horseback riding
ginny

Astoria, NY

#1 Sep 10, 2007
I have significant bone loss in my lumbar spine. Last week I decided to take horseback riding lessons. We trotted (briefly) yesterday and as I attempted to get myself coordinated while doing this brand new movement I realized that I was bouncing... alot. I see my MD next month but I was wondering if anyone here has done any riding or continues to ride despite the osteoporosis. Thanks.
JuJuBe

Burlington, IA

#2 Jun 19, 2009
Three months after purchasing a new horse, I was unexpectedly diagnosed with osteoporosis. This caused me to think about the increased danger of breaking my hip if I had a riding accident.

I am 65, so this age factor even adds to this unfortunate situation; however, I have decided that I can not live in a self imposed protective bubble for the rest of my life. I love being around horses and enjoy the grooming process as much as riding.

I am not a well experienced rider, but the horse I now have is a gentle 12 year old Tennessee Walker that will age with me if I am careful. Due to the slow gait, I don't have any bone jarring bouncing. We do beginner dressage moves in a large arena. After I do the warm up exercises on this mare, my daughter (whose name is Ginny) rides the faster gaits and gives her a real workout. Then, I do the cool down work and grooming.

I am definitely not an expert, but I would suggest that you skip the trotting phase of your lessons and see if the stable has a very gentle smooth gaited Tennessee Walker you could ride.

I have decided to take Reclast for my osteoporosis and this is unnerving, to say the least. I am very healthy for my age, so hopefully there won't be any significant side effects. No matter what though, I plan to continue working with my horse and being very careful when I ride her. After all, when I am around her, I don't obsess about the osteoporosis and having to deal with the medical treatments for it. This horse will more or less carry me though my fears and help me cope with this life altering situation.

JuJuBe
Robin

Pittsburgh, PA

#3 Nov 29, 2010
ginny wrote:
I have significant bone loss in my lumbar spine. Last week I decided to take horseback riding lessons. We trotted (briefly) yesterday and as I attempted to get myself coordinated while doing this brand new movement I realized that I was bouncing... alot. I see my MD next month but I was wondering if anyone here has done any riding or continues to ride despite the osteoporosis. Thanks.
I'm 63 years old with osteoporosis in the hips and lower lumbar and I ride about 5 times a week! I found an athletic undergarment padded in the correct areas and wear it under my jeans.And I always wear a helmet. Protective vests are available from Equine supply stores. I enjoy all the gaits of the horse but take no risks.(I often do the posting trot riding with a western saddle.Enjoy your riding! Robin
Deborah Smith

Middleboro, MA

#4 May 7, 2011
I am 62 years old and just found out that my osteoporosis has worsened a lot. I ride only once per week at a stable. They are very careful with me since a few years back I had two falls. I have only been riding for 2 years. My back hurts daily and I see a chiro with unfortunately little result. I prepare with hot bath, hot pulsating shower head, tons of stretching, more and more ab exercises and now I will see a rheumatologist to see why the meds (first Fosomax and then Actonel) have not worked for me. I chose to continue to ride. My doctor said "as long as it doesn't hurt" Well I take 800 mg. motrin before I ride. I hurt daily and yes the jolt from the trot is a bit much, but I seem to have the most pain when I'm not riding - mostly when I rise in the a.m. I don't have much opportunity to canter yet and wonder if that's better for me.
ellie

Eustis, FL

#5 Aug 6, 2011
i have osteoporosis and after my second lesson on a quarter horse, i was posting and bounced too hard and broke a vertebra in my back- a compression fracutre. i am in alot of pain, am 62 years old, on fosamax and still broke a bone without falling off the horse. I am a beginning rider and am going to try to ride a paso fino. I rode one a long time ago and she was dreamy smooth, no posting required. My only question is am i crazy to try to ride anything again??
Deborah Smith

Middleboro, MA

#6 Aug 7, 2011
I couldn't agree more with Jujube's comments! I have been riding for about three years and I am 62. My osteoporosis has recently worsened according to my recent bone density, according to one doctor. I see a rheumatologist soon.

I do rising trot and I take dressage lessons. My instructor is very very careful with me. Prior to this instructor I had one fall at the canter and one fall when the horse "crow-hopped" unexpectedly-both incidents a few years ago.. I went back to riding too soon after the first crow hop incident. I believe that was my big mistake. My back hurts quite a lot in the morning. My back is more compromised than my hips. Meanwhile I do exercise a lot - abs every day for 15 minutes on a video, lots of quads and hamstring exercises and stretches. It is summer for me, a teacher, so I won't be able to keep this up, but there has been a tremendous difference in my ability to do rising trot with very very little jarring of my back due to strong abs and quads, I believe. Good luck to you! I could never give up riding.
Deborah Smith

Middleboro, MA

#7 Aug 7, 2011
I want to add one other thing. Two of my doctors who have seen the bone density results fully support my continuing to ride. It means too much to me.,
Jim Parks

New York, NY

#8 Mar 2, 2012
That's great. I guess exercise is the most natural treatment for osteoporosis. It saves you from the hassle of filing a fosamax lawsuit and it would even spare you from fosamax and femur fracture. http://www.rotlaw.com/fosamax/
Debbie

Chapel Hill, NC

#9 Jun 6, 2012
I have been wondendering if riding might actually be good for building bone density as it is a load bearing exercise. Check with you health care provider to avoid a stress fracture and do consider a gaited horse. I have two Peruvian Pasos and they are a dream!
Katherine Norman

Chicago, IL

#10 Jun 7, 2012
I have read a lot of studies on osteoporosis and one thing common is that exercise is one of the natural treatments for osteoporosis. Horse back riding is good however it may also be risky. Low-impact exercises may be better such as walking, jogging and strolling.
http://www.onsugar.com/user/fosamaxbonefractu...
Rachell R

West Chicago, IL

#11 Jul 25, 2012
Horseback riding can be a great activity for anyone provided they're not too old to ride. If you're planning on riding just ride the older slower gaited horses for a smoother ride. http://fosamax2012.livejournal.com/
Diane Baker Mason

Toronto, Canada

#12 Jun 22, 2013
I now this is an older thread, but I have just received the bad news that at only 54, my osteoporosis is so bad that I have multiple fractures in my spine. I didn't even feel them. I have been put on daily shots and am just devastated at the compromise to my health. Of course everyone says I should give up Coleman, a beloved Morgan whom I part-board. How is everyone else who has osteoporosis and still rides doing? I have NO symptoms except these "silent" fractures in my spine. Coleman's gait is as smooth as cream, and I ride Western although I post. I don't jump. He's a bit spooky because he "doesn't get out much", and is just generally a nervous boy sometimes, but his manners are excellent. I'm more concerned about the "bouncing." Are we crazy old women or what, to be doing this? I can't give him up. He's the best thing in my life - have you ladies still been able to ride?
Fran Wilby

Riverton, UT

#13 Jun 29, 2013
I am 62 and was just diagnosed with osteoporosis in my right hip. I ride 3-4 times a week--sometimes long trail rides and sometimes in an arena. I am going to continue to ride but I'm going to be more careful about cantering--especially in the company of other horses. I also have a pony I am teaching to drive should my osteoporosis get to the point where it is really not a good idea for me to ride. It's the pits for sure to get the diagnosis. I would do a lot of ground work with your horse if he is spooky--I think the main thing is not coming off the horse!
Diane

Toronto, Canada

#14 Jul 4, 2013
Thanks, Fran. It meant a lot to see your reply. I feel very alone and frightened right now, and the thing that's really bothering me is facing giving up Coleman. I have to get off the pity pot soon, LOl! Knowing that there are others out there who are sucking it up and taking the risk, just making adjustments and hoping for the best, means I am not alone.
Lisa

Pomona, Australia

#15 Oct 25, 2013
I am 51 and have just been diagnosed with Osetoporosis in hips and spine. I haven't ridden for months because of problems with my hip but am now looking for a saddle that might cushion me better someone suggested a Heather Moffat saddle anyone have any favourites ?
ACM

Birmingham, UK

#16 Apr 10, 2014
I had osteoporosis in my lower spine and I am 37. I have competed to a high level showjumping with the condition and I took a year off because I was afraid. However, I have returned to riding with a vengeance recently because it is not worth missing out on a passion just because I break easily. I have had fractures in my spine (not from riding but from daft things like slipping on wet ground) and I do sit trot, I jump huge hedges, go cross country at Novice level.....I am not worrying about it but i do wear a back protector and it has the added benefit of making me sit up straight as I do also have a small s curve. Having tried to "not take risks" I have come to the conclusion I would rather take risks and the potential breaks than be bored and watching other people have all the fun. Even good riders with no bone issues break bones.

Saying that I do look after my diet - I drink a litre of milk a day and my osteoporosis has just reversed to osteopenia. I also do weight lifting, walking and yoga. My core is very strong as I do a lot of abdominal exercise and pelvic floor exercises using a swiss ball. I think having core strength is the key to protecting the bones when they are a bit fragile. My hip score is low so that is an issue but I don't tend to fall on my hips as much as I try and roll onto my shoulder when I fall. My last fracture was last year and it was 8 in my wrist after a fall off a horse (I put my hand out to break the fall from my hip as the horse bucked and I went skywards).

I drank a lot of milk and in 5 weeks the cast was off and no pins or plates! I do believe milk helps a lot. Almond milk is also good. I don't take supplements anymore and I am handling it via diet and exercise. After doing yoga my spine lengthened as I had lost height and I am now measuring 1.70m from 1.68 four years ago.

It can be done! Fight the fight. Ride but use your core and keep within your limits of ability.

Have fun, horses are wonderful!
veronica13

Motherwell, UK

#18 Dec 7, 2016
ginny wrote:
I have significant bone loss in my lumbar spine. Last week I decided to take horseback riding lessons. We trotted (briefly) yesterday and as I attempted to get myself coordinated while doing this brand new movement I realized that I was bouncing... alot. I see my MD next month but I was wondering if anyone here has done any riding or continues to ride despite the osteoporosis. Thanks.
I started horseriding at aged 45 and had my own pony for 12 years until he sadly passed away in 2010. I started back at a local riding place and was fine for the first few weeks, when the young girl put me on a different horse, I bounced quite a lot and then experienced extreme back pain and got off the horse. After an xray I learned I had fractured the 7th vertebrae in my back and it took three months to heal, however as I have oesteoporosis I have had two further fractures in my spine. So although missing riding totally I feel I have no choice but not to go back. I so admire you people who are still riding despite oesteoporosis.
shesfearless

Albuquerque, NM

#19 Jan 16, 2017
Diane wrote:
Thanks, Fran. It meant a lot to see your reply. I feel very alone and frightened right now, and the thing that's really bothering me is facing giving up Coleman. I have to get off the pity pot soon, LOl! Knowing that there are others out there who are sucking it up and taking the risk, just making adjustments and hoping for the best, means I am not alone.
I am about to turn 74 and have just begun taking riding lessons on a trotting horse. I have always ridden walking horses. I am going to go ahead and learn to canter and then maybe jump a low rail or two. Have always wanted to try that, and there is no time like the present. The trotting horse I am learning on is quite calm and an excellent "teacher". I would think that if the idea of continuing to ride is making someone fearful, they should continue with grooming and just being around horses..........they are wonderful creatures and just being with them is very comforting. My osteoporosis is not too bad at the moment, which probably why I think I should continue with lesson on trotting horse!! Here's to all of you,no matter your decisiojn.

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