Riding with Knee replacements - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-05-2010, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Olds Alberta Canada
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Riding with Knee replacements

I stumbled back onto this forum, going through my bookmarks, ans thought I should give an update
Last year as I was schedualed for bi -lateral knee replacements, something I had backed out of several times, fearing I wouldn't be able to ride, and desperately surfed the internet, looking for positive results from riders, I has stumbled onto this site, where the subject was a post by another rider facing this surgery, also looking for encouragement
I wish to help others faced with this surgery, as only be talking with fellow riders that were continuing to enjoy their horses, did I finally make the committment. Actually, it was either that or face a future in a wheelchair. My knees had bowed progressively more over the years, and my knees were bone on bone. I couldn't remember when I had last walked like a normal person, instead of waddling like a duck, but my consulation was that I could still ride, something I want to do until the big exit!
My days of risk taking are over, far as starting colts, but riding and showing the horses I had made solid over the last several years is better than before my surgery. I can now once again get the amount of leg on ahorse that I need to, and since I also ride all around, though western is my primary discipline, posting English is painfree for the first time in years!!
I had my surgery last Nov 30/09
Yes, it was difficult to entrust the care of my horses to my husband for those first few months, but we got through it. My IR mare did suffer another bout of laminitis, as hubby just is not a horse person and fed her the wrong hay.
With proper management and hoofcare, Smilie is again sound with nice looking feet, and I had a good show season with her, plus trail rode
I rode again three months after surgery, in an indoor arena, as it was snowy out and I did not want to risk having my horse slip and fall with me.
I used a mounting block for years before my surgery, either in the form of an actual block, or just ground advantage, or the wheel well of my trailer, so that was no change
I admit it did take some time for me to be metally ready to ride out again by myself, as there is that fear of wreaking those knees, should an accident happen. I'm happy to say that I now feel just as good as ever, riding my horse out by herself and also am riidng some green horses again. that I started before my surgery
My OS actually said I was riding with more risk before my surgery than now, as my knees were very unstable
I showed Smilie all summer, both breed and open, same as ever, so did not have one show season taken away because of the surgery. I also have enjoyed trail riding.
I started trimming all of the horses again, about two months after my surgery. I have ahoof stand, thus do not need to hold afoot between my knees.
I did push myself some, but that is my nature, and that probably is why my right knee still gives me some pain, although that is getting better all the time.
I am happy to be able to walk straight again/Getting ahorse out of the pasture on foot is no longer a painful task
I ride at least one horse a day, and three on some days
I hope this helps others that are faced with the same fear I had last Nov., that of maybe never riding again.
Also, for those that might get the Appaloosa Journal, there was a very encouraging story. Jack Henning, who rode the Appaloosa stallion High Sign to many World titles in working cowhorse and other events, had an article about him in the last issue
I had taken a clinic with Jack years ago when he came up to Canada to ride with Les Timmons, and a friend that owns a son of Hugh Sign that has proven himself at top end, suggested I call Jack ,a s he had both knees replaced
Well, I never did make that call, fearing i didn't know Jack well enough, but was very inspired by the article, thus wish to share it
Jack , at age 75 is the oldest competitor to ever win an ApHC National open title-in jr working cowhorse no less! Not only has he had both knees replaced, but also both hips!!!
Anyone who ever has watched a working cowhorse turn a cow on the fence and circle her, can appreciate that event is not without risk!
Jack's advise, 'get the surgery if you need it, do the rehabilitation, and never give up enjoying your horses!!!!
Good luck to anyone facing this surgery!
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-05-2010, 03:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: South Africa.
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Very inspiring post...I'm glad that you took that step and that you are now back in riding. Thanks for sharing!

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post #3 of 3 Old 10-05-2010, 10:56 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ohio
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My husband (60 yo) is not a horse person, he is an amputee - right leg above the knee from a motorcycle accident 6 years ago. His knee is about 3 or 4 inches lower than a real knee. Imagine your leg bending about in the upper-middle part of your calf instead of at your knee.

Recently he has been taking an interest in going to the barn with me to take care of the horses and one evening he asked to ride. I lengthened the right stirrup as long as it would go, but he could not sit straight having to push his right hip back,also the stirrup was pulled way back to try to get to where his foot was and ended up with toe pointing at the ground. He couldn't really just hang his leg without a stirrup because his leg fell off, did not really hit the ground or anything, just came loose so he needs a stirrup to put his foot in.

I'm thinking I could fashion a sort of buddy stirrup type thing that might work for him. A stirrup hanging from a strap fastened to the horn would put the stirrup position at about 6 inches or so forward, since his leg is longer before it bends at the knee, it seems that would be about right to be able to place his foot in it flat rather than trying to reach back for it.

So, how could I make this stirrup? Would I have to put a counterweight on the left side of the horn, or would the weight in the left stirrup take care of that?
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