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Riding with ADD?

This is a discussion on Riding with ADD? within the Therapeutic Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        09-13-2013, 12:55 PM
      #11
    Yearling
    I've been packing my bag the day before my ride; that way I can make sure I have everything. But when I get to the barn I get so flustered trying to get the horse and myself ready that I forget stuff.

    ....gather gadgets, determine which tack area to use, get horse, groom horse, check clock, use fly spray, put on saddle pad, then squishy thing, then saddle, make sure nothing has shifted, then girth, then attach headphones, radio, then helmet, then get bridle, bridle horse, make sure I have neck stretcher but don't attach it yet, check clock, tighten girth one last time before leaving barn, make sure I have gloves, check clock, go to arena, then tighten girth, then attach neckstretcher, then check stirrups, then reorganize cables from headset, mount horse, attach headphone to radio, put on gloves and relax because the hard stuff is done :)
         
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        09-13-2013, 01:35 PM
      #12
    Weanling
    My advice:
    1) Ditch the headphones/radio. Put a "boom box" on the side of the arena. For me, headphones put the music in the forefront, not the background.
    2) Arrive 15-20 minutes earlier. Rushing and checking the clock makes you flustered. Tack horse, take a few deep breaths and look everything over. Get yourself ready, do the same.
    3) Do some stretches and deep breathing before one last check that everything is ready and mount up.
    Oh yeah, put everything else out of your mind (hahaha, yeah, right) and live totally in the moment.
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        09-13-2013, 02:00 PM
      #13
    Green Broke
    Is it a radio for music or is it the speaker setup so you can hear your trainer?

    And yes....get there earlier!
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        09-13-2013, 05:52 PM
      #14
    Yearling
    The radio and headset are for communicating with my instructor. Whatever happened to good old fashioned yelling ? :)

    I've been going earlier in the morning to allow myself extra time and to deal with unexpected challenges (can't find horse because owner moved it to a different pasture and didn't tell me, farrier is blocking the tack area, girth is missing, etc).

    Would it be wrong to attach a clip board to my horse with my checklist?...lol
         
        09-14-2013, 03:13 AM
      #15
    Weanling
    I have mild ADD and ride, but mainly I'm responding to tell you about the riders at the therapy barn where I volunteer. We have lots of riders with ADD/ADHD, and that's why they're riding. I see their focus improving the more they ride.

    I am not a doctor, but I cannot possibly wrap my mind around why yours would say you shouldn't ride other than that she/he just is totally clueless about horses and their relationship with people.

    My suggestions would be to A) make yourself a checklist of things that are important for your safety (like the chaps, helmet, etc) and look over it before every ride. Physically check the items off right before you mount if you need to. And B) if you're comfortable enough, talk to your trainer and ask her to help you make sure you're focused before and during your lesson.

    Honestly, I wouldn't think ADD should keep you from even riding alone, but I definitely don't think it should keep you from taking lessons.
    StormCloud and frlsgirl like this.
         
        09-14-2013, 03:14 AM
      #16
    Weanling
    Whoops, I had opened this in a tab a while ago but now that it refreshed I see the rest of the thread and your mention of a checklist. As long as your horse isn't spooked by it, I'd say totally attach a clipboard!! Or get a small notebook you can keep tucked into the saddle or something.
         
        09-14-2013, 03:33 PM
      #17
    Yearling
    Thanks everyone for your input. I really appreciate it!
         
        09-14-2013, 09:34 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    Im add I ride all the time if you are takeing meds I would be a little more carefull and be carefull in general but I focus on my horses breathing to keep my mind from wondering I will count her breaths and listen to her body language
         
        09-14-2013, 09:55 PM
      #19
    Foal
    Ive lived with ADHD all my life (im 23 now). I make simple checklists to remind myself I have a few at the barn lol. Whats the best about my horse is she has diagnosed ADHD too and its amazing to see when I am in dream world she takes the easy path and slows to a walk and just walks the outer edge of the arena lol. I often had a headset on also when I ride, mainly when trailing riding by myself. When something happens I've trained myself to tune out the music no matter how loud and focus on the task at hand. At work I have a headset but now its becoming useless because I often find myself not even hearing music because im workin so hard. Lol. ADHD is a day to day battle and you have to learn to work with it not against it.
         
        09-15-2013, 10:10 AM
      #20
    Weanling
    I also have some attention issues and I love being around horses and riding. Riding helps my focus.

    The things that help me are very specifically set routines. I will not do things out of order, for fear I'm going to skip something.

    Written lists are a must. Again it helps to keep from skipping a step or mixing something up.

    Also, a roll of a bright colored duct tape is your friend. If you have a specific thing that you messed up on more than once, (mistakes happen) like checking a latch to make sure a door is closed. Put a little piece of duct tape on it or near it so when the bright color catches your eye, you remember to double check it.

    Visual cues can be very helpful. Tuck your stirrup up and get in the habit of not lowering it unless the girth has been tightened, etc.

    The longer you go, the more your routines will get set into muscle memory and things get easier. If something messes up a routine, that's where your checklist can save you.

    Make sure your diet is healthy. Make sure you have enough sleep. And if you go long enough that you're feeling that pressure in your head where you want to stare into space and let your brain go for a moment, it is time to take a break, stretch, get down and lead the horse for a bit, or stop all together.

    Do keep all your stuff in one bag or in a specific area and make putting things away part of that muscle memory routine.

    Give yourself enough time so you're not stressed.

    Don't feel bad about reminding people who mess with your system that the system is essential for you and guard that system. If it's not hurting them, they can deal, (especially with little pieces of duct tape on things. My duct tape has saved others from making dumb mistakes, so they tend to get quiet about it pretty quickly)

    Finally and most importantly, forgive yourself for the little things, do your best, and have fun.
    frlsgirl and starsunset like this.
         

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