Riding In Pain

Riding with arthritis, or any joint pain.  Or both.

As adults, we all do it.  You too?  For the love of the horse.  It’s just not talked about all that much.

It’s when the tendons complain too much, that things become a problem.

riding with arthritis

I’ve managed to trigger both elbow joints, an Achilles tendon – a chronic long distance running injury that keep popping up – and a bad calf strain.

Crippled horse care, not pretty now, is it?  (And let’s not whine about the house care.)

Sort of a “mummy look” with ace bandages and support straps in several places of the body.  Someone still has to muck out.  Pick hooves.  Groom.  And yes, lift the saddle on.

I’m whining today, I know.  Missing so many barn days.  Seriously, shopping is NOT the same.

riding with joint pain

A body falling apart and severe pain is not new.  Something I have had to deal with for many years.   There must be many riders out there with something similar.

Complaining is not going to get us anywhere, but today; your official free day to feel a little grey!

Not exactly how I planned starting out summer.  Valiosa enjoying some extra rest.  Steroid shots in one arm helped earlier this spring, not sure I’ll want to do more of those.

Valiosa at 4 1/2

We’ll get through this.  Perhaps just a little slower than others.  Keep doing what you love!  Sometimes less.  Sometimes more.  And enjoy the ride.

still trying


21 thoughts on “Riding In Pain

  1. As equestrians we tend to put out own bodies on the back burner. We need to stop or slow down once in a while to take care of our own wellness.

    Hope you feel better.
    I’m having a really bad day today too. Must be something in the air.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So sorry to read this. I can sympathize. I have had both hips replaced one 13 years ago and the other four years ago. Pain makes it difficult to ride effectively and can lead to tightness and tension. I know you are on glucosamine so that’s good. I cannot recommend anything else as I have insufficient medical knowledge. I find massage therapy is helpful when I get knotted up and some days require a motrin with meals. I hope this period of inflammation will pass and you can get back on track.


    1. Thank you Anne. I think it’s very inspiring that you can ride – with both hips replaced!
      So far, I only have a little pain in one hip, so I’m not too worried I’m a candidate there just yet. Still, if you’re ever up for it, I would absolutely love to read a post from an experienced and competitive rider on how it all works out – post hip surgery!


  3. You write for many of us here, Elinor. Yep, pain and injuries come with the territory and it is very discouraging. We just want to ride and be with our horses and there are endless horse chores to do, too, which are SO difficult with bum shoulders/elbows/hips/backs/necks/knees…you name it. My own cross to bear has long been chronic migraines and lower back problems; now adding to it shoulder issues. Only advice is to listen to your body and sometimes ease off – we can’t always power through stuff like we used to, it will just make it worse. Massage is good if you can find the right person, but it is expensive. Stretching, careful self-management, doing things differently, and perhaps not doing some things any more so you can still do the ESSENTIAL things you love…that’s how I do it. You might be inspiring an article here, because I have more to say 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Like mentioned in response to other comment – I would LOVE to read more on this if you make a post.
      As a comptetitive running athlete, I know all about the sacrifices, the discipline, and the drive neccessary to reach one’s goals.
      Slowing down, not doing every thing, and choosing just WHAT is valuable and what can be left alone is much harder.
      Almost impossible for me.
      I’ve read your response twice. It’s about deciding what is essential and what can be passed over. Tough lesson for me, but something has to change. Now. 🙂


      1. Yes. That IS the hard part for the competitive athlete. I have a friend in your shoes who also struggles deeply with this. I’m so sorry. I will think about this and write something on it…but in the end we each learn this lesson probably when the pain gets bad enough. Bummer, huh? Yep, it REALLY is.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh you will make it Alli! I’m sure about it! The Century Club award has to be the best thing they’ve created – definitely need to highlight and acknowledge any rider who makes it there. I hope we’ll both hang in there and be able to enjoy many, many more years!


  4. A couple days off saddle should help. In the meantime, a good horse liniment should help. 🙂

    Practically every rider plays and practices hurt. Last November, my daughter Elizabeth rode with a deep bruise in her right foot. SAM accidentally stepped on her during the unload from the trailer. She didn’t bring her zippered tall boots, so it was tough pulling on and pulling off her boots. Every spare moment she didn’t need her boots on, the foot was wrapped with a blue ice pack. The bruise cleared by Christmastime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Live with horses, the price we pay, right? Glad she isn’t also a “foot model” 😉
      That must have been a very tough course, to jump on what must have felt like a broken foot – poor thing!


      1. When it came to ride her events, Elizabeth put all of the hurt in her foot out of her mind. She wasn’t going to let an injury mess up her rides in a national show.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank-you for the motivational poster, it’s so discouraging to watch and cheer others on up the levels, while I linger at training level. Broken bones , back surgery, asthma, work, age, they all conspire against me, yet I’m still very lucky , I have a horse , truck & trailer , a few extra dollars for lessons and schooling shows , and a husband who encourages me to go. Thank-you for your blog, ride your horse first , then do your chores . Priorities! Best wishes , carol


    1. I think we can both inspire each other 🙂 I know exactly what you’re talking about, the feeling of lingering and not really getting ahead. Sort of stomping in place while everything hurts. I like your advice – riding must come first.
      I’m not as lucky to own a truck or even a trailer, and my husband is not exactly encouraging my dressaging, haha, but I still feel very lucky to have a horse 🙂 Both of us just need to carry on, no? 🙂 Thank you for cheering me up!


  6. Tendon injuries and inflammations.. I can sympathize! Not from riding but a lifetime of climbing. I know how hard it is to get rid of them. Do look for stretches, as horse sage advises! there are some really good stretches for inflamed elbow joints on youtube. Steroids will only hide the pain..


    1. Appreciate the tip Frank!
      I looked at some videos last night. The issue for now is to get the joints to calm down enough so that I can stretch without pain. Apparently I shouldn’t do the stretchies while they still hurt. Which I’ve done of course, argh! 😉


  7. A runner too eh? Horses and running seem to go together! As does pain and injury unfortunately. I find too often we manage a horse’s injury well and our own…Well, tough through it! Not always the best approach but probably the most common.


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