View Full Version : Please post tips for easing your aches and pains during or after a ride!

Oct. 14, 2009, 09:26 PM
For those of you that have joint/muscle pain and fatigue, do you ride with anything special like a brace, special tack or anything else that offers you more physical support and comfort?

With the weather changing, my knees and ankles have been aching and I am considering riding with a knee brace.

Please post any tips, thoughts or ideas to that might aid in making our rides more comfortable and the days afterwards more tolerable. :)

Oct. 14, 2009, 09:34 PM
You could try knee warmers, not a brace.
Heat is your friend, along with gentle movement before and after, but be sure to keep joints warm all the time.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 14, 2009, 09:48 PM
I have ridden with a brace, but it ruins your breeches and saddle.

When it is "that time" - and to be honest, if I am keeping up with pilates and yoga, it doesn't get to be "that time" - I wear the brace before and after I ride.

Oct. 15, 2009, 10:21 AM
Ok-everytime someone posts a question like this, I do admit that I post the same answer, but I really swear by the Back on Track product line!!
From personal experience, it does seem that you need to keep them on for about 8 hours to get the full effect, so I sleep in the elbow wraps every night. I also use the back brace or the long sleeve t shirt when I'm especially achey.

If you have access to a hot tub, that seems to help, too.

As Dressage Geek mentioned, stretching is a great preventative(which I need to get into the habit of doing!).

I don't think there is one miracle answer to anything, but maybe a combination of things that work for you. I wear my elbow braces whenever I do barnwork to help my elbows from getting worse. I also take glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaloranic acid regularly. I'm pushing 50, run my farm (I have 5-6 horses under my care) and event-so I guess what I'm doing seems to be working for me. I admit I do feel the effects of age creeping up on me-then sometimes I forget that the people I compare myself to are mostly alot younger than I am. Unfortunately,my instructor is older and quite fit and doesn't cut me any breaks for age related complaints!

Oct. 15, 2009, 01:01 PM
I suggest looking carefully at what the endurance riders use and try what looks interesting. As long as you aren't literally in the show arena, anything that works is fair game. Creating is even better game, if you share with us!

So here are a few things that I play with:

Endurance stirrups.
They have a big platform, are quite light, come with huge cushioning rubber inserts. Some of them come with cages, so you can wear running sneakers or warm winter boots that have a less than ideal heel. The riders stand in them for long periods, and the inserts takes most of the shock and bounce out. I find them addictive, then I have to wean myself off of them when I am going to do something which has rules of attire. It does take some getting use to posting again and building up those muscles.

They cover everything in it. The whole saddle, the leathers, (if they are on top of the saddle), the fronts of the stirrups. You name it and there is a sheepskin for it.

Most of the riders pay close attention to saddle fit and their horses' backs, as they can be eliminated for the horse's sore back. There are all sorts of threads about the nuances of one foam or material or another.

Rider cushioning.
If the rider is out of balance and the saddle isn't level, you are going to feel ache-y and frustrated. I, personally, haven't found a way to defeat gravity. So I start with level. Then I add thin shims of poron foam on top of the seat where I am saddle sore. The next layer is the medical weight sheepskin seat saver. ( I like the easy-care brand that makes easy-boots) I cut the sheepskin to follow the shape of the top of my saddle seat along the stitching of the twist. I use double sided carpet tape to hold the layers to the underside of the sheepskin.

Warmth. I am about to try the new heated vest that is used for the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska. I discovered there is an armored version for the military or motorcycle riders. I don't know if that would be useful for green horses. :winkgrin: I'll write a review after I try it at the clinic in Maine.

Oct. 15, 2009, 11:09 PM
I have two words... Epsom Salt...

I have a lot of scar tissue in my knees including a bit of kneecap that doctors still haven't located (another story) ... but my knees always have a tendency to get really sore in the winter which then throws everything else off... this was until I discovered Epsom Salts...

Seriously I draw a bath of the hottest water I can stand and put a couple cups of it in... After about 10 minutes I feel some cooling and tingling and it just seems to make everything feels so much better!

Of course stretching and everything helps a lot too, but for when you really need a boost it's worth the $2...

Oct. 16, 2009, 08:01 AM
Were it not for Sore No More Gelotion on my knees and ankles after a post-ride HOT shower or bath, I couldn't move in the morning. Arnica is a beautiful thing ;)

Oct. 16, 2009, 09:35 AM
Like ChocoMare, I too enjoy the benefits of horse liniment on my own body :lol:

I haven't tried any of the alternative stirrup irons myself, but I've heard a lot of people find either the flexible or the large platform ones very comfy.

Sadie (my mare) and I both enjoy the Thinline pad under the saddle. It does see to reduce a little bit of the flop-bounce when you have an imperfect seat.

Having my legs less bent, like with a dressage length stirrup rather than a hunter/jumper iron position, seems much easier on my knees. Or if I'm having a day where it's really mostly my knees that are killing me, I'll just take the stirrups off the saddle completely.

Hot showers (or baths, I just bought a big bag of epsom salts) and heating pads when I get home.

I rode with an ace wrap on my leg for a while, under my breeches, and that was fairly comfortable. Don't know if it really helped my knee much, though. A few days earlier I'd gotten kicked by a youngster (needed stitches), and it was mostly on to keep the bandage in place and keep the swelling down. The wide ones seemed to stay in place a lot better on my chubby legs.

Oct. 16, 2009, 10:45 AM
These are such wonderful tips!! I am going to try to incorporate as much as I can into my routine. :yes:

Thanks to finally getting a horse that I click with, I am riding a lot more these days. The flip side to that is that I am certainly feeling the effects of these longer and more fun rides. I hope to be in the saddle 4 times a week. The one thing I have found with having fibromyalgia is that if I continue an activity for a certain amount of times and work through the pain, my body adjusts and the pain either diminishes or disappears altogether for that activity.

I will eventually find the right mix that works! Thanks!!:)

Oct. 17, 2009, 07:27 AM
30 minutes in our hot tub the night after my lesson or ride seems to ease up the aches and pains.

Oct. 17, 2009, 11:42 AM
ooooh yes. the hot tub is only 100 feet from the riding ring here.

I have several knee braces- my favourite for riding is neoprene, has nylon side stays, a soft silcone kneecap holder and has two velcro straps, above and below the joint- nothing behind the kneecap like the 3 strap designs have. While it is not as steady as a metal stay brace, it provides enough support for riding without ruining tack or clothing.

Oct. 17, 2009, 07:48 PM
I not only have the Back on Track elbows, but also the knees and I agree you can definitely tell the difference. I have no ACL, three grafts have failed in one knee and the other is a fractured patella, so bad bad knees. Usually if I wear the BOT at night, it keeps my pain and swelling away. However, with severe weather change, inspections and heavy jumping/show schedules, they do get flaired up and I can ride with the BOT under my breeches and my casual boots. It is a little too much for show boots, but they are a great product.

Bank of Dad
Oct. 18, 2009, 06:59 PM
I am having hip replacement surgery Dec. 1. I recently got the UltraThinLine pad and found it eases my lower back spasm's. Also got the Herm Sprenger flexible stirrups which help back and hip pain also.

I rode hard last week on hard packed ground and my back and shoulders hurt more than usual from the concussion. I wonder how the horse felt.

Heating pad after riding helps a lot.

Oct. 18, 2009, 10:23 PM
I have issues too. Usually what I do is about an hour or so before I know I'm going to ride, I take some Ibuprofen. It helps. When I know I am going to be out in the cold and the arthritis acts up, I'll use those thermal care heat wraps on my back knees and shoulder (car accident injuries from 10 years ago). I also stuff those heated hand warmer packets into my butt pockets to help too. The heat helps relax my joints immediately while the Ibuprofen works even after I have come in from the barn.
As far as tack is concerned, getting properly fitted helps in the saddle department and even using the gel seat saver cushions does too.
There are yoga and pilates for riders but I'm too injured in too many different places for those to be effective without hurting something else. Mostly, riding helps. It's when I don't ride for a length of time that I hurt. Like I am today. I went to go look at a new horse and was in the car for 3 hours, which has really made me stiff. I didn't ride because I knew that it was a 3 hour ride back and I would be hurting on the way home, which I was and still am because I didn't think to take the Ibuprofen this morning. I also alternate with Aleve, too. Tylenol doesn't work for me and Gluscosamine/Chondrotin tend to upset my stomach so I stay away from them.
Don't know if this will help you but I do know what it is like to ride with pain and it isn't fun.

Oct. 20, 2009, 08:40 PM
Heat (hot bath, or just wearing warm clothing)
Alpaca socks
Magnetic ankle & back brace

Oct. 20, 2009, 09:01 PM
STRETCHING!!!! ankle rolls, etc for ankles, and I'm not really sure about knees but in general stretching really helps for loosening and keeping stuff from being super sore. Heat is also a really big thing.

However, if you still really hurt all the time, you should probably get it checked out, especially if your aches are getting worse.

Oct. 21, 2009, 04:11 PM
I am a violinist by profession, and have lost 9 out of 22 years in my job with a major orchestra with arm/neck/tendon problems.
I have really found Xocai Healthy Chocolate to be the best thing I have ever done for all these issues.
The anti inflammatory effects of all the anti oxidants which are in this chocolate ( because it is unprocessed (patented system) none of the AOs are lost, and cacao is the food highest in AOs, followed by acai berry, which is added to this chocolate.

My physio therapist noticed a difference in me within 3 weeks of starting to eat it, ( and this was of her own accord, with no prompting from me) and has recommended it to quite a few of her patients.
I now see my physio therapist one every two weeks, whereas before, I saw her twice a week.

As a nice side issue, it is Health Canada approved to lower blood pressure, level cholesterol, and help cardiovascular health. It is available in USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Australia and NZ, Sweden, Netherlands, soon Hong Kong and Germany.

If you know someone who distributes it, I would highly recommend getting hold of some and trying it for a month or two.
I love it so much, I am distributing it now as well.

Before I found it, I used traumeel, celebrex, arnica, msm, glucosamine, some blue pill ( no, not that one) that I cant remember the name of, but is a very good anti inflammatory. Lots of wet heat, towels, acupuncture, massage, exercises to stablise and strenthen.

Oct. 21, 2009, 05:32 PM
I've found that warming up and stretching before I get on helps me a lot. :D

Oct. 21, 2009, 11:36 PM
I have two words... Epsom Salt...

Amen sister!!

Oct. 22, 2009, 03:37 PM
I use a knee brace. I wear a light stretchy one all the time due to the knee being weak and somewhat unstable. But during riding the professionals choice over the top of pants works well to keep knee warm and protects it.

Oct. 22, 2009, 06:00 PM
30 minutes in our hot tub the night after my lesson or ride seems to ease up the aches and pains.

This is definitely my treatment too

Nov. 13, 2009, 08:13 PM
- Hot Tub
- Tiger Balm, Bengay, Heat patches, etc. on my bad hip before bed
- Univera's "Regenicare" is pretty good stuff, I drink it if I'm sore

Nov. 20, 2009, 10:30 PM
I use copious quantities of Stop Pain in the roll-on format. Tried the spray-on and the rub-on, but the roll-on works best for me.

Stop Pain really does stop pain. :D

I use it on all my Fibro points before bed each night. I also use it on my lower back before riding/barn chores.

I loves those endurance stirrups! They are so comfy and give me a feeling of stability.

Because my calf muscles have atrophied so much (from arterial disease) I use gentle spurs, mostly on the right side as that is my weakest calf. My Ice is a wonderful responsive and kind fellow, but if I am even a little bit tired I put on that spur.

I also changed from a dressage saddle to an Aussie saddle with a horn for security. I know I ain't coming out of that saddle unless I want to! Ice is a very relaxed, non-spooky horse but I need the extra security the Aussie gives due to my disabilities.

A hot shower with a massaging shower-head helps a lot. :lol:

My fibro doctor recommended a hot tub but I don't have one myself and with my immune system I can't see using a public one, like at the YMCA. But I can try hot baths in the bath tub.

I do have a waterjet massaging foot bath. My back seems to be related to my feet quite a bit, and I am a big believer in reflexology. I need to use it more often!!

Oh, I also wear warm long underwear and polarfleece breeches. It rains alot here (Seattle area) and I have Ariat waterproof paddock boots. The combination keeps me dry and toasty! :lol:

Nov. 22, 2009, 11:35 AM
Simple. Hordes of opiates. (just kidding!)

But seriously, I got this stuff called RSD in my knee/ankle.. Its a constant fight but through medication and even some horsemen tricks, I can keep it together.

Ahh.. Sorry, my secrets is this. I know alot of us HATE DMSO... But if you mix it with Lidocaine, Chile peppers and put it on affected joint it works wonders. Well, it works great for me. Ofcourse you have the nasty I-cant-describe-breath, but it works on my bad days.

Nov. 22, 2009, 12:52 PM
Simple. Hordes of opiates. (just kidding!)

But seriously, I got this stuff called RSD in my knee/ankle.. Its a constant fight but through medication and even some horsemen tricks, I can keep it together.

Ahh.. Sorry, my secrets is this. I know alot of us HATE DMSO... But if you mix it with Lidocaine, Chile peppers and put it on affected joint it works wonders. Well, it works great for me. Ofcourse you have the nasty I-cant-describe-breath, but it works on my bad days.

Good lord be careful with that. DMSO is not excreted well if at all in the human body, I believe it builds up over time in the liver. Stick with the opiates!

Nov. 22, 2009, 01:18 PM
Two Aleve. It's a double dose.

My doctor recommended it and it really helps.

I also use jointed stirrups which has helped my knees a lot and when necessary, Thermocare heating pads.

Nov. 22, 2009, 02:28 PM
Good lord be careful with that. DMSO is not excreted well if at all in the human body, I believe it builds up over time in the liver. Stick with the opiates!

Actually, my pain doc prescribed it for use on my bad days. I asked the compounding pharmacy what the mixture was and learned how to make it myself. I use it sparingly and only on my bad days when the burning and swelling are preventing me from getting out.

Opiates cloud my judgment so bad I dont want to take the risk around the horses and get killed.. lol

Nov. 25, 2009, 11:31 AM
I'm a little late replying here....but I have RA and am getting nodules in my elbows and feet that are really painful and warmth is key! I wear winter riding boots and wool socks if it is below about 45 degrees as well as winter riding pants.

For my elbows and wrists, I wear these:


Don't laugh....they work great and come in all sorts of fun designs. I wear them at the gym for my PT too as does my workout buddy (who is totally healthy but likes the extra warmth and wicking power)

Feb. 23, 2010, 10:41 PM
An infrared patio heater hung up over my tacking up area. Keeps my hands from totally freezing in cold weather. The farrier likes it too, LOL.

Feb. 24, 2010, 11:25 AM
Amen sister!!

Our health food store sells this blend of epsom salts with salted arnica. I get in a totally altered state whenever I soak in this blend. If you can't find it in your local hippie store, maybe you can find it on line. It is divine.

Couture TB
Feb. 25, 2010, 07:06 PM
I find pills and alcohol to work well at the end of the day! lol

Nothing has really worked for me, but I have so many problems going on it is crazy.

Feb. 25, 2010, 07:21 PM
Biofreeze! I love this stuff. When I was doing some really painful therapeutic massages the therapist would rub it on and oh it felt so nice. It's cool and then.....numbing. Smells minty not medically too.


Feb. 27, 2010, 11:56 PM
Ditto for the hot tub, before and after riding it will keep the muscles soft and lose, remove any muscle tension.
Secondly there is now a NSAID cream, Voltoran basically human Surpass. Its prescription but much easier to tolerate because there is no systemic and/or digestive effect. I've even used it on hip bursitis when it was prescribed for knee pain.
I use a Professional Choice knee sleeve that fits under my riding clothes even tights , very light and flexible really helps and keeps the knee warm.My spouse is a Physical Therapist so I can try all kinds of braces but this one works best for riding.

Mar. 3, 2010, 08:23 PM
I agree with the hot bath!! Also, there is something I believe it is called Rider's Relief that you can buy to put in the tub.....works amazing!! It gives your muscles that tingling feeling and feels good. It is about $15 for a bottle and it has epsom salts, eucalyptus, and menthol in it....sooo relaxing and smells really good too!

Mar. 3, 2010, 09:54 PM
Where do you find it, horseluvr? It sounds a bit like vetrolin linament. I use to use the vetrolin for the horses and for me in the summer. It was great during the 10 minute box on cross-country. I was doing upper levels long format. Don't know if it is legal for the horses in competition now. Lovely still for me!

Mar. 13, 2010, 06:21 AM
whicker - It is called Rider's Reward! I knew it was rider's something! Works wonders it is made by Epona Products and is a therapeutic mineral bath. Made with eucalyptus and salt crystals. I buy it from my local tack store but they have it on www.eponaproducts.com also if you want to check it out.

Mar. 14, 2010, 12:11 AM
Thanks, horseluvr!

Now you have given me a reason to fix the stopper in my tub and stop using it as a place to feed the cats..:lol:

Mar. 14, 2010, 09:40 PM
Lots of good ideas here! I'll have to try the glucosamine, chondroitin and Hyaluronic acid combo. Looks like sunray sells it here:


So where and how do you get a good knee brace? I got one from my doctor that is soooo bulky and uncomfortable that I only wore it once. Tried a neoprene one from Walgreen's, and couldn't get it on over my fat leg. I'm a little fluffy, but I'm not THAT big. I wish there was a better way to figure out what size knee sleeve to get, besides just guessing. I'm a small person, so I thought I could wear a size small...nope. I think neoprene is what I'm looking for, though.

I've been sooo achy lately...and now I can't bend my right hip far enough to sit down in a saddle. It's like I can bend my hip so far, and then it's just agony. :( I've going to see my doctor for it tomorrow, and to get a 2nd opinion on my right knee. Injured my knees over a year ago falling off a spooky arabian; then felt something tear in my right knee in Feb. 09. Doctor #1 said he couldn't see anything wrong. But it doesn't feel right and hurts quite often.

I hope it's not arthritis in my right hip. I don't know what I'll do if it's permanent. It's been like this for several weeks.

At least my left arm is steadily getting better. Dislocated & cracked my left elbow last fall when I fell off of a spooky foxtrotter. I also landed on the left side of my lower back, which is still very stiff. I wonder if it could have caused the right hip thing somehow? However, the pain seems to be in the joint this time...it doesn't feel muscular.

I've been feeling more confident about riding again after my last accident, but then I couldn't sit in the saddle. Hopefully, though, my hip will get better; I have a new (used) Tucker endurance saddle that I want to try out! Has the gel seat and endurance stirrups.