Riding Lessons for some one with a herniated disk - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Smile Riding Lessons for some one with a herniated disk

I have a woman that is wanting me to teach her to ride, but I am concerned that with her herniated disk, that it may not be a good idea. She is 33 years old, and suffers from numerous ailments, and I'm concerned that riding may not be the best idea for her, especially since she has what I consider to be unrealistic expectations for her. She wants to be able to run bareback across the pasture. The reason that I think that this goal is unrealistic is because she has so many ailments that affect her balance. She can't even stay balanced on the ground, so I don't hold out much hope for her in the saddle, much less bareback. And with the herniated disk, I just think that this goal is just reaching too far.

I know that being around horses will help build up her self confidence, which she has none of, but I'm not sure that riding should be in her future. I figured if I was wrong that someone on here will correct me. Which is what I'm looking for, that and ideas of how to proceed, and maybe some exercises to give her to help her with her balance.
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 08:33 AM
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I would be really cautious with this one. Yes, riding will help with her balance, that is true, and honestly, I would start with a note from her MD giving the OK......then do walking on a lead line with arms out...those types of the usual stuff we all start with for balance. I would also let her know her goals will take a very long time to achieve-it ever.

If I were you, I would be afraid she would fall and further injure her back ,leaving you liable......even with all of the waivers in the world, you may not be covered. SOme health insurance companies are starting to go after BO's insurance regardless of waivers.
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post #3 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 08:41 AM
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Hi... Here are some thoughts from somebody (me) who has 3 herniated disks as well as has a healthcare background;

1. If she has offered up that she has medical issues and other physical limitations, I would ask your prospective client if she would provide a 'release' (form gotten from the doctor's office) to allow you to talk to her physician and ask some questions.

2. 'be able to run bareback across the pasture' sounds fine if the person has some experience riding, but do they know that there is so much to learn prior to that occurring?


From a herniated disk perspective, there are so many factors that play a role in recovery and some injuries can limit certain movements and activities for long periods or time or forever. In my own situation, it took me months to recover from two separate occurrences. I worked with doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists to get me to the point I could do activities of daily living. Riding was sometime I really wanted to get back to, but had to take it slowly and carefully.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by franknbeans View Post
If I were you, I would be afraid she would fall and further injure her back ,leaving you liable......even with all of the waivers in the world, you may not be covered. SOme health insurance companies are starting to go after BO's insurance regardless of waivers.
This. Besides, even if you weren't liable in the monetary sense you do have a moral responsibility not to contribute to her hurting herself. Speaking from on own POV I couldn't sleep if someone hurt themselves badly while under my "care"-I still have nightmares where I watch my beginner rider spouse fall off his horse and break his wrist . Yeah, he is an adult and yes he knew he was overhorsed but I still feel responsible on some level for his injury.

We grow too soon old, and too late smart.
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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The moral responsibility is weighing on me, even though she doesn't care. She just looks at it like she's an adult and no one can tell her what is best for her. If you have her best interest at heart, she usually finds a way of throwing it back in your face. I honestly think that she would be safer learning to drive horses versus riding them, but there isn't really any one around here that could teach her that, and I don't think she would be interested in it anyway, because she's always wanted to learn to ride. I'm seriously thinking that she just needs to find someone else to teach her to ride, because I don't want the guilty conscience when something happens. And I would definitely have a guilty conscience over something happening.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 05:46 PM
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Speaking from the POV of someone who now has balance issues... From your description it sounds like this woman might have something serious, but if her condition doesn't have a fancy label, she doesn't qualify for therapeutic riding. That means you're the only chance she has of being able to get on a horse. Think about how you would feel if somebody told you you weren't "allowed" to ride anymore. Liability issues are one thing, but you don't have a right to tell this woman what's best for her. Don't punish someone for having health problems.

I have been diagnosed with a balance and coordination problem (cerebellar ataxia). I don't currently have the money to ride, but if I did I would, and **** the consequences. Having an illness shouldn't mean that you never get to do anything fun. Maybe this woman wouldn't be able to keep up in a group lesson, but you could offer her private lessons and just do what she's capable of.
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 06:24 PM Thread Starter
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ponyboy, I can understand completely where your are coming from. This is not an incident of her already knowing how to ride and wanting lessons. This is someone that rode a couple of times as a child, then her mother wouldn't allow it anymore because her grandfather was killed by a young colt. So no more horse anything for her. She is now the single mother of three young children, and doesn't want to be realistic in her expectations of her ability. She has a goal, which is great, but it is an unrealistic goal considering her limitations. And considering that her children call me Aunt, I really can not live with trying to explain why mom is now in a wheel chair or worse yet in a casket to them.

If she was a stranger and disclosed this particular health problem to me, it would be easier for me to tell her that while she might find someone willing to give her lessons that can live with something happening, it will not however be me. In general, I don't give riding lessons, because I am extremely hard on myself because of how I was taught, and I don't want to continue that nasty tradition. So I refrain from teaching. She has went to the barn with me a few times and I've done some simple ground work with her, and by simple I mean her leading a horse around and expecting her to make it lead correctly and not simply dragging it around. While the horse she is leading around is still young and pretty green, it is also VERY lazy, and she is always confined to the round pen and pasture. The reason I started taking her to the barn is she has some impulse control issues and emotional control issues that I thought being around horses would help her learn to control, which has worked beautifully as long as we are at the barn, but quickly disappears as soon as we get outside the gate. Then she uses the excuse that she can't control her emotions or whatever else, after she has proven that she can in fact control them. She also has issues with accepting accountability for her decisions, and I know that when something happened she would fully blame me because I did not train her well enough, and totally overlook the fact that it was her decision to hop on a horse bareback and go barreling through the pasture. The more I think about it, the more I want to tell her no on the riding lessons, and even taking her to the barn period. Now, I'm more confused than I was when I started this thread. Please no one take that as a mark against what you said, just that as my A.D.H.D. brain mulls this over, multiple times I think of more reasons why I shouldn't do it. Then my heart jumps in and reminds me that we are close friends, and I would be helping her live out a life long dream. So then the debate between the logic and emotional begins, and I end up confused. Ok, my rambling is over for now. Hope I didn't confuse anyone.
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post #8 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 06:53 PM
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Under these circumstances, I'd also say no, and give her a hand to find a certified and insured trainer who is not a friend, but a professional relationship. Preferrably someone who has fool proof older horses and / or gaited horses (easier on the back) available for lessons.

I'm not saying she should never ride or "never do anything fun". I think there are definitely possibilities for someone with health impairments like a herniated disc to ride. But honestly, I'd turn down someone completely healthy too if they told me their main aim is to barrel across a field bareback. Not something I would want to be involved in, and definitely not something I would want my horse involved in...
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 09:53 PM
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Are there any equine therapy barns in your area that you could suggest? They might be better suited to her needs and abilities.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-17-2013, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Sadly there are not any therapy barns in my area, there isn't much of anything in my area where horses are concerned. That is the down fall of living in a small town, there isn't much to choose from.
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rider exercises , riding lessons , riding lessons work

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