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Do you think I should ride again or not?

(21 Posts)
Ponymum Mon 27-Apr-09 17:01:36

I was very interested to read the thread about losing confidence post-pg, as that has definitely happened to me! I am seeking views as to whether or not I should ride again, given what has happened to me. Please read my tale and let me know if you think yes or no, and if yes, under what circumstances.

The background is, as a child and teenager I was a very keen rider with a string of crazy ponies and horses. I competed, hunted, rode bareback, etc, etc. I sold my horses when at university but kept riding via lessons, treks, etc, and 2 years ago finally bought another horse after a 16 year gap. I was SO excited, but got it so wrong. I ended up over-horsed on a very expensive half TB British Eventer, when in hindsight I should have bought myself a sensible cob for the quiet hacking which is what I really like to do! After several falls and a terrible loss of confidence I then found I was pg. Obviously the horse had to be sold.

Then to make things worse, during my pg I developed very severe SPD. I was in a wheel chair for several months, and had to have months of physio to get walking properly again after my DD was born. So I lost confidence physically as well as mentally.

DD is now 7 months old and I am feeling a lot fitter - in fact you would hardly know I ever had SPD. I now feel as though I could consider sitting on a horse again just to see what it feels like. Should I?

Also, my neighbour is pestering me to help out another friend in the village who is looking for someone to help exercise her polo ponies. The old me would jump at the chance, but now I look at these horses and think - what it they took off? I am really scared just thinking about it.

I would love to have a horse again one day, or even just plod about the lanes on someone else's. I would also love to ride with DD if she likes it when she is old enough. But I am very scared and don't want to take any risks. Also, if I am going to take the plunge and get pg again I will have to do it soon due to my age (and of course then there is the risk of the SPD coming back).

Sorry for the long rant. Can you see me riding again? And should I?

MitchyInge Mon 27-Apr-09 17:19:22

I think yes, you must have access to some quiet horses? But wonder what the more experienced people have to say!

KingCanuteIAm Mon 27-Apr-09 17:26:54

I think yes, you clearly have horses "in your blood" and people like this (IME) start to find seperation from horses gets harder not easier. Mitchy is right, start out with something to build up your confidence in your ability and your body first. 7 months post SPD is not long and you need to woork on all those unused muscles slowley to give them chance to adjust gradually. Diving straght back in with Polo ponies could be a bit foolish (IMHO).

Get some advice from your physio about excercises you could do to strenghten to appropriate muscles ahead of time.

One of the unexpected sides of motherhood is a massivly increased self preservation instinct. Most people find they are just not confortable with risks they would previously have laughed at. It takes time to get past that feeling - especially whilst your baby is young. This is natured way of telling you that you need to be ok to look after your baby first and foremost!

Nekabu Mon 27-Apr-09 17:36:55

Yes but ride something you want to ride, rather than just what has been offered to you. Ask in your local tackshops and see if they have any recommendations of a good riding school. Then, before booking a lesson, go and have a look round and a talk to the instructor who'd be teaching you to see if you like the sound and look of it all. If you're feeling really windy, it might be worth giving your local riding for the disabled a call, explaining the situation and see if they'd mind you having a lesson or two with them first.

I would recommend going for lessons though as you'll probably feel a lot safer with someone on the ground keeping an eye on things. Remember that this is something you'll be doing for fun so don't rush to push yourself beyond your comfort zone; taking it slowly will almost certainly be the way to go!

Ponymum Mon 27-Apr-09 19:26:49

Thanks so much for these thoughts. Yes, kingcanute I DO have horses in my blood! During the dark days of the SPD the prospect of never riding again was breaking my heart. I definitely agree that polo ponies are not a sensible first step though! (So annoying though - isn't it every horseless rider's dream to be offered unlimited riding on their doorstep?)

nekabu I have excellent local stables but I am kind of embarrassed to go back there in this state. blush The owner knows everyone around here and probably heard how hopeless I was with the horse I bought, and she can be a bit mean. I might go elsewhere for the first attempt! When I imagine my first ride again, I see myself safely walking around an inside riding school on a sensible no-nonsense horse, with an instructor looking on being encouraging.

I guess that if that feels OK, I am going to want to get out hacking and probably won't be able to stop myself! I suspect my physio would not approve. hmm

Nekabu Mon 27-Apr-09 19:46:07

Hmm, if you think you'll be being unkindly judged then you won't be your most relaxed or confident! Though you certainly aren't the first (or last!) person to have over-horsed themselves so you might find she's not sitting in judgement on you at all. Dunno. Maybe have a look around and see what else there is around you or ask for recommendations at tack shops/on horsey forums? Good luck!

KingCanuteIAm Mon 27-Apr-09 20:17:28

Hmm, that is one of the things I do not miss about the horsey world. The tattle tales and back biting beatches angry

Go somewhere you feel relaxed and confident as Nekabu says. Watch out for overdoing it though, if you push it too much you could set your SPD back. If you get the urge to go over the top just imagine how you will feel in a few years if you actually cannot ride at all because you do too much too soon - that ought to damp the fires a little wink

How would your physio respond if you tell her you are going to go riding and that you would like to do it as safely as possible and would like her support and assitance?

Ponymum Tue 28-Apr-09 11:16:37

nekabu yes, well she's not so bad, just a bit 'Yorkshire'. wink i.e. very straightforward and doesn't bother with little niceties in delicate situations. But thinking about it now, I could simply ask for one of the other instructors there, as they are mostly lovely.

Now that I am seriously thinking about doing this I am beginning to think, what's the hurry? That must be a good thing as the trade-off is more likelihood of being able to ride properly in the long term. As you say, kingcanute it doesn't hurt to damp the fires a little in order not to risk full SPD recovery. I must keep thinking of the long term, and not rush into it. I'll do my best!

I have been discharged from the physio now, but when I mentioned horses to her before she looked at me like, are you insane? Well yes, I suppose I am a little.

Nekabu Tue 28-Apr-09 13:07:45

It sounds as though a different instructor but the same school may be the answer! I quite agree with you not rushing though; there's no harm in waiting at all.

If you want a horsey fix in the meantime, how about helping out at your local riding for the disabled? They are often well stocked with helpers who can help with the children but know nothing about horses, so someone who has as much horsey experience as you have may be welcomed with very eager open arms!

saintlydamemrsturnip Tue 28-Apr-09 15:55:42

I've just started riding again after a long (15 year!) break. I rode as a kid (at riding schools never had my own) and my friend had a pony we used to jump bareback hmm on the moors with no reins (just a head collar and rope tied round his neck and yes I did break my arm). Now I gibber to think about it. Also rode a horse in my early 20's for 6 months which I later found out had killed someone throwing them. Around that time (pre-kids) I was told that mothers are always nervous riders and it's been useful to remember that starting again!

Have recently started taking ds1 riding - he has severe autism and horses and donkeys calm him down- just at local SN donkey centre and on a friend's horse. I sat on the friend's horse and fell in love again. Also after getting off my back problems which I've had on and off for years- but were bad at the time- had just gone, so I figured I must have relaxed.

Have now found a great riding stables which is aimed mainly at adults. I explained that I'd like to ride reasonably quiet, reliable horses, no nutters. That whilst I don't mind a forward going horse happening to jump on a hack I don't particularly want to do lots of jumping. The instructor has been very good. Taken all that on board, and doesn't push at all. Very safety conscious.

I am so pleased I have taken up riding again. It is so relaxing, - currently am going once every other week and would love to go more in the future (finances and time permitting).

Debs75 Wed 29-Apr-09 19:07:07

How about you popdown to the stables with baby to 'show him the horses'. As you walk around the stables petting the horses you will soon know how much you want to ride. Ask an instructor if you can do some stablework with a quiet one to build up some confidence with the possibility of maybe a lunge lesson. Tell her about the spd and any nerves you have. I am sure they will be willing to help.

I told myself i would be riding after xmas when baby was 3 months old as i need some practice before i go riding clydesdales in cumbria. Was supposed to be going first week in June but still not been to the stables. i will do it one day but am a nervous mum who knows what it is like to fall off.

alicecrail Thu 30-Apr-09 09:02:28

I agree with Debs i would recomend(sp?) just being around horses to start with as the idea in theory of riding is great, then you find you're standing next to a 16hh, about to get on, thinking "oh s**t!"
Do you have any friends who have lessons at the stables that you can watch and tag along with a couple of times? I don't know about you, but personally if i know i've got to go somewhere i don't know, with people i don't know and do something i'm nervous of, then it becomes a bit much iyswim? Much better to get the feel of the place so you are relaxed being there and would know which instructor you think would be best for you.
I think you will be much more likely to stick at if you build up slowly than just throwing yourself in at the deep end.
Good luck, i'm sure it will be so worth it! smile

saintlydamemrsturnip Thu 30-Apr-09 09:23:12

I really agree about the instructor. I feel able to tell mine if I get scared, and just knowing that I can do that makes me more confident iyswim, as I know I won't be pushed to do anything I don't want to.

Pixel Thu 30-Apr-09 16:31:46

Are you likely to be having a holiday in this country this summer at all? There's a place in Somerset where we camp that does pony trekking and I find it a great confidence boost as the horses are all super-trustworthy (often have complete beginners of all ages on them), they all follow each other and I can just relax and enjoy. Looking at the fantastic scenery and keeping an eye out for deer helps take my mind off worrying about what the horse is doing! Also I can hold back with the 'cantering group' if I feel like it or not, there's no pressure so I usually do smile.

Maybe somthing like that would be a gentle way of finding out how you feel about being back in the saddle?

Ponymum Thu 21-May-09 15:12:24

Update - thanks I SOOO appreciate all the responses and suggestions. Unfortunately I have now had another set-back as I had to go into hospital for some surgery, which means riding is out of the question for a few more months yet. That's OK though. In thinking this over and discussing it here I now have a longer term view of my riding. I will definitely ride again in the future, and intend to own a horse again when the time is right. I will take it slowly, keep my ambitions low to start with, and make enjoyment the priority. In the mean time I will keep up my "on the ground" involvement. I should actually be stewarding at a show/gymkhana this weekend but sadly can't due to the surgery. I did it last year when I was pregnant and loved it. And I have friends and local yards I can call up to visit for some grooming practice when needed!

Nekabu Fri 22-May-09 09:36:18

Sounds like you have just the right attitude! Good luck with everything and hope you recover quickly from your surgery.

Ponymum Thu 20-Aug-09 14:19:43

Update: I have booked a riding lesson!! shockgrin

I seem to have recovered well from my surgery, and I have been thinking so much about riding again since I started helping my friend train her youngster. So I have now taken the plunge and booked a lesson. Yikes! grin

It will be my first time riding since Dec 2007! I have booked a half hour private lesson in the indoor school. I had a good chat with them about how the primary objective is to just sit quietly on a horse and get my confidence back. It's next Tuesday. Wish me luck!!

Pixel Thu 20-Aug-09 18:09:40

I'll definitely wish you luck, although I'm sure you won't need it wink. Hope you have a lovely time.

Owls Thu 20-Aug-09 21:42:41

Good luck! You will enjoy it so much I'm sure. Just remember to put all those negative thoughts in a 'box' and leave them to one side before you start.

Let us know how you get on. smile

Ponymum Tue 25-Aug-09 20:14:31

I did it! grin I went riding today!!

I had a really nice instructor who I get on well with. We had a talk first, then she put me on a lovely 14.2 cob who is as safe as houses and really sweet. We had one of the indoor arenas to ourselves and just walked around until I was really comfortable, then did some trotting and eventually some circles and serpentines. I felt totally safe the whole time. A lot of the time we just walked about and chatted about the instructor's new horse that she has just bought, so it was really relaxed.

So in all, absolutely brilliant! smile Now I just have to think about what I want to do next... wink

Pixel Tue 25-Aug-09 20:56:15

So glad it went well, there'll be no stopping you now! smile

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