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ClassAction
Nov. 25, 2009, 12:27 AM
I've been curious for a while now as to how other people explain their disability. In particular, I have a non-physical disability which makes it confusing for some folks. They don't understand why I can't do weekend chores for extra lessons (stress) or why sometimes I'd rather not socialize and just ride or hang out in a horse's stall (depression).

I've had varying success in explaining my situation to people and I'm wondering what angles you've taken. I know we touched on this briefly in another thread but I think it's a topic deserving of a thread of its own. How do you explain and what have you done when your explanation seems to be thoroughly misunderstood or ignored?

Drive NJ
Nov. 25, 2009, 09:30 AM
I had lung surgery some years ago and a wise nurse told me... Take your time getting back to work. Go when you are really ready. People will give you a break for the first week, maybe two and then they expect you to be back to normal... especially if it inconveniences them in any way.

If its not in their face like crutches or a chair, they simply forget and expect you to be completely up to snuff.

A simple "that won't work for me at this time" re extra work or "I just need some time alone now" should suffice for strangers and should remind your friends. You don't need to go into detail.

Wayside
Nov. 25, 2009, 09:42 AM
Unfortunately, I think many people do tend to be really confused by disbilities/illnesses/conditions they can't see. Sometimes it's worth explaining to people, but frankly there are plenty of times I just tell people I'm not feeling well enough to do things, without a long explanation. Most people seem to be pretty understanding if I say something like "I'm sorry, I'm just not feeling up to it today."

And if you missed where I linked to it in another thread, I really like The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandinoh. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/navigation/BYDLS-TheSpoonTheory.pdf

Although it would be nice for us if the people we encounter could understand what we're going through, that's a difficult thing to ask. It's hard to really "get it" unless you or someone very close to you has gone through it. What's more important, imo, is that the people around you respect your descisions and feelings.

Invite
Nov. 25, 2009, 05:37 PM
Half the time you plan a huge explanation and people don't understand anyway. I have a very weak immune system along with my other problems, so I used to just tell people my body can be very bossy and lets me know when it wants me to relax.

Sadly, I do not think the average person understands the stress mental illness can put on a body or a mind. Though I wish I didn't have to say this, it is sometimes best to leave the depression part out. Such a stigma is still attatched to mental illness and some ignorant folks think you can just "snap out of it".

You do not have to explain your disability to anyone, but I know how it is to feel that you have to. When people ask you about mucking for extra lessons, tell them your plate is already overflowing with obligations. When you want to ride or bond with your horse instead of chatting, tell people you have limited time to ride and give your horse lots of attention, so your time at the barn belongs to your horse.

In all honesty, I have a very visible disability that is never going to permanently leave me. If I am able to amble about wiithout my cane, people ask if I'm all better. I've given up on the explanations. I am what I am.

Keep your chin up and keep riding!

RMJacobs
Nov. 25, 2009, 10:17 PM
The biggest challenge for me is politely turning down offers I get from friends and acquaintances to either ride their horses (not possible) or worse, train them to drive (are they nuts?). I often hear, "Oh, you'd be fine on MY horse." Well, if I can't ride my ancient, slow, kind mare most days, how am I going to ride someone else's young, energetic horse? My disabilities are invisible, and I've gotten really tired of explaining to people who really don't want to understand.

After twelve years of rheumatoid arthritis, these days I give a short explanation. If the person seems receptive, I might go into more detail. If they can't or won't understand, I figure that's not my problem, it's theirs, and I don't let anyone pressure me into anything.

Rebecca

Invite
Nov. 25, 2009, 10:41 PM
The biggest challenge for me is politely turning down offers I get from friends and acquaintances to either ride their horses (not possible) or worse, train them to drive (are they nuts?). I often hear, "Oh, you'd be fine on MY horse." Well, if I can't ride my ancient, slow, kind mare most days, how am I going to ride someone else's young, energetic horse? My disabilities are invisible, and I've gotten really tired of explaining to people who really don't want to understand.

After twelve years of rheumatoid arthritis, these days I give a short explanation. If the person seems receptive, I might go into more detail. If they can't or won't understand, I figure that's not my problem, it's theirs, and I don't let anyone pressure me into anything.

Rebecca

You go girl. I totally agree with more explanation to the receptive and short to the others. Maybe some of them who are not understanding could spend a day or two in our bodies ;)

Piaffing
Nov. 25, 2009, 11:07 PM
When I have explained my disability to people, they look at me like I have six heads when I say I have a spinal cord injury. They look at my legs and say but your walking. I have to further explain that the type of injury I have effects mainly the arms, but my hands and feet are numb so I can't feel them.

I get further comments of:
"If you can't feel your feet how can you move them" I'm not paralyzed.
"Can't the syrinx be drained?" Yes it can, but the risks of surgery are too great and the damage is already done to the nerves.
"Can't the spinal cord be sewn up" Ah no.

I try to keep the explanation short and sweet.

HannahsMom7
Nov. 26, 2009, 09:30 AM
CA - this is very interesting as I will be signing my horse over to a younger rider tomorrow. I had a stroke 2 yrs ago and tho I am 98% recovered, he (Belgian cross) is simply too strong for me.

People at the barn are still saying "if you try trainer XYZ, you can keep him." What they don't understand is he is what he is, and I am what I am. We can't change our basics. To hear this is so frustrating to me as I am losing my horse. I have simply given up explaining and just say I have found him the best home because we are not a fit any more.

I feel real friends would understand and support as a few have,
for all of us, problems or not!
Rita

cadriver
Nov. 26, 2009, 10:14 AM
Well, it isn't to hard for me to explain my disability since I'm in a chair.

When I started competing 12 years ago (Ive been in a chair for 18 years), I had a variatey of issues with just getting around show grounds etc. I know I have made it easier for those who have come after, with rule changes and just perception changes.

It is much easier for me to put someone in my shoes. I offer them my chair and as they try to wheel from the trailer to the horse stall they usually flip over or they can't get there. Very eye opening.

There is just so much one can do in one day. I can only transfer in and out of my huge dually truck a couple of times in a day. Or even in and out of a golf cart. Luckily I have a great support crew that understands these things, and they hate being around me when I'm to tired so we try not to get to that point.

We just have to take care of ourselves and short explanations work well, save the longer ones for the evening while your relaxing and haveing a beer or glass of wine:-)

Diane

Leena
Nov. 26, 2009, 12:20 PM
This is also hard since most of us looked healthy...

RMJacobs
Nov. 26, 2009, 06:16 PM
You go girl. I totally agree with more explanation to the receptive and short to the others. Maybe some of them who are not understanding could spend a day or two in our bodies ;)

Thanks for the support. Oh, I can't tell you how many times I've wished someone could walk in my body for just one day! It would be quite an eye-opener.

I had one insensitive clod at work comment when I was getting out of my car (I have a handicapped placard for parking), "Lucky you, you get to park so close to the building!" I was livid. I started shouting at him (not something I'd usually do, but I really lost my temper): "Do you think that just maybe I'd trade this parking space for a three mile walk if I could just have my old, normal abilities back!?" He apologized.

I also said to another idiot who questioned why I had a handicapped placard, "Wow, I've never met a psychic doctor before! Why are you working here if you have those skills?"

I swear, usually I'm not that snarky, but some people just push me over the edge. I think we've all been there at one time or another.

Rebecca

Invite
Nov. 26, 2009, 06:49 PM
Thanks for the support. Oh, I can't tell you how many times I've wished someone could walk in my body for just one day! It would be quite an eye-opener.

I had one insensitive clod at work comment when I was getting out of my car (I have a handicapped placard for parking), "Lucky you, you get to park so close to the building!" I was livid. I started shouting at him (not something I'd usually do, but I really lost my temper): "Do you think that just maybe I'd trade this parking space for a three mile walk if I could just have my old, normal abilities back!?" He apologized.

I also said to another idiot who questioned why I had a handicapped placard, "Wow, I've never met a psychic doctor before! Why are you working here if you have those skills?"

I swear, usually I'm not that snarky, but some people just push me over the edge. I think we've all been there at one time or another.

Rebecca

Okay, you just made my night! On top of all of my "normal" disabilities, I have a virus, sinus infection, bronchitis, & we can't keep my blood sugar up, sooo I have been in a "poor me" mood. Thank you for making me laugh. I really do treasure those brilliant folks who think we are lucky to have handicapped placards and/or plates.

One of my worst handicapped moments was going to a doctor's appointment in a medical complex. My mother had to drive me and offered to get out my wheelchair, but I was determined to hobble in. Wouldn't you know, they had rugs on top of tile as you entered. My left leg was just dragging along and managed to pull the rug which caused me to fall. We're talking rug burn on the face, etc. People actually walked over and around me as my mother was helping me up. I was just face down and immobile. Talk about rude people! A little side note...said building is called "OVERLOOK Medical Park" I was certainley overlooked!!

RMJacobs
Nov. 26, 2009, 09:53 PM
People actually walked over and around me as my mother was helping me up.

I bet you were wishing your mother had tripped those insensitive jerks!

I was trying to explain to someone recently how differently people treat someone who is visibly disabled, especially in a wheelchair or on a scooter. She didn't really get it.

I will use either device under certain circumstances--I rent a scooter at amusement parks, and recently used a wheelchair to tour London museums. People either pretended I wasn't there or treated me as if I were stupid. Helloooooo! It's my joints that don't work, not my brain! I would venture a guess that I am smarter than those knuckleheads. In a London museum, I had one family (American, not British, of course) pile on an elevator that was already full and lift their child over me, and the kid kicked me hard in the knee. Man, that hurt! I was quite startled and let loose quite a nice flow of four-letter words. The parents were horrified--at me. I didn't feel too bad about it for some reason. My husband, who is a peaceful sort and has never been in a fight in the nearly 30 years I've known him, came close to decking the dad.

Rebecca

Leena
Nov. 26, 2009, 10:00 PM
My mom has MS and we experiment the same situations unfortunately. Either people were taking my mom for a dum..either they were very rude..

I often asked myself where humanity was...

I suffer a cancer for 2 and half years..I am not green..I do my grocery, clean my house and ride my horses..Yes I feel tired but I have such a nice tan people think I am healthy !

I believe a few people has really compassion and respect...

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Nov. 27, 2009, 01:49 AM
I think sometimes it is just not thinking. When I was in college I read for a blind grad student getting her MS in psychology (in fact, all the psych I know I learned from reading to her). One time, she asked me to proofread a letter she had typed (old fashioned way, we're talking 1978 or so). The letter was full of spelling errors - she must have sensed my censure (after all - she was a grad student at Cornell University), and she reminded me that when you don't see the words, and you don't spell the words, you lack familiarity. Made me stop and think. The same way, how many times do people hold open a door for someone who is blind, and never think to say, "I am in x position, and the door is open?" I needed to be edumacated!

Invite
Nov. 27, 2009, 05:39 PM
I think sometimes it is just not thinking. When I was in college I read for a blind grad student getting her MS in psychology (in fact, all the psych I know I learned from reading to her). One time, she asked me to proofread a letter she had typed (old fashioned way, we're talking 1978 or so). The letter was full of spelling errors - she must have sensed my censure (after all - she was a grad student at Cornell University), and she reminded me that when you don't see the words, and you don't spell the words, you lack familiarity. Made me stop and think. The same way, how many times do people hold open a door for someone who is blind, and never think to say, "I am in x position, and the door is open?" I needed to be edumacated!

I can totally see your point. In some cases, I think people don't know how to handle the NQR folks, so avoiding them is easier. There are many times when my just being there makes people feel ill at ease b/c they are afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. We all, able bodied and disabled, walk a fine line when it comes to being politically correct. You never know how someone is going to take a gesture or a comment.

equineartworks
Nov. 27, 2009, 06:22 PM
I have MS and some additional issues and this should make you chuckle...

At a therapeutic riding facility we used to volunteer at I was leading a horse during a summer session. It was like 98 and humid and we were inside...the kind of weather than just does in people with MS. I started getting slower, slower, weaker, weaker. I made mention that I wasn't sure how much longer I could make it without having some issues but I kept getting a "just a few minutes more...just five more laps" response. The director knew I had MS but totally dusted it off. My DD said "excuse me, but my Mom is really struggling...remember? She has a special need too?" :D What made it so sad is that there were some able bodied teens standing around watching, and not one of them were trained properly to see when something is going wrong. Thankfully my daughter was.

Just another thing that went into the *learned what NOT to do* pile for our program :winkgrin:

ClassAction
Nov. 27, 2009, 09:59 PM
I'm glad this thread has been useful. I confess that even after seven years I still get anxious and feeling as though I need to "explain" to everyone the ins and outs of why I can't do things. I doubt that will ever go away 100%.

I am getting better at saying no to things and generally speaking up for myself. This semester I took an entire week off because I could feel myself heading downward (and the week really helped!). I had to partially explain why I need the time by saying I have a neurological disorder and was having an attack. While strictly true, it wasn't the entire truth by any means.

I also get folks who feel it is their right to pry and pry and pry because they want that new piece of gossip. One girl in my lab keeps bringing it up whenever possible. I've decided that the next time she not-so-subtlely asks what my illness is I'll tell her that I'm infested with alien eggs and they keep threatening to hatch. I wonder if I can keep a straight face through all that!

My personal goals are to keep getting better at self-advocating. Ucky and uncomfortable (and my inner four year old whines that it's NOT FAIR DAMMIT!) but necessary.

*Teddy*
Nov. 28, 2009, 12:14 PM
For me if they arent seeing im nqr(It can be ovbious if someone pays attention) then I dont bother explaining anything or saying anything because those would be the people who say "you look fine"...

If someone pays attention and says "oh your balance is a little off" then I will happily explain why and then they are like "that makes sense"


I usually dont bother telling people because my outward issues are on and off so they dont show all the time(stiffness ect) but almost nobody outside my family/close friends I dont tell about my anxiety/ocd because well they dont see it(okay sometimes if im really wired....)

Bluey
Nov. 28, 2009, 12:51 PM
Talking about qualifications as disabled that others can see, everyone can see that I am shorter than most adults.

Does being "very" short alone qualifies as a disability?;)

coloredhorse
Nov. 28, 2009, 02:19 PM
I've decided that the next time she not-so-subtlely asks what my illness is I'll tell her that I'm infested with alien eggs and they keep threatening to hatch. I wonder if I can keep a straight face through all that!

This is GREAT!

My brother had encephalitis as a teen, which resulted in debilitating depression, immune system and neurological issues that persist to a slight degree even 16+ years later. When he was just returning to a somewhat "normal" life and attending college, he confided in a great deal of frustration with this sort of issue. My suggestion was this response, which he got a kick out of and reportedly worked great at getting the busybodies to back off.

"So, what EXACTLY is wrong with you."

"Demonic possession."

To all of you who are dealing with non-obvious or intermittent disabilities, I raise a glass to you; I know from my brother and another relative who suffered a TBI that left lasting issues that the comments and behavior from "outsiders" can be worse than the disabilities themselves in some cases.

*Teddy*
Nov. 28, 2009, 06:43 PM
bluesy I bet im shorter than you hehehe:lol:

Beat 4'10:lol::lol:

Bluey
Nov. 28, 2009, 06:53 PM
bluesy I bet im shorter than you hehehe:lol:

Beat 4'10:lol::lol:

Ok, I am 4'11" ... on tiptoe. I call a draw.:cool:

We used to measure ponies before carding them by me.
If you could see their withers over my head, they would not pass.:p

My size was not a handicap until I got older and 16 hands became taller than it used to be.:no:

Mounting blocks are our friends.:)

STABLESWOT
Nov. 29, 2009, 03:33 PM
What are realistic goals for the invisibly disabled in horse sports does anyone know? Recreation riding only? I am not being sarcastic or derisive here, I am physically but invisibly disabled too.
Does anyone know any successful horse businesses run by ppl who started the businesses after their onset of disability(I am not referring to those of us like myself who ride for recreation)? I know there are BNTs and successful horse business ppl that kept their business going after disability only if they first built reputations as "able-bodied" ppl.
I have never understood the line drawn between "physical and mental" disabilities because anyone that is even slightly knowledgable about molecular biology sees that there is no distinction there. I think the flak ppl get about mental disability not being the same as physical is residue of belief that mental illness is a character flaw. Ppl who believe that have a character flaw of ignorance of brain chemistry and physiology in general i think.
Another category of responses comes from those that dont know me -towards those like myself who have a disability that can be life threatening which seems to make others scared or uncomfortable and they act as if they cannot trust you.

Invite
Nov. 29, 2009, 05:33 PM
I have never understood the line drawn between "physical and mental" disabilities because anyone that is even slightly knowledgable about molecular biology sees that there is no distinction there. I think the flak ppl get about mental disability not being the same as physical is residue of belief that mental illness is a character flaw. Ppl who believe that have a character flaw of ignorance of brain chemistry and physiology in general i think.
Another category of responses comes from those that dont know me -towards those like myself who have a disability that can be life threatening which seems to make others scared or uncomfortable and they act as if they cannot trust you.

RIGHT ON!!!! People are afraid of things they don't understand. Disabilities can often bring out fears and/or ignorance in others. As far as mental illness equaling a lack of intelligence, people ought to look at the work of someone like Sylvia Plath. The woman was a genius.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Nov. 30, 2009, 01:44 AM
In fact...most people suffering from mental illness are usually on the brighter end of the scale.

ClassAction
Nov. 30, 2009, 09:18 AM
In fact...most people suffering from mental illness are usually on the brighter end of the scale.

I've thought a lot about that. I relate it to my cats, interestingly enough. I have two cats, one is fairly bright and one is....not so bright. Bean (Mr. Brightside) is neurotic. Aster (lovable but dull) is happy happy happy.

Would I trade some neural connections for more stable brain chemistry? I'm not sure. Some days yes and some days hell no.

Bluey
Nov. 30, 2009, 09:42 AM
I would say that intelligence and brain disorders are not always connected, but it depends on what the disorder may be.

It does make sense that someone with a higher working intelligence would cope with whatever disabilities may be present better, but that doesn't mean that someone less favored doesn't has similar problems.

That is evident when you study the autistic spectrum, where some higher functioning individuals are assumed to then have higher intelligence, leaving those that don't under great pressure from those expectations.

Brain disorders, by their nature, will affect people in way too diverse ways to make more than very general rules.
Brain problems are not like waiting for a broken arm to knit in six weeks, since most bones seem to heal the same and all will be fine.

In our therapy group, there are no two individuals with even close to the same problems, so each one has it's own therapy exercises and individual responses to them.

betsyk
Nov. 30, 2009, 11:13 AM
I'll throw in a comment because I'm interested in this group's response. The original poster was asking about how others explain their invisible disabilities to people, in the context of "I can't do as much as you expect and here's why." Speaking as the person you might be offering this explanation to, I'll say I don't need a whole lot of information, but if you don't tell me something, I won't know -- I won't know to cut you a little slack if you look tired, I won't know that inviting you to join us for a beer after an evening at the barn might be the wrong thing to do, I won't know to give you a call if I haven't seen you at the barn for a few days. It's really hard for the others around you to know what expectations to have -- if I lump you in with "all 40-y-o horse owners" I'll have one set of expectations, but if I know you identify better with "4o-y-o horse owners who live with a chronic disease" I'll have a different set --- if you don't provide even a little information. I find this, often, with volunteers at the therapeutic program where I teach. We try to accept everyone at face value, so I don't ask a lot of questions but wait for people to tell me what I need to know. And saying, "I'm just not very strong" can mean "I want to lift every heavy object to build up my strength" or "don't ask me to lift the heavy stuff because I'm going to drop it" -- so tell me what the implications are for the setting we're in, please. I don't need to know your entire medical history or your diagnosis unless you want to tell me - but do tell me "if I have to lead a horse in two classes in a row my blood sugar is going to bottom out, so I'm going to need to run to the car in between and get some crackers." I can work with that! Does this make sense, from your point of view?

Invite
Nov. 30, 2009, 11:42 AM
You make complete sense. I think it upsets some disabled people is when a short explanation isn't enough. Sometimes people will just continue prodding for more info and I think that may be what has the OP upset. With the gossip in some barns, it can be tough to share your problems. I am fortunate in that it is quite obvious when I've reached my limit. Heck, sometimes I haven't even started and people think I belong lying in bed ;)

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Nov. 30, 2009, 12:38 PM
I would say that intelligence and brain disorders are not always connected, but it depends on what the disorder may be.

It does make sense that someone with a higher working intelligence would cope with whatever disabilities may be present better, but that doesn't mean that someone less favored doesn't has similar problems.

That is evident when you study the autistic spectrum, where some higher functioning individuals are assumed to then have higher intelligence, leaving those that don't under great pressure from those expectations.

Brain disorders, by their nature, will affect people in way too diverse ways to make more than very general rules.
Brain problems are not like waiting for a broken arm to knit in six weeks, since most bones seem to heal the same and all will be fine.

In our therapy group, there are no two individuals with even close to the same problems, so each one has it's own therapy exercises and individual responses to them.

But the etiology of autism is different from that of mental illness. Not saying there is not overlap. But the disability does not preclude high intelligence.

Bluey
Nov. 30, 2009, 12:50 PM
But the etiology of autism is different from that of mental illness. Not saying there is not overlap. But the disability does not preclude high intelligence.

Does not preclude, but also does not demand that there be high intelligence.
My point is that intelligence was not a diagnostic criteria for most mental disorders and that in some cases, to expect that, when it is not a given, has been hard on those involved, as in some autistic disorders, as high functioning autism.

Special education classes teachers come across this regularly.

Natalie A
Nov. 30, 2009, 01:50 PM
for me it's more an issue of reminding people every so often (um, did you just demonstrate something important to me? 'cause all I can see from across the arena is a big blur so I couldn't see that at all...) since my issues that are bigger issues in the "real world" (visual impairment) actually aren't quite as big of issues in my riding.

cadriver
Nov. 30, 2009, 03:03 PM
[QUOTE=STABLESWOT;4527218]Does anyone know any successful horse businesses run by ppl who started the businesses after their onset of disability(I am not referring to those of us like myself who ride for recreation)? I know there are BNTs and successful horse business ppl that kept their business going after disability only if they first built reputations as "able-bodied" ppl.
QUOTE]

I can say I am one. It isn't my main occupation but I do run my horses as a business, I teach lessons, breed and show. I was recreational rider (rode trails everyday after work) when I was in a car wreck that left me paralyzed. I was 24 (1991). I decided to get into breeding since I could play with the foals everyday. I went back to riding with a TR center did that for 3 years discovered driving. And no looking back. Educated myself through clinics and books. Wasn't easy being the only one in a chair at a clinic or even a show. Drivers are neat people we would stack a bunch of pallets up use carriage ramps get my high enough and then I would transfer into carriage. A long story cut short on purpose. But as I built my skill I became a good teacher and top competitor. So I started doing clinics and teaching lessons, most have been to able-bodied drivers. Always a tad nerve racking that I can't get in the carriage with a beginner driver:-)

So you could say my disability opened up my world with horses, to this day I might still be a recreational rider, rideing the trails... if it hadn't been for a car wreck.

Diane

Invite
Nov. 30, 2009, 09:42 PM
[QUOTE=STABLESWOT;4527218]Does anyone know any successful horse businesses run by ppl who started the businesses after their onset of disability(I am not referring to those of us like myself who ride for recreation)? I know there are BNTs and successful horse business ppl that kept their business going after disability only if they first built reputations as "able-bodied" ppl.
QUOTE]

I can say I am one. It isn't my main occupation but I do run my horses as a business, I teach lessons, breed and show. I was recreational rider (rode trails everyday after work) when I was in a car wreck that left me paralyzed. I was 24 (1991). I decided to get into breeding since I could play with the foals everyday. I went back to riding with a TR center did that for 3 years discovered driving. And no looking back. Educated myself through clinics and books. Wasn't easy being the only one in a chair at a clinic or even a show. Drivers are neat people we would stack a bunch of pallets up use carriage ramps get my high enough and then I would transfer into carriage. A long story cut short on purpose. But as I built my skill I became a good teacher and top competitor. So I started doing clinics and teaching lessons, most have been to able-bodied drivers. Always a tad nerve racking that I can't get in the carriage with a beginner driver:-)

So you could say my disability opened up my world with horses, to this day I might still be a recreational rider, rideing the trails... if it hadn't been for a car wreck.

Diane

That's pretty cool. It's horrible that you had a car wreck, but it is amazing how becoming disabled opened up your "horse world". You are a real inspiration to me!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 1, 2009, 02:03 AM
Gotcha, Bluey! I think we are on the same page.

citydog
Dec. 1, 2009, 02:54 AM
What a great thread!

If necessary to say anything at all, I tend to tell people (in my horsey life and elsewhere) that I have a chronic illness that flares up sometimes and I need to accommodate it. The specifics really aren't anyone's business.

I've been in a wheelchair for the last six weeks or so due to a broken leg, and holy crap it's been an eye-opener. People talk to me like I'm stupid, invade my space, avoid eye contact, essentially act like I'm invisible (Hello! Would it kill you to hold the door for me?), and generally make it clear that they see me as less of a full person. And aside from the giant cast thing on my leg that makes it kind of obvious why I'm in the chair I'm visibly hale and hearty. People in general are so weird in how they deal with visible disabilities and deformities I can imagine that folks with more obviously complex and permanent issues get treated even worse. :no:



And if you missed where I linked to it in another thread, I really like The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandinoh. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/navigation/BYDLS-TheSpoonTheory.pdf

Wayside, that's awesome. Thanks for that. :)

cadriver
Dec. 1, 2009, 01:47 PM
You know sometimes it is diffcult when that farrier, vet, clinician meets you for the first time. Sometimes rather then getting upset with their reactions to the gal in the chair holding the squirming 3 month old foal for his feet to be trimed or when I arrive at a vet clinic with a 16.1 hd 3 year old.

I just put myself in their place. They've never had a client like me:-) And I give them the benefit of the doubt. Overall horse people really are cool people and we can always find a common ground in our love for the animal.

I have the luxury of haveing my horses at home, but when I sign up for clinics, I talk to the organizers to let them know I'm comming and what accomadations I need. They will usually pass the info on to the clinician, and then I don't worry about what the other participants think.

As for people looking at me funny because I'm in a chair, I got over that in the first 6 months and I don't even notice it now, at least I don't ever have to worry about not being able to sit down:-) I always forget to pack chairs in the horse trailer!

Diane

ClassAction
Dec. 1, 2009, 06:56 PM
What a great thread!

I've been in a wheelchair for the last six weeks or so due to a broken leg, and holy crap it's been an eye-opener. People talk to me like I'm stupid, invade my space, avoid eye contact, essentially act like I'm invisible (Hello! Would it kill you to hold the door for me?), and generally make it clear that they see me as less of a full person. And aside from the giant cast thing on my leg that makes it kind of obvious why I'm in the chair I'm visibly hale and hearty. People in general are so weird in how they deal with visible disabilities and deformities I can imagine that folks with more obviously complex and permanent issues get treated even worse. :no:


I agree it is SUCH an eye opener. I motored about in a wheelchair for three months with a broken pelvis and it was very much enlightening. The number of people whose gazes saw the wheels and slid away....scary.

Visible versus invisible disabilities!

mkevent
Dec. 1, 2009, 08:01 PM
Betsy K you make an interesting point. Since I am able bodied, I really have no clue what life with a physical disability is like. I am more worried about offending someone with my ignorance than I am uncomfortable that they are disabled. I would be interested in knowing how their disability affects them so that I can be understanding and help with whatever the issues are.

I guess my illness (depression) can make me socially awkward at times so I don't always know the right things to say or do. Maybe that awkwardness is conveyed as being uncomfortable with the other person's disability when it is actually my lack of self confidence on how to handle a new or different situation. If I try to be helpful, will it be seen as condescending or acting out of pity?

Sometimes people can be rubes because they just don't know any better.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 2, 2009, 02:32 AM
mkevent - I think you can often sense the intent. Awkwardness is okay if the intent is sincere - after all, what can you say to someone - "Wow, having to deal with what you deal with must really suck, right?" What offends me is the condescension, which - in my opinion - is used by those who need to distance themselves from your injury/illness (as in, the same will not happen to them). And that's the irony, of course, because any of these things can happen to anybody.

Bluey
Dec. 2, 2009, 07:14 AM
mkevent - I think you can often sense the intent. Awkwardness is okay if the intent is sincere - after all, what can you say to someone - "Wow, having to deal with what you deal with must really suck, right?" What offends me is the condescension, which - in my opinion - is used by those who need to distance themselves from your injury/illness (as in, the same will not happen to them). And that's the irony, of course, because any of these things can happen to anybody.

Exactly, anyone is just one illness or accident away from a disability.
Maybe those that can't handle disabled people are just afraid to confront that, by pure chance, it is not them that are disabled?

Then, some people are rude to everyone around them, not just disabled people.:(

Invite
Dec. 2, 2009, 07:51 AM
Exactly, anyone is just one illness or accident away from a disability.
Maybe those that can't handle disabled people are just afraid to confront that, by pure chance, it is not them that are disabled?

Then, some people are rude to everyone around them, not just disabled people.:(

Very true. Sometimes I think people are nervous around handicapped people. Maybe it makes them look at their own mortality.

I think of how often people would forget "Please" "Thank you" &"Excuse me" even when I looked normal. In many cases, society is just plain rude. Heck, look at all the road rage resulting from rude driving. People are often in a rush and think only of themselves.

I often find myself trying to put others at ease about my disability. I am very open and honest. I went through a period of being ill at ease in my own skin. Now that I am comfortable with who and what I am, the stares don't bother me as much. I am still aggrivated not one person offered assistance when I crashed and burned in the doctor's office, but that was just rudeness and did not even involve my disability. If I had been able bodied, I would have probably received the same treatmebt.

RegentLion
Dec. 7, 2009, 06:57 PM
I don't have a disability. Yet. I have been diagnosed with an "undifferentiated connective tissue disease" which as explained to me, could become RA or Lupus at any time. Or just be what it is which is basically not much of anything. Fatigue and joint pain at times.

Coming from someone who has lived in small towns her entire life and in a town in which kids with disabilities were NOT mainstreamed, it is helpful to receive some kind of information.

I consider myself more or less educated, but I am curious about things, particularly the things I do not know or understand.

I do not know what I can do or say to help a person with a blatantly obvious disability, such as blindness or being in a chair or what have you. I may not always recognize the "slight" things that make someone NQR. I feel awkward and don't often know what to say.

This does not mean that I'm uncaring or trying to be rude. What is helpful to me is if someone gives me a brief explanation and maybe lets me in on how I can help or relate to them.

For example, the person with the spinal cord injury that makes her hands/arms numb.... LOTS of people don't "get" that you can have varying degrees of spinal injuries. They just "know" about "paralyzed from the neck down" or "paralyzed from the waist down." They may not KNOW that there are many variants.

People may not KNOW about things like Fibromyalgia, or Lupus or whatever.

Doesn't mean you need to give a long winded explanation but a simple "Well I have an autoimmune diesease that makes me tired. What it means is my immune system attacks my own body." or "Actually, you can have many different levels of spinal cord injury. My arms work but my hands are numb with very little feeling." These things are helpful to people like me. I want to understand.

But it is hard to relate to something you know nothing about. I know that it should be "person first" but unfortunately at times people are so confused/alarmed by the disability that they forget that there is a person involved. I think that more education is helpful.

Obviously your disability need not be made "public" but it might make a difference in the long run.

Just a thought coming from someone who might, some day, at any time, have an "invisible" disability that will change my life.

Tiffany01
Dec. 13, 2009, 03:03 PM
I wad born 3 months early weighing in at 1 llb 11 onces and the doctors told my mom and dad that I will not live if that I did live then exspect that I'll have brain damage and will be MR. and I lived but now MR.

wateryglen
Dec. 20, 2009, 02:39 PM
I LOVED CityDogs explanation the best. I also think a humorous explanation suffices and puts both of you at ease.....like the demonic possession one. But never underestimate the power of the truth to set you free. Tell someone the truth and see what happens. Don't assume the worst. You may find out something about them that helps you bond with them.
" Be who you are and say what you feel......because those that matter don't mind, and those that mind don't matter."

TrueGrit
Dec. 20, 2009, 05:14 PM
I have Ankylosing Spondylitis ( similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis ), which primarily affects the spine, ultimately causing it to fuse, and manifests in other joints in the body, from hips to fingers, etc. Debilitating, and oh, so painful. I'm on plenty of advanced arthritis meds, and after several years of barely being able to get out of bed, finally felt enough improvement to tackle riding as therapy.

3 weeks ago, I bought my new horse - a perfect gentleman who seems to understand my disability - and now I'm in the process of enjoying life and getting stronger. I've even managed to mount last week - with a block, of course - without hubby giving me "the butt push"! So, I'm really happy with my miniscule improvements.

I board at a lovely boarding stable, with a BO who is taking a keen interest in my welfare. Thank God for that. And most of the boarders are friendly enough, and we talk about our ride and other pleasantries - my disability is not obvious, so it's not discussed.

A few of the women of the same age group as me (middle) have been very kind and ask how I'm doing, since I told them during a brief introduction, that I'm back riding for the first time in over 20 years, and with severe arthritis. They always take a minute to engage me in an encouraging conversation.

But then come the Drama Queens. I was riding in the arena, in a borrowed h/j saddle which didn't fit - my new one is on it's way - and DQ1 commented that my position was not as it should be. ( Despite BO telling me my position was super, all things considered. ) I explained that I have arthritis and cannot flex my lower back freely. She said that's no excuse - she teaches therapeutic riding to children with Cerebral Palsy, and if they can do it, so can I. Her words. She also commented that I was not sitting far enough towards my tailbone, and that only one's seat bones should touch the saddle ( hunter/jumper ), one's pelvic bone should be above the saddle. (?!?) And she should know cuz she's shown hunter/jumpers. ~ can y'all see GM shaking his head? ~

Meanwhile her friend, DQ2, was proudly bouncing around in a dressage saddle, sitting on her tailbone, spine wiggling like a slinky toy, and head bobbing like a bobble doll. Not exactly Edward Gal. But she does charge money (p/t) to teach her style of riding to an unlucky few.

Since then, they refuse any common courtesy - like holding a door open, making eye contact, not moving out of the way when I'm leading my horse, etc. and leave nasty anonymous notes on the message board, and shovel their horse's aisle droppings into my horse's stall. (Even though the skip is closer.) I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Apparently every barn has DQ's, but *sheesh* why take it out on the disabled? THIS is what I don't understand. I graduated Psychology from University, but this was years ago, and I don't recall covering this in Abnormal Pysch.

Any thoughts? And how to deal with this? It stresses me out, and I go to the barn to DEstress, not to have deal with middle-aged meanies acting like it's Junior High. Thanks for any input, because I'm finding this all quite upsetting.

Piaffing
Dec. 20, 2009, 05:44 PM
Oh True Grit I know how you feel. I was at a barn with similiar boarders. I'd love to know where you board as you probably not far from where I board at. The place I board at now is great and everyone gets along.

Will not the BO stand up for you to these so called DQ's.

Send me an email if you want. cariba@sympatico.ca

JollyBadger
Dec. 20, 2009, 09:39 PM
I explained that I have arthritis and cannot flex my lower back freely. She said that's no excuse - she teaches therapeutic riding to children with Cerebral Palsy, and if they can do it, so can I. Her words.

:eek::eek::eek:

My sympathies to her therapeutic riding students! What a wretched thing for her to say to you after you'd already explained your arthritis! It really really gets my hackles up to read about things like this!

As for the abnormal psychology of those people. . .I don't think there's an "official" name for it yet.

However, I could offer some suggestions for what to call them. It's just that my suggestions are not very scientific.:winkgrin:

It would be one thing if they were just being stuck-up barn princesses. I've known a few like that, and they thrive on getting a reaction. It pisses them off to just be ignored or have their condescending "helpful advice" dismissed.

But the women at your barn seem to be going above and beyond. Is the BO aware of what's going on, such as the nasty notes left on the message board (especially if they are aimed at you), or throwing their horse's manure into your horse's stall?

If she's not already aware, she needs to be. . .what they are doing is more like harassment, and as a paying boarder you absolutely should not have to deal with that.:mad:

TrueGrit
Dec. 21, 2009, 12:06 AM
Thank you Piaffing and Jolly Badger for your support. :)
I was actually in tears this week because of this!

No, the BO is not aware of the particulars I posted, as she has been out of town this past week. She does know that there are some 'attitude problems' that she told me will be dealt with upon her return, but I did not know exactly which boarders she was referring to. Well, I guess I know now, cuz they came out full force this past week. When the cat's away...

It's just been a distressing week, and I simply couldn't make sense of the hostility directed at us, which is why I posted.

I bought this horse, after almost 6 months of searching, because he is so kind, and well mannered, and of course, lovely, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time when he came up for sale. He stands patiently during my mounting and dismounting struggles, and gives me a wonderful, smooth, safe ride. I doubt I will ever be well enough to show him, but that is not my goal. ( My BO may even show him next summer for fun, so I can be a proud 'ring mama'. :lol: ) The BO and her barn have an excellent reputation, so I was really overjoyed about beginning my new, health-enhancing adventure. ( Piaffing, we`re stabled west of Milton. )

So instead of sharing in my happiness, I'm getting - as Jolly Badger put it - harrassed. So yes, unfortunately I will have to share the unpleasant details with the BO, who I'm sure will take appropriate action, as she is a 'no-nonsense' type. I was hoping to be able to get a handle on this without involving her, but clearly that's not the case.

Thanks again for your kind words. I had a good ride tonight knowing I wasn't alone in my disgust. :yes:

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 21, 2009, 01:35 AM
What disturbs me is that they chose to behave so badly when the BO was away. This is the behavior of 8 and 9 year olds (and punishable behavior, at that!). For an adult to behave this way...seriously, as the BO, I'd be appalled and would have to consider how they would treat horses - I suspect there must be some sort of power play going on. And I would want them gone.

And who is this woman to just tell you what she thinks is the way you should ride? she's not your trainer (thank goodness).

I am so, so sorry that this has cast such a pall over your very exciting time with your new horse.

...may they always step in cat and dog poo whenever they leave the barn, and track it all over their cars and houses.

JollyBadger
Dec. 21, 2009, 03:15 AM
The BO sounds like a good one, since she is aware of her problem boarders. It's a good sign that she already warned you that you might encounter some "attitude," and that she mentioned dealing with them when she returns.

Still, don't hesitate to inform her about the things that went on while she was gone. Chances are, the DQs are aware that the BO is on to them, and they'll pretend to "play nice" towards you whenever the BO is around.

Maybe you could leave a voice message for the BO. . .no details in the message, just ask for a time you could call or meet with her to talk about some things that happened while she was out of town. When you actually speak with her, let her know the things that were going on (especially the nasty notes, and manure thrown into your horse's stall). After that, it's up to the BO to deal with them.

The worst thing about DQs and bullies is that they make going to the barn a stressful experience. You are there to ride and enjoy your horse. . .NOT to be harassed or intimidated by other boarders.

From your earlier post, it sounds as though most of the boarders there are friendly and that a few also know about your condition and are very supportive. Just stick with them, maybe ride with them occasionally if you're up to it, and ignore the DQ's.

Either they'll get the point and leave you alone, or the BO will finally plant a boot in their "perfect" little tailbones.:winkgrin:

Happy trails!

whicker
Dec. 21, 2009, 12:43 PM
I would call the barn owner if you have a contact number. If she deals with it NOW, the rats will have the boundary set NOW, and not think that they can get away with meaness while she isn't looking.

I went to boarding school. I know mean and cruel. These boarders qualify. If I lived closer, I would be wading in, and not only encouraging you, but also calling them on it. The other boarders haven't yet rallied, because they don't know how to handle it. Your BO doesn't want a poisoned barn. She wants a happy place for all of you. PLEASE TELL HER.

In my own experience in the boarding school, I wasn't part of the "in" clique because I called them on meaness. It made for a lonely existance for me. Thank God, I had a pony to come home to. When I had a boyfriend, they tried to snake him. He told me about it, and graciously declined to follow the bait.

Decades later, I get a phone call from the Queen of Mean. She apologizes for the years of mean. She said she was JEALOUS because I was the real person that she wanted to be! :eek: She thought that if she tore everything down around me, that she would become me. She was trying to put on the trappings of what I appeared without the integrity that made me.

You may have a similar situation, odd as it seems. ask Invite. She deals with it, too. There is a thread about mean on the dressage forum by mobilehrs.

I am sorry that the meanies are driving you to tears. We care about you. Love your horse, he sounds like he will understand.

sadlmakr
Dec. 21, 2009, 01:48 PM
I spent a very active life in the horse world on the West coast.
From my teen years up into my "Older " years I rode well and trained rescue horses so they got good homes.
Then the pains in my joints began. I have osteo-arthritis but it can be so painful. My knees, hips and back hurt and now my elbows and wrists hurt as well. I have a few more years to wait until I can retire.
I know how it hurts to ride.
It takes a good pain pill to give me a little time to ride before it wears off.
But I would really be prepared for your Smart Mouth young ones.
I would keep cool and ask them one at a time, separately, what caused them to be so predjudiced against the disabled? They will continue until someone calls them on it. I think your Barn Owner will be a valuable friend in this case.
I have read the above posts and find it so stupid the way some people re-act and behave so badly. Makes me wonder about humans sometimes.
I had someone also tell me I could do "such & such " if I really wanted to.
Well I can't. So I really hope someday they find out what it is like to hurt all the time. And in winter it is worse.
But I get stronger pain pills and go on.
Hang in there and keep on keepin' on.
I admire your grit.
You have a great horse and enjoy him.
They are so good when they are empathetic like that.
Wishing you the best.
Don't worry "What goes around , come around", and things will always come back on people who are so mean.

Kind regards, sadlmakr

JollyBadger
Jan. 1, 2010, 03:09 PM
:::BUMP:::

I was just wondering, what ever came of the "barn bully" situation, TrueGrit?

Hope everything is going okay!

TrueGrit
Jan. 2, 2010, 12:00 AM
Jolly Badger - How kind of you to ask...

BO is home now, the matter was discussed in detail, and the situation is much improved. The DQ's seem to have discovered the pleasantries of civility - and my boy was moved to new quarters at the other end of the barn far away from their stomping grounds.

As it turns out, the DQ's are under different management (there are 2 'barns' run out of one 'stable'), so it's the best we can hope for for now. Apparently we were caught in the crossfire of some turf wars! Still, silly behaviour for middle-aged women. Perhaps some pre-Christmas stress was adding to the insanity. (?!?)

I'm hoping for a drama-free New Year! And wishing much of the same, and Health & Happiness to all my friends here! :D Thank you all again for your kindness and support when it was so desperately needed!

Cheers!

whicker
Jan. 2, 2010, 12:32 AM
Glad to hear that your B.O. came through. We do care about you! Are you having a better time of it now?

Are any of the nice boarders coming out as the same time as you, so you can make some friends?

I taught my sons to make chocolate chip cookies to share as a way to start the conversations rolling. The cookies turned into barter for extra coaching/study groups for GRE's for grad school.

ReSomething
Jan. 2, 2010, 01:31 AM
Wow True Grit, you're in famous company - IIRC Motley crue axe man Mick Mars has been suffering from your disease. It's a horrible disease and I am glad you are still able to enjoy horses and riding.
How about cursing those DQ's with festering boils in sensitive places?

camohn
Jan. 2, 2010, 08:32 AM
As a therapist I have had a few of my patients walk with a cane when they are in busy/crowded situations even though they really don't *need* it to walk. For a variety or reasons these folks are "fragile" though they can walk just fine. I told them the reason is that folks will generally give them more space if they have a cane. Usually it works pretty well for them.
Getting back to the OP though: explain as little as possible unless the person seems interested (in a constructive sort of way........)
Humor and sarcasm both work well for the obnoxious oafs. I love the ones like "demon posession" and "alien invasion".
Favorite story from when I was doing theraputic riding: we had one kid who was born normal except for no eyeballs at all....just 2 perfectly formed sockets. He was maybe 7 or so. His parents had gotten him the finest in artifical porcelain eyes. They looked real. HIs response to folks that didn't buy he was blind? He often kept those round cheese doodles around. They look like day-glo orange balls. He would turn around, pop out the eyes, pop in dayglo orange cheese balls and frighten the daylights out the offender...

ClassAction
Jan. 2, 2010, 09:17 AM
TrueGrit, I'm so glad you seem to have things worked out. Nothing quite like struggling with an illness and then having to deal with people on top of that. Sounds like you handled the situation with serious class. Congrats!

TrueGrit
Jan. 2, 2010, 06:07 PM
I couldn't have handled it as well as I did without knowing that I had all of your support behind me. Being new at the stable, and with the BO away, I really felt quite ganged up on - a less than "therapeutic" situation.

My BO is extremely supportive of me, understanding the presentation of this illness, as her mother has it too! (As did my late Mum.) She, my BO, is quite an extraordinary woman - a super horsewoman in every sense, and a kind and compassionate, and generous person who's always smiling and looking for ways to help. Oh, that there were more like her in this world!

And yes, ReSomething, you are correct. Motley Crue's Mick Mars is afflicted with Ankylosing Spondylitis. It's a very nasty and painful arthritis, and affects organs as well as joints - intestines, heart, eyes. I'm on loads of meds, and trying to keep active for as long as I can - hence the new horse. After only a few weeks, I can already feel myself getting stronger and more flexible - and certainly happier! :yes:

Whicker, I haven't seen much of my Best Buddies over the holidays - with the bitter cold we're having, and irregular holiday schedules we seem to be missing each other. But there were plenty of cards, candy canes, and chocolate handed out over Christmas, so the troops rallied til the Boss Mare returned! :winkgrin:

btw- DQ1 had a major personal trauma over the holidays - so we can take her off the "Naughty List". I'm not gloating, as it's really not my nature, but she really got whammied. (She's now coming to me for support - how quickly things change!) However, DQ2 (the instigator!) still needs to learn some life lessons...

Thanks to all for your encouragement - and yes, ClassAction, I'm so relieved as well. There's nothing like unnecessary aggravation to exacerbate one's illness!

JollyBadger
Jan. 2, 2010, 07:29 PM
I'm so glad to hear that things have smoothed out at the barn, TrueGrit! The BO sounds like a great lady, and the fact that the issues with the two DQs seem to be resolved is a good sign.

Happy trails!

whicker
Jan. 2, 2010, 07:37 PM
Bravo for the B.O.! Give her some cookies from us, please. She goes on the hero list...

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Jan. 3, 2010, 12:00 AM
So happy things are smoothing out for you. I guess the issues with DQ1 shows you that kharma does come into play!

Lambie Boat
Jan. 3, 2010, 12:08 AM
I have a t-shirt that I wear that says "Not a Well Woman"

Penthilisea
Aug. 6, 2010, 07:55 AM
I have a friend who runs a successful breeding farm and stands a stallion. Only one of his arms works, and he has already had one knee replaced, the other is overdue. And yet he does it everyday, runs the farm, cleans all the stalls, grows all his own hay. He gives me hope that you can accomplish anything despite what life throws at you.

quietann
Aug. 9, 2010, 04:24 PM
Talking about qualifications as disabled that others can see, everyone can see that I am shorter than most adults.

Does being "very" short alone qualifies as a disability?;)

I would say not. But if you ride dressage, you will feel like it when you go to try out saddles; dressage saddles are mostly made for tall, thin people.

Bluey
Aug. 9, 2010, 08:44 PM
I would say not. But if you ride dressage, you will feel like it when you go to try out saddles; dressage saddles are mostly made for tall, thin people.

I know, I have ridden in saddles that my ankle barely clears the flap.
Hard to use your leg on a very large dressage horse at the higher levels, when it doesn't reach where most riders do.
Thankfully, horses seemed to adjust fine.:)

quietann
Aug. 9, 2010, 09:08 PM
I know, I have ridden in saddles that my ankle barely clears the flap.
Hard to use your leg on a very large dressage horse at the higher levels, when it doesn't reach where most riders do.
Thankfully, horses seemed to adjust fine.:)

/snicker

I solved the problem by just refusing to ride the big ones. 16.1 hands is too big. My Morgan mare is a hair under 15 hands, and we get a lot of compliments for "suiting each other physically."

More on-topic: I have insulin-dependent diabetes, and since returning to riding have had a couple of falls that have kind of messed up my left side. With a new instructor recently, I decided to just tell her everything up front, including where my emergency carbs (juice) is if I need it. (The worst fall happened when I fainted -- probably from hypoglycemia -- while riding a jump course. I have had IDDM for 35 years and as often happens, the longer I have it, the less ability I have to detect hypoglycemia.) I have never been very comfortable about disclosing diabetes but finally decided I needed to, for safety's sake. And you know? It was fine.

nhhaflngr
Aug. 9, 2010, 10:23 PM
I have never been very comfortable about disclosing diabetes but finally decided I needed to, for safety's sake. And you know? It was fine.

I have been unsure about disclosing the fact that I am on a blood thinner, and in the case of an accident with bleeding involved, things could get serious in a hurry. I do wear a MedicAlert bracelet with the info, and my closest horsey friends all know. But I've hesitated to tell trainers or clinicians. I am sometimes better about mentioning that left leg is somewhat disabled due to vascular damage from a DVT.

I ALWAYS wear a helmet, riding or driving.

Thanks for an interesting thread

N.H.Haflngr (Joan)

SmplySweet1021
Aug. 9, 2010, 10:35 PM
I tend to limp a lot or my knee just gives out and down I go. So I get stares and questions on a regular basis since I am 24. For the horse people I explain that it was a serious riding accident and I now have severe arthritis. For other people I just say arthritis and keep it at that. Some people I just say I'm fine and then keep on walking. Depends how they ask and the reasons surrounding it.

The people that know me, know the whole story & all the problems I have had since. Some people genuinely want to know so I begin to explain everything, ending with at the age of 24 I am holding out as long as possible before a knee replacement. I also have to slightly explain my injury when I am looking for a job as my 1st Bachelors & part time work experience is in the equine field. Now I have a 2nd Bachelors and finishing a Marketing Masters....It takes some explanation why the change :-)

There are times that I am seriously in pain & trying to make it through the day w/out crying, when people ask me if I'm okay those days....then they get the terse response of "I'm fine." There is nothing they can do to make me feel better and I hate being an invalid at the age of 24! I do have a hard time saying "Sorry I can't do that b/c of my knee." Though it is a valid excuse it is hard to always say that to people. My true friends know I can't do anything about it and others I just ignore.

It's hard to explain things. Sometimes it comes easily and sometimes it takes everything for me not to break down and cry.

whicker
Aug. 10, 2010, 10:01 AM
Being very short IS a disability that is covered under the U.S. Disabilities Act. It is also included in the classification for para-equestrian.

As far as saddles are concerned, perhaps a children's saddle or saddle flap would do the trick. I am riding shorter than most dressage saddles, so I also have the flap that is longer than the stirrup leather problem. I have had to go the custom saddle route because of the back issues as well.

I also stopped riding the 17h horses and now ride 15.1h or so. I am seeing a trend of small horses becoming more popular again. I like to think that there is an advantage to the small ones. They take more strides in the arena, giving more time to show off their gaits and it is easier to make the corners and figures.:D

Bluey
Aug. 10, 2010, 11:26 AM
Being very short IS a disability that is covered under the U.S. Disabilities Act. It is also included in the classification for para-equestrian.

As far as saddles are concerned, perhaps a children's saddle or saddle flap would do the trick. I am riding shorter than most dressage saddles, so I also have the flap that is longer than the stirrup leather problem. I have had to go the custom saddle route because of the back issues as well.

I also stopped riding the 17h horses and now ride 15.1h or so. I am seeing a trend of small horses becoming more popular again. I like to think that there is an advantage to the small ones. They take more strides in the arena, giving more time to show off their gaits and it is easier to make the corners and figures.:D

My saddle all these years has been a Stubben Rex.
I have used it to compete jumping and for every day training.
Before that, in Europe, I used a children's jumping Passier.

When you are a trainer, you have to ride the big and little horses and it is ok, you don't think anything about it, other than you do get to train the little ponies too, something the larger riders can't easily.

I have had some BNTs question if I was too light to ride some very big, strong horses.
I finally earned the right to do so, after they became confident that skills do make up for some shortcomings after all.
With race horses, it definitively was an advantage not to have to watch my weight.

Margie Goldstein is supposed to be only 5' tall and I don't think anyone questions her ability on big horses and at the top, so getting there can be done even if very short.

I am surprised that size itself would be considered a disability.:confused:

whicker
Aug. 10, 2010, 02:03 PM
The disability is defined as being under 4'10" by the Social Security Agency. I have copied the link to a useful set of guidelines from the University of Kansas. These are handy for knowing the etiquette of talking about disabilities, especially with those who have them.

I know excellent riders who have the art to ride the big horses by balance and training the horses to nuance. I personally like learning from them, since they can't muscle a horse.



http://www.rtcil.org/products/RTCIL%20publications/Media/Guidelines%20for%20Reporting%20and%20Writing%20abo ut%20People%20with%20Disabilities.pdf

gdolapp
Aug. 13, 2010, 03:08 AM
Thoose that know me overlook mine thoose that know me and haven't
seen me or know of my accident and what happened can tell there
is something wrong and usually ask about it.

I walk crooked resulting in breaking my back in three places and my spine
being so disaligned that one hip is higher than the other. I can not use
shoe inserts or a build up shoe because of my back so I guess I wobble
when I walk and yes sometimes I do fall down. Balance isuues
when I walk have become an issue (But not while I ride).

and my mind well somedays it is fried others it is ok. I was told that my
brain can handle only the everyday pain from my back and hip and that
if I have any pain other than that, the pain overloads my brain,
wich is part of having PTSD. I just suck it up and keep truckin doing
what I can when I can.

Now depression. Don't want to admit it but yes I am. After 40 years
of being able to do almost anything and now almost three years
of being able to do almost nothing (life long weight lifting restriction of
10 pound or less, can not sit or stand for lengthy period of time) really
gets depressing. Being petrified to walk in snow or ice doesn't help
matters so I become a hermitt in the winter time. I rarely go anywhere
in winter and if I do it is with hubby or another adault than can
actually help stabalize me as I walk in snow or ice. I make sure
my kitchen cupboards and pantry along with freezer is stocked before
winter snow hits, I collect books and computer games from garage
sales and such in summer so when winter hits I have things to keep
my mind busy. I try to keep my mind as busy as it can be so that
I don't think about what I could do versus what I can do now.

As far as people looking at me or what not. I am a country girl through
and through I grew up with the attitude that "If you don't like what
you see or the way I look then you don't have to look"

msilver
Oct. 4, 2011, 05:12 PM
Hi Everyone!

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Jaegermonster
Oct. 5, 2011, 08:09 PM
I'll throw in a comment because I'm interested in this group's response. The original poster was asking about how others explain their invisible disabilities to people, in the context of "I can't do as much as you expect and here's why." Speaking as the person you might be offering this explanation to, I'll say I don't need a whole lot of information, but if you don't tell me something, I won't know -- I won't know to cut you a little slack if you look tired, I won't know that inviting you to join us for a beer after an evening at the barn might be the wrong thing to do, I won't know to give you a call if I haven't seen you at the barn for a few days. It's really hard for the others around you to know what expectations to have -- if I lump you in with "all 40-y-o horse owners" I'll have one set of expectations, but if I know you identify better with "4o-y-o horse owners who live with a chronic disease" I'll have a different set --- if you don't provide even a little information. I find this, often, with volunteers at the therapeutic program where I teach. We try to accept everyone at face value, so I don't ask a lot of questions but wait for people to tell me what I need to know. And saying, "I'm just not very strong" can mean "I want to lift every heavy object to build up my strength" or "don't ask me to lift the heavy stuff because I'm going to drop it" -- so tell me what the implications are for the setting we're in, please. I don't need to know your entire medical history or your diagnosis unless you want to tell me - but do tell me "if I have to lead a horse in two classes in a row my blood sugar is going to bottom out, so I'm going to need to run to the car in between and get some crackers." I can work with that! Does this make sense, from your point of view?

That makes perfect sense and bless you for being so thoughtful.

that said, sometimes I wish I could make others understand what it's like to have an "invisible" illness, and other times I dont' want any one at all to know anything about it because I want my old life back and I want to be able to do the same things as everyone else.
I was a dynamo, healthy as a horse, until about 3 years ago when I was diagnosed with Latent Auto Immune Diabetes in Adults. Since then I have also been diagnosed with Hashimotos, and in may spent a week in the hospital with Shingles and Viral Meningitis. I rode one of my horses this morning before work for about 20 minutes and thought I was going to die. It really sucks.

downen
Oct. 6, 2011, 11:08 AM
That makes perfect sense and bless you for being so thoughtful.

that said, sometimes I wish I could make others understand what it's like to have an "invisible" illness, and other times I dont' want any one at all to know anything about it because I want my old life back and I want to be able to do the same things as everyone else.
I was a dynamo, healthy as a horse, until about 3 years ago when I was diagnosed with Latent Auto Immune Diabetes in Adults. Since then I have also been diagnosed with Hashimotos, and in may spent a week in the hospital with Shingles and Viral Meningitis. I rode one of my horses this morning before work for about 20 minutes and thought I was going to die. It really sucks.

Jaegermonster, please don't give up hope. Like you, I have multiple "invisible" diseases: MS, Addison's Disease, Hashimotos, Pernicious Anemia, POTS, and I think I'm developing Chron's. Four years ago I could barely walk up the stairs, but with stubborn persistance, I have gotten the medical care I needed and now I'm back riding again. I will never be as strong as in my 20s, but this summer I not only showed regularly, but put up 600 bales of hay. I take care of my five horses at home every day, too. Keep your eye on the prize and make the most of what you can. I believe horses are medicine all by themselves. :)

Jaegermonster
Oct. 6, 2011, 02:00 PM
Thanks. I'm having a particularly rough week right now, and being out of commission most of the summer is really starting to get to me. Now the weather is nice, cubbing starts next weekend and I'm wondering if I can go out and play. I whip in and worked too hard to get there to just quit.
I'm going, damn the torpedoes but I can't help but wonder at what cost. It is what it is I suppose.

downen
Oct. 6, 2011, 02:58 PM
JM, the hardest thing for me was adjusting to what I couldn't do anymore. It takes a bit. 20 years ago I evented at Training level, now I'm doing schooling show CTs with crossrails. But know what? I'm enjoying the heck out of it. So even if you just get out and hilltop a bit, enjoy the heck out of whatever you can manage. Steven Jobs had some very astute things to say about living the best life we can while we are here on earth. Carpe Diem!

Grace67
Oct. 6, 2011, 07:43 PM
as disabilities until the past few years. I've lived 20+ years with Hashimotos and have always been more susceptible to bugs going round. For the past few years I've been dealing with a knee that is getting worse and worse and am now facing a LTKR end of November. The thyroid issue coupled with perimenopause makes me tired, cold, achy and struggling to get through days sometimes.

At first I was very excited about the idea of getting a new knee at the ripe old age of 42 but after my pre-op "clearance" appointment with my family doc on Monday I'm feeling nervous and apprehensive. My lab work came back looking beautiful except for slight neutropenia (didn't even know what this was until this week) which puts me at slightly higher risk of infections and we're not sure why this level has been dropping for the past 18 months. He also gently chided to me that I might not feel great for at least a year after my knee replacement and who knows when I might ride again.

On the exterior I am a solidly built, confident and upbeat working mom with two horses. Not many know what I deal with on a daily basis. I've really noticed how much I've deteriorated lately when I moved both horses home after boarding for many years, daily feeding and mucking stalls plus working a full time job and keeping up with an 8 year son and my husband can wipe me out. I hate asking for help and yet I'm going to need a lot of help when I'm recovering from the upcoming surgery.

How do you all keep your spirits up and feel like you're accomplishing your goals and not being left behind? Better yet how did you adapt when you finally realized you weren't what you used to be?

Bluey
Oct. 8, 2011, 02:15 PM
When you are not what you used to be, first, you realize even the smuggest youngster will be there some day, if they are lucky.
Just as we have the word by the tail with a downhill pull for so long, there will come the time where that won,t be so for all of us, if we live long enough.
Second, you do what you have always done, adapt, use what you have learned to do a good job with what you have on hand and cut back what you cant handle comfortably any more.

Mostly, just count yourself lucky to have enough to be running your own show, for as long and as big or small as you can manage.:cool:

If managing horses will become hard at home, lease them, sell them, board them until you are back on your feet, provide well so your life can keep running smooth, that will help you heal best.

A friend had serious knee surgery and now is back to running track, but will have to wear a brace for another year yet.
You can ride with a knee brace.:yes:

Grace67
Oct. 11, 2011, 11:39 AM
Thanks Bluey :)

I realized this past weekend as I was herding my fjords into their stalls for their evening feed that I am right where I'm supposed to be with the horses I have. No they aren't fancy and my hopes of showing at higher levels probably won't become a reality but they are safe and sturdy and easy keepers and horses that I can manage on my own. I've adapted in many ways and even set up my tiny barn and turnouts in such a way that is easier for me to manage. Yes I pay more for hay to be delivered and stacked and I can't schlep 50 pound sacks of feed anymore but I still make do.

So as you say I will continue to plug along and enjoy every moment with them in my life and hopefully pass along some of my passion for them to my son.

Bluey
Oct. 11, 2011, 12:42 PM
I am on a lifetime restriction of no more strenuous work, not lifting more than 50 lbs and only when absolutely necessary, no pulling, pushing or straining and right now, after shoulder surgery, no lifting more than 20lbs for now.

So, I traded my gator for a little toy tractor, a glorified riding mower for the yard with a belly mower, that has hydraulics and a bucket and pallet points and three point hitch, 25 hp.
I have a big tractor, but it doesn't fit every place too easily with the cab on it and it is hard to get up there many times for little stuff.
I am keeping it in the garage, uses less room than a car.
I can get in and out the toy tractor easier than in the gator.
That toy tractor is letting me clean after the horses witihout needing to lift buckets, I just clean directly onto the bucket and dump into the manure spreader, put the pallet forks and a wooden pallet and roll bales of hay on it to move hay around, etc.
No more lifting stuff onto the gator or pickup bed.
That is the handiest little toy, can even pull the welder or manure spreader, or a cart with grooming supplies and saddles.
I can put fence posts on it without needing to lift those up on something, the bucket or pallet forks do that for me.

We find ways to do what we want to do for as long as we can, one way or another.:)

Penthilisea
Oct. 13, 2011, 12:49 AM
I've also found a lot of issues having an "invisible" illness and being somewhat young. I've been out grocery shopping with my mum, and she had just had carpal tunnel surgery, and we asked the cashier to call someone to help us load stuff into our car. The cashier took a LONG look up and down at me before lazily paging for help. I could have cried I was so upset. :( I'm sorry you can't see my bulging disks, previously fractured spine, fibromyalgia, etc, but really?

EvieG13
Nov. 11, 2011, 10:50 PM
He also gently chided to me that I might not feel great for at least a year after my knee replacement and who knows when I might ride again.


My barn owner has RA and just had her 2nd knee replaced this week. She is planning to be on the horses again in 2-4 weeks!!! Taking a bunch of precautions, no stirrups, no posting, etc but still. Her doc said probably 6 weeks to ride again so she's pushing of course. She is also at 70* of flex after 4 days. She says the key is to DO THE EXERCISES. She gets up every hour for 15 minutes and walks and does exercise until she is getting dizzy then rests for 45 min and does it all again. She is doing tons of hand weights and core exercises to keep fit too.

Now all that being said I'm also of the opinion that she is pretty much Superwoman (and of course everyone is individual) so don't beat up on yourself if this sounds unrealistic! She was also born with RA so she's been dealing with it forever and is pretty used to the routine.


Now me I have TONS of issues. LOL It really really sucks having to get used to a whole new normal.

cadriver
Nov. 12, 2011, 12:36 AM
I've also found a lot of issues having an "invisible" illness and being somewhat young. I've been out grocery shopping with my mum, and she had just had carpal tunnel surgery, and we asked the cashier to call someone to help us load stuff into our car. The cashier took a LONG look up and down at me before lazily paging for help. I could have cried I was so upset. :( I'm sorry you can't see my bulging disks, previously fractured spine, fibromyalgia, etc, but really?

Well don't sweat the small stuff, haveing just reached the 20 year mark of being paralyzed, in a wheel chair and I'm at the ripe age of 44.. I have many a time pulled into the handicapped parking space and have people glare at me because I'm young and couldn't possibly be disabled. But rather then have that be a negative. I'm happy that people care enough to glare:-) So yes, my disablility is obvious, but many who are disabled spend a life time trying to not look disabled:-) And the loaders etc are always slow to arrive at stores, My solution is to push the cart out into the parking lot from my wheelchair and proceed to struggle loading the stuff, eventually someone stops and helps or the loader eventually arrives:-) Or if that isn't an option I patiently wait until someone comes to help.... That is the one thing I have learned being disabled is Patience!!

Diane Kastama