Aging, Chronic Aches and Pains, and Riding

Is the above a good combination, or even a sensible one? Or even a possible one?
Years ago I came back to riding in my 50s; now it’s been 8 years and I want to get back with horses but I’m even older and achier than I was (and some of the aches are from horse-related injuries in my 50s).

I’m not looking to buy, just for lessons, just something casual but real, just so I don’t have to give up quite yet. I would probably be satisfied with groundwork lessons but it would be so much easier if the horse could carry me (at least until I had to get all the way back down to the ground).

The more active I am, the less achy I am. Thank goodness!

I am 69, I have MS, I have creaky joints, and I try to ride three times a week (30 minutes a time since I have NO endurance!)

As for creaky joints the BOT products have really, really helped me. For instance, for my hip bursitis I wore BOT boxer shorts for years, and this year my hips finally stopped hurting completely and I have not worn them for months. I was not doing anything else specifically for my hips.

My back used to really bother me while riding. The BOT “super” back brace helped me ride for years, and because of its help my back got strong enough so it often does not hurt me for months. Again this is after wearing the back brace for years whenever my back hurt (often).

Since I am a special case for my lesson stable I bought a three-step mounting block and just gave it to the stable. My condition was that I had first dibs on the mounting block if there was a line. It helps my hips that I don’t have to haul my body up as high. My riding teachers’ little students also appreciate it. It has been a gift that has brought me good will from the stable people.

I prefer riding horses and ponies from 13.3 hands to 15.2 hands. I will ride a taller horse but dismounting is more challenging since it takes longer for my feet to hit the ground as I slither down the horse’s side.

You can get back to riding fine. I did and I was probably worse off than you are now with my MS, arthritis, bursitis and all (if you are worse off my apologies.) Now I am MUCH better and much of that is because I am riding regularly again and getting lessons.


When disability started causing lots of falls when riding (my balance was nonexistent), I took up driving. It’s certainly not safer than riding–most people feel it is higher risk because of the complication of having a vehicle attached to the horse. But it took the balance problem, along with other physical problems, right out of the equation. I drove a hot Hackney pony for the first few years driving, and then when I had to retire him (he was already 22 when I got him), I trained my other pony to drive and he turned out to be a solid, unflappable driving pony.

Driving kept me happily working my horses for a lot of years. When I wanted a bigger challenge than my ponies gave, my husband arranged a lesson with a pair of Percherons, which was a wonderful thrill. I’d say it’s one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever gotten.



Julie Goodnight did a terrific session at Equine Affaire a few years ago. How to ride until you are 90. The Coliseum was packed. I was 69 then and very young, given the number in their 70s and 80s. Two take-aways:

Stand in your stirrups. Not half seat. Stand and your legs will go back a bit. Keep the straight line from your ears to your ankles and hang onto something if you need to. It’s good for balance and core strength and it helps me with confidence level. It also reminds me to keep my head up and looking at where I want my horse to go. I can do it at the trot but not for very long yet but I can feel how the horse moves my body far more than I used to. If you want to move on to the canter go right ahead.

Watch your posture. Julie was around 59 and said when she visited her younger sister she noticed her getting that hunched-over look. Once you lose those muscles you can’t get them back. Check multiple times a day. I realized I needed something after I’ve been sitting for a while. I don’t walk away. I put my hands behind my back, pull my shoulder blades together, and stretch so my pelvis and hips are lined up correctly. What a difference when I take the first couple of steps. I’m not bent over and looking at the ground. I won’t use a smart phone. Life is better with a flip phone in your pocket. I can see where I’m going. It’s handy for emergencies and occasional texting.


Thank you. This is very encouraging! I am sorry you have all these conditions, though. I bought a 3-step mounting block to use at one barn, took it with me to two others, then gave it to a friend when I moved away and she is now using at her barn. I would definitely need a 3-step if mounting anything over 14 hands!

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Celebrex is my friend. :ambivalence: Also glad I got heated seats in my car on cold mornings. My horse is really good about the mounting block and when my back is particularly sore, I also dismount onto the block. Much easier than dropping to the ground!

I became a rerider and bought a new horse a little more than a year after retirement :smiley:

I taught my horses to stand at the mounting block so I can get off onto it. Does wonders for bad knees! I use Aleve, and I do physical therapy, Pilates and Alexander Technique exercises to keep myself flexible and strong. I have bad knees - my X-rays would justify knee replacements but the regimen I’ve developed results in little pain and almost complete range of motion. I cannot squat, kneel or do child’s pose, or other similar exercises, though. I have had two cervical fusions (unrelated to horses) and some of my exercises are for that, although I have now added facet injections and LOVE my blind spot warning system on my car. I will turn my entire body to look right while driving. I will be 70 :eek: in January… am divesting myself of the GP horse I bought a year ago because I cannot sit his trot even if I were able to learn how to ride him. Fortunately, the Lusitanos are a bit easier.

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