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What will we do when we are unable to ride?

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  • #41
    Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
    I am going to sit around and watch kittens.
    And how! I'll join you, as long as there are puppies to play with the kittens.

    It's encouraging to see that many people are finding ways to cope, grieve, and overall "process" the physical conditions and states that are present and/or imminent. There are so many possibilities outside of specifically riding that will allow one to be involved with horses. It's nice to know that there is always some sort of hope or option out there.

    I've all but given up everything in life in order to focus on riding and training right now. Half of this was the demand of my recent instructor, half of this was personal choice. I've come to the understanding that someday riding will no longer be an option, so I might as well do all that I can now.

    When that day comes, I'll probably go back to instructing and coaching, which I absolutely love. Course designing is a passion that I discovered last spring, so I'll probably finally follow through with getting my USEF licensing (currently USEA certified). And, finally finish my PhD in health psychology (ironically, my research interests focus on the emotional and physical manifestations resulting from episodic and chronic stress [e.g., PTSD, depression, fibromylagia, autoimmune cndtns]. Likewise, I'd like to study how the implementation of "self" processes-- self-compassion, self-awareness, self-control strength, self-talk, etc-- can alleviate and terminate negative symptoms and bolster immune response.)

    If all else fails, I'll open up a riding facility and holistic spa where everyone can relax, find some sort of physical and emotional relief, engage in wonderful self-compassion, and of course, watch the kittens playing.


    • #42
      I drive and although it isnt as physically hard on my body, it's still not as easy as it looks. The carriages are sometimes heavy too and cumbersome to put to the horse, and you do bounce around quite a bit. It is actually more dangerous than riding, too. You need alot of room to drive, and hauling carriages and horses is a whole other problem. When I can no longer ride or drive, I will still want horses in my life. Riding/driving isnt everything. I enjoy my barnt ime just mucking or grooming or hanging out. Since I brought my horses home, I dont get to ride as much as I did when I boarded, so I learned to enjoy them in every other way.


      • #43
        Volunteer. At an equine rescue. Can't do things like bending to pick feet or throwing hay bales? Assist with their fundraisers. Wash some buckets. Organize their volunteers. Lots of non-strenuous things to do.

        Or, volunteer at your nearest riding for the handicapped. Lots of side walkers needed, or with other tasks at the facility.
        Founder & Donor/Account Advisor
        Brennan Equine Welfare Fund


        • #44
          I haven't posted or even read posts in a while, I have been busy driving and getting ready to go to a couple of shows.

          Drive... And start now. It is lots of fun. So I'm going to address a few of the issues about it being more difficult then riding and being bouncy..

          It isn't any harder to put harness on a horse then putting a saddle on them.. It is a simple issue to back your horse up to the carriage you are going to drive. No need to haul it around anywhere.

          Bouncy. 2 wheel vehicles will be hard on your back so you don't want to go with them. 4 wheel vehicles if you are going to do pleasure driving get a carriage made for that do not buy a marathon vehicle... The suspension on a pleasure carriage is much better. Most marathon vehicles have stiff suspension and will bounce you about. So if you are going to do cross country stuff get a carriage with airsuspension. That is the way to go.

          Drive in a groomed arena or on groomed roads or asphalt, don't go bouncing across cow pastures...

          I'm in a wheel chair comming on 20 years and I have been driving for 16 of those years, I harness, hitch and drive my horses myself. I have winches' installed in my truck bed and trailer for loading the carriage when I want to go somewhere.

          So don't give up on horses. They are what keeps me going everyday. As for dangerous, any horse sport has risks. I don't think driving is anymore dangerous then riding. As long as you have educated yourself on the way to do it.

          Diane Kastama


          • #45
            I really liked CA Driver's post (and I admire her a lot in general!).

            I have rheumatoid arthritis (and a bunch of other autoimmune diseases), and tearfully gave up riding eleven years ago. Then I took up driving eight years ago and never looked back. I stick to ponies because the harness is lighter and it takes less steps to harness and hitch since I can reach over a pony's back for a lot of it, such as being able to put both shafts in the tugs from one side.

            If I'm having a tough day physically, I stick to the smooth dirt roads when we go out. When I feel good, we go on trails and cross country.

            Driving may not be the answer for everyone who is facing difficulties riding, but it can be managed to cope with disabilities much more than riding can with the right horse and equipment.



            • #46
              I wonder this often. I have made a living galloping racehorses my entire life. At 46 I'm guessing I am in the twilight of this career, that has been so good to me. No answer to the question though.


              • #47
                Originally posted by Donkaloosa View Post
                I had to quit riding. Physically it was too hard on my joints, and financially, it was just getting way to expensive. I was able to give my horse to the barn where I boarded --- they'd used her a couple of times a week for lessons anyway --- and of course, I am free to visit anytime I want and ride if I want to.

                So I got into training and showing dogs in obedience. It's a lot easier to go to shows when all you have to do is put the crates in the trunk and the dogs in the backseat!

                Do I miss horses and riding? Yes. But I can accept that it *WAS* a part of my life that isn't there now. I don't dwell on it, I try to do what I can do now. I've met many more friends through the dogs, and it's a lot of fun. And I've been surprised at how many former horse/horseshow people I've met in the dog world who can't ride anymore.

                If I had my own place, I'd still have my mare. And I'm sure I'd always have a couple of pasture potatoes around for company. Since I don't, I made arrangements with people I know will take good care of my horse, and set off on a new path.
                THIS is almost the point where I am at. As a matter of fact I just posted on the new forum about showing dogs.
                I am not old (41) but I have some health/pain issues and the there is the money issues which is equally as taxing. I can afford to keep my horse but on one income things have gotten tight and i can no longer afford lessons or to show. And I NEED lessons......and I even have to haul out just to ride. Money has become a big issue since I have had 2 huge pay cuts in the last yr. And sometimes I find myself being resentful cause cant do anything without counting pennies. My DH who is non horsey (money is separate except house bills) made a good point that got me thinking......I am paying so much a month and I might ride once a month.....he said are you getting 500 bucks out of pleasure by having the horse? If i ride its for a hour and then im in pain for days after and then I don't ride again cause I don't want to hurt.....Its a viscous circle. So I had always wanted to show dogs and was considering that route since its still animal related.


                • #48
                  Our neighbor, a paraplegic from a fall from a horse, drives at my farm. It has been an iterative process working out the accomodations and it does take several people to load/unload him from the marathon cart, but it is very satisfying. He can never ride again, but he can do something competitive with horses again. I find working with him to be a very rewarding part of my horse life.
                  Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                  • #49
                    After seeing some of the worst wrecks with driving, not riding horses and as bouncy as that is, I don't see wanting to do that when stiff and not physically very able, unless with help.
                    I guess maybe it depends on what ails you.

                    I agree that many gaited horses are not exactly smooth feeling to all, it again depends on what your problems may be.
                    We had some quarter horses that moved smooth as glass, smoother than any of the smoothest gaited horses.
                    That question just has to be answered individually, what may feel best for each rider.

                    On caring for horses, do organize it so you can do it easily.
                    Right now, my horses are out 24/7, their pastures around the house, so I can see them come and go all day long.
                    They are fed hay thru the bars of the barn, hay I stacked right against those walls before surgery and, still not supposed to be out, I can quickly just walk over the 140 feet between house and barn, throw flakes to them twice a day, look them over, see that their 6' automatic water tanks are full and get back to the house, here at morning feeding three days ago:


                    They are trained to go to the bathroom in a corner when closed in the pens, otherwise outside against the fence, so I don't even have to hardly clean under the shed and will later clean where they go ourside all at once, with the tractor and bucket, once my shoulder heals.

                    We can manage for many years to at least enjoy what we can of our horses, for as long as we can get around, although eventually, if we live that long, just as there is a time to hold 'em, there will come a time to fold 'em.


                    • #50
                      Redmare said "I also have found that being "just an owner" is actually a bit of a thrill." I agree.

                      I've had a life of riding, training, breeding, managing boarding barns, teaching, etc. Then I had to stop horses for about 10 years due to non-horse related health issues.

                      It was a dark set of years, to be sure. I got back into it gradually.

                      However, now after many years of trying to ride again with all my health issues, I have decided to stop.

                      I made this decision because I have so much chronic daily pain from so many conditions that I cannot control, I choose not to add to it by riding (which is very painful for me.)

                      SO I bought a school horse who is used in my trainer/friend's lesson program, and also looking for someone to take a half-lease on him. I visit him once a week and talk with my trainer/friend almost daily .

                      I get so much happiness and satisfaction out of just grooming him, and just plain hanging out with him and hanging out at the barn, it is all worthwhile.

                      Now I have owned horse property in the past but do not now, so I am a boarder, and due to my health issues I need to pay for full-care. I am blessed to have the finances to afford to do this.

                      If the day should come when I can no longer afford this, I will be sad but I know I can and will always find at least some way to stay 'horsey'.
                      Linda D with Whirl Wind aka "Whirly", 15 year old School Master


                      • #51
                        There is a nice woman in her sixties that comes to the barn to groom and pamper everyone. She refers to it as "getting her fix" she leave happy with no expense or worries. That will be me, someday!
                        "I don't know what your generation's fascination is with documenting your every thought... but I can assure you, they're not all diamonds." Mr. G


                        • #52
                          I agree on the driving thing, Bluey. I have tried to like it, co-trainer and I trained a very patient mare to do it about 20 years ago (many hilarious stories) but it has just never grabbed me. I felt like the reins were just not enough connection with that horse up front. I did love that cute little yellow Amish cart, though!

                          One thing I am doing is am getting involved in helping middle aged horses, who are a lot like me -- done with breeding and need a new career! I like "rescue" and helping horses in need without having to take them all in.

                          I am learning to be ok with just being casual about riding and not feeling like I have to be competitive with people who want to show.

                          I showed dogs when I was first married, and I think you have to be very careful who you get hooked up with and what breed you choose. But I am talking conformation here. I think the performance aspects of dogs would be more fun, for sure.

                          The rabbit idea is awesome! I showed rabbits when I was a teenager (Dutch). I also had a Flemish Giant rabbit that was hilarious, they are huge. I still have my trophy for winning best opposite at a show, back in 1980. The downside is what do you do with the ones that you can't keep ... which was my problem back then. Bunnies have a lot of little bunnies.

                          Horse sharing seems to be the most practical solution to a lot of our issues. Takes off the pressure (including finanical), horse has a job, but you can still enjoy. At my barn, my barn owner loves to lease horses out, she wouldn't even charge anyone to come and groom and mess around with her horses that aren't sound to be ridden. I bet there are lots of barns where you could just go and groom, and rescues, too.


                          • #53
                            I am getting older and my horse had a serious injury a year ago. I started dog agility with my puppy and absolutely love it. It is challenging and really fun. My horse recovered and is working but I am done showing horses. I will probably compete in agility when my dog is old enough.


                            • #54
                              Great thread!

                              I find it very interesting to learn how many people who can't ride anymore go into agility with their dogs. This is something I've always wanted to do, actually considered it when my mare was lame and the vet, after seeing her Xrays, was rather pessimistic that she'd be rideable again... But just as I was about to sign up my std poodle, the mare somehow recovered (no one told her she had bad Xrays I guess!) and hasn't had a problem in 6 years.

                              But, I'm 46, I have a bad back, my knees aren't what they were, etc. etc. I can't really sit the trot or canter for any extended periods anymore, and my horse is smooth. I've been doing yoga and pilates to postpone the "no more riding" as long as possible but I realize the day might come when I can't ride anymore.

                              If I couldn't ride anymore, I would probably place my horse as she is a nice ride and someone else might enjoy eventing her. Ideally I would place her where I can still go see her (I've done that with one of my horses already).

                              I would also volunteer. Yeas ago I volunteered as a riding instructor / helper for handicapped kids, and it is by far the BEST, most gratifying thing I've ever done with horses. I would do it again in a second.

                              My sister is older than me and her body is even more broken down than mine. For a while, she had 2 Icelandic horses that she was riding on treks (15 days, riding about 25 miles everyday). I rode one of her Iceys during one of those treks, and they are sooo smooth. They have the 3 horse gaits but they also have the tölt, which is a very, very smooth trot, and the Flying Pace, which goes as fast as a canter and is a blast to ride. You just don't "rock" at all in the saddle. So, I might consider one of those little guys. But what I really enjoy is dressage and jumping, so an Icey might not cut it...

                              So Carpe diem is my motto! I am not thinking ahead too much!
                              Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by Kwill View Post
                                I agree on the driving thing, Bluey. I have tried to like it, co-trainer and I trained a very patient mare to do it about 20 years ago (many hilarious stories) but it has just never grabbed me. I felt like the reins were just not enough connection with that horse up front. I did love that cute little yellow Amish cart, though!
                                This did make me laugh a bit, I just got in from driving my tandem where I have one horse out in front of the rear horse nothing but long reins to keep him there:-) I actually have so much more connection with my horses since I started driving , yes it is different then riding, but connection it is. Just think an agility dog isn't physically connected to you yet you have a connection.

                                Most everything you can do under saddle you can do with a driving horse especially when it comes to dressage. All my half halts and verbel cues and whip aides are given in timing with my horses feet to better able them to know what I am asking. Whether it is a canter transition from the halt, walk or trot , a leg yield, shoulder in or flying change.

                                Here is video from my last cross country marathon show (a helmet cam)
                                You can have a ride along:-)