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Doctors told me I couldn't ride anymore *devastated*

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  • #21
    Ever thought about driving ? There are more ways for you to enjoy horses other than riding.
    ... _. ._ .._. .._


    • #22
      I'm sorry you got news like that from your Dr. That's just heartbreaking. I am going to join the votes that you try driving as an alternative to keep true to your love of horses, which is a part of your soul- it's not just a matter of swimming laps instead of running- although I'm sure there are runners who would beg to differ. To me it feels more like if a Dr. said, "I'm sorry but your medical condition is not compatible with being Catholic."

      As a rider, the thought of driving may seem like such an alien thing- and such a gigantic compromise as to not even begin to offer solace.... but I can tell you as a driver- and knowing the people I do, and the great driving horses I do- that driving is an incredible equestrian sport- that can be taken to any level of *sport* that you want- from the casual clunky trail ride all the way up to the tremendous skill of a 3 day event.

      It's possible that the horse you already own and love can transition to driving. I just looked at your blog and it sounds like transitioning to driving might be just the thing for HIM as well- I think he would be an INCREDIBLE driving horse if he has the mind for it. It's also possible that your interest in a pony to ride- could be a versatile ride and drive pony who can do both if you have "bad days" when you really aren't up for riding.

      I'd suggest that you try to get to a couple of driving events to "light the fire" and then follow up with a lesson with a great trainer to get your hands on the lines and facing in the right direction. There is a lot of equipment and it's not cheap- (factor in the trailering question and it gets even more exclusive) But I would avoid thinking of this as a step down- or compensation for not being able to ride- which would kind of build in a sad shadow over the whole endeavor- it would be great if you could try it- just for fun, just for the love of it, for the challenge, and for your horse.


      • #23
        Rodeosweetheart is walking in your shoes - you are not alone. You have a wee one, you can work on your second one - you will be so darned busy you'll wonder how you ever had time, and your mind and heart will be so occupied for a while, then you can re-plan re horses...there are a lot of avenues.

        (Oh, then look out - your kids will be in Pony Club and then you will have no time for riding but it's fun!)
        Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


        • Original Poster

          Thanks guys! You all have great advice and great ideas. Horses are my life other than my husband and son. Since I was 3 I've been riding and had a pony. So I will keep you guys posted on what becomes of this! I'm trying to stay positive!
          Horses and life, it's all the same to me.


          • #25
            Doctors do not have crystal balls, and most are so terrified of being sued that they'd rather have you locked in a rubber room than give "permission" to do any activity they consider remotely risky. Most doctors would prefer no one ride horses.

            All they know is that right now, with a broken back and residual weakness from the infection, riding doesn't look like a good idea. Neither does getting pregnant.

            Things change, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, sometimes on their own, and sometimes with hard work. Sure, accept that riding is a bad idea right now. Sounds like you need some recovery time. Figure out your limitations and work within them. Continue to get stronger, don't take silly risks, stick to your treatments and when you feel like something could be working better, get in to the doctors and start looking for ideas. Once you feel like you're back in a strong physical place, THEN get them to re-assess the specific activity of riding. Get a second, fresh opinion on the matter.

            I'm sorry that you got this news. Mostly sorry that at your age and with a relatively recent, SEVERE medical episode, they've decided to use the term "never."

            When I was 8, they wanted to amputate my arm. My parents tried not to let me hear that. 3 surgeries and 15 years later, I was playing varsity rugby in a National final. My hand doesn't EXACTLY work, I don't have full range of motion, and pain was a problem after 10 years of competitive rugby...but I never made excuses and worked my butt off to make sure that despite the limitation, I was fit to play and could make the grade. I am sure that if we'd ASKED about rugby, back when I was 8, I'd have been told 'no, never again.' When I was 8, there was a spastic contracture and my fingers were completely frozen. "Never" made sense. I healed a lot on my own, and went to some better-qualified surgeons, and got to a point where throwing a ball and making tackles were things I KNEW I could do.

            Good luck.
            Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior


            • #26
              Originally posted by Pin View Post
              Backs can break even without osteoporosis ( I just broke mine in two places
              too). I would go for the second opinion, and third of necessary. Nothing is more important than health, but that includes mental health. If you are like me, being told I couldn't ride ever again would,do lots of harm to mine.

              Good luck
              I totally agree - I fractured T12 and L1 without any pre-existing osteopenic conditions. Any time we fall from a height (even only 6'), we are at risk of spinal fracture, even if the fall does not involve speed (this is a common injury for climbers and people on ladders, too.

              I would be shocked to hear such a sweeping statement, but for right now, it is probably in the best interests of your FUTURE riding aspirations to refrain from mounted activity. Damaging things now could put your future walking health at risk, and would certainly not improve the chances of not further damaging your back with the extra forces applied during pregnancy.

              Take care of yourself and family, and once you are through the storm, the horses will certainly still be there waiting for you


              • #27
                I have been told not to ride again too, but I really hate the word "never". I'm so very sorry you are going through this.
                You are what you dare.


                • Original Poster

                  Really thanks you all. I have been doing research on driving and am going to try and look into it. If anyone else has personal stories they wouldn't mind sharing I am all ears. All the advice and goodwishes and similar stories help me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
                  Horses and life, it's all the same to me.


                  • #29
                    Well I was having a pity party today because I was diagnosed with sciatica (herniated disc) (thought I had pulled some weird butt/hip muscle), and I am 34, but I still feel 20 (minus this radiating butt pain), and now I certainly feel less sorry for myself after reading your post. I was on here to try and figure out if riding was out until it (hopefully) healed. I have a young, hot horse, who could definitely dump me.

                    What I am thinking about is how I had this issue months ago (undiagnosed) and it went away due to lots of Advil and then came back when I started riding a lot a week ago. I did a little show on Saturday and couldn't lift my leg Monday morning. I'm wondering if I had started with other physical activity, lifting and stretching, would I be having this problem right now?

                    What I'm thinking out loud is in the meantime, when you are healed of course, can you do strength training? I think that would be really good for bone issues, and also could help protect your body. My dad loves to tell a story about how he was recruited to play college football for (Army?) and failed the physical because of his spine x-ray. Or maybe it was when he tried to get a RR job (sort of in one ear out the other as a kid). Well he never had an issue (played elsewhere until he blew out his knee) and attributes it to all his back and ab muscle "back-in-the-day." I have no idea if there is any truth to that (he also catches huge fish), but I always thought it was interesting. Just a random thought that I was considering/wondering about for my totally-minor-in-comparison issue.

                    Heal, get strong, reassess. I like the driving idea! I would love to learn to drive. Best wishes.
                    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                    • #30
                      Didn't some Dr(s) tell Wilma Rudolph that she would never walk...so she ran!!

                      If you don't like your Drs' pronouncement, keep figuring out how it can change and best wishes!


                      • #31
                        first, i'll say that as a medical pro myself and an life-long equestrian like you, medical or nursing school does not teach about equestrian injuries. Period. most MD/PA/NP have zero medical training about equestrian injuries or the biomechanics of riding, so our default answer on something that's dangerous for our patients is to say no, you can't.

                        second, i'm sorry you are going through this. how awful for you and your husband. i can only imagine how defeating it can be to hear you can't ride when it's likely the very thing you wanted to do more than ever while laying there miserable and perhaps the goal you set for yourself "when i'm better."

                        third, have you seen a bone health specialist? the endocrinologists or bone health specific orthopaedists can be very helpful in improving your bone health, even with the early onset osteoporosis. some osteoporotic patients can be improved to osteopenia or even better than that too. good bone health may not be a ticket to ride immediately, but it could help in the long run, esp with your long-term use of DMARDs (humira, etc) & steroids (both of which can compromise bone density). not sure where you are, but i used to work with one of the foremost pediatric bone health specialists. i'd be happy to give your her contact info.
                        And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by smith_sporthorses View Post
                          Really thanks you all. I have been doing research on driving and am going to try and look into it. If anyone else has personal stories they wouldn't mind sharing I am all ears. All the advice and goodwishes and similar stories help me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
                          Well, let me be the first to welcome you to the driving community... if you chose to join us on our picnic drives you will get to wear fancy hats, enjoy lots of fun (generally adult) company, start plans on collecting elegant carriages, and learn to always carry a bottle opener for those champagne bottles in your, and everyone else's, carriage basket.

                          There are lots of interesting things to learn when you embark into driving - various types harness, various carriages, putting to, singles/pairs/multiples - it is unique in that one horse can take you, your friends, the family, and even your dog along for the ride.

                          It is a wonderful sport that can also gracefully take you into your old age in style, comfort, and elegance, a pastime that always invokes smiles from passerbys and (often) cameras out to photograph you (so always dress in your best hat!) You will find more estates and lands open to carriage drivers than riders, and you will see the world in a whole new light on the top of the box seat .

                          So get thee to the Driving Forum, and start asking questions. You can also go to the CD-L list to ask questions, and find out if there is a driving club in your area.

                          My pair of Welsh Section B's in front of Llangollen, Upperville, VA, and on a local picnic drive. Bottom photo is John Greenall of Vermont with his carriage dog at a carriage show.

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                          • #33
                            Go drive!
                            I rode as a youngster, up until my 20s when life got a little in the way. Now a couple of decades later I can't stay away from horses any longer, so I took a driving lesson. Fast forward to where I am now, training a 2yo to drive. A host of medical issues keep me from riding, but they don't mean I can't enjoy my pony and drive. I still get quality horse time, and the satisfaction of bringing this colt along, and we'll have a blast when we are competition ready.
                            Driving equipment is expensive, but if you buy quality and take the time to find out what part of driving you want to do your investment will last many years. And the folks in the driving community are awesome!


                            • #34
                              I was diagnosed with RA in 2006 when I was 24. Was told I would never ride again. I had a hard time with my diagnosis, and without a very dear friend who DRAGGED me to each and every horse show she went to I don't think I would have survived. For 3 years I did what my doctor said. I showed halter horses a little bit, taught lessons, judged a few horse shows. I would occasionally hop on a friends horse, but the fear of "what if" usually had me in tears and shaking after only a few minutes of riding.

                              In 2008 I was started on Biological drugs which improved my RA significantly. I was able to get into a school to begin the return to work process, and heck I could stay awake all day! At this time my RA doctor (who had told me I would never ride) daughter started riding lessons. And the doctor started realising that with my risk/reward ratio, the reward mentally for riding would outweigh my risks.

                              So with her green light (although with sever restrictions, I always wear a helmet, wrist braces and other supportive equipment) I started riding friends horses a little more, then started lessons with a great local trainer.

                              It can still be touch and go, I bought a horse in late 2009 that I sold in 2012 after my health declined again, and I realised he wasn't a horse that could sit for a month if I got sick. Some weeks I can ride 4-5 days a week. Last week my glands in my neck got huge and I was off work for 2 days and out of the saddle for a week until I got better. Some things I cannot do, and I need to work within my limits.

                              For you, I would first concentrate on getting better. Any back injury can be serious and needs time to heal. I would look into seeing a bone density specialist and how to get better.


                              • #35
                                I too suggest look into driving. My new driving horse is a 13.3+ hand Fjord....very sweet, cute and a real engine going down the road. I was going big and cute or small and cute....decided to go small. Driving tack is light to handle (betathane) and you can get a nice light 4-wheeler that will be comfortable for you. Plus, you can bring your son along with you driving (or friends etc.).

                                Is it riding? No, it's not. Sometimes driving seems more like you're an employer than a partner...but sitting there watching your guy move, being able to bring friends along and you can get a get driving pony your son can also ride. You'll find the driving world to be very friendly and helpful. Plus, all the skills and knowledge you developed over the years is fully applicable to driving too!
                                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"


                                • #36
                                  This is one of the most positive threads we have had on COTH - and eventually we will hear how life is turning out for the OP.

                                  All this talk about babies on the hews (i.e. Prince George) has made me positively maternal.....

                                  Not sure if it was this thread, or another, but I have volunteered for the driving event here, and the people are a lot of fun. It is grass roots, family affair. They are of all ages but a lot of them are mums and dads who did the kid thing with shows etc. and then decided it was time for them to do their thing and chose driving.

                                  And like Trak says, the right pony can do both, be a pony for the children, too.

                                  Goodluck, and enjoy. I've got osteo, too, and should not be riding - they say - but I have a good horse and that is the key.
                                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by smith_sporthorses View Post
                                    Really thanks you all. I have been doing research on driving and am going to try and look into it. If anyone else has personal stories they wouldn't mind sharing I am all ears. All the advice and goodwishes and similar stories help me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
                                    I haven't yet had anyone tell me I can't ride again, but the last 10 months have been touch and go through a series of unfortunate events (both non-horse and horse related) that have left me wondering if I've even spent a third of that time in total on a horse's back.

                                    I bought my Haflinger 5 years ago, trained to drive. He used to be a carriage horse. Always meant to get him a harness, but didn't get around to it until last August. Sure was glad I did because I started ground driving him as a refresher for him and me and in October fell down the stairs at home in a completely non-horse related accident. Busted up my ribs and lower left back. Riding was a no go, and it was 3 months before I could ride. In the mean time, I ground drove, and hitched my gelding to the cart. I couldn't do a lot of overhead movements, but I could hitch thanks to a great foundation that had my horse standing still as a statue through the whole process and sitting in the cart was great. And so easy to get in. No fuss "mounting up."

                                    I finally did manage to ride again in January which was off and on due to the winter rains,although I alternated with driving. And then in March, my mare bucked me off and messed up my shoulder. Back to no riding for a while, but by golly, I could hitch and drive. And then just when I seemed to be getting back in the saddle, I tripped (over the cart shaft no less) and sprained my wrist. No riding yet again, but I can harness and hitch and drive.

                                    Being able to drive keeps me sane. Instead of fretting that I can't ride and watching everyone else out there have fun, I think "It's a great day for a drive." It's opened up new worlds and opportunities for me, and I now know I'll forever be able to be around horses even when I'm old and gray with an awesome little four-in-hand of minis and a marathon carriage.

                                    I think you ought to consider it. I'm sure you'll enjoy it greatly.
                                    "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan


                                    • #38
                                      I hate to say this, but driving, to me, is far more dangerous than riding. When things go wrong, they can go REALLY WRONG. And finding a bombproof, smaller horse would be something you could do pretty easily, and hey, you could fall down your steps or fall walking down the sidewalk and fracture something. Protect yourself with a vest, find a more appropriate horse, and talk to a doctor who understands riding--many doctors only see the terrifying injuries that come through the clinics, so they have an unfair opinion of the risk associated with horses.
                                      In the meantime, driving lessons would be a great way to get a fix!


                                      • #39
                                        I had a terrible fall off my old gelding years back and herniated 2 discs in my lower back as well as breaking my sacroiliac joint. I was told I could never ride again. I sold my horse.

                                        It took years but finally I actually started to feel better. I got accupunture and it helped more than I thought possible. I revisited the doctor.

                                        When I did, I was told that I was able to ride, just not fall off. When I couldn't ride, I felt as though part of me was dying. Literally. It was terrible and if you feel passionate about horses, you can certainly have them in your life even if you cannot ride.

                                        You say you've been robbed of a dream, I say, you've been given a new perspective. Keep your head up, and realize that things are just different now, but in time, see what the future my hold. I'm not trying to give you false hope, just the realization that maybe you can remold the dreams you have.


                                        • #40
                                          In the fall of 07 I broke my lower back in three places and right hip in two places when my horse threw me. Six months later I got back on him. (Not recommended by Dr.'s or family) but I had to do it for peace of mind for me. I then started riding a friends mule. While riding I realized that even though I have been riding for well over 40 years I had lost confidence in myself and my capabilities. I rode my horse often but never for any length of time. Then in Feb. of 2012 my horse died. I lost the desire to ride until I found my Mule. In april of this year I brought him home. I haven't done much with him but just getting to know him has been fun. He has impeccable ground manners, I haven't been on his back nor do I plan to be in the near future. Actually, I plan to drive him. He is near 16 hands and I am just over 5 foot.
                                          My husband is ok with me messing with my mule on the ground but really doesn't want me to get on him. Eventually I will and he will get over it. Yes I have the fear of breaking my back again. Wich I did come off my friends mule when turkeys spooked her. I landed hard but got right back on.
                                          YOu have to do what is best for you. Horses can be enjoyed from the ground too.