I can only speak for me. I would describe horse-riding as a wonderful work-out, one where all your muscles are relaxed. After each session walking is not so difficult. The sense of freedom is marvellous and for the time you are on horse back you feel normal (whatever that is). I always say my horse gives me my life back.If you have never been on a horse the first time will be strange. Don't be put off. They say the horse emulates the way we wallk and move that is why it is so good for us.
I will tell you what I do, it may help. In fact I can do better, here is a link to our school, have a look http://www.ridingatthebrook.co.uk/
Mounting and dismounting worried me, I wondered how I was going to do it, but it is fine. When I mount the horse comes into the arena and I am on a raised platform so effectively I am level with the saddle. I put one foot in the left hand stirrup and my right leg is put across the saddle by the helpers and once in place I put the right foot into the stirrup, I take the reins and off we go. When I dismount it is not conventional but it works and most importantly it doesn't hurt the horse. My feet come out of the stirrups, the horse lowers her head/neck my right leg is helped across the horses neck then I slide down the saddle until I make contact with he ground. Through it all there are people to help, you are never left on your own.
We do exercises on horse-back, these are designed for balance and breathing. We throw items in a bucket this helps coordination. We have to weave between poles and cones. The first time I did the poles the front was perfect but I forgot the rear end!! Poor horse,she must have thought another dough-nose.
Posture is very important a straight back with bent knees and shoulder, hip and heel in a line together. Practise on a dining room chair, I do.I was awarded a certificate and rosette for my sitting, and work without sirrups, the latter is very good for you, it sort of stretches you.I was told to think of your legs and feet like a wet towel, all limp.
You cannot ride without a safety helmet but the school will lend you one. If you like it and decide to stay I would recommend a pair of jodhpurs, they stop any rubbing of the lower leg, a pair of riding gloves and a riding jacket. I can advise you where to go.
It goes without saying your own helmet is a good investment.
Riding is not for the faint hearted but it is the best thing ever. Just think you connect with an animal that is probably five times bigger than you and perhaps twenty five times as strong.
The horses deserve respect,always remember that and you will not go wrong. For yourself you need patience, some days will not go right and you will wonder if it is worth it. The answer is 'yes'
It takes a long time to get it right - so what?
Good for you for even thinking about it
I will help all I can.
Marie Turner said:
I thought I would try this riding thing. I have put my name down on a waiting list with a local groupof Riding for the Disabled. I would need some help getting u[p and would need a verry docile pony. I thought as i cannot walk unaided any more I may be able to ride bridleways with a group as i struggle with gates with all the paraphanalia I have to carry.How do you think it has benefitted you ? I can only look longingly at woodland paths now as my rollator gets stuck in the mud frequently and I overbalance trying to get it out. Also 'im so restricted.
Carol Gow said:
I take things slowly and try always to think about what I am going to do and how I am going to do it. Some things take me an age, I could do with some patience from Andrew (he has the patience of a knat and that's being generous) but there you go.
The only thing that improves my walking and balance is horse-riding,it is quite remarkable. I do quite a lot of work without stirrups, this gives the body a workout. It sort of stetches you without pulling, its quite hard to describe.
At home I use a trolley and I lurch from room to room using anything in my path to help. Walls, door frames etc.
Like you I was very active prior to CA kicking in. There wasn't enough hours in the day. I do think this has a psychological impact, although it is hard to accept or admit. A good example a person I knew but have not seen since before CA contacted me to ask that I teach her Son to dance. I told her I couldn't and explained about Ataxia. It was several days ago but I still think about it and I realise how much I miss not dancing.
Never mind we can't change was has happened but we can make it hard for it to win.