Riding With Cerebral Palsy, help. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-26-2014, 11:46 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2014
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Riding With Cerebral Palsy, help.

I have a mild form on CP (Cerebral Palsy) so I have some issues staying balanced on my horse Rusty. My CP effects my body in the way that my arms, or legs will sometimes get stiff. I ride bareback and western. My western saddle does not fit Rusty's withers. I ride a Thoroughbred Quarter Horse mix, 16'2 hands tall. My horse is not leg trained so if I stiffen my legs he won't go faster then what I had already asked him to. He is a calm layed back horse. I am able to ride perfect fine at a walk, but when I trot him bareback. I bounce and loose my balance. I sometimes tighten up when I go into a trot bareback. I was curious if anyone could give me any balancing tips or any advice that would help a lot.
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post #2 of 6 Old 10-26-2014, 09:04 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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Try to focus on keeping your legs relaxed. At the trot, roll your back and try to sit on your back pockets. If your body is relaxed the spine will be flexible between the ribcage and pelvis and act as a shock absorber. Grab some mane if you have to.

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-27-2014, 09:46 AM
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I would suggest walking circles before you go into the trot, especially if bareback. Start with a large circle, both directions and then slowly start closing in the circle. While riding the circle, work up from a walk to a "working walk," which is just a faster walk, but not quite a trot. Your muscles will have to really start working at the working walk. You will tighten up in the beginning of this exercise, but ride it out. The tighter your circles become and the longer you ride, the more your muscles WILL begin to loosen up, and it will prepare you to "ease" into a trot a lot easier than your average walk to trot transition.

Also, work on walk/ stop/ back transitions. Walk on for 10 feet or so, then promptly stop, then have your horse back 4 or 5 steps. This will keep your body guessing (not to mention your horse ) as to what will come next. This will work your whole body at once, where the circles will work your whole body, but it tends to make a particular side work more (whichever direction you are riding.)

It sounds like your have a great horse, so I think he will be able to do these excersises just fine, too. Good luck!
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post #4 of 6 Old 10-27-2014, 11:25 AM
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Look up lisa boody on facebook I am sure she will be more than willing to offer some helpful exercises as she also has cb. She is amazing and very helpful :]. Good luck!

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-28-2014, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Sep 2011
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With CP you may just want to stay at a walk while bareback. You cannot control the muscle spasms. My back and butt will cramp so I do not ride nor will attempt to ride bareback. I cannot stop the muscle cramps and just have to ride it out, I will stop and just sit, until the spasm stop. You can practise balance on an empty barrel, straddle it, arms out to the sides and front. alternating and when you find the balance work on it, so it becomes muscle memory. You can find your balance point while your muscle spasm and cramp.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-30-2014, 09:49 PM
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If you have access to a physical or occupational therapist, they may, and should, be able to do some kinesio-taping to specifically reduce tone during activity. If you try one and it doesn't work, try another.

There are kinesio-taping videos on youtube. Most of those are to increase movement and tone. A decent therapist will teach you how to self-tape. Good tape is available on Amazon. Same stuff and cheaper than I can get from med supply houses.
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