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Explaining your disability

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  • #41
    Originally posted by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho" View Post
    mkevent - I think you can often sense the intent. Awkwardness is okay if the intent is sincere - after all, what can you say to someone - "Wow, having to deal with what you deal with must really suck, right?" What offends me is the condescension, which - in my opinion - is used by those who need to distance themselves from your injury/illness (as in, the same will not happen to them). And that's the irony, of course, because any of these things can happen to anybody.
    Exactly, anyone is just one illness or accident away from a disability.
    Maybe those that can't handle disabled people are just afraid to confront that, by pure chance, it is not them that are disabled?

    Then, some people are rude to everyone around them, not just disabled people.


    • #42
      Good Thoughts

      Originally posted by Bluey View Post
      Exactly, anyone is just one illness or accident away from a disability.
      Maybe those that can't handle disabled people are just afraid to confront that, by pure chance, it is not them that are disabled?

      Then, some people are rude to everyone around them, not just disabled people.
      Very true. Sometimes I think people are nervous around handicapped people. Maybe it makes them look at their own mortality.

      I think of how often people would forget "Please" "Thank you" &"Excuse me" even when I looked normal. In many cases, society is just plain rude. Heck, look at all the road rage resulting from rude driving. People are often in a rush and think only of themselves.

      I often find myself trying to put others at ease about my disability. I am very open and honest. I went through a period of being ill at ease in my own skin. Now that I am comfortable with who and what I am, the stares don't bother me as much. I am still aggrivated not one person offered assistance when I crashed and burned in the doctor's office, but that was just rudeness and did not even involve my disability. If I had been able bodied, I would have probably received the same treatmebt.


      • #43
        I don't have a disability. Yet. I have been diagnosed with an "undifferentiated connective tissue disease" which as explained to me, could become RA or Lupus at any time. Or just be what it is which is basically not much of anything. Fatigue and joint pain at times.

        Coming from someone who has lived in small towns her entire life and in a town in which kids with disabilities were NOT mainstreamed, it is helpful to receive some kind of information.

        I consider myself more or less educated, but I am curious about things, particularly the things I do not know or understand.

        I do not know what I can do or say to help a person with a blatantly obvious disability, such as blindness or being in a chair or what have you. I may not always recognize the "slight" things that make someone NQR. I feel awkward and don't often know what to say.

        This does not mean that I'm uncaring or trying to be rude. What is helpful to me is if someone gives me a brief explanation and maybe lets me in on how I can help or relate to them.

        For example, the person with the spinal cord injury that makes her hands/arms numb.... LOTS of people don't "get" that you can have varying degrees of spinal injuries. They just "know" about "paralyzed from the neck down" or "paralyzed from the waist down." They may not KNOW that there are many variants.

        People may not KNOW about things like Fibromyalgia, or Lupus or whatever.

        Doesn't mean you need to give a long winded explanation but a simple "Well I have an autoimmune diesease that makes me tired. What it means is my immune system attacks my own body." or "Actually, you can have many different levels of spinal cord injury. My arms work but my hands are numb with very little feeling." These things are helpful to people like me. I want to understand.

        But it is hard to relate to something you know nothing about. I know that it should be "person first" but unfortunately at times people are so confused/alarmed by the disability that they forget that there is a person involved. I think that more education is helpful.

        Obviously your disability need not be made "public" but it might make a difference in the long run.

        Just a thought coming from someone who might, some day, at any time, have an "invisible" disability that will change my life.


        • #44
          I wad born 3 months early weighing in at 1 llb 11 onces and the doctors told my mom and dad that I will not live if that I did live then exspect that I'll have brain damage and will be MR. and I lived but now MR.


          • #45
            just my 2 cents!

            I LOVED CityDogs explanation the best. I also think a humorous explanation suffices and puts both of you at ease.....like the demonic possession one. But never underestimate the power of the truth to set you free. Tell someone the truth and see what happens. Don't assume the worst. You may find out something about them that helps you bond with them.
            " Be who you are and say what you feel......because those that matter don't mind, and those that mind don't matter."


            • #46
              just venting...

              I have Ankylosing Spondylitis ( similar to Rheumatoid Arthritis ), which primarily affects the spine, ultimately causing it to fuse, and manifests in other joints in the body, from hips to fingers, etc. Debilitating, and oh, so painful. I'm on plenty of advanced arthritis meds, and after several years of barely being able to get out of bed, finally felt enough improvement to tackle riding as therapy.

              3 weeks ago, I bought my new horse - a perfect gentleman who seems to understand my disability - and now I'm in the process of enjoying life and getting stronger. I've even managed to mount last week - with a block, of course - without hubby giving me "the butt push"! So, I'm really happy with my miniscule improvements.

              I board at a lovely boarding stable, with a BO who is taking a keen interest in my welfare. Thank God for that. And most of the boarders are friendly enough, and we talk about our ride and other pleasantries - my disability is not obvious, so it's not discussed.

              A few of the women of the same age group as me (middle) have been very kind and ask how I'm doing, since I told them during a brief introduction, that I'm back riding for the first time in over 20 years, and with severe arthritis. They always take a minute to engage me in an encouraging conversation.

              But then come the Drama Queens. I was riding in the arena, in a borrowed h/j saddle which didn't fit - my new one is on it's way - and DQ1 commented that my position was not as it should be. ( Despite BO telling me my position was super, all things considered. ) I explained that I have arthritis and cannot flex my lower back freely. She said that's no excuse - she teaches therapeutic riding to children with Cerebral Palsy, and if they can do it, so can I. Her words. She also commented that I was not sitting far enough towards my tailbone, and that only one's seat bones should touch the saddle ( hunter/jumper ), one's pelvic bone should be above the saddle. (?!?) And she should know cuz she's shown hunter/jumpers. ~ can y'all see GM shaking his head? ~

              Meanwhile her friend, DQ2, was proudly bouncing around in a dressage saddle, sitting on her tailbone, spine wiggling like a slinky toy, and head bobbing like a bobble doll. Not exactly Edward Gal. But she does charge money (p/t) to teach her style of riding to an unlucky few.

              Since then, they refuse any common courtesy - like holding a door open, making eye contact, not moving out of the way when I'm leading my horse, etc. and leave nasty anonymous notes on the message board, and shovel their horse's aisle droppings into my horse's stall. (Even though the skip is closer.) I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

              Apparently every barn has DQ's, but *sheesh* why take it out on the disabled? THIS is what I don't understand. I graduated Psychology from University, but this was years ago, and I don't recall covering this in Abnormal Pysch.

              Any thoughts? And how to deal with this? It stresses me out, and I go to the barn to DEstress, not to have deal with middle-aged meanies acting like it's Junior High. Thanks for any input, because I'm finding this all quite upsetting.
              “Your appearance should reflect the care you take in every aspect of your horsemanship... feeding, grooming... everything you do, from the barn to the show ring. Class, people, class…" George Morris


              • #47
                Oh True Grit I know how you feel. I was at a barn with similiar boarders. I'd love to know where you board as you probably not far from where I board at. The place I board at now is great and everyone gets along.

                Will not the BO stand up for you to these so called DQ's.

                Send me an email if you want. cariba@sympatico.ca
                Frogs in a Basket. Oh, one jumped out.
                EC Level 1 Coach, ARIA Level 3 Dressage Coach


                • #48
                  Originally posted by TrueGrit View Post

                  I explained that I have arthritis and cannot flex my lower back freely. She said that's no excuse - she teaches therapeutic riding to children with Cerebral Palsy, and if they can do it, so can I. Her words.

                  My sympathies to her therapeutic riding students! What a wretched thing for her to say to you after you'd already explained your arthritis! It really really gets my hackles up to read about things like this!

                  As for the abnormal psychology of those people. . .I don't think there's an "official" name for it yet.

                  However, I could offer some suggestions for what to call them. It's just that my suggestions are not very scientific.

                  It would be one thing if they were just being stuck-up barn princesses. I've known a few like that, and they thrive on getting a reaction. It pisses them off to just be ignored or have their condescending "helpful advice" dismissed.

                  But the women at your barn seem to be going above and beyond. Is the BO aware of what's going on, such as the nasty notes left on the message board (especially if they are aimed at you), or throwing their horse's manure into your horse's stall?

                  If she's not already aware, she needs to be. . .what they are doing is more like harassment, and as a paying boarder you absolutely should not have to deal with that.
                  Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.


                  • #49
                    Thank you for your uplifting support!

                    Thank you Piaffing and Jolly Badger for your support.
                    I was actually in tears this week because of this!

                    No, the BO is not aware of the particulars I posted, as she has been out of town this past week. She does know that there are some 'attitude problems' that she told me will be dealt with upon her return, but I did not know exactly which boarders she was referring to. Well, I guess I know now, cuz they came out full force this past week. When the cat's away...

                    It's just been a distressing week, and I simply couldn't make sense of the hostility directed at us, which is why I posted.

                    I bought this horse, after almost 6 months of searching, because he is so kind, and well mannered, and of course, lovely, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time when he came up for sale. He stands patiently during my mounting and dismounting struggles, and gives me a wonderful, smooth, safe ride. I doubt I will ever be well enough to show him, but that is not my goal. ( My BO may even show him next summer for fun, so I can be a proud 'ring mama'. ) The BO and her barn have an excellent reputation, so I was really overjoyed about beginning my new, health-enhancing adventure. ( Piaffing, we`re stabled west of Milton. )

                    So instead of sharing in my happiness, I'm getting - as Jolly Badger put it - harrassed. So yes, unfortunately I will have to share the unpleasant details with the BO, who I'm sure will take appropriate action, as she is a 'no-nonsense' type. I was hoping to be able to get a handle on this without involving her, but clearly that's not the case.

                    Thanks again for your kind words. I had a good ride tonight knowing I wasn't alone in my disgust.
                    Last edited by TrueGrit; Dec. 21, 2009, 02:01 AM. Reason: sentence construction
                    “Your appearance should reflect the care you take in every aspect of your horsemanship... feeding, grooming... everything you do, from the barn to the show ring. Class, people, class…" George Morris


                    • #50
                      What disturbs me is that they chose to behave so badly when the BO was away. This is the behavior of 8 and 9 year olds (and punishable behavior, at that!). For an adult to behave this way...seriously, as the BO, I'd be appalled and would have to consider how they would treat horses - I suspect there must be some sort of power play going on. And I would want them gone.

                      And who is this woman to just tell you what she thinks is the way you should ride? she's not your trainer (thank goodness).

                      I am so, so sorry that this has cast such a pall over your very exciting time with your new horse.

                      ...may they always step in cat and dog poo whenever they leave the barn, and track it all over their cars and houses.
                      Last edited by DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"; Dec. 21, 2009, 09:45 AM.
                      a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


                      • #51
                        The BO sounds like a good one, since she is aware of her problem boarders. It's a good sign that she already warned you that you might encounter some "attitude," and that she mentioned dealing with them when she returns.

                        Still, don't hesitate to inform her about the things that went on while she was gone. Chances are, the DQs are aware that the BO is on to them, and they'll pretend to "play nice" towards you whenever the BO is around.

                        Maybe you could leave a voice message for the BO. . .no details in the message, just ask for a time you could call or meet with her to talk about some things that happened while she was out of town. When you actually speak with her, let her know the things that were going on (especially the nasty notes, and manure thrown into your horse's stall). After that, it's up to the BO to deal with them.

                        The worst thing about DQs and bullies is that they make going to the barn a stressful experience. You are there to ride and enjoy your horse. . .NOT to be harassed or intimidated by other boarders.

                        From your earlier post, it sounds as though most of the boarders there are friendly and that a few also know about your condition and are very supportive. Just stick with them, maybe ride with them occasionally if you're up to it, and ignore the DQ's.

                        Either they'll get the point and leave you alone, or the BO will finally plant a boot in their "perfect" little tailbones.

                        Happy trails!
                        Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.


                        • #52
                          Those boarders need boundaries!

                          I would call the barn owner if you have a contact number. If she deals with it NOW, the rats will have the boundary set NOW, and not think that they can get away with meaness while she isn't looking.

                          I went to boarding school. I know mean and cruel. These boarders qualify. If I lived closer, I would be wading in, and not only encouraging you, but also calling them on it. The other boarders haven't yet rallied, because they don't know how to handle it. Your BO doesn't want a poisoned barn. She wants a happy place for all of you. PLEASE TELL HER.

                          In my own experience in the boarding school, I wasn't part of the "in" clique because I called them on meaness. It made for a lonely existance for me. Thank God, I had a pony to come home to. When I had a boyfriend, they tried to snake him. He told me about it, and graciously declined to follow the bait.

                          Decades later, I get a phone call from the Queen of Mean. She apologizes for the years of mean. She said she was JEALOUS because I was the real person that she wanted to be! She thought that if she tore everything down around me, that she would become me. She was trying to put on the trappings of what I appeared without the integrity that made me.

                          You may have a similar situation, odd as it seems. ask Invite. She deals with it, too. There is a thread about mean on the dressage forum by mobilehrs.

                          I am sorry that the meanies are driving you to tears. We care about you. Love your horse, he sounds like he will understand.
                          Intermediate Riding Skills


                          • #53
                            I spent a very active life in the horse world on the West coast.
                            From my teen years up into my "Older " years I rode well and trained rescue horses so they got good homes.
                            Then the pains in my joints began. I have osteo-arthritis but it can be so painful. My knees, hips and back hurt and now my elbows and wrists hurt as well. I have a few more years to wait until I can retire.
                            I know how it hurts to ride.
                            It takes a good pain pill to give me a little time to ride before it wears off.
                            But I would really be prepared for your Smart Mouth young ones.
                            I would keep cool and ask them one at a time, separately, what caused them to be so predjudiced against the disabled? They will continue until someone calls them on it. I think your Barn Owner will be a valuable friend in this case.
                            I have read the above posts and find it so stupid the way some people re-act and behave so badly. Makes me wonder about humans sometimes.
                            I had someone also tell me I could do "such & such " if I really wanted to.
                            Well I can't. So I really hope someday they find out what it is like to hurt all the time. And in winter it is worse.
                            But I get stronger pain pills and go on.
                            Hang in there and keep on keepin' on.
                            I admire your grit.
                            You have a great horse and enjoy him.
                            They are so good when they are empathetic like that.
                            Wishing you the best.
                            Don't worry "What goes around , come around", and things will always come back on people who are so mean.

                            Kind regards, sadlmakr


                            • #54

                              I was just wondering, what ever came of the "barn bully" situation, TrueGrit?

                              Hope everything is going okay!
                              Please copy and paste this to your signature if you know someone, or have been affected by someone who needs a smack upside the head. Lets raise awareness.


                              • #55
                                Much improved - YaY!

                                Jolly Badger - How kind of you to ask...

                                BO is home now, the matter was discussed in detail, and the situation is much improved. The DQ's seem to have discovered the pleasantries of civility - and my boy was moved to new quarters at the other end of the barn far away from their stomping grounds.

                                As it turns out, the DQ's are under different management (there are 2 'barns' run out of one 'stable'), so it's the best we can hope for for now. Apparently we were caught in the crossfire of some turf wars! Still, silly behaviour for middle-aged women. Perhaps some pre-Christmas stress was adding to the insanity. (?!?)

                                I'm hoping for a drama-free New Year! And wishing much of the same, and Health & Happiness to all my friends here! Thank you all again for your kindness and support when it was so desperately needed!

                                “Your appearance should reflect the care you take in every aspect of your horsemanship... feeding, grooming... everything you do, from the barn to the show ring. Class, people, class…" George Morris


                                • #56
                                  Better at the barn, True Grit?

                                  Glad to hear that your B.O. came through. We do care about you! Are you having a better time of it now?

                                  Are any of the nice boarders coming out as the same time as you, so you can make some friends?

                                  I taught my sons to make chocolate chip cookies to share as a way to start the conversations rolling. The cookies turned into barter for extra coaching/study groups for GRE's for grad school.
                                  Intermediate Riding Skills


                                  • #57
                                    Wow True Grit, you're in famous company - IIRC Motley crue axe man Mick Mars has been suffering from your disease. It's a horrible disease and I am glad you are still able to enjoy horses and riding.
                                    How about cursing those DQ's with festering boils in sensitive places?
                                    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                    Incredible Invisible


                                    • #58
                                      As a therapist I have had a few of my patients walk with a cane when they are in busy/crowded situations even though they really don't *need* it to walk. For a variety or reasons these folks are "fragile" though they can walk just fine. I told them the reason is that folks will generally give them more space if they have a cane. Usually it works pretty well for them.
                                      Getting back to the OP though: explain as little as possible unless the person seems interested (in a constructive sort of way........)
                                      Humor and sarcasm both work well for the obnoxious oafs. I love the ones like "demon posession" and "alien invasion".
                                      Favorite story from when I was doing theraputic riding: we had one kid who was born normal except for no eyeballs at all....just 2 perfectly formed sockets. He was maybe 7 or so. His parents had gotten him the finest in artifical porcelain eyes. They looked real. HIs response to folks that didn't buy he was blind? He often kept those round cheese doodles around. They look like day-glo orange balls. He would turn around, pop out the eyes, pop in dayglo orange cheese balls and frighten the daylights out the offender...
                                      Last edited by camohn; Jan. 2, 2010, 12:38 PM.
                                      Providence Farm


                                      • Original Poster

                                        TrueGrit, I'm so glad you seem to have things worked out. Nothing quite like struggling with an illness and then having to deal with people on top of that. Sounds like you handled the situation with serious class. Congrats!
                                        Forward momentum!


                                        • #60
                                          Thank you all for your support!

                                          I couldn't have handled it as well as I did without knowing that I had all of your support behind me. Being new at the stable, and with the BO away, I really felt quite ganged up on - a less than "therapeutic" situation.

                                          My BO is extremely supportive of me, understanding the presentation of this illness, as her mother has it too! (As did my late Mum.) She, my BO, is quite an extraordinary woman - a super horsewoman in every sense, and a kind and compassionate, and generous person who's always smiling and looking for ways to help. Oh, that there were more like her in this world!

                                          And yes, ReSomething, you are correct. Motley Crue's Mick Mars is afflicted with Ankylosing Spondylitis. It's a very nasty and painful arthritis, and affects organs as well as joints - intestines, heart, eyes. I'm on loads of meds, and trying to keep active for as long as I can - hence the new horse. After only a few weeks, I can already feel myself getting stronger and more flexible - and certainly happier!

                                          Whicker, I haven't seen much of my Best Buddies over the holidays - with the bitter cold we're having, and irregular holiday schedules we seem to be missing each other. But there were plenty of cards, candy canes, and chocolate handed out over Christmas, so the troops rallied til the Boss Mare returned!

                                          btw- DQ1 had a major personal trauma over the holidays - so we can take her off the "Naughty List". I'm not gloating, as it's really not my nature, but she really got whammied. (She's now coming to me for support - how quickly things change!) However, DQ2 (the instigator!) still needs to learn some life lessons...

                                          Thanks to all for your encouragement - and yes, ClassAction, I'm so relieved as well. There's nothing like unnecessary aggravation to exacerbate one's illness!
                                          “Your appearance should reflect the care you take in every aspect of your horsemanship... feeding, grooming... everything you do, from the barn to the show ring. Class, people, class…" George Morris