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  • #81
    You know, in so many ways, we are all (as Invite likes to call it) "not quite right". Sometimes you can compensate well enough. Sometimes you can't. But I think this forum is meant for anyone who, at any time, has an issue which they need to address to help them be better horsepeople/riders/drivers/teachers/students. And that means ALL of us.
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


    • #82
      When it comes to participating in competitive sports, feelings can be hurt whether a professional or not. Its easy to say we must rise above the ugly comments, but not that easy to do. When competing with a disability I try to address my needs when I send my entry in. I need the organizer to know that I need accomadation, whether it is stabling, a handicapped porta pottie, a flag so I know when to enter the arena. I have found that if addressed before I even arrive then there is usually no stress... For driving I am currently working on an ad-hoc committee to come up with guidlines for American Driving Society shows. They are guidlines for organizers, secretary's judges, T.D.s you name it.. With a hidden disability you may not want to advertise it (that is up to you) but if you need accomadation you will have to at least tell the organizers what you need. If the rest of the competitors have an issue with the accomadations then the heck with them.. My favorite comment is "I would love to trade places with you", pretty much shuts them up. When I started showing 10 years ago in driving I had a long uphill battle for accomadation's to the rules, I still fight it but things are easier now.. My latest pet peeve is they always post scores 5 feet in the air.. (but there could also be a competitor that can't bend over to read) So an accomadation for me doesn't work for someone else. Or the competitors dinner in the upstairs of a barn.. Unless it faces someone everyday they don't know what is needed, and we can't assume they will know what we need.

      I say welcome to the forum, the more drivers the better.

      Did you know the best part of a handicapped parking sticker? Is you can actually park your 1 ton crew cab dually in 1 parking spot:-)

      Diane Kastama


      • #83
        I apologize for being late to the party-I finally just read this entire thread!

        I am so uplifted by the people posting here!! Horses are a common equalizer-they don't judge us the way our fellow humans can.

        My daughter has Crohn's Disease, which has interfered with her fledgling interest in riding, so that is why I originally started reading this thread. I have suffered from dysthymia(a low grade form of depression) probably most of my life-I guess I can add my experiences there as well as dealing with an older(pushing 50) less flexible and never totally athletic body!! It's so nice to have an accepting forum that focuses on solutions to problems without judgement. I will apologize in advance if some of my answers might not be spot on-it will be in the spirit of helping that I offer them.

        My daughter's issues with Crohn's and how she has been treated(because she doesn't look ill people sometimes accuse her of trying to take advantage of the system) has really been an eye opening experience. I applaud everyone for their courage and tenacity. Maybe in spite of it all, we are lucky that we do have something that we love so much that it keeps us going.

        Kudos to the Moderators and thank you so much for this forum!!


        • #84

          Newbie here!! SO thrilled to find this particular subject heading. My name is Linda and I am 53, disabled, and married to a disabled man. Niether of us was disabled when we met! We've both had strokes so you can just call us the stroke twins!

          I got a pony when I was 9 and that was all she wrote!! Later I worked full time as a computer specialist and writer, and managed 2 boarding stables on top of that! I was never very healthy and as an adult my health issues are many. BUT it will not keep me from horses!

          Umm, this is kinda long,,,hope that's OK

          I can sum up my disabilities as follows: Chronic pain, headaches, and fatigue, with leg-muscle atrophy.

          I was a preemie so I am small (5' 0") (but my sis is smaller!). My arteries are all quite small, and some of them are downright hinky (malformed), and many of them are totally blocked.

          I have been blessed with several different types of frequently recurring headaches, including Chronic Daily Headache (CDH), Primary Exertional Headache (don't ask), and two different types of migraine.

          I inherited my grandmother's scoliosis. Thankfully it is mild, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt~~! My heart goes out to the rider who has such a bad case of this.

          I have Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This combination took awhile to show up but it is a yukky one.

          I have had what is technically called 'severe aggressive endometriosis'. I have been told by every Dr who ever looked inside me that this was no ordinary case of endo.

          I had a hysterectomy at age 26 but they could not get all of it so left parts. Over the years I have had 4 surgeries for this. They could not get all of the endo so I can't have any ERT. "Things" stuck together with endo and scar tissue so my pelvis is full of all that stuff. On top of that I have sustained pelvic nerve damage so I have tremendous pelvic pain issues. (I love Dressage but not the sitting trot! Ouch! )

          In 1990 after a life-saving surgery for endo I had a major stroke. A full-bore, life-changing Cerebral Vascular Accident, diagnosed as caused by Migraine. (Yes, migraines can cause stroke. Who knew? ) I never programmed computers again.

          While attempting to get diagnosed and recovering, I had 4 TIAs over a period of 2 years. In 1996 I had a second CVA which was less severe than the first.

          By this time I was having bad pain in my legs when walking up an incline. My Dr decided to do whole body angiograms (pictures of all my arteries with dye inside them.)

          What we found was many blocked arteries all over my body. Two cerebral arteries on the left side 100% blocked (No wonder my head hurts! ouch!!), aorta 50% blocked, Right side kidney artery narrowed, right side femoral artery 100% blocked plus right calf muscle atrophy, left iliac artery 100% blocked, etc.

          Interestingly, I have 'grown' natural bypasses around all the 100% blockages. And, my aorta is now 100% clear!! YAY!

          That's good, cuz I am not a candidate for bypass surgery - arteries too small.

          Recent medical advances have allowed the Drs to discover the nature of those arterial blockages without doing a biopsy. They are not arterial plaque from arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). They are instead a build up of byproducts of some weird inflammatory process for which there is no cure and no test. Since it is in many arteries it is called Polyarteritis.

          This means my organs and muscles don't get enough blood. Hence I have noticeable muscle atrophy in both my calves, and I am always tired.

          I used to ride, breed, train, and teach but not any more. After a many-year abscence from horses while I recovered from the strokes, I have decided to try again. I now own only 1 horse, but he is a gem! I don't jump or focus on dressage anymore but I do light arena work and easy, short-ride time trails.

          Oh, for those of you reading all this and doubting my CVAs, allow me to explain. After the first CVA I completed 6 months of multiple therapies (learning to walk and talk again, etc.) but made very little progress. I was still a limping gimp with a funky folded forearm, a slur in my speech and using English like a school child rather than an adult in Graduate School. The Dr said the chances for further recovery were practically nil.

          Two weeks later I woke up like I am today (well, there has been some additional damage from the second stroke...). I went back to the Dr and was told there was no medical explanation for this, and the Dr admitting he was stumped.

          I just smiled and told him, "There is a God."
          Linda D with Whirl Wind aka "Whirly", 15 year old School Master


          • #85
            Wow, a story like that will be hard to top.

            Glad that you are back to enough function to post here about your hair raising medical history.
            Humbles the rest of us and I hope we learned something about being presistent and hope.

            Thanks for telling us.


            • #86
              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
              Wow, a story like that will be hard to top.

              Glad that you are back to enough function to post here about your hair raising medical history.
              Humbles the rest of us and I hope we learned something about being presistent and hope.

              Thanks for telling us.
              Thanks, Bluey. You're !!

              Part of my health problems (especially the severe endometriosis) were caused by a 5 year exposure to Agent Orange on the military base where we were stationed. This was between my ages of 3 yrs and 8yrs 6 mos. Formative years, for sure. There are many studies of Agent Orange causing and/or exacerbating endometriosis, but none of them done in the US. In one study in primates the females with no medical history of endo contracted it, and died from it Most folks don't know that it can spread everywhere in the body including the lungs and the brain -- which I was spared!

              As far as persistence goes, every day I wake up is GOOD day!

              It is difficult to ride when you are always tired, in pain from multiple sources, and on meds to control the pain -- but I tried to go without horses for several years and it just did not work.

              Back in the saddle!!
              Linda D with Whirl Wind aka "Whirly", 15 year old School Master


              • #87
                What a great and uplifting story!


                • #88
                  Hello Everyone,
                  My name is Melinda and I live in Columbus, Ga. I work at a local community college as the Interpreter/Disability Advisor. I interpret for deaf/hearing impaired, Braille class material, arrange accommodations, etc. and try my best to keep up with the ever changing ADA laws. I have worked with people with disabilities’ for almost twenty years.
                  Growing up in foster homes, I had that one special person that believed in me and gave me the confidence to become whatever I wanted to be. I have always been fulfilled by empowering people that just needed that little encouragement. My dream in life is to have a foster ranch for foster children. My husband has had the blueprints drawn up for several years now.
                  I am currently trying to start an Equine Therapy program. With a lot of prayer and hard work, my dreams will come true.


                  • #89
                    A bit late to this.. But im shy...

                    I am a walking medical disaster. Began with birth( though parents didnt mention until I was closer to 18).

                    I was born with out the top part of my left hip joint( the ledge part).
                    One of my legs is an inch and a half shorter than the other so I have a perminate limp which I have 'learned' to compensate for.

                    Both my knees are shot. From excessive pouding from ealy gymnastics.

                    I have had surgery on many parts of my body beginning with my head and ending with my knees.
                    Yes you read that correctly I had brain surgery almost 20 yrs ago. Before the surgery I had seizures and very very small strokes due to what the problem was. I still have a 'headach' 24/7/365..

                    I have a repaired rotator cuff tore that reaching for something on a table. It is giving me problems so I fear i may need it rerepaired.. It did go crunch. pop a few months ago.

                    I have a semi active case of dystonia believed to be a result from the above mentioned surgery. Because of this I have been in a few one person 'drug testing'/trial to see if ay of the current meds for this problem would be helpful for those with my set of circumstances for the dystonia.. So far the answr is no.

                    Since May or so I have had almost no feeling in my left pinky and ring fingers. I have not gone to the dr to see what is the reason behind this because I have chosen not to frankly I am tired of being admitted to the hospital every time I have a Drs apt. So I wait until I am up to spending a week or so in a hospital. With about 25 drs flying in from around the country to poke and prod me. ( some because they were in on hte original procedure and if surgery is indicated they are the only ones allowed to tip toe thorug my brain) others because they are on my current team.

                    Since about July/aug. I have also had intermittent pain in my fingers and toes/balls of feet. Again have not gone to dr for hte above reason.

                    I can count on one hand how often I have not been admitted in the last 20 yrs after a drs apt and some of those are after female annuals... So I put drs apts off until the reason for them becomes impossible to live with...

                    Oh yeah have an ankle tha is not quite right due to an imporperly set broken ankle when I as in high school so about 28 yrs ago and Im not brave enough to have it surgecally(sp) rebroke. So i put up with the pain, and swelling.

                    I have arthritis in several joints that still have cartledge in them.

                    I have had an unusual intestional problem that dispite the tests run I have been told nothing there to 'intsetional hemroids' to irritable bowel.. So still trying to figure that one out..

                    I am currently horseless. When I was younger i rode hunters and dressage. I piddled for a very short time in eventing then "sanity set in" as well as the reason for the surgery on my noggin..

                    I can still ride and I do on occasion. I have thought of slowing down but my body keeps saying go on you can do this I will let you know when it is to much. So Im looking for a new horse just not the firebreathing dragons that I used to ride.
                    Friend of bar .ka


                    • #90
                      No need to be shy!!
                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                      • #91
                        OOOooo I'd be so excited to talk to those in the field of equine therapy. It's my DREAM job, currently I'm at school as a psych major to become a therapist. I would like to work with women who have eating disorders and struggle with self harm. My eventual goal is to use equine assisted therapy with those women.

                        I'm Rachel, 19, and have an array of psychological disorders as well as something called a vascular anomaly in my left leg. I'm the only one who has it! I've been studied at UCSF for it when I was younger-- basically, I have too many veins in my left leg, some of which run through my femur bone, which causes swelling which then in turn pinches the nerves in my leg. I have permanent bruising on that leg, too, as well as varicose veins. I look like I have the leg of a 80 year old I have to be really careful to condition my body properly (building the right strength in my leg) otherwise I have excruciating pain and can't walk. I need surgery on it but even then they don't know how much of it will be "fixed"

                        I had quite a successful junior career as an eventer, now turned H/J as my horse decided he didn't like eventing. I'm selling my "big horse" right now as I'm in treatment for an eating disorder. I have my lovely little red mare down here with me who I do some hunters on, though she really likes the dressage much better (and I have to admit, I'm a far better dressage rider than hunger rider! all those years of eventing paid off!)

                        It's lovely to meet all of you!
                        take care


                        • #92
                          I'm a bit late to the party, but thats nothing new.

                          I'm Kelsey, and I have a mild version of Cerebral Palsy called Spastic Diplegia, which affects my legs. I started riding as therapy as a child, and have never stopped. I've been in the saddle twenty one years this fall, hurts my brain! I walk 'normally' (mostly) because of my early years in the saddle, and riding helps me to continue to walk comfortably.

                          My SO and I own five rescue horses. We ride dressage mostly, and a great deal of trails. I hope to start doing CTR with two of my horses this year. I haven't competed much in the dressage ring, as I'm a slow learner physically.
                          - JK Sporthorses -


                          • #93
                            Hi! Well I do not have a disability, but I'm posting as a mom of two boys who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. We originally tried to get our son's into a Therapeutic Riding program near our home, but when we heard about how long the wait list was, we went out and purchased our own horse. We have an older QH, Luke, who is a perfect gentleman who never takes a step out of line, and is a complete puppy dog who loves my children. Luke has helped one of my son's with his communication skills. My son has oral apraxia, and when in saddle he clearly tells Luke to "walk on, terr-ot, and ho". A lot of language comes out when he is communicating with our horse. Luke has also taught them about responsibility, and respect. And when it comes time for me to de-stress, he's also my perfect riding partner for the trails. ;0)


                            • #94
                              I kind of introduced myself in another thread, but I guess I should do so in this one. Ah, well, I'm never known for doing things in the usual way or correct order!

                              I'm Rebecca. I live in Colorado and have rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and Sjogren's syndrome plus a few other autoimmune odds and ends. I started riding as a kid and was involved in horses intermittently all my life (with a few lucky times owning one).

                              After quite a long break, I decided to take up riding again, choosing shorter horses to accommodate my deteriorating joints. I ended up buying a 13.2 HH horse, and that didn't turn out so well as I started having serious balance issues and started an alarming collection of injuries from falls. I regretfully sold him, and figured I was going to have to be out of horses from then on.

                              A few years later, my husband knew I was still pining for horses, and he said he would be willing to do the bulk of the care if I got back into it. We moved to acreage and adopted two rescue horses, and after taking driving lessons, I bought an older driving pony. I drove him for about six years and retired him due to age (he's now 28) early this year. He's still not quite sure how he became a pasture ornament, but it was the right decision.

                              Of the two rescues we adopted, one is an older Paint mare whom I ride occasionally on a very good day (with some help from my DH). The other was intended to be my daughter's riding pony, but she really doesn't have the "horse bug" (I would doubt her parentage if she didn't look like me) and only rides him very occasionally. So I stole him and trained him to drive.

                              The cool thing about driving is that I can do it even on my worst days. As long as I can get in and out of the cart quickly on my own, I feel that I'm safe enough out there (we're never really safe at all, of course). I've been fine on dealing with the occasional spook and bolt. This horse is quite a handful to ride but it turns out he loves to drive.

                              I find going out for a fast run really restores my spirits when lack of physical ability starts to get me down. It's great to have something I can excel at, and a very willing equine partner.



                              • #95
                                Nice to "meet" you all...

                                Ann here. I don't necessarily count myself as disabled as much as just a bit, impaired I guess. I am 45 and have had Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes for 34 years. Am holding up pretty well except for pelvic neuropathy and a little in my fingers and toes. Eyes are fine, kidneys are fine, heart is fine I have an insulin pump and love it! I'm also dysthymic (sort of a long-term low grade depression or anxiety, which has been worse at times and better at times, and for which I am on low doses of Welbutrin and Buspar.)

                                I've always been slightly "off" on the left side -- just not as strong, flexible, etc. Two riding accidents have not helped... I cracked the left side of my pelvis coming off a pony in 2007, and then in 2008 passed out from hypoglycemia right after coming over a jump, landed on my left shoulder and broke my collarbone badly enough to need a metal plate put in to hold it together, and a bunch of ribs. So my whole left side is even more creaky now.

                                I'm in an odd position as a rider, in that I don't want "special treatment" but sometimes my various problems do get in the way. The biggest thing really has been the dysthymia and some rather dysfunctional thought patterns that arise when I am not doing well at something. E.g. after months and months of being fine, my ability to get a right-lead canter seems to have flown the coop, and it's hard to not get pessimistic about getting it back even though my horse is well trained and knows the cues!

                                I rode as a kid and teen and in fact being diagnosed with diabetes was a help there, because my endocrinologist told my mom that I was having a rough time, and taking away my riding lessons would not help! I quit riding when I was 17 -- got into boys, sigh, (and mom would have preferred I stayed with horses) and then basically did not ride for 25 years. Went back to it just about 3 years ago and bought my first horse in 2008. Mythic Feronia is an 11 year old sport-bred Morgan mare. We mostly fool around at low level dressage and trail ride; I bought her for low level eventing but the 2008 accident makes jumping a bit more dangerous, so I don't do much in that regard. She's a super horse, not an easy horse but a good one for me. Very typical "over-achiever" Morgan.

                                So, I'll lurk around here and see what people have to say.
                                You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                • #96
                                  I understand how you feel, quietann! I am in a funky kind of situation - I have spatial difficulties but have greatly compensated for them, but it still rears its ugly head. Partially strabysmous, partially something else, but the end result was that from a very young age my left eye became dominant and my right eye is functionally blind. I have no depth perception because I have never been binocular. As you can imagine, I was a complete and utter dork at all sports growing up, without knowing why. I don't jump because I can't count strides or even know for certain where the jump is (apart from the fact that I can do a course backwards).

                                  It is very difficult to have people understand the problem, because they know what I do for a living (how do you reconcile that I have a PhD in biochemistry but I can't take a bridle apart and figure out how to put it back together?). The last clinic at my barn, the clinician asked for haunches in, I did haunches out (or vice versa). Position left - I will do position right. When I ride tests I hold the whip in whichever hand is the direction in which i have to turn at C (which makes me think I will never be able to do 4th level tests!). And it is easy to think I am not paying attention when in fact I am trying very hard!
                                  a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues