Riders with Arthritis

In September 2011, I started experiencing the effects of Arthritis.  Some days are better than others, with manageable pain and moderate stiffness.  Other days it seems to be all through my body.  And of course, it can and has affected my riding.  

I'd sure love to hear from others about how you are managing your Arthritis, what you are doing to feel better and tips on what works to help you keep riding comfortably.

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Latest Activity: Jan 30

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Comment by Paula Slater on January 13, 2014 at 12:49pm

Hi Jackie, Thank you for the information. I would really be interested in the Draper Therapies results. Although I do feel more comfortable with ceramic instead of metal. 

Comment by Jackie Cochran on January 13, 2014 at 12:27pm

I haven't gotten the BOT long johns yet, I'm still saving up for my next purchase.  I do have the "dickey" neck brace, back brace and shawl and there are mornings now when I wake up and I am not in pain, a BIG improvement!  I used to wake up every morning to a stiff neck and hip bursitis, now either there is no pain or the pain is much less. 

I am also looking on-line at the Draper Therapies stuff, they have metal instead of ceramic in the thread and this company produces its stuff in the USA, and some of the human stuff is cheaper.

Comment by Paula Slater on January 10, 2014 at 11:13am

Hello, I have arthritis in my knees and I find the Back On Track Therapeutic knee brace really helps. It is not bulky under riding tights. In the winter I wear it everyday. I have two braces and alternate. Has anyone tried the Back On Track Therapeutic long johns?

Comment by dori hollander on December 18, 2013 at 4:05pm

Just going out to the barn and hanging out can be the best , even if I don't ride every time. 

  71 and  more active than most of my younger friends...

I'm so thankful to have my horse and to be around young people!

Comment by Jaye Laughlin on December 8, 2013 at 2:08pm

I have arthritis, and it affects me on and off;  I can now forecast bad weather with my knees (lookout TWC!)  I now no longer attempt to get on my horses without a mounting block, and /or using an English saddle with nice long dressage leathers that I can lengthen and get that stirrup really low.  I've moved over to "shorter horses."  I find Mineral Ice by Straight Arrow to be a miracle in a jar...If there's a will, there's a way.

Comment by shannon lewis on September 24, 2013 at 1:40pm

Thank you so much..very informative. I'll look into it. :)

Comment by Jackie Cochran on September 24, 2013 at 1:31pm

Sorry, I don't have a picture, but go to any of the Tack store web sites and most of the English stirrups are Fillis.

The Fillis stirrups' sides are ROUND all the way down to the foot bed, and when you take the pads out, the metal of where the rider's foot goes is a thin 1/8" wide rim on the outside of the footbed.  The Fillis pads do not give enough padding to keep the stirrups comfortable though there are new wrap around stirrup pads (over $30.00 USD) that are supposed to help a good bit.  The Fillis stirrups are also heavier than the old-fashioned Prussian sided stirrups.

The old fashioned Prussian sided stirrups are different.  The foot bed has "prickles" in the metal that give some grip though most people use pads (which are different from the Fillis pads) and the metal where the foot rests is 7/16" wide around the rim, wide enough so it is comfortable to ride without stirrup pads.  These were the stirrups almost everyone used 43 years ago when I started riding seriously, and back then stirrup pads were considered unnecessary luxuries.  Where the side branches of the stirrup come down to the foot bed the metal goes flat for around the bottom inch of the stirrup branch and it gradually widens so it is 1" wide where it meets the foot bed of the stirrup.  This makes the stirrup much more comfortable when the rider's foot goes to the inside of the stirrup for security.  STUBBEN still makes the Prussian sided stirrups in stainless steel, they are not cheap (around $60.00 USD?) but they are the reason that my feet no longer hurt for DAYS after I ride.

Unfortunately the HS Bow Balance stirrups have Fillis sides though they do have a rubber cover over the flex joints.  Even so the padded round surface does not feel that comfortable to the side of my foot and it does not let me wedge the base of my big toe into the stirrup.  This lessens my security in the saddle and the stirrup is more apt to move under my feet.  At least the wide generous foot bed on the Bow Balance stirrups is comfortable.

I ride hunt seat so I always have some pressure on the stirrups and I depend on this pressure to give me a "floor."  Since my balance is not very good and I do not have a proprioceptive sense I depend on this "floor" to keep me riding properly and securely.  It is so WONDERFUL using the Prussian sided stirrups, when I dismount now, my feet do not hurt when they touch the ground.

Other stirrups like the Prussian sided ones are some Polo stirrups and "exercise stirrups" for race horses.  These also have the wide foot bed with the "prickles" on the foot bed and flat sides down by the foot bed. 

Be safe, make sure the stirrups are made of stainless steel.

Comment by shannon lewis on September 24, 2013 at 11:03am

Thank you for your response Jackie.

I'm not sure what the fillis iron looks like...maybe you can include a pic? I ride in a Wintec dressage saddle, and my irons are english. Actually, if my feet start to hurt, I take my feet out of the stirrups for a while...I sincerly hope you can canter again soon. It is so liberating...which contributes to the endorphines that are so important. I always said my horses are my drug! I'm so sorry about your MS, I had a good friend who had MS, and she suffered with a variety of symptoms. I know how hard it can be.

I try to be philosophical about could be worse. And I am so fortunate to have God in my life to bless me in many ways. :)

Comment by Jackie Cochran on September 24, 2013 at 9:11am

Hi Shannon, I'm so sorry you have RA.  Good for you for keeping riding!

What type of stirrups do you use?  After years of pain in my feet I finally traced it to my Fillis stirrup irons.  They make my feet HURT.  I switched back to the old fashioned Prussian sided stirrup irons and the pain in my feet magically went away.  With the Fillis stirrups I was getting pain across the ball of my foot and on the base of my big toe where it rubbed against the side of the stirrup, and this pain was lasting for DAYS.  I was hurting so much I was even thinking about stopping riding. 

Some of the pricy stirrups help the foot pain, but if their sides are like the Fillis irons they still hurt my feet, leaving me hobbling after I dismount.  I can do short periods of Fillis stirrups now if I just use them once every few months.  I cannot use them every time I ride.  I only use the Fillis sided wide bed safety stirrups (HS Bow Balance?) on my treeless saddle where I do not put as much weight in the stirrup.

With my MS the fatigue can be overwhelming.  Ever since I re-started riding I mostly WALK.  Three speeds of the walk, circles and curves at the walk, some lateral work, and of course just meandering around with some short trots thrown in.  It has taken me over six years, but this fall I think I will finally be strong enough to start cantering regularly again. 

Comment by shannon lewis on September 23, 2013 at 10:19pm

oops...the following note is missing the 1st sentence (don't know how that happened)

Anyway, I said I have had rheumatoid arthritis


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