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So my boyfriend wants to get into trail riding but hes got a really bad foot/leg. Basically when he was younger his foot/leg started growing the wrong way so it wouldve been backwards. He got surgery to correct it but now he has chronic pain in it and cant put pressure on it for a long time. He wont be able to really put pressure in the stirrup on the left side or keep his heel down. Any tips on how to help him ride or types of barns to help him learn?
 

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I know one rider that basically rides with no stirrups... ever. I think he's the best rider out of all of us and can sit anything =.= am not jealous, I swear! I would think any yard with a decent instructor and horse should be able to work with that easily! I don't have any issues like that and my old instructor when I was much younger used to make me jump stirrup-less! You can get stirrups that have closed toes and support he whole foot so he could even wear comfier footwear without worrying about a heel or his foot going through and getting caught. He can learn to mount in various ways, vault if he's fancy. I know another lady who had a spinal injury and who can't sit in the saddle. From the moment she gets on she's got her butt up and out. She is very good at squatting as you can imagine!

And lastly if for whatever it doesn't work out I know plenty of people that get into driving horses instead :) good luck!
 

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To mount...there is no reason he can not mount/dismount from the right side...
You just need to expose the horse to that is all...

A fact that all my trail horses will allow is mount from the right side.
You never know if you could hurt your left leg in a fall, a bump into a tree or twist something if you dismount {planned}...

Because he may have a limitation to using that leg for mounting...no.
He learns to ride using balance not his feet and legs stuffed in stirrups.
All of us riders should be able to ride without stirrups and be competent astride.
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Put him in a western saddle (you probably would anyway for trail riding) and take off the stirrups. In my experience, western saddles are pretty hard to fall out of, at least at a walk. He can move on to a trot and even a canter when and if he's comfortable. If you're not riding tall horses, it's not that hard to just swing a leg over the saddle from the mounting block. Heck, he could even start off bareback. I don't think his foot should cause any problems.

Congratulations on having a significant other who actually WANTS to be involved with horses.
 

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The right horse and instructor will make this issue be a non issue. I'd say go for it! Weight in the stirrups is overrated, that's just to get your leg in position and obv keep the stirrup in place. He could even ride without stirrups.

When I injured my knee I was riding 5 horses a day and one by one stopped riding them (too explosive, too lazy- squeezing hurt). There was an old well trained mare who I continued to ride for awhile, she was old and essentially retired but still forward and when I carried a whip on my bad side I could tap her with it vs using my leg, and not only was I able to ride her well and not hurt but I could get her doing lateral stuff, stepping under and going on the bit, etc. She understood what I was asking using a whip instead of stressing my leg/knee. I was pretty proud of her! Different situation, but they're pretty savvy to what we are trying to get them to do. I guarantee I was riding unevenly, and now I'm a little worried about getting started again because I think I will be uneven and not catch it (and learn a bad habit).. A horse can absolutely learn to understand if he's not completely even, and as he advances he can try something like I did if the situation called for it etc. And for a beginner, most beginners are uneven.

My only real concern is if it would be comfortable for your boyfriend, which, no harm in trying!
 

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When my mother learned to ride (over 40 years ago, I highly doubt this is a common practice today), the woman she learned from apparently believed very firmly in being able to ride without a saddle. She told mom when she could canter a horse without a saddle, she'd give her a saddle. And so that's how mom learned. It wouldn't have to be as extreme as learning without a saddle. As others have mentioned, I would imagine with a patient trainer who understood his needs your boyfriend could absolutely learn to ride without stirrups and signal the horse without using too much pressure from the leg he has problems with. :) I think it's great that he wants to try and that you are trying to help find a solution.
 
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