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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
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    VA
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    Default Dealing w/ Lupus/Fibro and horses?

    For those with Lupus or Fibro...how do you manage things and make horses part of your life?

    What works? What challenges do you run into?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  2. #2
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    Feb. 10, 2006
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    Middle of Nowhere, take a right, FL
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    The hardest part for me is just getting my a** in gear and getting out there. I find I eventually warm up enough to be able to (most of the time) ignore pain/stiffness and get things done. But getting out there in the first place is really really hard! It also sucks up your ambition.
    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

    Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2006
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    Maine
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    Default

    For me, riding seems to help. Doesn't worsen the fibro. I use muscle relaxers as needed.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 8, 2010
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    149

    Default

    Take a look at the Equestrians with Disabilities section -- there's a huge thread on fibro and if you post your own question there it'll get a lot of views and stay up longer.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 1, 2007
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    Gettysburg, PA
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    Default

    Some may also depend if you have both or do you have just one. Lupus can involve a whole host of issues beyond joint stiffness/soreness. I had to Dr shop as I had a couple tell me I had to stop horses - yeah right Obviously they don't know any horse people. My current Dr works with me to manage things and keep the farm running, but there are definitely bad days. Once I get going and feel a warm muzzle or hear the whinny when they see me, it gets much better
    Epona Farm
    Irish Draughts and Irish Draught Sport horses

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  6. #6
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    Sep. 25, 2005
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    The Land of the Frozen
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    I have fibro and I ride and trim horses. I refuse to lay down on a couch and wait to die, which is what some women with fibro seem to do. I have good days and bad days but I don't use the bad days as an excuse to lay in bed all day and do nothing.

    When we're doing something like hauling and stacking hay, I just take breaks as needed, I drink water and cool down, or whatever I have to do to be comfortable. I don't push myself to overload but I also don't just quit horse activities because of fibro.

    My doctor had told me that activity and regular exercise helps symptoms, and I would have to agree.

    But yes I've had days where it was all I could do to clean stalls, and I've had to reschedule a few trims before because I was in so much pain, but I get through the flare-up period and go on with life.

    I agree that sometimes it takes super-human strength to get out of bed on a Saturday morning to do chores and then go trim 7 horses, but once I'm dressed and out the door, things improve. I take ibuprofen as needed, and also amitryptilene at night before bed.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2006
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    Colorado- Yee Haw!
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    Default

    This is a little off topic, but I feel the need to share in case it would help anyone. I know two people who were diagnosed with Lupus who got it as a side effect of taking minocycline long term for acne. It took both of them ages to figure this out, but they both "recovered" after getting off the drug. I know how painful it was for one of them and how much it altered their life.

    I hope you get some good suggestions that help you!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    65

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    This is also a little off topic, but I did some research that suggests low Vitamin D levels mimic fibro at times. I have had ongoing muscle aches, spasms, joint pain for the last 6 months. I'm also on a statin drug so thought I was going thru a side effect of that. However, after having blood levels checked, my vitamin D levels were almost non-existent. Am now on high level prescription doses and pains are gradually going away.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2007
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    3,928

    Default

    My advice is only about fibro, as I have no personal experience with lupus.

    Quote Originally Posted by summerhorse View Post
    The hardest part for me is just getting my a** in gear and getting out there. I find I eventually warm up enough to be able to (most of the time) ignore pain/stiffness and get things done. But getting out there in the first place is really really hard! It also sucks up your ambition.
    This has been my problem. And I do sometimes get flare ups that are so bad, I can't do much. I free feed hay to most of my horses (who are pastured) and have an employee to do any feeding/cleaning if I have horses in for training in stalls, and reschedule anything but lessons where I'm sure all I'll have to do is stand (or sit) and teach.

    My biggest lifesaver has been to develop a management strategy that absolutely minimizes the amount of work I have to do. Since I free feed and have large stock tanks with float valves, I could disappear for a week (which is how long it takes them to run through a bale) and the ponies would never notice. Of course I wouldn't do that, but if I can't do much for a couple of days, they'll be fine until the flareup is over.

    Plus, I have limited energy and not spending that time doing chores allows me to have enough energy to ride all the horses I need to, which is generally 5-8 a day. I've seen a big difference since I changed my management practices.

    My biggest strategy is my support network, though. I was really struggling to keep up with things because my husband is on the road for 4-6 weeks at a home, and only home for a few days generally, so I was trying and really failing at doing everything on my own. But we got a friend to move in to do property maintenance and chores for me if I can't, I have a great neighbor who I can call if he can't do it, and I've worked to establish a network of local friends that help each other. I rarely ever have to call on anyone (except for the property maintenance, but I'm not sure I could do that all on my own even if I were totally able-bodied, not with the amount of horses I have to work to make a living ), but it's really good for peace of mind.

    But really, mostly it's not the end of the world if you stay active. I think this makes me sound kind of like an invalid, but really I ride 5-8 horses a day 6 days a week plus teach lessons, and on my day off I usually go for long 5-8 hour trail rides. I do all my own farrier work for 5 horses, and trim about 10-15 client horses. And while sometimes I have flareups where I can't do much of anything (I'm in one now, actually, and it sucks), they last for 2-3 days tops and then I can get back to work, even if gradually.

    Diet and staying active are the most important things, I think. If I take a couple of days off and just sit around, or I don't eat well for a couple of days, I'll have stronger symptoms. But at the same time, you have to know your limits and not push yourself too hard. I've found I don't recover from overstressing myself like I used to--and I'm still young enough, I shouldn't be saying that. It's all about finding a balance.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2006
    Location
    VA
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    Default

    Thanks all. I did end up posting on the other board per the recommendation. THanks for sharing your stories!
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 10, 2006
    Posts
    7,395

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    Quote Originally Posted by mizzaster View Post
    This is also a little off topic, but I did some research that suggests low Vitamin D levels mimic fibro at times. I have had ongoing muscle aches, spasms, joint pain for the last 6 months. I'm also on a statin drug so thought I was going thru a side effect of that. However, after having blood levels checked, my vitamin D levels were almost non-existent. Am now on high level prescription doses and pains are gradually going away.
    YES! I have chronically low Calcium and D levels due to a non-functioning parathyroid and one would not believe the havoc that can wreak on your body. Took several doctors and many hospital trips before anyone figured it out. Since correcting it 18 months ago I feel like a new person.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2005
    Posts
    1,389

    Default

    I have FM with fatigue. Riding makes me feel worse. I'm a dressage rider, and I board my horse in a heated barn/indoor. I don't handle the cold well. I'm not sure I have any good advice since its a constant challenge.

    I had somewhat low vit D levels but nothing amazing. VitD, Mg and Calcium helped me but didn't make a huge improvement.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008
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    Dutchess County, New York
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    Default

    Yes, and I'm sorry too to be a little off the OP's topic, but being in the midst of dealing with terrible Lyme disease in my 11 year old, please doublecheck that the lupus/fibro isn't actually Lyme. Probably you've done this, but if you haven't please consider it. Lyme isn't bad if it is caught early, and is a nightmare if allowed to go on a long time.

    I know the last time I had lyme my doctor also screened me for lupus since the symptoms were so similar.

    Good luck!



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