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TheHorseProblem
Apr. 18, 2010, 09:05 PM
Cross-posting from Off Course:

First, let me say that I ride in a dressage saddle, a Passier GG. I don't do anything fancy, just maybe first level riding. I am used to riding older horses, so mostly I just plunk around.

In the past year, I have started dealing with achy hips. I have been diagnosed with bursitis, possible arthritis, I don't know but I'm seeing a doctor soon.

Today I was noticing that when I took my feet out of the stirrups and let my leg hang down, I felt a pinching in my hip. But when I bent my knee, this relieved the pinching. What I want to know is if any of you have experienced anything similar, and would switching to a CC saddle or something with a more forward flap take the pressure off my hips so I can keep riding? I can't really shorten the stirrups any further on my Passier without having my knee go over the knee roll.

Thanks for your input! (and thanks, Whicker)

dontcallmepat
Apr. 20, 2010, 08:47 PM
I would be interested in any advice on how to deal with hip bursitis; I was diagnosed with it recently and have started physical therapy. However, I can't ride now because I can't bend my right leg far enough to the right to sit in a saddle. It's very, very painful. So far the therapy doesn't seem to be helping much, but I just started 2 weeks ago....

I used teh google and someone said that accupuncture helped with the hip bursitis, so I'm thinking of trying that.

For some reason the muscles around my right hip joint are also very tight, so it's not just bursitis. I have no idea why I'm having this problem, though it might have been precipitated by an accident I had last fall--fell off of a horse, and dislocated my left elbow and hurt my lower back.

Anyway, I don't have any answers yet but I can sure relate!

rivenoak
Apr. 20, 2010, 11:17 PM
Sidesaddle?

You'll have a different stretch in the right hip, but wouldn't have to straddle the horse.

Anyone near you have one you could try?

dontcallmepat
Apr. 21, 2010, 10:48 PM
Hehe, now that's an idea! I have to admit, though, that I've never really liked the idea of riding sidesaddle. It just seems like it would be uncomfortable. Though I know I shouldn't knock it if I hadn't tried it. :)

At least we did rule out arthritis. So theoretically it is a temporary condition.

I still have hope that accupuncture or maybe a chiropractor can help.

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your thread, THP! Anyone have any advice for the OP?

Couture TB
Apr. 22, 2010, 12:57 AM
Well I have arthritis from advanced chronic lyme disease, and I found that before I had to stop riding it caused me much less pain in all my joints to ride in my jumping saddle with shorter stirrups. Don't know if that helps you, but it sure made my hips feel better riding shorter then I did in my dressage saddle. Something about when my legs would stretch out it would feel like my hips were being ripped apart. I have also found that for joint pain, everywhere in my body, wearing the stretcher shape up shoes when I do things makes everything feel better.

tollertwins
Apr. 22, 2010, 10:01 AM
Don't try to stretch way down if the hips are starting to go....they just won't go there. Also, you probably need the support from the stirrup to keep weight off of whatever is sore.

If you're going to SIT with shorter stirrups that's probably somewhat easier...but when I got really bad I couldn't 2 point to save myself, and I can't sit worth a damn with forward stirrups.

leslie645
Apr. 22, 2010, 11:11 AM
I have some joint probs too and I really like the Piriformis stretch before riding. My hips have a hard time opening up, lengthning leg...so I have found doing the piriformis stretches realllllllly helps me. Piriformis are the Hip rotator muscles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Z6jlBsgak0&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWfnAUsYUTI

On really bad days I use a western saddle, which seems to help.

TheHorseProblem
Apr. 10, 2011, 01:59 PM
I am bumping this thread because a year later, I am still dealing with the bursitis but I have a new horse that I would hate to sell if I can't find a way to keep riding.

I took the advice of many and upped the pain meds, so that helps a lot.

I have done PT, and am now doing Pilates, which has really stabilized my hip joints and relieved pressure on them. I am sore the next day, but it still has made a huge difference.

I started wearing cushier shoes and looser clothing. More to the point, I have done everything anyone advised me to do and these are some of the things that have relieved soreness.

I also bought a new saddle, one that is much more padded and supportive. It fits me and my horse perfectly. However, I still wonder about the type of saddle. I still get sore from riding (less so than in my old saddle), but I want to continue three or four times a week. I am more sore if I canter a lot or sit the trot. I have also observed the close-to-if-not-80-year-old rider at the barn who goes happily around in her close contact saddle, posting trot or in 2 point.

So, does anyone have any more insights or similar experiences they can share with me?

dontcallmepat, any updates on your hip issues?

Bluey
Apr. 10, 2011, 02:09 PM
If you have hip issues riding, as you found out, you need to restrict the times you will be doing the kind of riding that stressed hips.
Don't do long stretches of sitting trot, keep changing to posting or walking.
Don't canter for long and if you are legging the horse, just don't sit in the saddle, try to stay out of it.

A bit shorter stirrups helps, too short also not good.

Mostly, take breaks here and there, if you can, get off and do other for a break, hand graze, walk around, longe a little, then get back on.

What hurts joints is repetitive motion, so don't do something like sitting trot for long, use interval training, with many changes.

That will also keep you more flexible.
Most western saddles do help, because there is more support there, as long as you also don't just do the same for very long.

TheHorseProblem
Apr. 11, 2011, 03:21 PM
If you have hip issues riding, as you found out, you need to restrict the times you will be doing the kind of riding that stressed hips.
Don't do long stretches of sitting trot, keep changing to posting or walking.
Don't canter for long and if you are legging the horse, just don't sit in the saddle, try to stay out of it.

A bit shorter stirrups helps, too short also not good.

Mostly, take breaks here and there, if you can, get off and do other for a break, hand graze, walk around, longe a little, then get back on.

What hurts joints is repetitive motion, so don't do something like sitting trot for long, use interval training, with many changes.

That will also keep you more flexible.
Most western saddles do help, because there is more support there, as long as you also don't just do the same for very long.

Thank you, Bluey. That is all good advice.

I think that all of this might mean that I am just not able to handle lessons anymore. My trainer notices how much more confident and assertive I was the last time, and that's true. I cantered so much more than usual, but paid a price for it with aching at night and not being able to sleep through it.

I also asked a friend if I could try riding in her close contact saddle, to see if that makes a difference.

lizathenag
Apr. 19, 2011, 03:47 PM
for what it is worth--
I sent my saddle off the be re-paneled and was given a loaner which seemed quite comfortable at the time. It had a wider twist. I could hardly walk the next day.

CHT
Apr. 19, 2011, 03:56 PM
A client of mine has bad hips; she made the switch to a close contact (from a dressage) and shorter stirrups and it has helped her be comfortable riding.

Natalie A
Apr. 29, 2011, 07:19 PM
Bumping this and have a slightly different problem trying to figure out what to do for saddles, choosing between a jumping saddle and a dressage saddle. For me it's a question of endurance and being able to trot for longer stretches of time without taking a break to stretch.

In theory, the jumping saddle that makes me work every fiber of my being (and wears me out quickly!) is best because it really gives me a great workout and strengthens everything... but what if I can do more now (i.e., trot for 10 minutes at a time like I used to be able to) in the new dressage saddle? Maybe for now it's better to ride in the more supportive saddle and get my endurance up. But it kind of feels like a cop out...

TheHorseProblem
May. 1, 2011, 12:32 AM
Bumping this and have a slightly different problem trying to figure out what to do for saddles, choosing between a jumping saddle and a dressage saddle. For me it's a question of endurance and being able to trot for longer stretches of time without taking a break to stretch.

In theory, the jumping saddle that makes me work every fiber of my being (and wears me out quickly!) is best because it really gives me a great workout and strengthens everything... but what if I can do more now (i.e., trot for 10 minutes at a time like I used to be able to) in the new dressage saddle? Maybe for now it's better to ride in the more supportive saddle and get my endurance up. But it kind of feels like a cop out...

It shouldn't! Hey, whatever it takes to keep riding. Is there any reason why you must choose between one or the other. My trainer suggested that I alternate saddles.

TheHorseProblem
May. 1, 2011, 12:35 AM
for what it is worth--
I sent my saddle off the be re-paneled and was given a loaner which seemed quite comfortable at the time. It had a wider twist. I could hardly walk the next day.

Interesting. I theorize that I developed bursitis from riding bareback so often. It was just because my horse was lame. It didn't improve my seat any.:)

walktrot
May. 1, 2011, 08:54 AM
I have an achey right hip, but don't know why. Could be the start of some arthritis, or maybe soft tissue inflammation, I guess. When I first started riding at age 53, I had a lot of problems with sore hips and knees. I got the Sprenger 4-way stirrups, which were the only jointed stirrups at the time, and got rid of the soreness. I also invested in the Prestige leathers that are wrapped and stitched. This took the torque off my legs and made things a lot more comfortable.

amastrike
May. 3, 2011, 09:59 PM
For hip bursitis, go to a doctor who's a DO (doctor of osteopathy)... either an ortho or a PCP. They can inject the joint which will probably help you a lot. A nurse where I work has bursitis in her hips and gets injections from one of the doctors periodically. She raves about how wonderful it is. She doesn't ride, but it would probably still be helpful.

TheHorseProblem
May. 3, 2011, 11:42 PM
I get my hips injected like clockwork, every three months. I ice them every night, sometimes twice, and use a TENS unit. I do stretching and Pilates. All of these things help, but I think it's just chronic, and I need to learn how to live with it. The article in the new USDF magazine is really encouraging.

There are two young women at the barn battling breast cancer. There are worse things than bursitis! You have all given me good ideas on how to extend my riding life.

Bluey, I got off and walked mid-ride as you suggested. That was really helpful!

Halcyon Days
May. 4, 2011, 01:13 PM
I ride endurance AND have rheumatoid arthritis, whats worked for me is a narrower horse, supportive saddle w/very wide padded stirrups. My mare is pretty hot, so no leg contact and minimal cues needed. When I switch to a wider and green filly who needs lots of contact, cues, I'm in agony afterwards. Maybe school for more lightness in your horse--I cluck instead of squeeze for example, and then use a crop as backup if I don't get a prompt "yes ma'am" Alternating sitting, posting and throwing in canter--keeping the joints moving really helps, sitting in one gait for too long is really hard for me, I'll actually get off on long rides and walk a few minutes to loosen the joints back up, stretching before and after the ride helps too

TheHorseProblem
May. 9, 2011, 12:23 AM
Last weekend I borrowed a friend's close contact saddle, and discovered that riding in a forward seat with a shorter stirrup does indeed take the pressure off my hips. I'm not cured of bursitis, that's for sure, but I could ride all three gaits and get a good night's sleep, not tormented with the burning in the hip sockets.

I am buying a new saddle.:):):)

TheHorseProblem
May. 14, 2011, 05:09 PM
I am riding in the close contact saddle as much as I ever did, just riding in a half seat or two point when I need a break.

I feel whole again.:yes:

New saddle next week!

ssharonec
Jun. 17, 2011, 01:35 AM
I was diagnosed with hip bursitis--which actually was bone-on-bone osteroarthritis in the hip joint. It's been awhile since you started this thread. If you haven't had your hip X-rayed--perhaps you need to nudge your doc. If, by chance, the bearing surfaces are damaged, the whole joint will stiffen with time because the muscles atrophy. A clue is if putting your socks on is difficult.

I had my hip resurfaced in 2006 and have ridden as much and as often as I wanted since. No silly young stock and no jumping--other than that, go for it.

Hope that the new saddle does the trick.

Cheers:

TheHorseProblem
Jun. 19, 2011, 08:14 PM
I was diagnosed with hip bursitis--which actually was bone-on-bone osteroarthritis in the hip joint. It's been awhile since you started this thread. If you haven't had your hip X-rayed--perhaps you need to nudge your doc. If, by chance, the bearing surfaces are damaged, the whole joint will stiffen with time because the muscles atrophy. A clue is if putting your socks on is difficult.

I had my hip resurfaced in 2006 and have ridden as much and as often as I wanted since. No silly young stock and no jumping--other than that, go for it.

Hope that the new saddle does the trick.

Cheers:

Wow, that is great that there was a surgical fix. But did you actually have bursitis, or was it really osteoarthritis? Was the bursitis a side effect of the joint problem?

I did have my hips x-rayed when I first went to the ortho doc for this problem. I also had the PT do the arthritis test and both tests were negative for arthritis. I was surprised to see that the joints looked as smooth as cue balls. However, since starting treatment, it seems like every borderline arthritic joint is creakier--my feet, my shoulders, my thumbs, etc. So perhaps I should ask for another x-ray. I'm due to go in this Wednesday.

In the meantime, I have continued to ride with not much additional pain. I call it a good day if I can walk the dogs, ride, and sleep through the night.

I had an interesting experience with a rental car the other day. It was a Dodge Charger. Not only were the new car fumes almost toxic, the seats were so cheap and uncomfortable, that after two days, we traded the car in for another make and model. It is counterintuitive that a softer seat would mean more irritation in the joint, but it does. It has really been true with the saddle.

ssharonec
Jun. 20, 2011, 02:05 AM
My experience was they jump to bursitis, give you a cortisone shot for it, and assume if you don't come back--it was bursitis. There are special views to get good hip films--frog leg position, etc.

I found that icing the hip for 15-20 minutes with a big gel pack or a large bag of frozen peas after exercise helped draw the inflammation out of the area. Hot baths also tend to make the joint tender, because they draw the inflammation closer to the surface. Hope your ortho can help you on Wednesday.

SEC

downen
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:22 PM
Reading through these posts, no one has mentioned supplements. We do them for our horses, why not for ourselves! I've had moderate arthritis in my hips since my late 20s (confirmed by xray). I have been on gloucosamine/chrondroitan for the last decade or more. I limp without it. I also take apple pectin capsules. I am fairly sound on that combination. A few years back I got a QH who is the eqivilant of an Angus steer. His wide back brought back all the aching. I bumped up my gloucosamine/chroindrointan with HA, and I'm sound again. :)

GallopHer
Jun. 20, 2011, 04:29 PM
After my hip surgery, my doctor recommended Osteo Bi-Flex. I'm not sure that it helps a lot, but I figure it's hurting nothing besides my wallet.

TheHorseProblem
Jun. 20, 2011, 10:21 PM
I have been taking joint supplements for around ten years. I wouldn't miss a day!

Also, I have been icing more efficiently lately by wearing bicycle shorts and putting the ice packs under the shorts. It puts pressure on the ice pack and intensifies the cold. I swear it's helping reduce the inflammation so I can sleep. Sounds weird but it works!

TheHorseProblem
Jul. 7, 2011, 08:39 PM
I am thrilled to report that I am back riding as much as I ever did, cantering, sitting the trot, etc. Not only that, but I am sleeping through the night and not having to wake up to ice or take ibuprofen. I would not say that I am bursitis free, but so many of the symptoms are under control, that it's like a background noise that I am only dimly aware of.

Here's everything I know about hip bursitis and riding:

Cortisone shots help, but are not a cure. Because the joint itself is not injected, you can safely get them every three months, according to my ortho MD.

Between Pilates, stretching, physical therapy, and chiropractic, a combination of stretching and Pilates have been the most helpful in stabilizing the hip joints and decreasing the irritation of the bursa.

Riding in a saddle that allows you to close your hip angle, such as a close contact or all-purpose, relieves the stress on the hip joints--a lot.

Daily TENS treatment decreases the inflammation and relieves pain.

Putting on a cheap pair of bicycle shorts and actually inserting the ice packs in the shorts sounds weird but it greatly increases the effectiveness of the ice treatment. I got the idea from reading about this weight loss method. It has really made a difference!

http://www.freezeawayfat.com/

Not sure about the fat reduction, though.;)

That's my story so far. Did I say how thrilled I am to be riding my horse and no longer thinking I would have to sell him and quit riding for good?:)