapy, of course.
The horse lessons seem to bring the best in him, although he does seem to fade out at the end, as he gets tired.

No one knows where he will be in a few more years, but I think that the horse therapy is an important part of his therapy that nothing else can benefit him equally.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 14, 2009, 04:26 PM
This is why I think it is such a win-win: with all the unwanted horses, here is a way to show that even those horses some may believe are too old, not sufficiently sound, too small, whatever...that they still have so much to offer.

syntheeya
Oct. 14, 2009, 05:41 PM
Cool idea for a thread!

I'm in a psych doctoral program. I was EAGALA mental health certified (level 1) until 2008, but didn't quite agree with the program, so I left it (PM for more). I also spent a summer with Special Equestrians in PA (great program), and trained one of my dogs to AKC CGC certification, and we did dog therapy. Also recently started a dog therapy program at a local cancer center... hope to continue all this stuff once I have my degree! Finally!

As for me personally, back issues - arthritis, scoliosis, 2 vertebrae fractures, bulging discs, muscle spasms like whoa. Docs believe I'm developing fibro (noooo!), but for now I'll just keep popping pills and stretching and not hearing that. ;)

chai
Oct. 16, 2009, 07:22 AM
Thanks for the encouragement. I have been inspired by so many of the kids, teens, adults and parents I have met through the years in TR. I also saw how my own horses helped ease my sister's pain when she was staying here to escape her abusive husband, and there is no doubt that my horses saved me after her suicide. I've now been on both sides, as the helper and the recipient of the healing power of horses and I'm a believer.

islandrider
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:20 AM
Ten years ago I fell through the medical cracks, saw 21 doctors, had two surgeries to my hands that I found out later I never should have had. End result, damage to hands and arms. On top of that now I have "piriformus syndrome" as a result of a recent car accident. I gave up most of my many activities over the years. 6 years ago I decided to see if I could ride. Long story short, I ended up being united with my soul mate horse Tiger, a now late-teen arab. He seems to know not to pull-he is sooo light! Sometimes driving (to the ranch) causes me pain, but over the years I've become pretty good at managing my use/overuse. This piriformis thing is a literal pain in the a** and I haven't ridden much since it began, but am confident it will diminish and I'll be back in the saddle again! In the meantime, I hang out with my horse, love him so much and can be sure that one smell of horse will erase all or most stresses of life!

the_other_mother
Oct. 21, 2009, 11:02 PM
First I want to say what an encouragement it has been to me to read all of the previous posts. I sometimes get discouraged by my physical limitations and wonder if I should just give up riding, but after reading this topic and seeing that there are so many others out there like me who struggle with riding, I feel more hopeful. Im in my mid 50's (as if that isnt bad enough, lol!) and have severe scoliosis w/ rib rotation, have Harrington rods implanted in my spine so I am extremnely fixed and rigid and stiff from my waist upwards. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis & Lupus which causes me alot of joint pain, stiffness and extreme fatigue. As a result of the scoliosis, I have reduced space in my chest cavity and have only 45% total lung capacity. I get out of breath before Im even tacked up most of the time. Im noticing lately that I can hardly make it once around ring at a posting trot because I cant catch my breath and if I ride more than an hour I sometimes get so stiff that I cant even get off. It's not even safe for me to ride when I get that stiff, if something were to happen and my horse spooked or took off, I doubt that I would have the strength or flexibility to stay on. I've started driving my horses, thinking that is easier, and it is, to a degree but I get frustrated because I cant maneuver my cart (Meadowbrook) myself and still need help harnessing and unharnessing. I have two saintly Standardbreds, and do a little showing, a little dressage and alot of trail riding.

cadriver
Oct. 22, 2009, 02:21 AM
I've started driving my horses, thinking that is easier, and it is, to a degree but I get frustrated because I cant maneuver my cart (Meadowbrook) myself and still need help harnessing and unharnessing. I have two saintly Standardbreds, and do a little showing, a little dressage and alot of trail riding.

An idea that might help with manouvering your cart. if you can store it with the shafts raised by a pully and you can then back your horse up to the cart and lower the shafts without haveing to pull the cart to the horse. And hopefully you can unhitch in the same spot so you don't have to move the cart. Being in a chair I can't move my vehicles around at all, granted I drive 4 - wheel carriages now but the horses have to back right up to the carriage to be hooked. When I did drive a cart I propped it up in such a way that I could back the horse up and drop the shafts down. I also use synthetic harness it is much lighter in weight to put on the horses then leather. Just a few thoughts. I've done a lot of stuff with pulley's to lift heavy things...

Diane Kastama

WaningMoon
Oct. 22, 2009, 07:35 AM
First I want to say what an encouragement it has been to me to read all of the previous posts. I sometimes get discouraged by my physical limitations and wonder if I should just give up riding, but after reading this topic and seeing that there are so many others out there like me who struggle with riding, I feel more hopeful. Im in my mid 50's (as if that isnt bad enough, lol!) and have severe scoliosis w/ rib rotation, have Harrington rods implanted in my spine so I am extremnely fixed and rigid and stiff from my waist upwards. I also have Rheumatoid Arthritis & Lupus which causes me alot of joint pain, stiffness and extreme fatigue. As a result of the scoliosis, I have reduced space in my chest cavity and have only 45% total lung capacity. I get out of breath before Im even tacked up most of the time. Im noticing lately that I can hardly make it once around ring at a posting trot because I cant catch my breath and if I ride more than an hour I sometimes get so stiff that I cant even get off. It's not even safe for me to ride when I get that stiff, if something were to happen and my horse spooked or took off, I doubt that I would have the strength or flexibility to stay on. I've started driving my horses, thinking that is easier, and it is, to a degree but I get frustrated because I cant maneuver my cart (Meadowbrook) myself and still need help harnessing and unharnessing. I have two saintly Standardbreds, and do a little showing, a little dressage and alot of trail riding.

Wow, that must be horrible, my best friend has lupus and it is now affecting her heart(sac around it remains inflamed) and her kidneys. They said it was the lupus at the bottom of it all. She has had it for a very long time but it stayed dormant. Not having flexibility from waist up must offer its own set of difficulties. Please consider getting the HINI vaccine since your lung capacity is so much less. REduced chest space is exactly why it is hitting pregnant women so much more.

Bluey
Oct. 22, 2009, 09:02 AM
Everyone with or without limitations, should remember not to measure what they can do and do against what others can do.
Doing your personal best is all that is asked of anyone in life and all we should ask of ourselves.

Once that is out of the way, the fun begins, as we try to do the best we can and work around what we can't do.:)

islandrider
Oct. 22, 2009, 12:18 PM
I usually don't respond to gender specific labels but it seems like most of us are women here and horse people would be more inclusive.

pegasus44
Oct. 23, 2009, 01:02 AM
What a great forum to have!

I'm Peggy, I'm a c4 quad from a riding accident 5 yrs ago. I "rode" a few times afterwards, but it is not functional. I'd love to give driving a try and even talked to DFD a while back. I WILL do it one day!

Anyone have experience with adaptive saddles for quads? I'd love to hear!

In the meantime, I am active with Md Network for Injured Equestrians (www.mnie.net) and several horse groups.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 23, 2009, 02:14 AM
I usually don't respond to gender specific labels but it seems like most of us are women here and horse people would be more inclusive.

Had to laugh! I PM'd Mod 1 with the same query!

Bluey
Oct. 23, 2009, 09:56 AM
Picky, picky.;)

I bet the moderators are furiously thinking about this already.:)

I guess that "horsepeople" would have a more pc look to it.
The language, how it is evolving...:p

cadriver
Oct. 23, 2009, 11:37 AM
What a great forum to have!

I'm Peggy, I'm a c4 quad from a riding accident 5 yrs ago. I "rode" a few times afterwards, but it is not functional. I'd love to give driving a try and even talked to DFD a while back. I WILL do it one day!



Driving is the most fun ever!! If you were close to California, you could come and drive one of my horses.. I have cool carriages where the seat lowers so you can transfer right into it and it gives you side support and back support so you don't flop all around:-) When I drive I am just as capable as anyone else, it has to be about the most liberating feeling. I can go as fast as I want, up hills, down hills, on the beach, as long as I want. I can compete on equal footing with everyone else. I probably drive an average of 5 days a week sometimes more, along with working full time. Sometimes I think damn, its a lot of work to tack up but not really when the 5 year old ducks his head down and shoves it throught the breast collar and practically throws the harness on himself, makes you laugh, and once behind the lines its worth it all. The best part is I have no pain afterwards:-) I don't have to worry about all those solutions to aches and pains on the other thread:-)

Diane Kastama

pegasus44
Oct. 23, 2009, 02:56 PM
Thanks, I knew it would be liberating!

I own a cute Anglo large pony that would be great for it, but he's leased out.

DFD in the US started right here in my backyard, but it's in KY now. Darn!

hca86
Oct. 23, 2009, 11:49 PM
I am Sue and I am an apprentice NARHA instucor, going for my certification in Dec. I have been a volunteer in TR and Hippotherapy for 13 years, and I'm trying to decide whether to go back to school for a degree in OT, Nursing, Education or Counseling to further my TR career or become qualified as a Hippotherapy Instructor down the road. I still can't decide, but I have seen miracles happen with horses. My ultimate goal is to set up a program for abused women and children to help them heal through horses.

I am also a NARHA registered instructor.
I think you should go back to school and be an OT! It is the most satisfying decision I made in my life. I am currently it my first year of OT school and am loving it. If you get your masters in OT you can than take the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA) "course" and you can use hippotherapy as a treatment tool.

You are more than welcome to speak to me more about the options that exist. The program I am at is performing some amazing evidence-based hippotherapy research.

*Teddy*
Oct. 23, 2009, 11:50 PM
Hi I am Natasha, I have been riding for 10yrs.

Lets see: I have asthma, my immune system generally sucks so I get pneumonia like every 2yrs because I dont get a cold it goes straight to my chest. I have cystic kidneys(hmm they call it polycystic but I dont fit the description at all and have none of the symptoms- but I think they just put me under that because well I dont fit in any catagory really). I am legally blind in one eye and have balance problems because of that and have joint issues(doing tests now to see if I have OA iin my hands--im only 20yrs old:eek:)

I ride hunters but currently am focusing on dressage(because in hunterland it helps to jump over 2' and that scares me) I think it would be cool if I could make the canadian paralymic team one day, but for now baby steps on a dressage schoolmaster:D

chai
Oct. 24, 2009, 08:56 AM
pegasus, I hope you can get into driving because it is so much fun. We lost our driving pony a few years ago and I donated her cart and harness to a local TR program where I volunteer. Driving is becoming more popular in TR programs, so perhaps you can find one through the NARHA website to get started.
hca, thank you for the advice. I'll send you a pm. Volunteering in Hippotherapy has been one of the most rewarding things I have done and I would love to pursue it.

Pookah
Oct. 24, 2009, 10:21 PM
So excited to see this forum!! I have been involved with therapeutic riding for 16 years, and currently chair the Board of Directors at the North Carolina Therapeutic Riding Center (NCTRC). I have been an instructor, volunteer, NARHA Region Rep, etc--I believe very strongly in making sure that everyone has the opportunity to benefit from involvement with horses. NCTRC is one of the oldest therapeutic riding programs in the state (since 1977), and we are growing exponentially right now! We have a very exciting opportunity to purchase the facility that we are currently leasing, and for those of you in NC, we are in need of more donors, volunteers, and riders to keep up with our expanded capacity.

Cheese183
Oct. 26, 2009, 09:06 AM
Everyone just calls me T. I have Stargadts disease which is a form of macular degeneration. I am legally blind.I came from a barrel racing background. Currently I am focusing on dressage with the hopes of eventing. I only plan on getting to the beg. novice level with a slight hope of doing novice. My horse, The Cheese Stands Alone, loves jumping. However the hunter flat classes scare the beejeezus out of me.

Invite
Oct. 26, 2009, 11:59 PM
I wanted to give all you "new to the forum" folks a warm welcome. It's pretty darn amazing just how many of us have disabilities and keep on trucking. We seem to come with all sorts of disabilities, but I hope we can remain positive and help each other deal with the adversities we face daily!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 27, 2009, 02:38 AM
I think it is also a testimonial to how much horses give back to us.

Invite
Oct. 27, 2009, 11:56 AM
I think it is also a testimonial to how much horses give back to us.

How right you are!!

TrueGrit
Oct. 27, 2009, 07:30 PM
I think it is also a testimonial to how much horses give back to us.

AMEN!

My main challenge is Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of inflammatory arthritis affecting main the spine, but can attack all joints. For me, it's mostly my spine, hips, and shoulders. It can also present with Crohn's, which is inflammatory bowel disease. My illness has flared in the last few years, the doctors think it was in response to the emotional upheaval resulting from family tragedy. Besides pain, the other main symptom is fatigue.

The only thing that I have found to be motivating enough to keep going is the goal of getting a new horse. I rode through childhood, teens, twenties, and even my thirties until family responsibilities forced me to give it up. I'm now just on the other side of 50 (*gasp* how did THAT happen?), and I'm looking for "my perfect pony" ( over 16hh, please ;) ), for companionship that one can only get from a horse, fresh air and exercise, to combat this disease - both physically and psychologically.

I'm thrilled to have found this forum - what a GREAT idea! A wonderful source of encouragement and comraderie. Thank you to all who post ( I've mostly been a "lurker" ), and the Mods who made it happen. :)

LoveWay
Nov. 2, 2009, 12:00 PM
Hello-

My name is Erica Furkis and I am the program manager at LoveWay, INC in Middlebury, Indiana. We are NARHA Premier Accredited Center and I am a registered instructor. As well as managing our 14 horses and taking care of all of the student enrollment, I also teach several classes a week.

Personally, I used to event (up through Prelim) and now my focus is dressage. I have turned my former event horse into a solid 3rd level citizen and we are schooling the PSG now. The barn owner of the place I board at was involved in Paraolympics up until a few years ago, and one of her horses was in the 96 Atlanta games.

I'm glad this sections was started!
Erica

xsuzi
Nov. 3, 2009, 10:21 AM
I have wondered long at para-equestrianism. In my generic social services experience--as someone seeking aide, mind you, there was a cruel competition of who was most handicapped, or who was "not handicapped enough.". I am very discrete about my disabilities, because in my local club, we have some mean-spirited people who just think that it's a way of complaining about poor performance or trying to get a competitive advantage. I am not a professional equestrian, so these accusations hurt my feelings--of course, I want to do well, and do well the right way:through years of long practice. Nonetheless, I am a driver, and if the signs for the cones are too small, i will circle the field looking for the next pair. Okay, oh well. Frustrating, demoralizing--oh! that's right, this hobby is supposed to be fun. i am hearing imapired, and this is common enough so that usually someone will bellow when the judge is ready for us to enter the arena. It's tricky in a social setting, because often i am unaware that someone is speaking to me, because I cannot see their mouth and fill in with the sounds (I do not entirely lip read).
Of late, I have been ill, and this has its impact too...especially since it may be a long term issue (go to doc this week).
The point is that I would like to raise my hoof for roll call, although my disabilities are hidden and thus, few folks know. It makes things more difficult and the uncharitable behaviors of folks doesn't warm my heart too much. I guess sportsman like behaviors does not all the way extend into the equestrian sports, and not very much for a lowly hobbyist such as myself. I am being a bit sarcastic here--it's a habit, but also I am hoping that some element of better behavior will take root everywhere. Am I handicapped enough for this roll call?

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Nov. 3, 2009, 03:09 PM
You know, in so many ways, we are all (as Invite likes to call it) "not quite right". Sometimes you can compensate well enough. Sometimes you can't. But I think this forum is meant for anyone who, at any time, has an issue which they need to address to help them be better horsepeople/riders/drivers/teachers/students. And that means ALL of us.

cadriver
Nov. 3, 2009, 07:16 PM
When it comes to participating in competitive sports, feelings can be hurt whether a professional or not. Its easy to say we must rise above the ugly comments, but not that easy to do. When competing with a disability I try to address my needs when I send my entry in. I need the organizer to know that I need accomadation, whether it is stabling, a handicapped porta pottie, a flag so I know when to enter the arena. I have found that if addressed before I even arrive then there is usually no stress... For driving I am currently working on an ad-hoc committee to come up with guidlines for American Driving Society shows. They are guidlines for organizers, secretary's judges, T.D.s you name it.. With a hidden disability you may not want to advertise it (that is up to you) but if you need accomadation you will have to at least tell the organizers what you need. If the rest of the competitors have an issue with the accomadations then the heck with them.. My favorite comment is "I would love to trade places with you", pretty much shuts them up. When I started showing 10 years ago in driving I had a long uphill battle for accomadation's to the rules, I still fight it but things are easier now.. My latest pet peeve is they always post scores 5 feet in the air.. (but there could also be a competitor that can't bend over to read) So an accomadation for me doesn't work for someone else. Or the competitors dinner in the upstairs of a barn.. Unless it faces someone everyday they don't know what is needed, and we can't assume they will know what we need.

I say welcome to the forum, the more drivers the better.

Did you know the best part of a handicapped parking sticker? Is you can actually park your 1 ton crew cab dually in 1 parking spot:-)

Diane Kastama

mkevent
Nov. 3, 2009, 09:01 PM
I apologize for being late to the party-I finally just read this entire thread!

I am so uplifted by the people posting here!! Horses are a common equalizer-they don't judge us the way our fellow humans can.

My daughter has Crohn's Disease, which has interfered with her fledgling interest in riding, so that is why I originally started reading this thread. I have suffered from dysthymia(a low grade form of depression) probably most of my life-I guess I can add my experiences there as well as dealing with an older(pushing 50) less flexible and never totally athletic body!! It's so nice to have an accepting forum that focuses on solutions to problems without judgement. I will apologize in advance if some of my answers might not be spot on-it will be in the spirit of helping that I offer them.

My daughter's issues with Crohn's and how she has been treated(because she doesn't look ill people sometimes accuse her of trying to take advantage of the system) has really been an eye opening experience. I applaud everyone for their courage and tenacity. Maybe in spite of it all, we are lucky that we do have something that we love so much that it keeps us going.

Kudos to the Moderators and thank you so much for this forum!!

winkybear
Nov. 3, 2009, 09:04 PM
:D Hi! :D

Newbie here!! SO thrilled to find this particular subject heading. My name is Linda and I am 53, disabled, and married to a disabled man. Niether of us was disabled when we met! We've both had strokes so you can just call us the stroke twins! ;)

I got a pony when I was 9 and that was all she wrote!! :lol: Later I worked full time as a computer specialist and writer, and managed 2 boarding stables on top of that! I was never very healthy and as an adult my health issues are many. BUT it will not keep me from horses!

Umm, this is kinda long,,,hope that's OK :)

I can sum up my disabilities as follows: Chronic pain, headaches, and fatigue, with leg-muscle atrophy.

I was a preemie so I am small (5' 0") (but my sis is smaller!). My arteries are all quite small, and some of them are downright hinky (malformed), and many of them are totally blocked.

I have been blessed with several different types of frequently recurring headaches, including Chronic Daily Headache (CDH), Primary Exertional Headache (don't ask), and two different types of migraine.

I inherited my grandmother's scoliosis. Thankfully it is mild, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt~~! My heart goes out to the rider who has such a bad case of this.

I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This combination took awhile to show up but it is a yukky one.

I have had what is technically called 'severe aggressive endometriosis'. I have been told by every Dr who ever looked inside me that this was no ordinary case of endo.

I had a hysterectomy at age 26 but they could not get all of it so left parts. Over the years I have had 4 surgeries for this. They could not get all of the endo so I can't have any ERT. "Things" stuck together with endo and scar tissue so my pelvis is full of all that stuff. On top of that I have sustained pelvic nerve damage so I have tremendous pelvic pain issues. (I love Dressage but not the sitting trot! Ouch! :lol:)

In 1990 after a life-saving surgery for endo I had a major stroke. A full-bore, life-changing Cerebral Vascular Accident, diagnosed as caused by Migraine. (Yes, migraines can cause stroke. Who knew? :confused:) I never programmed computers again.

While attempting to get diagnosed and recovering, I had 4 TIAs over a period of 2 years. In 1996 I had a second CVA which was less severe than the first.

By this time I was having bad pain in my legs when walking up an incline. My Dr decided to do whole body angiograms (pictures of all my arteries with dye inside them.)

What we found was many blocked arteries all over my body. :eek: Two cerebral arteries on the left side 100% blocked (No wonder my head hurts! ouch!!), aorta 50% blocked, Right side kidney artery narrowed, right side femoral artery 100% blocked plus right calf muscle atrophy, left iliac artery 100% blocked, etc. :(

Interestingly, I have 'grown' natural bypasses around all the 100% blockages. :D And, my aorta is now 100% clear!! YAY!

That's good, cuz I am not a candidate for bypass surgery - arteries too small.

Recent medical advances have allowed the Drs to discover the nature of those arterial blockages without doing a biopsy. They are not arterial plaque from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). They are instead a build up of byproducts of some weird inflammatory process for which there is no cure and no test. Since it is in many arteries it is called Polyarteritis.

This means my organs and muscles don't get enough blood. :( Hence I have noticeable muscle atrophy in both my calves, and I am always tired. :no:

I used to ride, breed, train, and teach but not any more. After a many-year abscence from horses while I recovered from the strokes, I have decided to try again. I now own only 1 horse, but he is a gem! I don't jump or focus on dressage anymore but I do light arena work and easy, short-ride time trails.

Oh, for those of you reading all this and doubting my CVAs, allow me to explain. After the first CVA I completed 6 months of multiple therapies (learning to walk and talk again, etc.) but made very little progress. I was still a limping gimp with a funky folded forearm, a slur in my speech and using English like a school child rather than an adult in Graduate School. :( The Dr said the chances for further recovery were practically nil.

Two weeks later I woke up like I am today (well, there has been some additional damage from the second stroke...). I went back to the Dr and was told there was no medical explanation for this, and the Dr admitting he was stumped.

I just smiled and told him, "There is a God." :D:D:D

Bluey
Nov. 4, 2009, 08:41 AM
Wow, a story like that will be hard to top.:eek:

Glad that you are back to enough function to post here about your hair raising medical history.:yes:
Humbles the rest of us and I hope we learned something about being presistent and hope.:cool:

Thanks for telling us.:)

winkybear
Nov. 4, 2009, 04:04 PM
Wow, a story like that will be hard to top.:eek:

Glad that you are back to enough function to post here about your hair raising medical history.:yes:
Humbles the rest of us and I hope we learned something about being presistent and hope.:cool:

Thanks for telling us.:)

Thanks, Bluey. :) You're :cool:!!

Part of my health problems (especially the severe endometriosis) were caused by a 5 year exposure to Agent Orange on the military base where we were stationed. This was between my ages of 3 yrs and 8yrs 6 mos. Formative years, for sure. There are many studies of Agent Orange causing and/or exacerbating endometriosis, but none of them done in the US. In one study in primates the females with no medical history of endo contracted it, and died from it Most folks don't know that it can spread everywhere in the body including the lungs and the brain -- :eek: which I was spared!

As far as persistence goes, every day I wake up is GOOD day!

It is difficult to ride when you are always tired, in pain from multiple sources, and on meds to control the pain -- but I tried to go without horses for several years and it just did not work.

Back in the saddle!! :D:D:D

dizzywriter
Nov. 9, 2009, 10:07 PM
What a great and uplifting story!

Turn N' Burn of Columbus
Nov. 9, 2009, 11:00 PM
Hello Everyone,
My name is Melinda and I live in Columbus, Ga. I work at a local community college as the Interpreter/Disability Advisor. I interpret for deaf/hearing impaired, Braille class material, arrange accommodations, etc. and try my best to keep up with the ever changing ADA laws. I have worked with people with disabilities’ for almost twenty years.
Growing up in foster homes, I had that one special person that believed in me and gave me the confidence to become whatever I wanted to be. I have always been fulfilled by empowering people that just needed that little encouragement. My dream in life is to have a foster ranch for foster children. My husband has had the blueprints drawn up for several years now.
I am currently trying to start an Equine Therapy program. With a lot of prayer and hard work, my dreams will come true.
Melinda

bumknees
Nov. 11, 2009, 07:18 AM
A bit late to this.. But im shy...

I am a walking medical disaster. Began with birth( though parents didnt mention until I was closer to 18).

I was born with out the top part of my left hip joint( the ledge part).
One of my legs is an inch and a half shorter than the other so I have a perminate limp which I have 'learned' to compensate for.

Both my knees are shot. From excessive pouding from ealy gymnastics.

I have had surgery on many parts of my body beginning with my head and ending with my knees.
Yes you read that correctly I had brain surgery almost 20 yrs ago. Before the surgery I had seizures and very very small strokes due to what the problem was. I still have a 'headach' 24/7/365..

I have a repaired rotator cuff tore that reaching for something on a table. It is giving me problems so I fear i may need it rerepaired.. It did go crunch. pop a few months ago.

I have a semi active case of dystonia believed to be a result from the above mentioned surgery. Because of this I have been in a few one person 'drug testing'/trial to see if ay of the current meds for this problem would be helpful for those with my set of circumstances for the dystonia.. So far the answr is no.

Since May or so I have had almost no feeling in my left pinky and ring fingers. I have not gone to the dr to see what is the reason behind this because I have chosen not to frankly I am tired of being admitted to the hospital every time I have a Drs apt. So I wait until I am up to spending a week or so in a hospital. With about 25 drs flying in from around the country to poke and prod me. ( some because they were in on hte original procedure and if surgery is indicated they are the only ones allowed to tip toe thorug my brain) others because they are on my current team.

Since about July/aug. I have also had intermittent pain in my fingers and toes/balls of feet. Again have not gone to dr for hte above reason.

I can count on one hand how often I have not been admitted in the last 20 yrs after a drs apt and some of those are after female annuals... So I put drs apts off until the reason for them becomes impossible to live with...

Oh yeah have an ankle tha is not quite right due to an imporperly set broken ankle when I as in high school so about 28 yrs ago and Im not brave enough to have it surgecally(sp) rebroke. So i put up with the pain, and swelling.

I have arthritis in several joints that still have cartledge in them.

I have had an unusual intestional problem that dispite the tests run I have been told nothing there to 'intsetional hemroids' to irritable bowel.. So still trying to figure that one out..

I am currently horseless. When I was younger i rode hunters and dressage. I piddled for a very short time in eventing then "sanity set in" as well as the reason for the surgery on my noggin..

I can still ride and I do on occasion. I have thought of slowing down but my body keeps saying go on you can do this I will let you know when it is to much. So Im looking for a new horse just not the firebreathing dragons that I used to ride.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Nov. 12, 2009, 02:45 AM
No need to be shy!!

TheBrownHorse
Nov. 12, 2009, 05:46 AM
OOOooo I'd be so excited to talk to those in the field of equine therapy. It's my DREAM job, currently I'm at school as a psych major to become a therapist. I would like to work with women who have eating disorders and struggle with self harm. My eventual goal is to use equine assisted therapy with those women.

I'm Rachel, 19, and have an array of psychological disorders as well as something called a vascular anomaly in my left leg. I'm the only one who has it! I've been studied at UCSF for it when I was younger-- basically, I have too many veins in my left leg, some of which run through my femur bone, which causes swelling which then in turn pinches the nerves in my leg. I have permanent bruising on that leg, too, as well as varicose veins. I look like I have the leg of a 80 year old :lol: I have to be really careful to condition my body properly (building the right strength in my leg) otherwise I have excruciating pain and can't walk. I need surgery on it but even then they don't know how much of it will be "fixed"

I had quite a successful junior career as an eventer, now turned H/J as my horse decided he didn't like eventing. I'm selling my "big horse" right now as I'm in treatment for an eating disorder. I have my lovely little red mare down here with me who I do some hunters on, though she really likes the dressage much better (and I have to admit, I'm a far better dressage rider than hunger rider! all those years of eventing paid off!)

It's lovely to meet all of you!
take care

Capilet
Nov. 14, 2009, 02:37 AM
I'm a bit late to the party, but thats nothing new.

I'm Kelsey, and I have a mild version of Cerebral Palsy called Spastic Diplegia, which affects my legs. I started riding as therapy as a child, and have never stopped. I've been in the saddle twenty one years this fall, hurts my brain! I walk 'normally' (mostly) because of my early years in the saddle, and riding helps me to continue to walk comfortably.

My SO and I own five rescue horses. We ride dressage mostly, and a great deal of trails. I hope to start doing CTR with two of my horses this year. I haven't competed much in the dressage ring, as I'm a slow learner physically.

Dreaming Luke
Nov. 14, 2009, 02:48 AM
Hi! Well I do not have a disability, but I'm posting as a mom of two boys who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. We originally tried to get our son's into a Therapeutic Riding program near our home, but when we heard about how long the wait list was, we went out and purchased our own horse. We have an older QH, Luke, who is a perfect gentleman who never takes a step out of line, and is a complete puppy dog who loves my children. Luke has helped one of my son's with his communication skills. My son has oral apraxia, and when in saddle he clearly tells Luke to "walk on, terr-ot, and ho". A lot of language comes out when he is communicating with our horse. Luke has also taught them about responsibility, and respect. And when it comes time for me to de-stress, he's also my perfect riding partner for the trails. ;0)

RMJacobs
Nov. 15, 2009, 04:35 PM
I kind of introduced myself in another thread, but I guess I should do so in this one. Ah, well, I'm never known for doing things in the usual way or correct order!

I'm Rebecca. I live in Colorado and have rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and Sjogren's syndrome plus a few other autoimmune odds and ends. I started riding as a kid and was involved in horses intermittently all my life (with a few lucky times owning one).

After quite a long break, I decided to take up riding again, choosing shorter horses to accommodate my deteriorating joints. I ended up buying a 13.2 HH horse, and that didn't turn out so well as I started having serious balance issues and started an alarming collection of injuries from falls. I regretfully sold him, and figured I was going to have to be out of horses from then on.

A few years later, my husband knew I was still pining for horses, and he said he would be willing to do the bulk of the care if I got back into it. We moved to acreage and adopted two rescue horses, and after taking driving lessons, I bought an older driving pony. I drove him for about six years and retired him due to age (he's now 28) early this year. He's still not quite sure how he became a pasture ornament, but it was the right decision.

Of the two rescues we adopted, one is an older Paint mare whom I ride occasionally on a very good day (with some help from my DH). The other was intended to be my daughter's riding pony, but she really doesn't have the "horse bug" (I would doubt her parentage if she didn't look like me) and only rides him very occasionally. So I stole him and trained him to drive.

The cool thing about driving is that I can do it even on my worst days. As long as I can get in and out of the cart quickly on my own, I feel that I'm safe enough out there (we're never really safe at all, of course). I've been fine on dealing with the occasional spook and bolt. This horse is quite a handful to ride but it turns out he loves to drive.

I find going out for a fast run really restores my spirits when lack of physical ability starts to get me down. It's great to have something I can excel at, and a very willing equine partner.

Rebecca

quietann
Nov. 23, 2009, 12:21 AM
Nice to "meet" you all...

Ann here. I don't necessarily count myself as disabled as much as just a bit, impaired I guess. I am 45 and have had Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes for 34 years. Am holding up pretty well except for pelvic neuropathy and a little in my fingers and toes. Eyes are fine, kidneys are fine, heart is fine :) I have an insulin pump and love it! I'm also dysthymic (sort of a long-term low grade depression or anxiety, which has been worse at times and better at times, and for which I am on low doses of Welbutrin and Buspar.)

I've always been slightly "off" on the left side -- just not as strong, flexible, etc. Two riding accidents have not helped... I cracked the left side of my pelvis coming off a pony in 2007, and then in 2008 passed out from hypoglycemia right after coming over a jump, landed on my left shoulder and broke my collarbone badly enough to need a metal plate put in to hold it together, and a bunch of ribs. So my whole left side is even more creaky now.

I'm in an odd position as a rider, in that I don't want "special treatment" but sometimes my various problems do get in the way. The biggest thing really has been the dysthymia and some rather dysfunctional thought patterns that arise when I am not doing well at something. E.g. after months and months of being fine, my ability to get a right-lead canter seems to have flown the coop, and it's hard to not get pessimistic about getting it back even though my horse is well trained and knows the cues!

I rode as a kid and teen and in fact being diagnosed with diabetes was a help there, because my endocrinologist told my mom that I was having a rough time, and taking away my riding lessons would not help! I quit riding when I was 17 -- got into boys, sigh, (and mom would have preferred I stayed with horses) and then basically did not ride for 25 years. Went back to it just about 3 years ago and bought my first horse in 2008. Mythic Feronia (http://annsrats.com/horses/feronia/cutter_04nov2009/standing.jpg) is an 11 year old sport-bred Morgan mare. We mostly fool around at low level dressage and trail ride; I bought her for low level eventing but the 2008 accident makes jumping a bit more dangerous, so I don't do much in that regard. She's a super horse, not an easy horse but a good one for me. Very typical "over-achiever" Morgan.

So, I'll lurk around here and see what people have to say.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Nov. 23, 2009, 01:57 AM
I understand how you feel, quietann! I am in a funky kind of situation - I have spatial difficulties but have greatly compensated for them, but it still rears its ugly head. Partially strabysmous, partially something else, but the end result was that from a very young age my left eye became dominant and my right eye is functionally blind. I have no depth perception because I have never been binocular. As you can imagine, I was a complete and utter dork at all sports growing up, without knowing why. I don't jump because I can't count strides or even know for certain where the jump is (apart from the fact that I can do a course backwards).

It is very difficult to have people understand the problem, because they know what I do for a living (how do you reconcile that I have a PhD in biochemistry but I can't take a bridle apart and figure out how to put it back together?). The last clinic at my barn, the clinician asked for haunches in, I did haunches out (or vice versa). Position left - I will do position right. When I ride tests I hold the whip in whichever hand is the direction in which i have to turn at C (which makes me think I will never be able to do 4th level tests!). And it is easy to think I am not paying attention when in fact I am trying very hard!