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frlsgirl 09-12-2013 01:19 PM

Riding with ADD?
My doctor just revised my diagnosis from GAD to ADD and told me to stay way from horses - too dangerous for someone who has trouble paying attention.

I rode a ton as a kid and even competed in local events. Took 20 years off and then a couple of years ago, I tried equine assisted therapy and the therapist encouraged me to start riding again. I took generic english lessons for a year and have been taking dressage lessons since the beginning of this year.

Since switching to dressage I have noticed that I have trouble keeping it all together. I've made great progress in my riding since I first started but every week I keep doing dumm mindless things due to ADD.

A couple of weeks ago I actually put the helmet on my head not realizing that I never took of my sunglasses and I rode like that the entire lesson. Previously, I came to the barn with my chaps on the wrong leg, or with the zipper on the wrong side. Last week I left my gloves at the barn and a critter who shall remain anonymous chewed off the thumb!

So far my mind flubs have been somewhere between annoying and amusing but my doctor said that this could create a dangerous situation and that I should find another hobby.

I can't be the only ADD person attempting to ride on a regular basis. Any suggestions, for keeping it all together? Any success stories about riders with ADD?

stevenson 09-12-2013 03:58 PM

I just thought that was aging !.. I forget things, it is frustrating. I used to ride in sunglasses in the summer on bright days. Just remember zipper on the outside leg. I lose gloves all the time! I can take off gloves run in the house for water or a potty break, and have to hunt for my gloves. Any sport can be dangerous. Just take a little extra time and dont rush.

beau159 09-12-2013 04:21 PM

Does your doctor ride horse?

If not, I think most of doctors don't really realize what is involved with horse riding, and when anything *could* be dangerous, they tell you not to do it.

For example: I got a concussion about 6 years ago when my 3-yr-old I was training, tripped and rolled over the top of me (best we can piece together, since I was knocked unconsious). The doctor gave me a 15 minute lecture about if I was a football player who had a concussion ... yada yada yada ...... He would tell me I can't play football for 6 weeks. So therefore since I have a concussion, I can't ride a horse for 6 weeks. :???: Whatever. My mom was in the room with me and she thought his shpeel was ridiculous too. I gave myself a few days off to relax, and then went back to it.

Yes, it is important to pay attention around horses. They do have minds of their own and they are large animals. You've at least got a big childhood background of riding horses, so you aren't a total newbie.

I would think you'd be totally fine. If you can keep a job with your ADD, then there's no reason why you can't ride a horse with your ADD.

DancingArabian 09-12-2013 04:56 PM

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I don't have ADD and I've done some of that :)

There's no issue riding with sunglasses - I do often.

If you're concerned about things like leaving stuff behind or getting things on right, make checklists for yourself. Make a list to look over before you leave for your lesson (have your helmet? Check. Chaps on and on right legs? Check. Etc) make one for before leaving the barn (keys? Check. Gloves? Check. Etc).
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jaydee 09-12-2013 05:02 PM

Sometimes doing things that almost force a person with ADD to focus and concentrate can be beneficial so I'm not sure that giving up riding is the best thing to do - there are plenty of things you could do just around the house that could be more dangerous
You are probably the only one that can decide if you feel safe on the horse or not - but forgetting to put things on the right way around or forgetting stuff is something we all do in our busy cluttered lives

frlsgirl 09-12-2013 05:17 PM

I've since invested in better chaps where the zipper is on the back so there is no way that I can put them on the wrong way.

I thought about putting together a checklist...I might do that and hopefully I won't forget to bring it with me ;)

I failed to mention I've had a couple of near collisions with other horses in the arena too :( How do you focus on the instructor, your horse and what other people are doing all at the same time?!?

Is there such a thing as defensive riding course?

GracielaGata 09-13-2013 09:39 AM

I agree. I do stupid stuff all the time, and just strike it up to life... tried to feed the gloves to the horses last night... have put my horse's bridle on backwards.. then got annoyed with her when she was tossing her head up and down, to try to tell me it all felt weird (that was the only way I noticed lol)... poor tolerant mare that she is.
Collisions- they happen when we *ALL* don't pay attention. It is all life. I think horses are still a great outlet to do, no matter your situation.
Lists are great! :)

redpony 09-13-2013 10:20 AM

DancingArabian and jaydee hit on two VERY good points!! I have ADD, making lists is crucial to me. I could rattle off everything that I put on a list verbally but for whatever reason if I don't put it in writing, it doesn't happen :/ And I also believe that having something enjoyable to concentrate on helps me relax and do better. I ride alone, so as for collisions, I have no advice. ADD as an adult is very frustrating. I often feel like I should be able to "just get it together"and I'm sure others think I should be able to also. But this is my "together", and I accept it and do as much as I can to set myself up for success.
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DancingArabian 09-13-2013 10:22 AM

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Pfft. People without ADD collide pretty often. It happens. How to avoid it will vary. I try to keep people in my peripheral vision because you can't trust them to be paying attention enough not to crash into you.

My advice is to get a gym bag and keep all your horse stuff in it at home (gloves, helmet, boots, chaos, extra socks, maybe a spare shirt and your crop if you use one). Make a checklist for that and keep it all together. Make a habit of putting it all back in the bag when you're done.
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BlueSpark 09-13-2013 10:42 AM

make a list and check it twice...seriously. I know lots of people with various issues( dyslexia, fetal alchohol syndrom, severe anxiety, anger control issues, ADD) that ride, and riding helps them conquer some of their issues. You cant improve if you have no reason to.

I'm so leary of the lables doctors slap on people now. Every one has something legitimately wrong with them, and many use their diagnoses as an excuse(not saying that is the case with you OP, just a general statement). In a weird way I'm glad I wasnt diagnosed with dyslexia until high school. I was just a kid that had a hard time with a few things, and had to put in extra work to keep up.

OP, I would write that list, and work hard to focus as much as you can. I have a sibling with ADD and she gets significantly worse if she eats the wrong things(highly processed foods, especially starches, sugars and food coloring), so maybe that can help.

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