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Riding while pregnant - thoughts?

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  • #21
    I'm due any day with my first and stopped riding at around 6 months. Combination of the fact that I was having some ligament pain, especially at the trot, and that my horse was having a bit of a weather-induced life crisis so was behaviorally more challenging than usual. My doctor was generally supportive since riding is something I'd been doing for so long; the deal I made with my husband was that I would skip riding if my horse seemed excessively spooky or keyed up.

    I did take seriously that it wasn't just my body on the line if horse did something silly and sent me flying so was definitely more conservative in all aspects of riding, groundwork, etc. That said, I kept lunging and grooming and spending lots of time at the barn until ~39 weeks; have just now stopped going to the barn since it's a bit of a drive from where I live. Horse has been on vacation for a month or two and will come back into light work later this month - hopefully I'll get some decent riding in this summer on maternity leave!
    Urban Thoroughbred

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    • #22
      I rode through both of my pregnancies. I rode all of my horses (greenies on up) for the first 6 or 7 months, and then handed my youngsters over to a kid who was helping me. With my first pregnancy I backed way off for the last couple of months. With my second, I had a mare who I trusted as entirely as you can trust another being. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that had she stumbled, she would have found a way to catch herself for me. We still did everything (in the arena), including (low) jumping until maybe the last month. But I carried pretty "in" my own body and never felt like my balance was impacted greatly.

      What I found made the biggest impact on my riding, was my ability to do it every single day (at least toward the end of the pregnancy). If I took even a single day off, I would have a lot more round ligament pain. With my first pregnancy I was a little more low key about riding and had several periods where I would take 4 or 5 days off, and riding the first day after a break was more difficult. With my second pregnancy I was trying to keep a horse in shape to start showing at a high level right after I had the kid, so I was much more structured and serious about my rides. I felt great as long as I rode every single day. I don't think I ever took more than a day or two off at a time.

      After having gone through both of those, I think I preferred the more low-key-about-riding approach. But with that being said, I recovered super fast from the second pregnancy and have to imagine that staying more flexible and fit because of the riding helped with that. Also, the kid that was in there while I was riding pretty seriously is the one who is a rider through a through. Coincidence? Well, maybe, lol!

      Another important piece, though, was my OB/GYN's willingness to entertain my riding. His daughters were taking riding lessons at the time, so he "got" the riding thing, and didn't think that I needed to curtail the activity entirely. He was supportive of my riding as long as I paid attention to my own comfort level and backed off appropriately. With that being said, we didn't entirely agree, and he was not totally thrilled at my activity level in the end. In hindsight, he was right (of course), those extra months of riding were really unnecessary to my horse's well-being, and while they didn't cause any problems, it certainly would have been reasonable to take that time off.
      __________________________________
      Flying F Sport Horses
      Horses in the NW

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      • #23
        I think it depends on you, your horse, how you ride and your specific pregnancy.

        When I got pregnant I was determined to ride for as long as physically possible. I ride dressage and have a very reliable and trustworthy mare that I wasn't worried about falling off of.

        Life had other plans as I had a high risk twin pregnancy. Within 5 weeks I was already uncomfortable at the trot but could still walk and canter. At 16 weeks my twins had a serious medical diagnosis that required emergency fetal surgery. I was put on bed rest for 5 days and pelvic rest for 6 weeks following surgery. And no exercise of any kind. By the time those 6 weeks were up I was able to have a couple more glorified pony rides before I became too uncomfortable to ride. By that point it hurt my lower back to be on my feet too long.

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        • #24
          Congrats on the pregnancy! I kept riding at first but stayed off the younger horses in training. But while still in the first trimester walking my OLD steady eddy bareback he had the first malfunction he'd ever had and I had an involuntary dismount. I did land mostly on my feet but I landed hard and few hours later I started to bleed. They discovered my placenta had started to tear away from the uterine wall. 4 days in the hospital trying to resolve it. I was put on full-time bed rest in that first trimester and had to take Brethine every 3 hours around the clock the remainder of the pregnancy. I bled again a few weeks later and was put back into the hospital for a couple days. I also later received shots to mature the baby's lungs in case I went into early labor. Oooff that was a long worrisome pregnancy. My 2nd pregnancy I didn't ride at all. Having already lived that side of it and not having a crystal ball, I decided to spare myself the what-if's. A child is more important than the minor delay of my riding. On the other hand, one of my trainers years ago was jumping our 1.50 and 1.60 horses into her 9th month. I thought she was nuts but she was willing to take that risk, and it all worked out fine for her. As with anything, it can go either way and you have to make your own decision.

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          • Original Poster

            #25
            Originally posted by ici et l View Post
            Congrats on the pregnancy! I kept riding at first but stayed off the younger horses in training. But while still in the first trimester walking my OLD steady eddy bareback he had the first malfunction he'd ever had and I had an involuntary dismount. I did land mostly on my feet but I landed hard and few hours later I started to bleed. They discovered my placenta had started to tear away from the uterine wall. 4 days in the hospital trying to resolve it. I was put on full-time bed rest in that first trimester and had to take Brethine every 3 hours around the clock the remainder of the pregnancy. I bled again a few weeks later and was put back into the hospital for a couple days. I also later received shots to mature the baby's lungs in case I went into early labor. Oooff that was a long worrisome pregnancy. My 2nd pregnancy I didn't ride at all. Having already lived that side of it and not having a crystal ball, I decided to spare myself the what-if's. A child is more important than the minor delay of my riding. On the other hand, one of my trainers years ago was jumping our 1.50 and 1.60 horses into her 9th month. I thought she was nuts but she was willing to take that risk, and it all worked out fine for her. As with anything, it can go either way and you have to make your own decision.
            I really appreciate hearing your story. Thank you so much for sharing it. That sounds incredibly frightening, but I'm so glad everything turned out ok!

            I talked to my old doctor that I really trust and he said to wait until my first ultrasound to make the decision to ride. He said without knowing the location of the baby and the fact that I'm on the older side for a first pregnancy (35) could potentially be dangerous. While it's not what I wanted to hear, I think I'm taking the better safe than sorry route until I have my first appointment. My new horse is wonderful, but he's still pretty unknown and he can definitely get amped up at times. My old man, who I love to death, is as hot headed as they come and if he's not prancing around, he's tripping down the trail because his head is in the clouds. Not riding is going to be rough, but at least it's only 3 weeks until I find out if everything is OK and can make a decision from there. Hopefully the weather stays cold and windy to make it easier on me! Thanks again

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            • #26
              Not to hijack but when did everyone start riding again after birth?

              Theres one show at the end of the year id really like to goto. Not sure how fit I’d be and how well baby horse will handle it.

              My horses get the winter off so its my last chance to ride til later winter 2020.
              https://www.instagram.com/streamlinesporthorses/

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              • #27
                streamline I was fortunate to have a totally uncomplicated pregnany and delivery, I was able to ride throughout and then within a month after giving birth. I was 36 and a first time mom. Good luck!
                http://trainingcupid.blogspot.com/

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                • #28
                  I rode until I got too uncomfortable (about 28 weeks). It coincided with the start of winter so I didn't mind. I evented until 14 weeks, then basically stopped jumping except a few small jumps at home once in a while. I would get off if my horses were stupid and I showed my younger one in dressage around 6-6.5m. My doctor did not want me riding but she didnt bug me about it.

                  I only stopped because I went from you couldnt tell I was pregnant unless you knew to huge in about a month-and I carried all of my weight between my boobs and belly. You couldn't tell I was pregnant from behind. That shifted my balance to the point that I didn't feel comfortable or safe.

                  Looking back I am not sure I would ride as long again. I'm not sure. I for sure wouldn't event.

                  I did listen to my doctor and did not start back riding until I was cleared at 6 weeks PP. I did not want to cause any permanent damage but starting back to early.
                  ************************
                  "I can't help but wonder,what would Jimmy Buffett do?"

                  https://falllinefarmblog.wordpress.com/

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by streamline View Post
                    Not to hijack but when did everyone start riding again after birth?

                    Theres one show at the end of the year id really like to goto. Not sure how fit I’d be and how well baby horse will handle it.

                    My horses get the winter off so its my last chance to ride til later winter 2020.
                    I was back riding at 6 weeks PP and showing at 9 weeks PP. I will say, I don't recommend it.

                    I struggled mentally and physically and I should have waited. I just got sick of everyone telling me I wouldn't be back and I wouldn't want to ride anymore, so I felt like I had to prove a point. I got around, and I placed but it was not easy nor really fun (pumping in the stalls between dressage and SJ, peeing yourself over every jump, and being flat out exhausted and running on fumes did not help)
                    ************************
                    "I can't help but wonder,what would Jimmy Buffett do?"

                    https://falllinefarmblog.wordpress.com/

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                    • #30
                      Originally posted by sophie View Post

                      This has been my experience too.

                      My little hot-as-they-come mare became very attentive when I was pregnant (I rode throughout both my pregnancies - with my doctor's blessing - even showed combined training up to 4 months).
                      She'd stand like rock next to the buckets I piled up so I could get on (and especially OFF!!!) easily, she was just more gentle all around. Once, I unknowingly took her into a big snowdrift and she went down...and waited patiently for me to untangle myself and move safely away before she struggled back up.

                      After I gave birth, she was back to her usual self.

                      That little mare was a gem.
                      It's been my experience that a lot of horses innately "get it" about pregnancy and babies/kids. I've worked at a few barns with high-performance sport horses that had had little to no exposure to children. It was fascinating to watch the change in behavior on the occasions I brought my (quiet, respectful, horse-savvy) kids with me. I didn't allow the girls to handle the horses, of course. And I kept them away from horses that I deemed had some bite to their bark. It wasn't unusual for horses that were totally disinterested in adults to eagerly stick their heads out looking for pats from the girls.

                      I think children project a less complicated, more open and inviting energy to horses. I would look at the sport horses in my care and mentally run through all the training and medical issues for each and texting the trainer that I thought Fluffy might be getting ulcers and Sally returned to the barn wild-eyed and riderless and i'd taken care of horse and rider but she's gonna need to put some training rides on that fireball. My kids looked at them and saw giant, beautiful horses that looked like Valegro and Totilas and thought they were all rock stars!

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                      • #31
                        My doctor said that the fetus is fairly protected during the first trimester so I rode my horse until the end of the first trimester. For me, the risk of loss far out weighed missing 6 months of riding. I do know a lady that came off of her horse while pregnant and lost the pregnancy...

                        I marvel at people who have horses that 'knew' they were pregnant and acted different. My mare was the same before I got pregnant, while I was pregnant, and after. She has always had a "you have your problems and I have mine" kind of attitude so maybe that is it.

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                        • #32
                          It is totally up to you, your SO, and your doc! But I rode up to 7 months with both babies! Hunted and jumped till about 3 or 4 months pregnant and then kept it to the ring only. Hardest part was dismounting with a huge belly! I also had a friend come ride my guy when I couldn't so he stayed in constant work and never misbehaved!

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                          • #33
                            I was pregnant with twins and high risk due to my age (34 and had them at 35). I stopped riding at around 7 weeks - the first 4-5 months were very hard on me. I didn't even have the energy to go to the gym, was constantly nauseous, and slept every chance I could get. They are 10 months old and I haven't gotten back to it yet... we decided to pay off the babies (NICU bills) and the cars before we start our hobbies/addictions (lol) back up. I don't own a horse again yet, so it is a little easier to put it on the backburner.

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                            • #34
                              Originally posted by streamline View Post
                              Not to hijack but when did everyone start riding again after birth?

                              Theres one show at the end of the year id really like to goto. Not sure how fit I’d be and how well baby horse will handle it.

                              My horses get the winter off so its my last chance to ride til later winter 2020.
                              The answer to this is SO dependent on how the birth goes, that I'm not sure any answers are going to be relevant. My own two experiences couldn't have been more night and day. I tore badly with my first and then didn't heal well, and I was out of the saddle for 6 months. I couldn't even imagine sitting on a saddle I was in so much pain! With my second my doctor was insanely meticulous about sewing me up and I was back in the saddle 3 days after giving birth and back in the show ring at full capacity when my daughter was 10 weeks old (and super easy to have at the show with me).
                              __________________________________
                              Flying F Sport Horses
                              Horses in the NW

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                              • #35
                                Just had my baby 2 weeks ago now!

                                i stopped proper riding (dressage) around 7.5 months due to SPD, but i carried on trail riding right up to 38 weeks. But only a couple times a week!

                                unfortunately i had an emergency csection so now I'm really not riding and am so so glad I stuck with it til the end. I'm already going mad!
                                Attached Files

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  Originally posted by Training Cupid View Post
                                  streamline I was fortunate to have a totally uncomplicated pregnany and delivery, I was able to ride throughout and then within a month after giving birth. I was 36 and a first time mom. Good luck!
                                  This is so great to hear! Hoping for the same. My nurse cleared me to ride (I may have shopped around a bit for a doctor who understands) . It was worth it! I can’t imagine months of no riding. It’d be the first time since I was 12 years old and I’d be a very grumpy momma.

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