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Dyslexic daughter who has to ride - hypermobility and pelvic pain.

13 replies

botchpotch · 18/08/2020 01:17

Are there any mums out there with horsey children who find it painful to ride?

DD (8) loves her pony and rides every day (flatwork only - wants to be a dressage rider). She has dyslexic/dyspraxic traits and needs to ride so she can tell her left from her right and cope with the constant stress that comes with being an aspiring scientist who struggles to read and write. We have only recently realised why she is 'different' in some ways and have got other specialist support for her now as well. She can click her fingers in and out of place so may be hypermobile.

She came off a couple of weeks ago. Some lower back pain initially but seemed fine after a bath and was back in the saddle the following day. A couple of days ago, she began to cry when riding because of pelvic pain that moves around the pelvic girdle. It isn't a problem off the pony unless she's running but it did surface when she was trying to sleep tonight. I've just been told she has had to click her hip in the morning to get it into place.

We have a close family member who has life-changing mechanical stability problems related to her pelvis following an old riding injury that surfaced during pregnancy. DD is very like her. I feel between a rock and a hard place. I honestly don't know how DD will cope emotionally if she can't ride. The pony is on our land, literally peering over the garden fence and it's the highlight of each and every day. But we do have this constant reminder (in the family member) that riding is a risk sport and can lead to disability.

I'm not a horsey mum at all really. This is what she wanted to do from a very young age and she seemed so 'different' to other children that we were desperate to engage her and help her find an interest. Riding has been the making of her. Please don't tell me I'm selfish to make her ride/not let her ride. I'm just trying to work out what's best for her to do next. She does have regular instructors who travel to us and who we travel to but obviously they're not physiotherapists.

We live in a remote area and it's hard to know where to start with a children's/equestrian (?) physiotherapist in the current circumstances. I'm also scared to have her do exercises until she's been assessed for hypermobility.

Can anyone share their advice or experience? I'm sure we're not the first family in this position and I would love to hear from someone who has been there or knows more about children who ride.

OP posts:
DoIneed1 · 18/08/2020 01:43

Take her to the GP?

Sounds really hard, Op. But your dd needs expert advice

botchpotch · 18/08/2020 01:59

Well I will, but have too many family members who are GPs to think they'll know anything about this!

OP posts:
ApplestheHare · 18/08/2020 10:53

I don't think anyone on the Internet can help you with this one, but a GP may be able to refer her to a physio and it might be worth looking up Riding for the Disabled to see if they have any guidance on riding with various conditions?

maxelly · 18/08/2020 16:12

I think in the nicest possible way, you are slightly catastrophising here, totally understandable due to your family history but not necessarily rational. It's really sad for your relative about her injury and also unfortunate that your DD has hurt herself and of course as her mum you will worry, but I am sure time and rest and maybe some physio will sort your DD's pain out and I don't see why it needs to be the end of her riding career unless she wants it to be.

For the time being I would give her and the pony some time off (lead the pony out in hand or lunge/long line if he needs exercise to stop weight gain, and spend time with him on the ground, maybe practice some groundwork/de sensitisation/horse agility for fun). See the GP as you are planning to and I would also see if you can find a private physio who specialises in sport/exercise, yes they may not be an expert in children with hyper-mobility/riding but they will be able to help with the immediate issue, advise what exercise/movement is and isn't problematic and may have some useful recommendations/pointers for someone more specialised you could see in the future?

Unfortunately if she wants to be a pro/competition rider soft tissue injuries from falls (and things like broken limbs) are fairly common, but crucially really debilitating injuries resulting in disability are relatively rare and in absolute terms you run greater risks every day crossing the street or driving on the motorway although of course it's harder to avoid these things than to not ride!

Obviously bad falls do happen and when they do you tend to hear about them in the media or from the local horsey network which is scary and can blow the risk up in your mind, but the vast majority of riders particularly low-level amateur/leisure riders, don't have serious injuries and you have to weigh up the real but small risk of serious injury against the benefit and pleasure gained from riding. I think it's right that you seek some medical attention/advice about the pain she has at the moment and also on an ongoing basis about any risk for her condition, and while she is too young to do so herself, you set the boundaries about what is and isn't an acceptable risks to run - e.g. it seems sensible you've said no jumping, and she presumably only rides her own safe/sensible pony under supervision which will really help minimise risk. In the future she'll need to make her own decisions about her riding and her career/health, there are lots of horsey careers/options that don't necessarily require you to ride to a very high standard (groom/yard manager/instructor/vet/vet nurse/equine physio/saddler just to name a few). Or if she has scientific aspirations, riding or even spending time with horses on the ground may only be a hobby she potters at but gets a lot of enjoyment from, that's fine too and the case for very many of us as we get older and more cautious/limited with our bodies and health!

Good luck, hope it all works out

cupofdecaf · 18/08/2020 16:23

Sounds like she needs referring to a physio.
I say that as a hyper mobile dyslexic adult who rides. I did activities in my youth which damaged my joints because I didn't know better. I now manage but I see physios regularly and have to have a few operations.
It's not the end of her riding but she needs to build up certain muscles to protect her joints and go about things in a certain way.
I hope you have managed to get her help with her reading and writing as well, provisions in rural areas can be pot luck.

artisanparsnips · 18/08/2020 16:41

There is a speciality charity for hypermobility. They're probably your best bet for specialist and accurate advice on how to approach this.

botchpotch · 19/08/2020 01:15

Thank you so much for the kind and helpful advice given here. I will follow it all up and take on board the high probability that I'm over reacting.

OP posts:
Pleasedontdothat · 19/08/2020 13:56

Dd has a degree of hyper mobility which was much was in the run up to/during puberty. She had unstable hip and knee joints and quite a bit of pain associated with running and riding at times. She got referred to the paediatric orthopaedics team at our local hospital who reassured her that there wasn’t anything seriously wrong (she had started catastrophising). She had several sessions of physio and saw an orthotics specialist who gave her custom built insoles to keep her ankles more stable (and therefore knees and hips inline too). As her growth spurts slowed down, the pain resolved and she’s been much better. She still has the odd day when she gets a bit sore but a warm bath and hot water bottle help. This summer she’s been working at a local riding centre 3 days a week escorting clients on hacks so she’s had days when she’s been riding for seven hours and then goes to the yard to ride her own horse and she’s been fine.

Definitely try to get a referral for your dd but what really helped was physical maturity and time Smile

Pleasedontdothat · 19/08/2020 13:56

Worse not was ...

DraughtyWindow · 22/08/2020 11:09

My daughter has the same condition. Swimming is useful as it uses the same groups of muscles as riding. Pilates is good too. Exercises to develop strength to support the joints, but was told that the core only starts to develop in mid to late teens. My daughter is now 17 and still rides regularly - I’m sure if she didn’t, the condition would be far worse. She occasionally has to wear knee braces but not often.

Try not to worry!

Grumpsy · 23/08/2020 20:20

I also have hypermobility albeit not as bad as some.

I find that Pilates helps massively. Difficult with a child but if you could try and find some core strengthening exercises this may help with the pain.

Also what about an equine physio. A lot of them are human physios before they transition to horses, this may help. One of my horsey friends is a paediatric physio and has started to use ponies on her patients, and supporting patients who are horsey but have physical difficulties.

krustykittens · 25/08/2020 16:43

My daughter has the same condition and a physio needs to be your first port of call, OP. Get a good one and start a plan from there. I would also look into stirrups like Sprenger to help with her pelvic pain as a really supporting stirrup can make the world of difference. My daughter sometimes has to wait at obstacles before remounting as her hip often dislocates as she dismounts but she is still riding! Get them having fun in-hand as well - there are times she might not be able to ride, for whatever reason, so teach her now that riding is not the sum of their relationship. working and bonding with your pony on the ground can be rewarding in its own way. Get her to prioritise - does she love riding more than she loves her pony? I bet she doesn't! Everything will be OK, OP.

horseymum · 31/08/2020 08:45

A hippotherapist is a trained human physio who has done extra training and qualifications. It's a protected title so you can't just call yourself one. They are quite rare and usually attached to RDA groups, but work in a different way, they are therapists using the horse as a partner, not teaching riding. Definitely sounds like you need to find one. Hope you get the right help so your daughter can continue to enjoy riding.

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