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Those who have stopped riding...how do you do it?

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  • Those who have stopped riding...how do you do it?

    Hey, I haven't posted in a while but I had another question for the H/J crew so I figured I would post this one too.

    I stopped riding about 1 1/2 years ago after struggling to ride for three years post serious riding injury (kick to the knee). How do you get through the times when you want to ride desperately? There are days where I am in a tremendous amount of pain so obviously I know that I can't ride, but the days when I have little to no pain the urge to ride is overwhelming. I don't have any horses and am currently in Europe, so no chance to ride. My friend with a horse offers to let me ride but so far I have been good. I think I can do some trail riding but anything more my leg moves too much, and is just unstable.

    I stopped riding because of the pain but also the safety issue. Since my leg moves (no matter how hard I try to keep it still) it had become unsafe for me to ride the hunters & eq's. I tried driving saddlebreds for a while but I didn't get the same rush and excitement as riding hunters. People have said try dressage but honestly, no offense, I really don't enjoy watching dressage (only occasionally the grand prix's).

    How do you overcome that urge? Will it ever go away? Thanks!!
    "The horse you get off f is not the same horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better" - unknown author

  • #2
    Have you tried riding gaited horses? Maybe the smoother gaits would work?
    Sometimes due to physical limitations we have to change our disciplines. Which kinda stinks in some ways...but also helps us find a bunch of other ways to enjoy horses.
    Driving ASBs didn't do it for yoou, have you tried any other type of driving?
    How about some of the western stuff...WP, gaming, etc?
    And while I won't flame you for not enjoying watching dressage (no flames because I agree it's boring to watch most of the time, LOL)...I can say it's a lot different riding dressage rather than watching it. Which, BTW, is pretty much the same as hunters and eq...boring as hell as a spectator sport; more fun and challenge to ride it.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!


    • #3
      From what you say is your problem, maybe try going to a good rehab place and get them to fit you with a brace you can ride with.
      I know people with all kinds of disabilities, some very serious, that still find ways to ride.
      There are team ropers with all kinds of injuries, some so severe they have to tie them to the saddle, or old and blind, that are still roping, the blind ones with a bell on the steer.
      Yes, they don't catch much, but they are having a ball anyway just being there and on a horse.

      Once you find how to, then you can ride in the arena or slow trail rides, until you find your level of horseback activity that pleases you.


      • #4
        Not really the same thing but i basically haven't ridden in 2-3 years with the random trail ride here and there. I haven't stopped due to injury though just plain busy, don't own my own horse and never found a place to take lessons /work didn't allow time for it. But i guess i somewhat solved that by working with horses has my job. I get my horse fix that way.

        Would agree with Bluey with getting a brace fitted.

        A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


        • #5
          Arthritis has pretty much shut down my riding, although it took a couple of spills that shouldn't have happened to drive the point home. Instead of bending and bouncing like I used to, I now tend to crumble and break.

          My two old-timers have since crossed the Rainbow Bridge, so I now content myself with enjoying my friends' horses.

          Reality being reality, lots of grooming, handling and groundwork, and helping out around the barn however possible pretty much satisfies my needs for the horsey fix.

          And since my friends' horses are Friesians, Drums, and Gypsy Cobs, there are plenty of grooming opportunities!

          We've also expanded our field of interest to certain big game wildlife organizations (deer, elk, caribou, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, etc.), supporting efforts to build and improve herds and hunting opportunities.
          The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
          Winston Churchill


          • #6
            Is there any way you could try driving? I've only had the opportunity to drive horses a few times but it was a lot of fun.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


            • #7
              I'd suggest trying a gaited horse. It might not be the same kind of excitement as jumping, but there are some pretty amazing gaited horses out there that will give you an incredible ride.
              I'd get a brace too.

              Hope you find a something that works for you.

              Originally posted by Frank B View Post
              Instead of bending and bouncing like I used to, I now tend to crumble and break.
              This made me laugh. I don't bounce anymore either. I tend to stick the landing now.
              You are what you dare.


              • #8
                Driving saddlebreds is a lot different than CDE! Watch some videos on youtube, those horses are going flat out with obstacles. I said just yesterday that when I can't ride anymore, I'm going to get a pair of dutch harness horses and do CDE. I've driven a pony, and while fun, I know the "no rush" about just pleasure driving. If I have the time/money before I stop riding, I'll do CDE just since it looks like SO MUCH fun!!
                When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for the ideas, I'll keep them in mind. I am now busy doing my Masters but when I finish & get what I call a big girl job I hope to be around horses again. The horse I used to lease is still at my old college, and I hope they can keep him there until I am settled so I can buy him. Not that I will do much riding but at least having him around will be nice. :-) I have grade 3 osteoarthritis in my knee & since I am 24, I'm a little too young for a replacement. So now its meds and hoping things go okay for the time being.

                  The horse industry here in the Netherlands is a little different than in the US, so not much opportunity to get into it. I think combined driving would be fun, I've never known anyone that has done it before,
                  "The horse you get off f is not the same horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better" - unknown author


                  • #10
                    I'm too old, fat and broke to ride any more. I get my fix by volunteering. Just about every Saturday, during the racing season, you can find me out at the track. I get to drool over all of those lovely horses, pat (with permission) lots of soft noses, and smell the good smells. The rest of the week, I work from the computer, trying to find them homes. It keeps me busy, and satisfied that I'm doing something worthwhile.

                    Equine organizations like the one I volunteer with can always use good, knowledgeable folks to help out. No amount of time is too small. They have to need the same things in Europe, also.
                    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
                    Desmond Tutu


                    • #11
                      Don't give it up, just yet.

                      You may just have to adjust your goals. I have several friends who have made the switch from competitive riding to something a little more low key, going from big TBs and WBs to gaited horses or small stock horses due to injury. They have just as much fun (if not more) exploring the trails on their own, and participating in trail riding groups and events.

                      A longer stirrup, a deep-seated saddle and a horse with a smooth gait may well do the trick. Sure it will be different than doing the hunters but it will allow you to get your fix.

                      I'm sure you've been through the whole PT thing?

                      Anyway don't lose hope... and as Louise said there are so many ways to stay involved that don't necessarily involve riding.
                      We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by fizzyfuzzybuzzy View Post
                        Driving saddlebreds is a lot different than CDE! Watch some videos on youtube, those horses are going flat out with obstacles. I said just yesterday that when I can't ride anymore, I'm going to get a pair of dutch harness horses and do CDE. I've driven a pony, and while fun, I know the "no rush" about just pleasure driving. If I have the time/money before I stop riding, I'll do CDE just since it looks like SO MUCH fun!!
                        If ya cant ride can ya get out of the buggy quicklike if you hafta?

                        I can darn sure get off a horse quicker than I can scott out of a cart. Sometimes without meaning to! And Im pretty mobile.

                        I know an old gal that was driving. The rein broke, idiot green horse took OFF, smashed cart & driver who fell out the back. Driver was brused & bloody & knocked out cold. Lucky horse was in a fence so no further damage but it coulda been much worse.

                        Horses are dangerous no matter what you do with em. Just be careful about thinkin you can always drive if you cant ride.
                        “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                        • #13
                          To me, driving is more dangerous than riding and I have done both growing up more driving and plowing with horses than riding, but not all may agree, so was not saying anything.

                          If you can walk, how about helping as a leader or walker, volunteering at a handicap riding group?
                          Generally, volunteers also bring the horse up, groom it, saddle it and that gives you good horse time, along with helping with the therapy classes.

                          If you like horses, no matter what you do with horses, you will eventually like it.


                          • Original Poster

                            Wow John Deere thanks for the graphic description of what can occasionally happen. I have a friend who flipped a cart, her fault though, and seriously injuring herself. (Driving a green horse in a paddock is not the best idea, especially when the shaft gets caught on the fence)

                            I have also had horses flip over on top of me before I even had a moment to react, so injuries happen all over the board. Don't assume riding is safer than driving either.

                            Walking....ehhh difficult. Some days I'm great and others I feel like a 70 yr old women. I am going hopefully soon to another doctor over here in the Netherlands and maybe they have something for me? Let's hope!

                            I think part of it is mental. I grew up never owning a horse and showing small local shows, small jumps. Stayed that way in college (equine major), Never got to do the things I wanted too either because I was a chicken or didn't have the horse. Now it's the could of, should have, would have's in my mind. I was always thinking at shows ohh I'll do the 3' - 3'6" or higher next show, and now I can't at all. Plus I wanted to be in the riding business when I got older, those dreams are gone too :-(

                            We will see with riding and horses what happens in the future. Right now good grades are in order for my masters. Just wanted to see what others thought and did! :-) Thanks for the suggestions!
                            Last edited by SmplySweet1021; Mar. 28, 2010, 01:19 PM. Reason: Explanation
                            "The horse you get off f is not the same horse you got on. It is your job as a rider to ensure that as often as possible, the change is for the better" - unknown author


                            • #15
                              BTW I quite riding as a teen. The 'rents had no intent to spend $ to purchase/keep/lease a horse. on schoolies I lost interest (no way to do horseless rider back then). I am STILL trying to find my horse dream (find a horse that isnt too insane to do what I want) and Jimmy is my last hope. If he doesnt work out Im getting a trail horse. Anyway, I understand dreams that didnt work out, and I feel for you.

                              I wasnt trying to scare you. Iwanted to make a point that driving may not be as safe as we want it to be. Neither is eating out, but thats for OT day!
                              “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


                              • #16
                                I wasn't saying CDE was safer than riding, just that it wouldn't jar her knee in the same way as riding. I think that on the occasion that her horse was freaking out and she HAD to get out of a cart, I'm thinking her knee hurting would be the least of her concerns. I've known wheelchair bound people who drove.

                                There are a lot of reasons that driving is possible when riding is not. That does not mean that you are safer, just that you can regularly engage in a driving discipline without crippling one's self. You can also minimize risk by not getting a green driving horse...just like minimizing riding risk by not RIDING a green horse.
                                When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.


                                • #17
                                  I've been facing this decision myself because of problems in my hip. Turns out there are saddles that can help, depending on what your problem is. You might have to change riding styles. I had to give up jumping altogether because my right leg cannot help keep me in the saddle. Not safe for jumping.

                                  I've looked into side saddle. Don't know if this is an option for you, or whether you'd want the bad knee over the horn or not.

                                  Since I can't ride as much as I'd like (love distance), I volunteer at distance riding instead. You meet some really cool people and horses when you volunteer. Even if you can't ride the sport you love, you can help others continue to do so by volunteering.

                                  I've also got a drafty pony that is ready to start under saddle this year. I'll start her under saddle myself and then send her out for driving training. That should be fun, too. It won't be quite the same, but I might just find something that thrills me in driving, especially if the pony is any good. So I plan to join a driving club and volunteer at some of their functions as well to learn the ropes.
                                  "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


                                  • #18
                                    I have arthritis, lots of it, and before I was 49 I had both knees replaced. My doctors didn't want me to ride, but I'd quit hunters and jumping and had gone back to WP, trails, etc., on my wonderful and bombproof mare. Docs didn't argue with me about it, but told me I wasn't ever allowed to fall. On a short trail ride with people from the barn one day, a not-so-good rider on a not-too-well-trained horse got dumped (wasn't hurt), and that did it for me. I stopped riding, sold my tack, gave the the horse to the barn since she'd been there almost her entire life and was great for lessons.

                                    What has let me cope with it was knowing that I made the decision to not ride on MY terms. I'm a bit stubborn --- I prefer to call it "persistent"! --- and had I been told I had to stop riding, I would have rebelled and had a lot of problems with it. But seeing someone else take a very minor fall into a plowed field made me realize that that same fall could have resulted in some very serious problems for me.

                                    I've taken up other hobbies. I started training and showing dogs in obedience, and I love it. In fact, I've met a lot of other former riders who quit riding for various reasons and went to the dogs. You find the same type of dedicated people in obedience venue as you do in horse shows --- we may not have purebreds, our dogs might not be the perfect size or color or breed, but we love them, we do the best we can, and we have fun.

                                    You have to pick your time to quit riding, if you ever do, and pick your reasons. If you do, you can live with it. If you're forced to quit, I don't think you ever truly get over it.


                                    • #19
                                      When you get back to the states and get a chance to ride see if you can find a pair of MDC Intelligent stirrups to borrow, even if George Morris might sneer and possibly a Thinline pad.

                                      Icepacks are your friends.

                                      And do consult with a good ortho surgeon who specializes in joint replacement. They are changing the thoughts behind the surgery and doing them on younger people as the techniques and implants are always improving. Current estimates are that the hardware should last 85% of the patients about 20 years.

                                      FWIW, I don't have a joint replacement but I do have hardware in my ankle. As a former eventer I have switched to dressage. My dressage instructor, also a former eventer, has had a knee replacement
                                      I wasn't always a Smurf
                                      Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                                      • #20
                                        I NEVER GET OUT OF THE CART QUICK!!! If a horse is acting up, the safest place is in the cart -95% of the time. END OF STORY. The only time, I get out of the cart is equipment failure (very, very rare). A well designed, easy entry cart, does give very easy access in and out, B.T.W. The trick is buying a cart that works for your disability. The trick is getting a horse that won't spook, won't react if equipment failure happens. Then, even if you do get out of the cart to fix something, you can move at your own pace and relax. Fix the problem or unhitch -no issue.

                                        Yep. Driving can be dangerous, just like riding ESPECIALLY combined driving. It can also be totally safe, with a well broke horse or pony and lessons under the belt. If I had a significant injury to my body, a CDE might not be where I would want to end up! Especially, if my goals included working up to the advanced levels. Pleasure driving, turn out classes, reinsmanship classes, driven dressage and even certain breed shows are generally safer for the disabled driver. As well as just driving and parades.

                                        The thing about driving is that it doesn't stress the body. So, at driving events, you see lots of lots (the majority frankly) of drivers as either being slightly disabled (hips, knees, obesity, arthritis, etc) or elderly. When I see a safe pony, in a turn out class with a beautiful 75 year old woman -enjoying her horse, just as she has done all of her life -it can bring tears to my eyes. Again, if you get a hot horse, participate in marathons, yep -you risk more chance of a wreck. It is about choosing a driving partner(s) that are the right match for you physically and the right type of driving venue.

                                        Sure, if you wreck, you might get hurt. But driving allows those who have limited use of their bodies a venue that is safe, fun and horse related (as well as being an absolute blast) and actually quite difficult to learn all the ins and outs. It is learning a new sport (or sports), as different types of driving are actually quite different from each other in technique and turnout.
                                        Last edited by Cielo Azure; Mar. 29, 2010, 11:20 AM.
                                        Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF