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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 2008
    Posts
    878

    Default Riding with Multiple Sclerosis or degenerative discs?

    Hello!

    I am bless with the most amazing mother on the planet, but she is a captive of the disease multiple sclerosis.

    She rode and had horses throughout her youth and I'd like to help her get back into riding. She is blessed with minimal symptoms and is fully functioning due to diet control and conscientious resting, she is not on any MS related medication.

    Her biggest triggers are stress and heat which I think are easily avoidable. She is very fit walks 3 miles twice a day and lifts weight every other day so I think riding is not going to be too big of a physical problem.

    She also has had two back surgeries due to degenerative discs and is fully healed from them. I worry more about her back then the MS.

    So anyone else ride with MS or have delt with degenerating discs?
    “It's about the horse and that's it.” - GM

    !! is the new .



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2004
    Location
    Holland Twp., NJ
    Posts
    2,517

    Default

    My understanding is that both mounting and un mounting, as well as smoothness of gait are all critical for these situations. I would reccomend a custom built mounting block, high and solid, so she can sit *down* on the horse. You may also want to look at gaited horses to avoid the posting/sitting trot issue. BarbaraJ11 I think started the Horseless riders and Ridersless horses thread because she needs a gaited horse due to back issues.
    Additionally, it should go without saying that all riders who have ongoing back injuries can be benefited from wearing a safety vest, which will reduce impact from falls (but not crushing falls.)
    Best of luck finding your mom a way to ride, if you live close to NJ let me know!
    Do not take anything to heart. Do not hanker after signs of progress. Founder of the Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Smile

    There are lots of us on the board. I suggest you PM Nemo and ask for Mary Jordan. She is a MS spokesperson and a grade 4 rider. She is the organizer of the clinic in Maine that is on the board. Learn about the clinic, there are opportunities to learn from some of the best in a supportive atmosphere.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    3,240

    Default

    agree with the high mounting block idea; i volunteered for 5 yrs at a TR barn, and we had a client with MS. she found it easiest to mount from the ramp, where she could sit palfrey on the horse and then swing her bad leg over.

    she found riding to be very helpful (as well as just liking the horses ). what was interesting was that she could not voluntarily bend her bad leg at the knee, but when we asked her to lean over and hug the horse, both the good and bad legs instantly bent to wrap around the horse's barrel.

    we had to keep a close eye on the temps though, and make sure we always had cold water for her if she got too hot. we also had one of the PT's keep an eye on her during the summer.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Question

    What does "sit palfrey" mean?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    3,240

    Default

    i was trying to find an image, but all i'm getting is the mayflower madam....

    sit absolutely sideways, as opposed to sidesaddle. this is the way ladies used to ride in the middle ages; the saddles were long and flat so that they sat basically at a 90 degree angle to the long axis of the horse.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 9, 2008
    Posts
    2,887

    Default

    This is me!!! MS and degenerative disc issues

    Right now I am nursing a torn rotator cuff and a popped achilles so mounting and dismounting are both out of the question.

    A wide stable block or ramp and being able to lean over the horse to mount was good for me. Once I had my body positioned on the horse I could easily swing my leg over, raise my torso and find my stirrups. I found with my height that a 15 hh horse was perfect for me. Any taller and I couldn't do it without pain. Dismounting always had to be done at the ramp for me.
    I Loff My Quarter Horse & I love Fenway Bartholomule cliques

    Just somebody with a positive outlook on life...go ahead...hate me for that.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2003
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    195

    Default

    A cooling vest from Cool Medics can really help keep the core temperature down to combat the MS heat sensitivity.
    Carol

    www.HorseGiftsandArt.com offers a unique selection of horse art, jewelry, gifts, plush horses and equestrian home decor



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Location
    Orlean, Va
    Posts
    2,060

    Lightbulb Create the ideal mounting block

    I bet they lost a lot of Ladies,when they rode palfrey. Was the horse a different shape, too? I read about palfreys and I assumed that that meant a mare. Any medevial (sp?) scholars out there?

    I am asking smartpak to create a high mounting block for us. Please give me lots of feedback. I have asked for a collapsible feature for travelling. what is on your wish list?



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2006
    Location
    Lucama, NC
    Posts
    5,868

    Default

    DEgenerative disc disease, wow, I am the POSTER CHILD for that one! LOL I ahve had this since I was a teenager and now am 51 years old. I have had three sugeries, the alst being in 1989 where they fused my spine and put in three metal plates. Awful surgery and recovery, but I ride with no issues other than sitting trot is difficult. I am VERY stiff and walk like I am leaning into a stiff breeze! But I still lift 50# bags of feed and hay and work hard on the farm, so yes it can be done. Cannot comment on the MS however.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2007
    Posts
    3,007

    Default

    I just found out a month ago that I have a degenerative disc as well (I am 36). So far, I go to regular chiro appointments and am to do exercises to help stregthen my core. At first my chiro didn't want me to ride at all (well, he still doesn't), but he felt guilty about taking something away from me that I love so much. As a compromise, I told him I'd lay off the jumping for a while and I bought a Thinline pad to see if that would help any.

    Anyway, I'm really interested in the responses here since this is pretty new to me. Thank you for starting this thread, OP.
    "It is not necessary for you to let everyone know everything about you. In fact, it is probably wise that you don't. There are some things that you need only discuss with God."



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    20,381

    Default

    Not to minimize any one's problems but I would be extremely surprised if every single one of us on COTH didn't have degenerative disc disease to some extent. I was first diagnosed at age 16 with it in my lower back. Now that I am older its in my neck as well. Its the nature of the beast with equestrians. A good chiro is priceless.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 13, 2008
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    794

    Default

    I have degenerative disc and degenerative joint disease. They are the least of MY spine problems. I also have severe spinal stenosis with much resultant nerve damage,+ three herniated discs as well. Not supposed to ride at all but took it back up after 12 yrs , last yr. I find the only way I can mount is to be the same height as her back and just then slide on. I do this with my aluminum step ladder. Just plunk it down and climb up and on. On days when I have no feeling or am very numb it is harder but I make it work. Where there is will there is a way. Not looking forward to the day where I have to remount, without my ladder, would likely have to walk home.

    Dont have MS so no suggestions there.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
    Posts
    3,240

    Default

    I bet they lost a lot of Ladies,when they rode palfrey. Was the horse a different shape, too? I read about palfreys and I assumed that that meant a mare. Any medevial (sp?) scholars out there?
    it was nice if the horse had a very smooth or easy rolling gait.



    A cooling vest from Cool Medics can really help keep the core temperature down to combat the MS heat sensitivity.
    ooh, excellent idea! i run into that former client occasionally at the grocery; i'll have to remember to mention this to her...



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 13, 2003
    Location
    California USA
    Posts
    740

    Default

    I have had several clients that had me make sidesaddles for them so they could continue riding in spite of their physical issues. In Washington State I made a black Western sidesaddle with a siderail for an MS patient. I also made up a Western off-side for a lady in the Mid-West who had lost he right leg to cancer of the bone. Many of my clients have back problems and the sidesadlde allows them to ride in a sitting position keeping their back straight up and down. Astride they would have an S curve to their low back causing lots of pain.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2009
    Posts
    34

    Default Riding with Multiple Sclerosis or degenerative discs?

    SadlMaker
    what part of WA are you in? contact info? i might need to call on you as we get our Equine Assisted Therapy up for our wounded warriors.

    Thankyou
    Heartbeat Warrior
    www.heartbeatforwarriors.org



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,507

    Default

    My mother has MS and is in the later phases. Your mom sounds as if she is early and could be just fine, but there should probably be somebody available to handle horse care if she "crashes". For example if she overheats and needs to stop riding then untacking the horse and putting it away really should be done by someone else or she will just exacerbate her issue and possibly cause a flare. It's a sucky disease, just keeps taking away your ability to do anything.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2002
    Location
    north carolina
    Posts
    304

    Default

    If you search "cooling vests" you'll find a product that will help your mother stay cool. I have tried it and it works. I also am very heat intolerant. They sell three different levels of cooling vests and wraps including headbands which will keep your mother cool. Horse stores sell a cute but very( 3X) expensive vest that are made of the same fabric. I bought a neck wrap to see if it helps and it really makes a huge difference for me. I use it anytime I'm outside in the heat and heat for me is 75 and above! I don't have MS just most of the symptoms, unknown diagnosis.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2002
    Location
    north carolina
    Posts
    304

    Default cooling

    If you search "cooling vests" you'll find a product that will help your mother stay cool. I have tried it and it works. I also am very heat intolerant. They sell three different levels of cooling vests and wraps including headbands which will keep your mother cool. Horse stores sell a cute but very( 3X) expensive vest that are made of the same fabric. I bought a neck wrap to see if it helps and it really makes a huge difference for me. I use it anytime I'm outside in the heat and heat for me is 75 and above! I don't have MS just most of the symptoms, unknown diagnosis.



  20. #20
    Marissa Stashenko Guest

    Default

    Hi Everyone!

    I have been reading all of your posts about riding with MS and degenerated discs and I wanted to suggest OnTyte Magnetic Stirrup System as a sitrrup option. It is a relatively new product that has really taken off in the jumper ring, especially with top international grand prix riders (Laura Kraut, Nick Skelton, Richard Spooner, Micheal Whitaker, and many more!) It has also proven to be extremely effective for riders with disabilities since the magnets in the boots and the stirrup help to keep the stirrups in place with little effort.

    Christine Righeimer, who has MS, says "There are not enough words to describe how much [OnTyte] has helped me ride with my MS. I can stop worrying about losing my stirrups when I lose feeling in my feet and be a more confident rider again”

    Check out the website, www.ontyte.com
    For updates about OnTyte, and show results from OnTyte riders, become a fan on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pa...9604122?ref=ts)
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    Feel free to email with questions, ontyte@gmail.com



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