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Horse riding with ms

Hi there, very new on here so bear with me! I was diagnosed with ms about 7 years ago and went back to horse riding just before I was diagnosed because I thought that my symptoms were to do with muscle strength issues rather than ms (which I’d never heard of!!) After I was diagnosed horses and riding became my life line. Is there anyone else out there who loves horses or who rides because I would love to hear from you. Even though it takes an incredible amount of energy - it feels like 100 times more than anyone else(!!) I love it and love my horse too.

J x

I saw a report on the telly a couple of months ago about horseriding and MS. They were saying that horse riding improves your core strength and more importantly your balance - a huge issue for me! They make sure you get a nice quiet horse who’ll go at your pace.

I’m thinking of investigating our Riding for the Disabled place somewhere near Bristol to see if they can help you get on the horse in the first place. One of my very good friends has always had horses and says ‘go for it!’. She lives a long way from me so I haven’t turned up on her doorstep asking to borrow her horse!

Well I definitely feel more positive after I’ve ridden my horse so I agree 100% with your friend!! I don’t have an RDA centre near to me unfortunately so I feel very lucky to have the support that I do. I really have no idea how I’d have coped with ms if I didn’t have my horse and it feels great getting about using his legs instead of mine so much!! But riding a calm horse is very important and have a monster sized mounting block has helped me so I can get into the saddle. Hope that you find a good RDA centre nearby :slight_smile:

I’ve been terribly ill and lost a lot of mobility, and awaiting diagnosis.

I don’t care if I go back to work any longer, but in the hours when I lie faitgued I dream of getting out on my daughters beautiful horse.

She bought the horse to see me at home last week to make me smile.

I stopped riding about 5 years ago due to career commitments but I still remember the feeling of being out on an autumn day smelling the damp leaves and I know I can get back to it if i work hard enough.

Thanks for raising the topic

Hello there, It’s uplifting to hear of the positive impact on you that horse riding brings. I’ve two horses but am despairing somewhat as since all this kicked off i’ve struggled to ride. Having said that I have two Arabs, and they can be somewhat dramatic, so perhaps not the most suitable steeds! I do really love just hanging out with them though, preening etc. but what I do now is miles away from what I did previously when I spent hours in the saddle. I start rebif soon & hope the drug has the desired effect & that I will feel better able to get back on in the spring/summer. If not, I know i’ll still relish spending time with my two & think I’d be lost without them, if I’m honest!

Hi I have been saying for years that I would love to learn, a bit of a dream I guess, so weirdly one of my first questions after I was dx in June was can I still learn to ride a horse not what does the future hold or anything like that. I guess when first diagnosed you can see long held dreams disappearing and I wanted to hold on to them. My gp suggested waiting until my strength of grip and balance improved etc before giving it a go. Well although not fully recovered from my march relapse I had my first horse riding lesson at my local Riding for disabled centre last week. It was fab. I had to get a form signed by my gp. They do able bodied lessons to which I might ask about, if I get a bit more confident. i just feel others have far greater difficulties than me to take up a session. There may be health and safety issues that may not make that possible. Anyway I loved it and can’t wait for my next lesson. I think ms has made me get busy doing things I have talked about for years. I have had to put a hold on some things but hopefully riding will help my core stability. Mish : )

Hi J,

I have been a rider for 20years and my last horse was a beautiful retired point to point, flea bitten grey he was, bomb proof until he saw a carrier bag flapping in the hedge! With great regret I had to give him up because of bad falls because of my balance and that was some time before I was diagnosed. I don’t think I would have the nerve to ride again, I wish I had the courage especially when I see the stubble fields or those misty early mornings but you never say never eh?

Suex

Hi Mish, I’m so glad that you gave horse riding a go and enjoyed your session at the RDA. Having ms certainly makes you think about grabbing opportunities before it might become too much of a challenge. Riding has definitely helped me from an emotional point of view and I’m sure it must be doing me good to keep as mobile as I can for as long as I can - plus the fact that I forget alot of my ms problems when I’m sat on my horse. Good luck with your riding :slight_smile: x

Hi Sue, I’ve had some impressive falls over the last few years due to balance/strength issues due to ms - if he canters off and swerves or spooks dramatically I have a tendency to fall off like a sack of potatoes now - not very dignified!! I must be crazy carrying on but I honestly don’t know what I’d do or how I’d cope if I couldn’t spend time with my horse and even just walk about on him. My boy is a bay horse with a lovely nature - he copes with most things although hearing a pheasant nearby or pigeons flapping about scares him but he’s usually very good with me and generally knows how to behave :slight_smile:

J x

Hi Sue, I’ve had some impressive falls over the last few years due to balance/strength issues due to ms - if he canters off and swerves or spooks dramatically I have a tendency to fall off like a sack of potatoes now - not very dignified!! I must be crazy carrying on but I honestly don’t know what I’d do or how I’d cope if I couldn’t spend time with my horse and even just walk about on him. My boy is a bay horse with a lovely nature - he copes with most things although hearing a pheasant nearby or pigeons flapping about scares him but he’s usually very good with me and generally knows how to behave :slight_smile:

J x

Hi Sue, I’ve had some impressive falls over the last few years due to balance/strength issues due to ms - if he canters off and swerves or spooks dramatically I have a tendency to fall off like a sack of potatoes now - not very dignified!! I must be crazy carrying on but I honestly don’t know what I’d do or how I’d cope if I couldn’t spend time with my horse and even just walk about on him. My boy is a bay horse with a lovely nature - he copes with most things although hearing a pheasant nearby or pigeons flapping about scares him but he’s usually very good with me and generally knows how to behave :slight_smile:

J x

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I don’t think you are crazy at all, I think its fantastic that you are still riding, the secret is to get straight back on after a fall isn’t it.

I have left it too long now silly me. Call me potty but I still miss the smell! You are right though, it is fantastic for core muscles and just the feel good factor it gives you is worth its weight in gold. I would def recommend it for anyone with a disability depending on medical advice.

Suex

Hi I started riding again this year after 8 years out of the saddle following my diagnosis. I had to give up my beloved horse 17hh tb- he was a total nutter!! Gentle in the stable but scared of his own shadow!

I am now riding a 18hh !! shire cross totally amazing getting on is a 3 person effort but the feeling of peace and happiness once back in the saddle is wonderful and my core stability is so much improved, I wish I could ride more often but it is an hour drive away and my hubby needs to be there as well as my friend whose horse it is, plus the 3rd helper to hold her while I am put aboard!!

To start with I only managed 10 mins walking on a lead rein, now I can do over 30 mins including TROTTING I am hoping to manage a short canter soon. Best all over exercise I think!! Other than swimming which isn’t out in the fresh air!

Hi I started riding again this year after 8 years out of the saddle following my diagnosis. I had to give up my beloved horse 17hh tb- he was a total nutter!! Gentle in the stable but scared of his own shadow!

I am now riding a 18hh !! shire cross totally amazing getting on is a 3 person effort but the feeling of peace and happiness once back in the saddle is wonderful and my core stability is so much improved, I wish I could ride more often but it is an hour drive away and my hubby needs to be there as well as my friend whose horse it is, plus the 3rd helper to hold her while I am put aboard!!

To start with I only managed 10 mins walking on a lead rein, now I can do over 30 mins including TROTTING I am hoping to manage a short canter soon. Best all over exercise I think!! Other than swimming which isn’t out in the fresh air!

Aaaah… that sounds gorgeous! Such a shame that the horse is so far away but you really can’t beat that feeling of horse riding. Thanks so much for your post - I was beating myself up about how rubbish I am - I have been on a lead rope after a really bad fall quite a while ago - but over recent weeks I have been “let loose” on my own - occasionally walking and a bit of trotting. It’s exhausting but bloomin’ brilliant and at least it’s progress! I get on using a very high mounting block my husband built for me and even then I have to lie across my horse’s shoulder to swing my leg over - not pretty :wink: But worth it! Good luck with your riding and pm me any time to chat about horses :slight_smile: x

I don’t think you are crazy at all, I think its fantastic that you are still riding, the secret is to get straight back on after a fall isn’t it.

I have left it too long now silly me. Call me potty but I still miss the smell! You are right though, it is fantastic for core muscles and just the feel good factor it gives you is worth its weight in gold. I would def recommend it for anyone with a disability depending on medical advice.

Suex

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Yes that smell of horses… I love it too :slight_smile:

Hi, I’ve been a keen horse rider for many years altho due to work/family stuff and the costs involved, I’ve had a few breaks from it here and there. I’m newly diagnosed and coincidentally my friend has just got a horse - it’s been the best therapy for me during this unsettling time of diagnosis and uncertainty. Simply spending time at the stables, grooming and hanging out with horses has kept me smiling. I even managed a little trot round the school the other day. I can’t wait to get back to the stables again and hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m brave enough to go on a hack although I think my jumping days are over! My legs took a few days to recover tho!

Thanks for your reply. All sounds very similar. I ski too and a couple of years ago was finding it very tiring - for some reason though I seem to have improved my technique and it’s made a load of difference- really enjoyed it this year. No bombing down blacks but enjoying blues and the odd red. With riding i’m thinking of cancelling my loan. I have a half loan on a lovely cob. I might cancel and have lessons instead. I work full time and just don’t have the time to combine loan and lessons. I love loaning - including the mucking out and camaraderie at the yard - but i’m not really enjoying the riding much - too scary. I think my time might be better spent on some riding lessons and pilates- and then I could rethink in 6 months.

Fatigue … Hard isn’t it …I was never a black run ! I had only just started skiing when I discovered the problem so it was the end of that as I couldn’t keep up with my friends … quite nice waiting with the mulled wine in the sun till they collected me …lol … … Pilates definitely worth a go , I do a power version which is a harder version and it does make a difference , even my neurologist noticed … I worked full time but have dropped to 4 days as I was so tired in winter as I am lucky enough to have my own yard for my two and I have a loaner to keep the younger one fit and sane … there’s always lots of owners looking for people to exercise as its hard finding adults …shame you aren’t in Leicestershire i need an adult to potter round with grumpy cob !

Good luck with the Pilates and hope it gets you back to horses

I know this is not a real active thread but I will post anyways. I have MS. Years ago, I got a pair of leather chaps to help stick me in the saddle better due to balance issues. Then I also had hubby build me a mounting block about 3 feet high.

Can’t say it has been easy to get the saddle on and cinch it up tight enough but I eventually do it. So I was able to ride by myself. But this year, I can’t ride except on a very infrequent basis because I now need assistance to get on. My problem is that even with the mounting block, it is impossible for me to get my right leg over the saddle to get on. Even without the saddle, my leg simply will not go over the horses back. I did try to put something on my right foot to help get it over but found I just could not get that idea to work.

Someone suggested teaching my horse to lie down. But even if I could mount that way, I don’t know that I would stay in the saddle as he rose up.

So any suggestions would be appreciated.

I note someone mentioned they did Pilates to strengthen themselves. Anyone try that and get any improvement?