Dark Horse, I want to share my story with you because we share some similarities.
I had ponies and horses from 5-16 years old, then spent almost 30 years longing to ride again, but I could neither afford the time or the dollars for horses as I raised my children. When my youngest left home a few years ago, I had a horse of my own within a month. Empty Nest Syndrome I am sure!
Just 3 weeks after getting my horse, I was in a motorcycle accident that crushed my lower right side. Your injuries sound much like mine! Pelvis, femur, tibia, fibula, and many bones in the foot and toes were just shattered into many pieces.
It took me months to get back on my feet, and more than 40 hours of surgery to graft bone, muscle and skin. During my months of recovery, I visited my horse, and started working with her from the ground. We did Clinton Anderson groundwork, me on crutches and canes, and we both benefitted from those exercises.
I also found, however, that riding, when I was finally allowed to ride, was very helpful for my hip pain. Something about the motion helps release the tightness in my right hip joint. My PT noticed it right away and encouraged me to ride at least 3 times a week to improve my progress.
My right leg is heavy and hard to use for cues. My foot slips out of the right stirrup quite a bit. I use a dropping (EZ UP)stirrup on my western saddle to help me mount from the ground, but most of the time, I mount from a step or fence or stump. Whatever I can find. I also like to ride bareback most of the time because it feels more natural for my position.
I want to tell you that riding feels great for me and I feel lucky to be able to ride. In the hospital, we were anticipating amputation of my right leg, so every time I ride I feel lucky to have that leg there, even if feels like dead weight most of the time.
I used to do distance running and hiking, and can't do that anymore because the bottom of my right foot has no padding. I miss that, but I still have riding. I can ride my horse through the mountains and still cross the miles on her back. I am so grateful for that!
Jump in! Ride! Spend time with horses, while you can and while it feels good for you. You may wake up one day unable to and regret not doing it while you could. I am glad I got the years of running and hiking while I could.
One thing I remind myself is that, like any exercise, I will be sore afterward and not be too quick to blame my injuries. I limp more after a good long ride, but that is just because my muscles are tired, not injured.
Remember, it was long ago that you heard you could not ride. Medicine is much more aware of how movement is super beneficial to the body, even an injured body. I would visit a Physical Therapist and get advice about riding for you, even ask him or her to recommend exercises to strengthen the muscles you will need for balance.
I cannot tell you enough, how glad I am that I ride. It has been 3 years since my accident and through all of it, my horses have helped me get stronger and stronger. I think someday, you will look back and realize that horses were the best thing you ever did for yourself!