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Eventing with successive hip injuries

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  • Eventing with successive hip injuries

    52/53 next month and this past Sunday had a horse who slipped upon landing a modest log jump, went down in front and pitched me off, where I of course, landed like a sack of potatoes on my left hip and shoulder. He's fine and I'm okay, just once again a bit banged up and chasing ibuprofen with tylenol. I've been riding all of my life and have had several bad (at least to me) falls where I landed on either hip (I ALWAYS land on one hip or the other!) and sustained quite startling bruising as a result. Have gone to the ED and had plain films done which showed no obvious bony damage; just obvious contusion. However, those repetitive insults to my hips are coming home to roost and I have pretty constant dull hip pain and periods of flare which I'm certain are trochanteric bursitis. My mobility is fine, just rather painful at times. Jumping does exacerbate it a bit; where riding on the flat seems to actually help loosen things up.

    I've got a nice horse that if fun to ride, but he's 17hds and the law of averages dictates that the more you jump the more your risk of hitting the ground increases. So what do I do? Start riding in padded motorcycle pants, i.e. ??

    I don't want to quit, but I admit to the fear of coming off and finally really doing a number on one hip or the other. Any advice. I did see Denny Emerson's post this past Saturday on Facebook which was on point.
    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
    Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog

  • #2
    My opinion as to the best way to mitigate falls and increase safety is to focus on solid equitation (not the USEF kind). The better your position and the strength/flexibility of muscles in that position, the better we handle horse missteps and refusals without a fall.

    As we age, correct equitation becomes more and more paramount. We don't have the strength to hide mistakes anymore. Something as simple as keeping heels "down" and elbows to your side become very important in keeping us in balance with our horses.

    I'm 54.


    • #3
      Maybe also consider changing the horse you're riding. 17h is a long distance from the ground... a 15h horse gets you closer to the ground (by 8") and maybe easier to ride (smaller rib cage).

      Yes, aging s*cks for sure... my condolences on something I have yet to figure out how to avoid
      When you start to observe, you become more effective... your movements soften, you see more, you are more available to becoming a team member. Be an Observer first, a Handler second.


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by Where'sMyWhite View Post
        Maybe also consider changing the horse you're riding. 17h is a long distance from the ground... a 15h horse gets you closer to the ground (by 8") and maybe easier to ride (smaller rib cage).

        Yes, aging s*cks for sure... my condolences on something I have yet to figure out how to avoid
        I've got a 2 year old Fjord gelding growing up in my pasture right now as a step-down mount, but I love the big sweet gelding I'm riding now. He's very honest, and he's beginning to gel enough that a HT is doable. But yes, it is a long way down.

        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
        Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


        • #5
          Agree with Reed on position. Another issue if you have had a series of accidents is that you have probably been compensating for injured areas, making them even weaker, which increases your likelihood of falling. I would consult a good PT and get an assessment of strength etc. I injured my knee a few years ago and had it surgically repaired. Did the PT then, and again after a second surgery to have the metal out. Now 4 years later, I am back in PT, because I have been favoring that side without realizing it, and it is getting weaker. Even after a few weeks of exercises, I feel better.

          I am working with a 4 year old, and I am 58 (how did that happen?). I wear a Beta 3 vest every ride for now (to help with bruising. I have no illusions), and I got a dandy new pair of Acavallo safety stirrups that have improved my leg position immeasurably.


          • #6
            I had my hip replaced 7 years ago- and am jumping and competing once again at Prelim. I had trochanteric bursitis in the other hip and had it I injected inJan- so if you think you have bursitis- get it treated! Quick, easy and feels so much better. I worry about coming off and ruining my 30,000 investment, but what has helped the most has been falling off and not having lasting effects. I am careful , don’t jump anything without a vest now, but am much better balanced and comfortable with the surgery than before. Get the pain diagnosed and treated so you can ride correctly- it helps a lot...


            • Original Poster

              I could jump in my vest but it won't protect my hips so I do think I'm going to buy a pair of the padded hip protector shorts and pull them on over my breeches, at least to school in. I don't care what it looks like. Checking into them further, they are also worn by figure skaters and roller bladers to prevent hip injuries. My coach has recommended her sports therapy guy to see about some PT too.

              And I totally agree about working on my equitation to make me as solid as can be to avoid unplanned dismounts as much as possible. But like this past Sunday, my horse slipping on landing and falling, was an accident where I wasn't going to stay in the saddle.
              Last edited by FatCatFarm; Jul. 26, 2019, 11:13 AM.
              Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
              Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


              • #8
                Some of the European style air vests seem to protect further down. I love my air vest but tend to land flat on my back.
                "Punch him in the wiener. Then leave." AffirmedHope


                • Original Poster

                  I honestly dont know if my hips are going to tolerate much more jumping as the shorter stirrup length and piston effect seems to aggravate things, whereas riding dressage with a longer leg is more comfortable. Thst and a narrow twist of course.
                  Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                  Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                  • #10
                    Really sharpening up your position, working with a good sports PT and exercising out of the saddle for strength and mobility are key.

                    Beyond that, find an orthopedic doc in whom you have faith and get evaluated. If he suggests injections, think about them. My spinal injections gave me 4 more years of jumping and I even managed a T3D. When he says "no more jumping" take it seriously. After a bit of pushback of course.

                    I'm 67, have had a partial hip replacement secondary to a dislocation and fracture (yeah, that might have involved a fall from a horse), been told that at least one knee needs to be replaced but it doesn't hurt enough yet.

                    What stopped me from jumping was when the neurosurgeon looked at my spine MRI, asked how long I'd been in the NFL, and then mentioned that another fall from a horse would likely result in loss of function in the lower extremities. He said I could do dressage and trail riding if I was careful. So I am, and I had the humility to send my 3 yo homebred out to a trainer rather than do it myself.

                    Horses are an addiction. Have to find a doc who's an enabler, but will help you recognize reasonable limits.
                    They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by frugalannie View Post
                      I'm 67, have had a partial hip replacement secondary to a dislocation and fracture (yeah, that might have involved a fall from a horse), been told that at least one knee needs to be replaced but it doesn't hurt enough yet.
                      LMAO!!! You're illustrating my point! It ain't called "horse crazy" for nuthin'.

                      You know, I'm not really sure that it's worth it to me. After 7 yrs of pursuing the eventing thing while still working full time. I'm tired. I have a day job and have to ride after work when I'm already tired and that just opens up the margin for error even more. I'm listening to my body and trying to be smart and it's telling me that too many more impacts with the ground are not in my best interest. Frankly, with my job, hellish commute, family, farm, my 14 year old's school and band obligations, I don't know where I would squeeze in PT appointments and still have time for any riding.

                      It sort of makes me feel like a failure, but I also feel like I'm beating myself up solidiering on with it. Again, horse falls happen, and having good equitation is not going to save me if my horse goes down like he did Sunday, two weeks ago. Prior to my horse going down, I was riding my other horse and he pulled his kick out over the jump to pop me loose in the tack, then dive onto his forehand upon landing and then bolt. Three years ago, that got me lawn darted and broken ribs; two weeks ago, I was able to ride through it. But then my next ride, my horse falls and I hit the dirt anyway. Shit!

                      Thanks for listening. I'm probably going to finally capitulate and just do dressage and trail ride. Not as exciting as eventing but not as hard on the body either. I would like to still be able to walk when I'm 70.
                      Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses on Facebook
                      Fat Cat Farm Sporthorses Website and Blog


                      • #12
                        This is exactly why I became a CDE driver.