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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I have posted bits and pieces of this before, but I am SOOOO frustrated. After 40 years without a horse, I purchased (stupidly, I know) a 2 year old filly. She has been a dream – never put a foot wrong and is gentle and willing. I had had a horribly stressful last few years – taking care of a mentally ill and abusive mother full time, losing our house and all of our assets through no fault of our own, my husband having a severe heart attack and major brain damage, moving cross country and going back to work at a stressful job when I was at retirement age. I NEEDED her, and I think she just about saved my life. I spent many years doing volunteer work at hospitals, and now she is my ‘therapy horse”.

One month after I purchased her, I was diagnosed with CIDP (sort of like multiple sclerosis). I couldn’t walk, had trouble swallowing and breathing. I drove my Doctors crazy – I told them I didn’t CARE if I could walk, just get me back on my horse! After a lot of treatment, I was able to walk and RIDE. GREAT!!!! Then, little things started causing trouble. I was tired all of the time, and very weak. I finally purchased a beautiful Wade saddle and LOVED it – I have never felt as secure and comfortable in any saddle, but I had trouble lifting it.

Then another bad spell around Halloween. I spent several months mostly in bed while my beautiful baby just sat in the pasture. I was informed by my doctors that this is my new ‘normal”. My balance is ok but my feet go the wrong direction a lot and I walk like I’m drunk. I have NO strength in my hands. The days I manage to go to the stable my hands don’t have the strength to push down on the curry comb or brush to groom her. Forget about cleaning her feet or her stall. My husband and my daughter have been taking care of her. I can’t saddle her on my own as I can’t begin to lift the saddle and my daughter can’t lift it because of a bad shoulder. My husband hates lifting it and keeps telling me I should get a lighter one, but I fell SO secure in it. I have an English saddle, as I used to ride and train jumpers, but I don’t feel as secure in it with my issues. I had tried numerous other western saddles before I bought this one, and this is the only one that fit both of us. Hopefully I can rig up a pulley to put it on her. I know she’d be fine with it, but to tell the truth, I don’t even know if that will work with my hands and I would still have to drag it out of the tack room.

Even leading her is difficult. Thank goodness she’s an angel, because I lean on her when I walk to keep my balance, and if I fall she just stands there. I HATE being dependant on anyone to do these things, but I just can’t.

I want to trail ride on my daughter’s property but my husband doesn’t want me going out alone, and there is no other horse he can ride. I feel safe with Nibbles and my Doberman with me, but he is probably right. I could NEVER get back on if I fell. I don’t want to sell her, but I’m finding I am spending most of the time just watching her until I’m forced to leave and go back to bed. I haven’t ridden her since October, although part of that has been because of the weather. My husband and daughter will ride her, but I just feel like crying. I WANT HER TO BE MY HORSE AND I WANT TO RIDE!!!

I'm not looking for answers, really, because I don't think there are any. I just wanted to vent. Thanks for listening.
 

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I am so sorry <3 I can't imagine how stressful this must be for you. :hug:

This may be a TOTAL long shot...but is there any possibility of you being able to contact a therapeutic facility in your area, and seeing if they can help you? Perhaps, if you have a way to trailer your mare, she could be taken to the center and you could pay for therapy rides with someone to watch over you (or on bad days, maybe even lead you if that wouldn't bother you too much?) I know the idea of arena riding isn't as appealing as trails, but some facilities actually even have therapy trails that you can ride on. Your mare sounds like she's made of gold, and being able to ride her would be SO good for you. What is a bigger booster than riding your horse?

They may not be able to help you due to insurance, or maybe your mare would need to go through some certification/training for liability purposes...but its worth a try right? They'd probably even be able to help you saddle your mare, and even help you up onto her if you should ever need it. Most facilities like that absolutely love to reach out and help when they can, even if that help is unconventional.

Either way, you're in my thoughts and prayers <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much. No, we don't have a trailer, and to tell the truth, trailering her and then riding would probably be too much for me. Really, riding is NOT the problem. I feel secure on her,my balance is good on her, and I feel good riding. Actually, riding is an accepted therapy for M.S. It is just the preparation like saddling and grooming that I have problems with. And yes, Nibbles is gold. I don't know how I was so lucky.
 

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Hmmm. Another brainstorm. Can you hire an instructor type person to come saddle up for you and supervise the riding/unsaddle at your home? It really doesn't even have to be an instructor- just someone comfortable around horses who can watch out for you and help you out with the saddling.
 

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What a spot to be in-have the perfect horse, but the body won't co-operate. Do you have any "horsey" neighbors? Someone that could groom, saddle, & make sure you were on, & maybe ride with you? I would love someone to ride with, even if I had to prepare two horses to do it. Although I prefer not to have a dog around me. I love my dogs, but they are not trail dogs. And I've only seen two really good ones in all my decades of riding. There are just not enough people that obey the leash laws or have well-trained dogs.
 

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surely there is some young girl who would trade riding time on your horse, for helping you groom and tack up? or anotheer middle aged woman? you might really enjoy the company, too. she could walk with you for her excersize, and she could ride on her own once a week. could be a good trade.

I really cannot imagine how hard this must be for you . I had a friend who had MS, and she had long periods of time where she actually got better, then would get worse, but she had those good times. maybe you can find some kind of treatment that will give you more relief and return some of your strength. I can only wish.
 

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Hey, hope things work out well for you despite the bleakness presently. Some good suggestions above! I just wanted to say my thoughts are with you and all the best. God bless. And have a look at alternative treatments complementary to the medical care you are getting - nutritional ones are often good. Nerve-related things aren't fun. I've got unilateral vocal nerve paralysis (variable, sometimes good, sometimes bad but had to give up teaching), a freak thing that happened 5 years ago. I was devastated at the time but I tell you what, I've done a lot better than the specialist predicted (and I stopped going to him pretty soon after diagnosis). I couldn't speak or swallow properly at first but nowdays people who didn't know me before don't always pick there is a problem unless they spend extended time with me. I hope you get better soon (and it CAN happen, no matter what your prognosis).
 

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I just wanted to offer my condolences. This sounds absolutely awful ): Stay strong, I really hope things work out well for you.

Having someone come around and help out in exchange for riding time sounds like a good idea. Then your husband can rest assured you won't be alone :)
 

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Another one who has no helpful suggestions, just a tiny understanding of what you are going through, and the frustrations you feel. It sucks, hugely, and royally and there is **** all you can do about it, so [[[[hugs]]]

Next.....thoughts, the would it be possibles?

Saddling, a ramp and a platform come to mind, kind of a mounting block deluxe, or a new deck on your house or barn. Keep the saddle on the deck, no lifting involved, well only a little, a short carry from rack to horse, drop it on her back. makes mounting easier as well.

As to riding, some sort of alert thing, or just having your cell phone so if you do fall you can call for help.

If you can't trail ride, would riding in an arena be a good second best.

As I say not so many ideas, but........well my own frustrations and injuries mean that I have got used to looking for solutions to my own issues.
 

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A barn I worked at had their saddles hung in standing stalls. Rope pulled under the pommel, looped over the horn. Other end ran through a pulley and down to the side, where the other (looped) end hooked on a nail. Even new horses took to it well.

Other than having someone out to assist you, what about moving your mare to a facility that would hire out assistance... There would be other horses available to enable trail company. I can't imagine a good boarding facility wouldn't work out something for a little extra $$.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you, everyone, for the suggestions. Moving her is out of the question - she's at my daughter's presently, and we just couldn't afford any of the few boarding facilities near us. Having someone come and ride would be possible - my daughter has 2 older horses that would be ok for a lighter person to ride. The only other alternative is for me to ride one of them and for my husband to ride Nibbles, but, selfishly, I want to ride her. I have thought of putting in a pulley for the saddle to get it on her back - I KNOW Nibbles wouldn't care, and I will probably go that route, or one of the other great suggestions above. I really am thankful I'm as good as I am - the doctors really didn't think I would be able to walk, but I want to ride SO BADLY! I really do feel safe riding alone -my daugher has a lot of trails, but the one loop I ride on is practically within shouting distance of the barn. I take my cell phone, and if I fell, my dog would let whoever was looking for me know where I was. I just get so frustrated - I had all these plans of starting with competitive trail riding and/or getting a trailer and going to all the neat places to ride. I know Nibbles could do whatever I asked her to. I just feel I let her down. I only am able to ride her about 20 times a year, and she has so much to learn and is so willing, but it's next to impossible with the amount I am able to ride, and I just don't have the energy to really 'work' her. Walking the trail is about all I can do.
 

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What about hiring an assistant? Like a volunteer that you "pay" in rides once in awhile?

Or... go saddle shopping for something less heavy. There are lots of saddle choices out there! As for grooming, you can keep a light sheet on her to keep her cleaner so grooming only takes brushing out versus scrubbing down.
 

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Customcanines, great big, ginormic hugs and prayers sent to you in all of this! I must say you have not "Let her down"! Not in any way. She is a horse who knows her owner loves her, cares for her, sees to all of her needs, spends time with, and that alone speaks volumes to her! She's not dying to be ridden as much as you're wanting to ride, so put away all forms of guilt in that regard. Do what you can with her, when you can, and if you can't do a lot in a day, just hug/stroke her nose/give her carrots/sit for a while in her pasture and simply enjoy the moments of togetherness.... you'll find such pleasure in those quiet moments :)
 

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Hey, I've had another thought. Maybe your horse could be educated to pull a buggy and this would give you something else to do with her that wouldn't be very high impact on you (maybe you could drive with an experienced volunteer who could gear up for you etc). Sure, driving is not the same as riding, but it can be good fun and I'd do it in a flash if for some reason riding became too difficult. If your horse has a calm disposition, it's maybe worth considering. Do you have any driving clubs in your area who might help out?

By the way, is that your horse on your avatar shot? Beautiful animal!
 

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So sorry……I really think you should look into free leasing her to a therapeutic facility if there is one in your area with the understanding that you can come ride her with their assistance. That way she will be taken care of without additional board costs, and you will have the help you need to ride her safely. Please at least go visit one of these facilities-they really are wonderful. I have one of my horses free leased to one presently, and he over his new job, and I love that he is so loved by all of the clients and staff. I may have to get him back before long tho, since my DH has MS and the MD has recommended riding…..IF we can get past the allergies.
 

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I just wanted to say... Nibbles is the cutest name ever. :) Have you discussed any of these new ideas with your husband?
 

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I am so sorry! I know exactly how you feel as I'm in the same boat. Have been for 4 years. Do you know what caused/triggered the CIDP?

I'm sure you've seen the paralysis cases on the news in California linked to enterovirus 68 in children?

I have been sick for 4 years. I caught an entervirus and it paralyzed my GI tract. On top of that I have leg weakness issues- my legs will collapse when walking (as my knees buckle without warning). Sometimes I go to move my leg and my toes drag. The neurologists I've seen have NO explanation, as so far all testing (nerve conduction, MRI) have been normal. Although my GI doctor says I probably have vagus nerve damage, and/or nerve damage throughout my GI tract.

Right now I'm doing pretty good as I am in between flare-ups and actually eating thanks to a new medicine.

Goodluck! My mom helps me with saddling/horse care.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you everyone, once again. It's nice to know I have friends here who will give me moral support. I have to remember that all of us have problems we have to overcome.

Part of the problem is my daughter's property is very hilly, and we don't have an arena. The only place to ride is the trail or the steet. Thank goodness Nibbles is good on either, but I don't like riding on the street, and wouldn't feel comfortable driving a cart there, as the roads are narrow and winding.

Franknbeans, you may be right about giving her up, but at this point I just CAN'T give her up. Sometimes she's the only reason I get out of bed, even if it is just to watch her.

Hopefully I'll be able to figure the saddling and grooming thing out. I asked my husband, and he didn't like the idea of hiring someone - he said he would do it. I guess I'll just have to resign myself to the complaints about my heavy saddle and when I don't have anyone to do it, I'll ride bareback, as even my english saddle is too heavy at this time.

Sue - thank you very much. She is pretty. My vet, who shows in AQHA and palomino shows, said she should be shown, and would do very well. SHe even expressed interest in showing her, but I just don't want to let her leave. I truly believe she is my angel as someone or something certainly led me to her and made me buy her. (I was looking for an older, 'bombproof" gelding, and I hated palominos. I kept seeing her ad, and I finally just went for the heck of it. No vet check,didn't ride her or even really touch her. She was delivered to my daughters an hour and a half after I first saw her, and she has been PERFECT - it's like someone KNEW I would need her.)

Zexious _ My husband named her. he had another mare by that name when he was little, and as soon as he saw this horse, he said "that's Nibbles!" It fits her, as she is constantly gently lipping my hair and hands. I probably shouldn't let her do it, but it never escalates, and she quits when I tell her to.

4 horses - I am sorry you are going through this, too . Nerve problems are no fun. My dioctor is certain it was from all the stress I was under for so long, and I agree. AT times I felt like I was just going to explode and I think my body just said "enough!" Did they test you for CIDP and POEM? I hope you feel better soon and thanks for the support.

THANK ALL OF YOU for the support and suggestions, they are greatly appreciated and I know that by using some of the suggestions, I will somehow make this work. Thanks for letting me rant!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Also, to Cacogirl - my dobe is VERY wel lbehaved. I used to train and worksearch and rescue dogs . SHe comes perfectly and doesn't bother the horses. I fwel more secure when she's with me, and it's not a public trail - I ride on the coule of hundred acres of trails by my daughter's.
 

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If I lived close to you, I would come over and saddle up your horse for you, I really would.
 
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