How do you make a decision to stop riding?! I am in pain in my knees when I get up -- my hips too....my MD says it's arthritis....going to start physical therapy; can't afford much else as he is also in rehab with his back; I still have to lunge him prior to putting his saddle on and when I put his saddle on...it's better but not ideal....maybe it's time to quit riding and/or lease a horse rather than buying another one...decisions, decisions....any ideas out there (I'm 55 and very creaky)

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As far as my two cents: don't give up!!! I use Arthrotec for arthritic pain and it makes a huge difference. And if the horse is having trouble, get some professional advice - is it the saddle? muscles or bones? something missing in his nutrition? If you have to retire that horse, find another that's going to be honest and easy going. Now's not the time to take on a "challenge" horse. Leasing sounds like a good idea if you can find someone who isn't leasing because the horse is too much for them, or it's half dead - a common story. And have you thought about a gaited horse? The Rocky Mountains, and the Tennessee Walking horses are calm, quiet horses with very smooth gaits. In fact, more people are going to Standardbreds because they are sensible seen-it-all horses, and the ones that pace are easy to ride. I wouldn't like to condemn a whole breed, but the Paso Finos we see around here are pretty wired - not a great horse for someone who is having pain.
Don't give up, Margaret. I'm almost 63, and I have two friends in their late 70s who still ride and one has osteoporosis. I know people who do endurance after having both hips replaced. If you quit now, you may look back in 15 yrs and say, darn, I gave up all that time in the saddle. As for me, I insist they are going to have to wrestle the reins from my cold, dead hands!! lol
I like your attitude!
Is the Arthrotec for human or horse?
Shirley
Hi Linda; I agree with you completely. I started the over 60's group. Sounds like you should join. Linda, check the saddle and the teeth. I also agree with the gaited horse theory. I am now almost 65 and bought a Rocky who was 2 with 30 days on him at the age of 55. We have been together for 9 years. I have arthritis in every joint but I try and keep the core strength going and have also done a lot of work with him on the ground ie the Parelli sort of stuff. Being a calm and assertive leader. If you want the name of a woman who bred my Rocky and breeds them for sale, let me know. Even with them there is show stock that is more up and trail calm stock like mine. Whatever you do, don't give up. If you need to talk more say the word! Where are you located? I still have the teeth done every year and the saddle fitter in twice a year. Take your time and look at one thing at a time.
I don't know, Margaret - one of the best things for arthritis is movement, so I'd be looking to keep riding. I have a client currently riding competitively at Fourth Level in dressage, and she's 61 and has had both hips replaced. My mother, who has fibromyalgia, and is 71, is still riding nearly every day (and still competing, also at Fourth Level), and I still ride competitively and train horses for others, and I'm 52.

There certainly are days when I'm pretty crocked when I roll out of bed, but getting moving really helps, and I have to say I don't feel any worse after working several horses. Cleaning stalls helps as well, and my mother goes to the gym religiously, and finds it of huge benefit.

I think Linda's suggestion that you should have your saddle checked out is a good one - neither you nor your horse should feel pain when he's been saddled and you're just settling into the tack.

I'm using Meloxicam for those arthritic aches and pains, and it's helping a great deal.
well, I use Meloxicam as well! Been on it for approximately 4 yrs. I'm trying to talk my doctor into being more aggressive regarding this knee problem......and the saddle is fine ----- new County custom-fit for him and me (it cost almost as much as he did!)...it's the best saddle I've had. My theory for him is that the previous Passier Antares did not fit him or I and he was pinched in the shoulder --- me not realizing this.....my trainer and the Vet theorize that he's anticipating it hurting each time. He's much better with the new saddle and, once he realizes it's not going to hurt, he calms down and is rideable......they both say the more positive experiences he has with this saddle the more the old memories hopefully will fade and he'll be less reactive. He has been through a lot the past year (DVM care and a bad experience at another barn) so he's recovering physically and mentally....and is much more comfortable and quiet at the new barn...anyway thanks for the encouragement....I hope to ride in some schooling Dressage shows in the Fall and then re-evaluate next Spring as to where I'm at.........
You're on track! Set some goals, like fall schooling shows, and work towards those. No matter how awful I feel (physically or emotionally, or even sometimes both) I feel much better after a ride than before.

Our medical system's easier than yours - my doctor wants me to keep riding as long as possible, and she's really interested in doing everything she can to make that happen. If you've been out of the tack for some time then everything's going to hurt for the first while. I hurt my back at a competition in June, was off for 2 weeks and then at a competition in England with the Canadian Para Team. All in all I was out of the saddle for a month, and the first week back has been pretty much pure hell, but now it's easing up and I'm back to feeling good after I ride.

It sounds to me like you need (and deserve) the emotional break of being with your horse and just in the moment when you're training. I really do encourage you to try to keep it up - the older we get the harder that is (and the economy sure doesn't help!!), but it's really necessary therapy, and a lot more enjoyable than psychotherapy!

Maybe just longe him in the new saddle for a month while you work on your fitness, and then start with trail rides, rather than training, which will make you more sore more quickly. It seems that you've invested an awful lot - I'd hate to see you give up now!
First of all, some questions on the pain and pain management. Have you tried taking glucosamine to help with the pain? There are several additives with the glucosamine tablets, it might be best to talk to your drugist to get the scoop on that. One thing to take note of with the glucosamine is...you have to give it time to "kick" in. It may take a month of taking the tablets before you notice a significant change. . Also if you are having pain in feet, ankles, knees, hips it may help if you lower the stirrups as low as you can and invest in some of those endurance type wide stirrups. Those endurance stirrups sure helped me on the long rides. Just a few suggestions to try so that you do not have to hang up your saddle just yet.
Gee! I agree with everybody! Eileen, I ride with the endurance stirrups on a custom made dressage saddle. The looks I get are interesting. They do help my knees and the width of them for the foot part is easier on my totally flat feet. The glucosamine works for me also. Gail.
Believe me, I've been there, I stopped riding for five years because of my MS.
I finally realized that due to my weakness I would have to ride other people's horses.
I also realized that if I did not start riding again I would end up completely crippled.
My life riding once or twice a week is infinitely better than my life when I did not ride. This held true even when I still owned horses (I could not ride them because all my energy was taken up by taking care of them.)
Life is short. Ride while you can. Forget about everything being ideal, that is a luxury for people (and horses) who are young and healthy.
I am really enjoying riding lesson horses. Each one has some problems that I can work on, but they are used to riders trying to do things on them. So long I don't hurt them I get good rides in the arena. I am still too weak to ride in fields or on trails.
Around nine months ago I put the arthritic mare I ride on Hemp Powder for her arthritis. A few weeks ago I experimented by taking her off of it. On the hemp powder her lameness and stiffness improved gradually. When I took her off of it her lameness returned. This happened even though I also have her on MSM I have put her back on the hemp powder, the GLA (a fatty acid) in the hemp powder seems to really help reduce the inflammation and pain. I knew this might help her because I started taking hemp products to help my MS around 16 years ago. My arthritis in my hands gradually disappeared after I started taking hemp supplements.
Hope this helps.
Do yourself a favor and keep on riding.
I volunteer at a local stable that holds Hippotherapy sessions regularly. That may be something you could look into. I see significat improvements in a lot of the clients there. Most of these women suffer from MS rather than arthritus but if it helps them, it could also help you. They find that the warmth, movement have a lot to do witht improvements. Perhaps if you googled it you could find a place in your area to at least try it out.
It sounds to me like you are preparing emotionally for the day when you will have to quit riding this horse. In the meantime keep your mind and heart open until the right answer reveals its-self to you. Do you have a sense how your horse is feeling about all of this? I enjoy doing the ground stuff as well as the riding part. This might be the answer for you and your horse ...just another way of playing with your horse and enjoying each other that's less strain on our less able bodies. Horse and Human!
Does anyone remember Ellen Lovett? When I met her she was in her 80's and still riding the trails. A friend brought her over to look at a horse I had for sale. This was maybe 15 years ago. I was very impressed. I should have asked her how she stays able to ride so well at her age, but I didn't want her to think I saw her as old. I have creaky knees. Very painful at times. I recently started taking Omega 3,6, & 9 in a capsule. Also started back doing Tae Bo. Yeah , Billy Blanks. I am not sure which one is working the best, but I am feeling so good, I ain't gonna stop either one. And I lost 6 lbs!!

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