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Riding with artificial joints, any insights?

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  • Riding with artificial joints, any insights?

    I am a 41-year old female contemplating becoming a rerider. I competed a little on the schooling show circuit in my teens/early 20's, before life interfered.
    I never quite lost the love for it, and am considering getting back into it. I'm hoping I can find someone with my sort of experience. . .

    My left hip was totally replaced 8 years ago as a result of a running injury. I have absolutely NO problems with it now, although I am not permitted, medically speaking, to run anymore. (I suppose I could if, God forbid, I were trying to save my own life). The joint should last me a good 20 years provided I don't engage in highly concussive activity. I am still extremely fit, having taken up rowing and cycling. In fact, I am probably in better shape than I was in my previous riding days.

    Anyone here have experience riding with a total joint replacement? I'd like to be able to work towards being able to do some jumping - not necessarily Grand Prix level (), but 3'-3'6", or possibly even getting into eventing.

    I really, really don't want to ask my orthopedist this question. I love him; he's a wonderful doctor and a great guy, but he is very, very conservative. (For example, he told me "no waterskiing". Another doc told me "no problem" on the skis, and I'v done fine with it).

  • #2
    I have three friends with hip replacements (in one case both hips). They are all riding back mostly to their former level, although I believe all of them have reduced (or eliminated) jumping, but that might be for a variety of reasons.


    • #3
      I knew a girl who had both hips and both knees replaced, fused ankle and one elbow replaced (rheumatoid arthritis). She was incredibly tough and couldn't give up being active. She rode just fine, a little stiff but fine, and she did dressage without a problem.

      It's possible!
      HorseStableReview.com - Tell others what you know! Post your barn or review today.


      • Original Poster

        Well, that sounds encouraging. I honestly can't tell the difference in my hips, except for the surgical scars. A plus is that my legs are now exactly the same length, which I understand is quite rare!

        Really, the biggest concern would be a bad fall. If I break that femur, I could be in for it. It's a chance I can live with, though. It's that big a deal for me.

        TY for the feedback, folks!


        • #5
          Yea, it's the falling you would have to worry about. If you can find a horse that will take care of you then you should be okay. I wouldn't recommend getting on any 3 year old OTTB any time ever!
          HorseStableReview.com - Tell others what you know! Post your barn or review today.


          • #6
            You probably won't know unless you try it. I say go for it!


            • #7
              I am 5 Months out from Total Hip replacement. I started jumping last Friday. As long as you are fit, you will have no problem. I feel a lot better now riding than I did 6 months ago. The only problems I have now are from being unfit.

              Make sure you have a kind horse until you get your balance and legs back...I just don't think about the falling...but I don't take stupid chances (i.e. bad footing, wild greenies, getting on without lunging if my horse has been in).


              • #8
                The riding itself is fine. Just ride a quiet horse (reducing the fall risk and the femur fracture as mentioned) and be careful dismounting so you don't flex forward too much from the hips. Some docs ditch the flexion precautions after a year, the conservative ones are for a lifetime. The ortho doc around here that does the most "knees" is an avid Harley Dude and has wiped out his cycle necessitating his own knee surgery......so I doubt HE would say much. Others want to bubble wrap ya.
                Providence Farm


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Won For Fun View Post
                  I am 5 Months out from Total Hip replacement. I started jumping last Friday. As long as you are fit, you will have no problem. I feel a lot better now riding than I did 6 months ago. The only problems I have now are from being unfit.

                  Make sure you have a kind horse until you get your balance and legs back...I just don't think about the falling...but I don't take stupid chances (i.e. bad footing, wild greenies, getting on without lunging if my horse has been in).
                  Wow, five months! Good for you!
                  I don't have any flexion restrictions (which is good, because I row, and that's about as flexed as a hip can get).
                  And a kind horse goes without saying, since it's been a few years since I've been on a horse AT ALL, other than the occasional trail ride. I daresay I'm in better physical shape now than I was when I was riding regularly. Not that I was exactly a lump then, but I never really had focused workouts at that time, and so my core strength and balance are better.
                  Looking forward to giving this a try. A friend has a sweet, laid-back Friesian gelding who she has said will take good care of me until I'm more sure of myself, and it's sweet of her to offer the ride. I'll find a lesson program in the area soon as well.


                  • #10
                    I had my right knee replaced in August of last year. I am riding again. It's still a bit stiff and if I am on the horse for along trail ride I do feel it. It's getting better all the time though. It's so much better to post the trot now than before, it's amazing.

                    I was told it can take year for a total knee replacement to feel 100%. I do notice it's getting better and better.

                    So yes, you can ride. I have heard that hips are better than knees too.. for this.. but I can't say I know that first hand!
                    One of a Kind Studio
                    Fine Art Paintings, Horses, Dogs, Wildlife and anything else that inspires.

                    New convert to the cow horse world.. love my QH mare.


                    • #11
                      I had one hip replaced when I was in my early 40s and my other hip replaced when I was in my early 50s. I became a rerider when I was approaching 50. Main problem was generally being out of shape not my hips. Doesn't sound like you will have that problem. Did have problems mounting/dismounting before I had my second hip done. I am w/t/c and jump on a good day rider. Wish I didn't wait until I was almost 50 to start riding again. My thoughts are a nasty fall would be bad but - I could fall off a bike or down the stairs so my attitude is go for it!
                      Send me a pm if you want.


                      • #12
                        An acquaintance had his hip done and actively fox hunts. Mounting is his only problem...as is legging up.


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by bamboozled View Post
                          An acquaintance had his hip done and actively fox hunts. Mounting is his only problem...as is legging up.
                          Well, I'm short, so have always been partial to the mounting block!


                          • #14
                            Good for you, Mara! I will mention, though the last time I fell off my horse was walking, so don't stress too much about the jumping.
                            Man plans. God laughs.


                            • #15
                              You might post on the Event Forum as I believe one of our BNT has had hip replacement. I won't use the name since I can't remember where I read it. If it's true this person still events and trains. I'll look into this some more.
                              RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

                              "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."


                              • #16
                                Go for it--just be conservative about risky situations, as you do not want to have that bad fall. I had a left total hip 4+ years ago and was back on after a month, albeit on a very steady-eddy, with someone leading, and just at the walk. Now, I'm riding far better than I was on the trashed hip. I do not jump, but more because of adult-onset fear issues and being heavier than I should be. I have thought seriously about getting myself in better shape and doing some very lower level eventing again; the hip would not prevent me from doing that.

                                My Dr said that safe riding is kind of a non-issue, because the hip is at an ideal angle to minimize the risk of dislocation. It seems to me, in that regard, a better choice than rowing!

                                I do not mount from the ground, though I could in a pinch, and would be able to feel it stressing the hip as i did it. I am *very* careful about what I will get on, I have to know it's pretty predictable. That given, the one fall I've had since the surgery was from my steady-eddy, who took exception to my use of a spur. Fortunately, his objection took the form of a half-hearted buck followed by a spin to the left, so I landed on my right side.
                                "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

                                Spay and neuter. Please.


                                • #17
                                  I know several people who have had hip replacements. And ride VERY actively. One is an x-olympiad, the other is a trainer who rides several times a day.
                                  I also know someone who rides with replaced knees. But he has had them replaced 3x and really should NOT be riding, but he does, just crippled!

                                  hips- no prob, go for it


                                  • #18
                                    Bumping this thread up for new THR people. Yes, we THR people ride and ride daily without pain or problems. Don't worry ~ ENJOY your riding !
                                    Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                                    • #19
                                      Go for it and enjoy riding again! I know several people w/ hip replacements who ride. The key is just to BE CAREFUL! Don't get on an unfamiliar horse, and if you have the funding, buy or lease yourself a nice safe schoolmaster with a flatter jump. Your only real concern is falling off and breaking something, in which case you're in big trouble and I am sure you know that. So, just make sure you've got a very safe and dependable mount, and HAVE FUN!

                                      Blitz <3 & Leap of Faith <3