Achilles - desperation point!

Hello everyone. I’m new here and looking for any advice , hoping someone may have been through something similar….

On June 2nd someone (large & drunk) fell on me, fully rupturing my Achilles and post tibalis tendons. Due to problems with the hospital it was August 20th before I was operated on and had a full reconstruction with a donor graft holding the Achilles tendon in place. I was told I would have lost the use of my foot without surgery, it was a completely severed tear and I had been left trying to cope with it in a vacoped boot and a set of crutches.I’m 45 and fully intent to be riding for another 30:odd years but my first Dr here considered me too old to warrant treatment as I’m not an athlete.

I have 5 ridden ponies at home here and my ten year old son rides and competes along side me. He is at the age where he isn’t quite ready to manage alone and so we have spent the summer with me on a mobility scooter following him along while he rides. I’ve not been allowed to drive so trailering him out anywhere for lessons or shows has been a no go.

In short, 2022 has been a living hell as I haven’t even been able to shower myself. I’ve been so lucky my long suffering, non horsey husband has enabled me to keep my horses by taking over stable chores for me.

It’s literally almost killed me not to be able to ride. Riding keeps my mental health on track and is my life.

My surgeon promised that along with a specialist orthotics that i would have a splint to allow me to ride again in time for Christmas. I had the appointments with them and a 3d scan of my leg done. They want a splint that will stop my heel being able to go down basically as the tendon will be vulnerable for another year :disappointed_relieved: I have been living and breathing the moment I get back in the saddle and now my specialist has said they don’t know how to manufacture such a splint as it’s never been done before :disappointed_relieved::disappointed_relieved::disappointed_relieved:
I’ve tried everything I can think of ,aircast etc and nothing really does what it needs to. I’m considering a snowboarding boot ??.
The horse I would be getting back on is my 13.2 fell pony who is sweetheart and will take care of me, plus isn’t too big to get on and off.
Any ideas gratefully received
Thank you. Xx

Can you simply ride without stirrups so the classic heels down position is less of an issue?


Yes for sure but they are worried about me accidentally landing on it getting off etc

Though stepping down wrong can happen most any time. Personally I might look in to a mounting platform that the pony can be trained to and modifying how you to dismount even if it means using the off side

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Thanks yes I have one and she is really good, but the surgeon doesn’t want me riding without a splint :disappointed_relieved:

Have whoever referred you to this specialist give you another referral to a different place. Maybe you need to go to someone associated with a research university?

I’d also join some FB groups that are relevant to your injury, or maybe a different sport where people often get this injury, and see if they have any ideas or recommendations.

I am also imagining someone clever figuring out how to use a 3d printer to make what you need!

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Thank you, that’s a very good point to ask to see someone else and try a research uni.
I’ve been on a few fb groups since the accident happened but am yes to find a horse rider, I’ll keep looking though, thanks


  • A posterior leg splint used to immobilize an Achilles tendon rupture should place the ankle in the equine position.
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I think riding without stirrups with whatever keeping your foot flat should do it. I mean, as hoopoe said, just taking a step can be enough. I suspect your Drs don’t really know just how tiny fell ponies are. It would be like getting out of a tall bed…
On another note, my friend had a new Achilles installed, he’s a desk jockey, he’s gone back to being a weekend basketball warrior, and told me he’s had no problems. I think basketball is a lot harder on your lower leg than riding is.


Find yourself a GOOD ankle doctor and get a second opinion.

Here’s a list of some of the best docs in the country. If you have to travel 200 miles for an eval, it’s worth it. My doc isn’t on that particular list, but he’s been on it before. Well worth the 80 mile (one way) trip when I screw things up.

My experience is that the top ankle centers are accustomed to people traveling. Mine has discounts set up with hotels in the areas.

The next thing to do is find a physical therapist who is onboard with you actually resuming your life. If you find one that rides, it helps if you find one familiar with your discipline. Early on I had a PT who rode field hunters. He said I’d be fine riding as long as I didn’t trot much. Guess what Genius, I ride saddle seat and most of the time we trot, and trot hard!

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