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getting back into riding shape after MONTHS off questions...

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  • getting back into riding shape after MONTHS off questions...

    So, I'm back on a horse, sorta - can just walk for 2 more weeks. Rasta is still with Lellie and will be for several more months. In the meantime, I've got to get myself back into riding shape. Will be cleared to start trotting in two more weeks as well as run (I'm sorta tippy - toeing running in place on very cushy grass or the carpeting right now ).

    Need to hear stories of how other eventers have gone about returning their bodies, muscle memory, all that stuff to riding again. Maybe the "just get out there and ride every day" thing will turn out best. In the meantime, I simply want some folks to share what they've done, so I can just know all the upcoming doubts and where did my "feel go", and "I can't even post, much less do two-point" feelings have been part of the process for others too...THANKS!!!!
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

  • #2
    I had a broken arm in August of 2007 at the age of 51. Did not ride for 5 months, was unable to do yoga and pilates for about 3 of those months. Through yoga and pilates I was able to slowly regain strength and flexibility. The first time I rode it was on a friends steady Eddy. In the mean time I was purchasing a new horse and spent quite a bit of time just walking him around and getting to know him. I would say it took a little over a year from when I had started back riding to really feel that I was in shape again to do some serious riding. Just finished a Horse Trials at Novice over the weekend and thinking about moving up to Training in the fall.
    1. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you have access to some water? Swimming is an excellent way to rebuild cardio and muscle. If you're breathing properly, it shouldn't be a strain on the injured site, but you might want to check with your doctor. Maybe even doing some water stuff that isn't swimming?

      Comment


      • #4
        I know that when I broke my shoulder (age 11), I was not riding for 9 months, and I honestly, just would go for long long walks with my mare. then slowly do some trot, then just build up. and by age 13 I felt like I was more fit than before. but dont let the two year gap freak you out--we were shopping for a new horse in that time and we all know how that goes.

        I know for my mom, between her leg being broken, her horse having a torn suspensory and a horrible feet issue, she was out of commission for probibly 2 years, and she is now getting back into shape. we just go for hacks outside (since I CANT stand the ring) and if we go for a long hack one day, the next day will be a shorter hack then another long hack. does that make sense?

        I have just started doing Yoga, for anxiety reasons, and it has helped my riding. I actually took a lesson from someone, a while back and they suggessted I do Yoga to strengthen my core.

        Good Luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jazzy Lady View Post
          Do you have access to some water? Swimming is an excellent way to rebuild cardio and muscle. If you're breathing properly, it shouldn't be a strain on the injured site, but you might want to check with your doctor. Maybe even doing some water stuff that isn't swimming?
          Agree with this. Also some light weights could help or if you arent a gym person barn chores work too. Stalls for back muscles, sweeping for arms, hay bales for abs, and moving jumps for legs
          RIP Charlie and Toby

          Comment


          • #6
            Yay, RFI!

            Given the nature of your injury, I would focus on your mobility and strength in the neck and shoulders. After having your neck immobilized for so long, your reflexes and strength there have got to be way behind the "rest of you", even with rehab. Our heads are heavy, especially with a helmet on, and when we ride we have to control that big floppy thing up there.

            Can your PT give you some pointers on building your neck/shoulder girdle up sort of above and beyond? You should get in touch with Medical Mike (haven't seen him here in a while)--he has a really good understanding of what riders-as-athletes have to contend with.
            Click here before you buy.

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by deltawave View Post
              Yay, RFI!

              Given the nature of your injury, I would focus on your mobility and strength in the neck and shoulders. After having your neck immobilized for so long, your reflexes and strength there have got to be way behind the "rest of you", even with rehab. Our heads are heavy, especially with a helmet on, and when we ride we have to control that big floppy thing up there.

              Can your PT give you some pointers on building your neck/shoulder girdle up sort of above and beyond? You should get in touch with Medical Mike (haven't seen him here in a while)--he has a really good understanding of what riders-as-athletes have to contend with.
              You nailed it, Lynn - it's most definitely my shoulders and the muscling in my neck that are weak and just stiff. I got to clean a stall last week at Lellie's clinic (WAY too many folks looking after me to do more ), but then my pony and rescue mare have been up the past two nights due to fireworks, so I did stalls two days in a row and am so happy to have done so. ( I broke my foot once and was in a plaster cast up to my knee for 10 weeks, was CONVINCED my back would atrophy from lack of stall cleaning!). Great idea about contacting Medical Mike - he can also help me have the words to use to talk with the physical therapist.

              I don't get evaluated for PT for another 2 weeks as neurologist wanted to see what would happen as I weaned off the neck collar - range of motion has improved at least 50% but now am looking forward to PT.

              So happy about all that's going on with you and your ponies!!!! Thanks for the help!
              ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

              Comment


              • #8
                Hey RunForIt,

                If you have access to a pool, as suggested before, that is a great way to both build strength and mobility in the shoulders/neck. It was recommended by my therapists, but I was a strong swimmer to begin with and had been doing it for fitness prior to my accident - that might make a difference. It was the most comfortable way for me to work through the full range of motion in my upper body.

                I have no idea what this machine is called, but it is like a stationary bike but for your upper body. You "pedal" with your arms. We had a couple of these at PT and they had me one these before the halo even came off to improve mobility.

                Lots of core work - pilates and traditional ab work - helped me as well. My posture was a mess after carrying around the halo for months and the ab work really helped with that.

                Yoga helped me as well, but I was under the supervision of a very well trained instructor who had a good understanding of my injury.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Arm ergometer.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #10
                    For the legs, I like to crank my stirrup leathers way up and work on 2 pt and posting. Really helps the quads. You can do it at a walk too which makes it pretty adaptable.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Right on Target View Post
                      For the legs, I like to crank my stirrup leathers way up and work on 2 pt and posting. Really helps the quads. You can do it at a walk too which makes it pretty adaptable.
                      hee hee, that's what I was doing when the kids spooked Rasta with those flags right in his face...but that will happen!

                      originally posted by KarenC:

                      If you have access to a pool, as suggested before, that is a great way to both build strength and mobility in the shoulders/neck. It was recommended by my therapists, but I was a strong swimmer to begin with and had been doing it for fitness prior to my accident - that might make a difference. It was the most comfortable way for me to work through the full range of motion in my upper body.

                      I have no idea what this machine is called, but it is like a stationary bike but for your upper body. You "pedal" with your arms. We had a couple of these at PT and they had me one these before the halo even came off to improve mobility.

                      Lots of core work - pilates and traditional ab work - helped me as well. My posture was a mess after carrying around the halo for months and the ab work really helped with that.

                      Yoga helped me as well, but I was under the supervision of a very well trained instructor who had a good understanding of my injury.
                      yes, I can get to several pools as well as the lake when its really calm so swimming I will go. I swam competively as a kid and love it...

                      Thanks DW for naming the arm thing: ergometer! Actually Joanie Benoit used one of those when she had to have knee surgery right before running the marathon qualifying trials!!!

                      Thanks everyone!
                      ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hmmm RunForIt, be careful with impact activities and double check about swimming.
                        As far as riding...you know, I don't think there is very much you can do to achieve balance muscles for riding except...ride. There is little that mimics posting, although I am sure the Pilates and core muscle exercises are great for much of what we do in the saddle.
                        I know you want to get on and ride, so my caution is that Rasta might not be perfect rehab horse because he may not have the things you need. For instance...having been in training...he's going to be more sensitive. If your leg swings, inadvertently, while you are balancing....off we go with the big trot -- uh oh!. Number two, you may not want to do a lot of WALK. Walking really twists your hips and core in and out and that might be too much for the neck. Actually a gentle western pleasure type jog trot, that you can post, is probably less impact, less tiring, less difficult -- and Rasta may not have that trot right now ( it's not a really correct one but we prayed to get the old western pleasure horses when I worked for the therapeutic riding center -- they were so much easier on the riders.)
                        Just my thoughts. I know you are careful but I would really ask questions of your neurologist and PT people and if you don't get very good answers find someone else to ask. I think all is good, and you are being smart, but don't push past what you can reasonably handle in your eagerness to be aboard.
                        It took me quite a bit longer with my ribs last fall than I realized I needed. I was back riding within a month and found it was simply too painful, and that was when they found the back problem that happened at the same time as the ribs, probably. Glad I was listening -- or I would have gone hunting with a broken back. Don't be stupid LIKE ME.
                        So go easy. ))))
                        Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                        Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          have no fear, dear Holly, I am being uber conservative in the comeback - and yes, I am leaving Rasta at Lell's thru her event in October for the very reason you said - he is NOT the horse for rehab riding, though he's sane a fit horse as you'll find. Looking around here for the western jog type but so far none to be found. OTOH, my doctor has said that in 4-6 weeks, it really isn't going to matter as the vertabra itself is more than healed, probably stronger than before it was broken - it's the muscle strength, range of motion, and flexibility issues that have now got to be attended to...call put in to doc today re: swimming but haven't heard back...sigh. In the meantime, he gave me the go ahead to get back on the wind trainer/bike 2 months ago, though I waited til last month, and my cardio is much better - I'm bored.

                          Thanks to all for your stories and ideas!!!!
                          ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm around......

                            just not alot.

                            RFI, have sent a PM.

                            Can ALWAYS PM with questions.

                            Regards,
                            Medical Mike
                            equestrian medical researcher
                            www.equicision.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yoga, Pilates, deep water running. And as much time in the saddle as you can manage
                              OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                PM from/to Medical Mike

                                Medical Mike PMed me yesterday on his own - super! I emailed and PMed back this message - anything else y'all think I should add in terms of questions or info about me?

                                Hey Mike,

                                It’s very nice of you to contact me! The day after Christmas, I was doing trot sets on my green OTTB, kids visiting across the road were playing in a golf cart, came towards us, still no big deal, but then about 15 meters away they whipped out two HUGE red University of Georgia flags and waved them – bottom line, with my stirrups hiked up, the second buck sent me into a rotational fall, onto my head, broke the C2 on both sides. I was in a halo for 15 weeks, and followed that with 6 weeks in a plastic neck collar, but am almost weaned totally off using it (off today for 10 hours – on one hour, then will be off til I go to bed – some nights I sleep in it, some I don’t – can’t tell any difference.

                                Before the accident I was running 5-6 days/week for 45-60 minutes, riding 6 days a week (1 horse), and teaching first grade. I went back to work 4 weeks after the accident. Forgot to mention, I am 60 years old. My doctor (neurologist) is 62 and still runs 2 marathons a year and is very conservative regarding everything he has me do. He allowed me to get back on my horse at a walk for 4 weeks, and I can begin trotting AND running again when he sees me July 29.

                                I can easily move my neck to both the left and right about 45 degrees if you think of looking straight ahead, and each shoulder, and the direct back of my head as 4 equidistant points on a circle. When I first came out of the halo, it was more like 10-15 degrees – things have loosened up on their own which is what Dr. King wanted to see/assess before the PT evaluation (unless I had some sort of pain). I can turn my head a bit more but there’s some resistance so I don’t.

                                Would appreciate your thoughts and comments. It will be really useful to have some of the words I need to use to discuss all this with both my doctor and the physical therapist.
                                Best Regards,
                                ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I love it! Coth rehabs RunForIt! (Mentally, I mean.) I probably can't keep up with her rehab as my regular work! Gaugh! Although I did ride two this morning before 7am!!!!
                                  Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                  Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Medical Mike is an AMAZING RESOURCE!!!

                                    Just heard from him and am amazed at the stuff I now know, though with only surface level understanding = lots more reading, talking, questioning of Mike, my neurologist, and the PT person. In the meantime, I cannot thank him enough for the start...

                                    THANKS,MIKE!!!!!
                                    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Let's discuss it over drinks at River Glen! The funnest thing I did last Fall was Belly Dancing and learning to Mumbo. Lellie gave me some awesome excersies from her trainer to do as well.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        update: physical therapy with consultation with Medical Mike

                                        We're narrowing the list of possible physical therapists; hope to decide on one by tomorrow. This person will work with Medical Mike to make sure that attention is given to areas of my body that will be stressed by running and riding. I am so relieved to be able to have him consult. The fees are reasonable and the knowledge and expertise he brings to this process is very reassuring - I would have NO IDEA about what to ask or expect...

                                        Thanks so much for all the support and suggestions...
                                        ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

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