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Trainers for physically disabled riders

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  • Original Poster

    Just a thought

    Originally posted by Rackonteur View Post
    I really identified with what you wrote. I have similar issues with a very nice trainer who is very caring and sympathetic but just doesn't "get" some of the issues I'm facing. Pain is what I have to deal with when I ride, and I just can't get my legs in a "correct" position without a lot of pain. When I ride my goal is to relax and enjoy the ride and not do stuff that will cause my muscles/joints/nerves to seize up and cramp or just hurt. So when I try to put my leg in the correct position and that hurts, then the whole reason for my being on the horse in the first place is frustrated.

    Today we were trying to work on canter, because I want to get back to cantering, but I couldn't get my leg in the correct position to give my body a solid enough base for my seat to be secure at canter.

    I wish there were some way to have a secure seat and be able to do more than walk-trot, without having to have one's leg in a certain position (and I don't mean I expect to canter with my toes down or my legs all over the place, but isn't there a way to be secure and not in pain?)

    So that is what I am dealing with ...
    I know EXACTLY what you are going through. I have to ride with a very long straight leg. I also have to ride in a saddle that fits me properly. Properly to me means it doesn't cause pain and keeps me in a secure position. With some saddles, I hunch my shoulders without realizing it because I am being put in the wrong position. Not to sound like a total whacko, my body tends to try to protect itself when the saddle is not right for me.

    So, after my long ramble, this is what has worked for me...a deep seat (not a longish, flatish deep seat, more of a bucket like seat) and big blocks. Not every deep seated saddle with big blocks works, but for the most part it is what I need. I refer to it as a seatbelt saddle. Something totally non-dressage might work for you. Whatever saddle keeps you pain free and secure is the type of saddle you need. Be it an endurance saddle, a close contact, or even a western saddle, if it keeps you secure and enables you to accomplish what you want when riding, it is the right saddle for you!

    If you find the perfect saddle, well perfect other then the blocks, do not fret. There are places that can put on bigger blocks, back blocks, etc.

    Another thought...Are you wearing full seat breeches? They can help the tush stick!

    Good luck! I feel your pain, as most of the folks on this forum do ;-)


    • Thanks, Invite. I know what you mean about your shoulders, and your comment gave me a clue about my own riding--I am probably tightening up one part of my body when another part is affected. Ouch!

      Right now I am riding in a lightweight synthetic western saddle, because it is light enough for me to get it up on the horse's back and it is more close-contact that some leather western saddles I've tried. I also like the support of the western stirrups and fenders. (It has a suede seat, so no issues with slipping!) I have wanted to go back to English saddles, but they just aren't comfortable for me, and the longer I stay away from them the less secure I feel when I try to ride in them.

      The saddle you describe sounds like the Wintec Isabell I used for lessons for awhile. Sometimes it was very comfortable and secure-feeling; other times the straight flap and the thigh block put my leg in a position that really hurt. I am trying to adopt as much of a chair position these days as I can get away with.
      Rack on!


      • One good thing about those blocks on the Wintecs - aren't they moveable? so could you play with them and see what works for you depending upon how you feel that day?
        a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
          One good thing about those blocks on the Wintecs - aren't they moveable? so could you play with them and see what works for you depending upon how you feel that day?
          You can even buy bigger blocks and/or extra sets of blocks. They are indeed velcro-able, so they can go anywhere. Unfortunately, this is a very uncomfortable saddle for me, but it is perfect for someone it fits. They are very "sticky" saddles and help keep you in place.


          • bumping this wonderful and amazing thread just because!

            and for those who are interested i am creating a community of women who are mildly intellectually disabled who need support in order to live and ride independently.
            i feel this is a vastly under-served group of women and i hope to give them the lifestyle they (like me) crave in a structured and safe way.


            • I don't have any experience with dressage but can help on the hunter/jumper side of things! I am legally blind/visually impaired, and while it took me awhile to find a trainer that was willing to work with my disability, I can recommend an awesome one in the Portland, OR area. Vicki Zacharias at Rain Creek Farm; she took me on as a beginner student 4 years ago and worked with me to accommodate my disability and got me up to the 1.00m jumpers

              On a separate note, does anyone have any suggestions for jumper (or even eventing) trainers in the Louisville, KY area that have experience working with, or might at least have an interest in working with, a para-show jumper? Thanks!