Riding again after back surgery - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-20-2011, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Massachusetts
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Riding again after back surgery

Hi - I'm a newbie on this site - glad to have found it! I was hoping to get some feedback from others in the same situation. Briefly, I'm a 54 year old active woman and bought my first horse a year and a half ago. She's a North American Spotted Draft and I'm SO lucky to have found her. We do low level dressage (well, she can do higher levels than me!) and riding keeps me sane. Last summer I really overdid outdoor work (non-riding) and didn't listen to my back enough and after 4 months of excruciating pain, had back surgery 2 weeks ago. It's been a few months since I've ridden and I have 3 months before I'll be cleared to ride again. She's being ridden regularly and taken well cared of, but I'm worried about riding again - how do you get over the fear of hurting yourself? How soon after surgery did any of you guys ride? Thanks!
panzersmom is offline  
post #2 of 6 Old 02-20-2011, 09:35 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: North Dakota, USA
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I've never had surgery. When the doctor says it would be okay, just take it slow to start out. You could have someone help you out by having the horse on a lungeline or pony your horse while you ride. Keep things simple and try to stay relaxed.

Everyone should be allowed at least one bad habit, and that's NOT owning a horse!

Mares RULE! Geldings drool!
usandpets is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 02-20-2011, 11:29 AM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Texas
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I had back surgery when i was 14. I had a genetic disease called Scholiosis where my back bone curved like an "S" and it was so bad my backbone wouldve grown into my heart and lungs and i would probably be dead right now (4 years later) if i hadnt have had the surgery. I have 2 metal rods permanantly in my back. I was out 6 months before i was even allowed in the saddle again and 6 more months (because of my worrisome mother) that i was allowed to go more than a walk. The best advice i can give you is make sure you TRUST your horse and dont go overboard. Kinda work your confidence back up. your muscles are going to be out of it and your gonna be a little out of rhythm so just go at your own pace with what your comfortable with. AND if you DO fall you will have a ninja ability to never fall on your back ever again. The first time i fell after i had my surgery i ninja'd around to where i fell on my hands and knees. LOL. Its really no different from riding after your confortable with it again. Your always semi conscious in the back of your head of your back but that makes you less likely to do things that will compromise your back but you HAVE to remember that riding has always been and will always be a big risk. There has ALWAYS been a risk of your back getting hurt every TIME you get on a horse. This back surgery does nothing more than making you more aware of it.
TexasBlaze is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 02-20-2011, 11:38 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Florida, GA line
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I had the same thing done as the above poster. Although I was back in the saddle and retraining within two months. I had my surgery Feb 22 of last year.

Just talk to your doctor and listen to him and your gut. I started riding way before my back was healed, it made my recovery time last alot longer.
lacyloo is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 02-20-2011, 08:45 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Falcon, CO
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Hello. I had back surgery in 1992. Long story- the injury was caused from a visit to a Chiropractor after a horseback riding accident. I still have fear issues and have to work through the fear on almost every ride (I have a paralyzed foot/leg from the injury. Just take it easy and take it slow. The fear is real and it is not much fun. I have found that working in the round pen helps with my confidence. I am thinking about lessons this spring also.
rockymtnhigh is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 02-21-2011, 02:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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I agree with Rock, round pen work will help you feel more connected to your horse, thus regain the confidence of being a leader.
Also, make sure that you strengthen your back and abdominals (yeah!!!) by doing other things like walking or dancing or yoga a LOT before even getting in the saddle at all.

Walk with your horse on the lead, and stand as if you ARE in the saddle, knees bent back erect, core muscles ON and hands in front holding the reins. Ride your horse through a test (your legs are your horse, ok?) just on your own feet.
Roll around on the ground to reassure yourself you are not made of glass.

Get really happy and excited for each short ride you take as you push the edge back out to where it used to be.

Best of luck!
tinyliny is offline  

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