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Feeling Down

My history, started having hip issues ~10 years ago. Finally diagnosed with FAI in both hips, 2 torn labrum, bursitis and arthritis. I could ride, but only if I shortened my stirrups wayyyyy up. Obviously not the most secure feeling in the world, and my horse doesn’t like it if I’m out of balance in front of him (he’s got a very vertical balance, and I’m really only well suited to riding really horizontal horses right now.

Had double hip surgeries to fix the labrum and remove the excess bone. Started to come back but a year later the impingement is now back (cam) in the right hip. Right hip is extremely stuck in internal rotation. If I bend over my legs can go quite wide, but as I stand up, the only way I can keep any width is if my right foot turns in almost to point to the left.

Left hip is “whatever” right now but periodically pinches if I twist wrong. This is going away as I get stronger.

Probably facing replacements, but I’m scared. My uncle got MRSA really badly in his replacement and ended up completely disabled. Obviously with replacements falling is not a good idea and I’ve always had horses that a fall could happen on. It’s what I can afford, the green and the weird.

Overall, I’m just depressed. I’m working so hard to fix my body. Fitness, yoga, etc. and I’m still just broken. I’m afraid they’ll tell me to stop riding. I’m afraid that might be the answer.

Just experiencing the feels today.


Nothing to add, but hugs. Sorry you are going through this.


Also adding {hugs}
Sux to go through the deterioration of parts that used to work so well :disappointed_relieved:


As horse owners/horse lovers, facing fear is something we do. We fear much with our horses --they might hurt us, we might hurt them, we may inadvertently cause pain or illness --yet we persist using patience and judgment finding assurance when we have those delightful break through moments.

Treat yourself the same way. It is true that sometimes surgeries fail --but then sometimes we fail with a certain horse or to achieve a certain goal --but we don’t stop --we learn from our errors. Just because something might fail, when the possible outcome is splendid is no reason not to pursue it.

Find a doctor who can help you return to good health. I have had hips, knees, and shoulders replaced or rebuilt. I am better than 100 percent —I called hospitals (or you can find the info on line) and found out which drs were doing the surgery I needed --and how many each year. Hospitals have to give you the information. I chose to have knees done by the surgeon who did the most successful knee replacements each year —he was not a warm and cuddly guy --but he did what I asked and replaced both my crap knees at the same time (most drs won’t do that) because my DD was an OR nurse and promised to stay with me during recovery. I had my hip done by one of his partners (it was a simple hip replacement) --again, this dR does 300+ a year --figured he knew what he was doing. He also did both my shoulders --all this has been over a 20 year period. I have had 0 complications —at 70, I have no arthritis, no aches, no pains and better than 100 percent range of motion.

So face down your qualms about having yourself fixed --just like you’d face down a stubborn 2 year old who balks at being trained. Make a plan, implement it, and get yourself well.

Only you can do that for yourself –


Hugs to you. I hope things improve for you and you can comfortably continue riding.


Thanks Foxglove - this made me smile.

I’m great at doing this for other people, for my horses, for my work…really terrible at doing this for myself which is likely why I’ve had so many issues. Time to suck it up! :slight_smile:


I decided to not ride anymore for health reasons last year. It was not an easy decision, and I still struggle with it as I am still AROUND horses (I own a barn and coach). My decision is permanent, but it doesn’t sound like you are at a stage when you need to make a final decision?

What if you spend some time looking at other avenues of horse riding? I am thinking maybe you should be looking at gaited horses? What about side saddle or some other type of saddle? There is a saddle maker in Calgary that will customize saddles for people with unique needs, perhaps you can find similar near you?

Please remember there is an entire world of things to do though, so what is it you like about horses? The community? The activity? The fact it is something you know? If you can define that, it may help you feel hope that there are non-riding things you can do that can be your next passion if it comes to that. I think horse people in general need a “passion”


I had to face the fact that riding was no longer possible for me. My balance was shot, and I was hitting the dirt on a regular basis. A trainer acquaintance suggested driving. I gave it a try, and loved it.

I took driving lessons in early 2003, then drove steadily from mid 2003 until mid 2016, when I had to retire my last horse. It was time to retire me as well, unless I could find another pretty much bombproof pony. I made an agreement with my husband that the horses we got in 2003 would not be replaced as they died off or needed to retire. So I retired my last one in 2016, boarded him nearby when we sold our horse property, and sold or donated all my harness and carts. I was grateful to have another several years to just hang out with my retired guy.

Driving gave me a much longer life with horses than I thought I could have. I am forever grateful to that trainer who mentioned it, as I probably would not have thought of it.



So now you’ve done a wise thing and have come here to COTH to let other COTHers do this for you.

I’m sending you hugs and lots of jingles. I have a lot of experience with fear and have for as long as I can remember.


My neighbor has been a hay and cow farmer for his entire life. He is well past the age of retirement and keeps on working all summer in all weather. At any rate, he was having pretty bad hip pain and decided to go ahead and get both hips replaced. They did one hip and 6 weeks later they did the other hip. He bounced right back from that and is back to work. He said he wished he had done it way sooner. Get the replacement done and feel better soon!


Thank you CHT.

I also own a barn, and I teach on occasion (although it’s not what I do professionally). I had some pretty big goals, and I’ve just finally gotten one horse who is capable of them. For me, riding is not just a competitive sport (although it’s also that), it’s that feeling of being one with the horse, like their legs are my legs. I was an awkward kid, out of synch with my peers, grew too fast, tripped all the time and being on a horse was the only place I felt like I was graceful, I had total acceptance and I could clear my mind. I lived on horseback growing up and then maintained it all through children, divorce, remarrying, moves - it’s always been my peace.

I am looking at gaited horses, one of my current horses might be capable of it (he’s a saddlebred, although he doesn’t know how to gait and wouldn’t do a show quality rack or slow gait, it appears that most of them can if they are taught even if they don’t have the dmrt-3 gene). A lot of the quieter gaited breeds may be too wide for my hips as the width bothers me as much as the movement.

I do appreciate the thoughts…it’s so hard to imagine letting go of my dreams. I wanted to get to PSG with this horse - had trainers tell me he was capable - and now I’m trying to picture ambling down the trail with him at a gait. Might not be the worst thing in the world if I can do it. :slight_smile:

I did break my gelding to drive when I started having issues with my hips since I figured it would be easier to reintroduce than to introduce it later if I needed to. It’s still a possibility, but there are a lot of logistical things that might have to change if I were to take it up as my primary discipline. My barn isn’t really built for it, and the roads here are definitely not safe.

I’m so glad you found something that worked for you! :slight_smile:


Thank you! Fear is pretty new to me…I was a bold rider and non-anxious person for a lot of years. Probably the menopause thing - the first true anxiety attack I really had was like…what?? What is this?

Thank you for your support.

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Another thought, is what about mentoring another rider on your horse? Then if you can get back into the saddle your horse is still good to go? It can be emotional seeing someone else work towards dreams in your place though. I love Saddlebreds, but decided to sell mine when I decided to stop: it was too hard for me to see other people ride him when I couldn’t. Easier gaits than the warmbloods that’s for sure. Taking time to see what else is out there for disciplines might open your eyes to a new passion: give yourself time to grieve and time to explore!


My saddlebred is with me for life. I promised him that as a 5 year old who had been mistreated by some trainers. I have let a few people ride him with varying levels of success - mostly not successful (he broke one gal’s leg and reared quite a bit with two other trainers) but he is kind of stuck with me. He doesn’t care about his talent, it’s just me that has the issue.

I think I’m going to see if I can train him to gait. At least it gives us something to do other than just mosey around the arena. The jog is too hard on my hips, posting trot kills, and I can’t sit his canter. It’s pretty round.

We already work on gates (the other kind) and various obstacles - he’s handy. I’ve taught him to drag things and I can throw a rope off of him. He’s a pretty zesty horse with a wicked sit and spin kind of spook (he’s only gotten me off once, but it was a good one) so I’m not sure about trail riding him, but maybe I can work through that. He is a very willing guy, for me.

I think that sit and spin is part of the other reason I’m a bit loathe to talk replacements. Now if I fall, I just damage the ones I have further, but I’m pretty sure it’s ill advised to fall on replacements. Maybe those have gotten better.

If he is a typical Saddlebred, getting his head and neck up and back should make him more sit-able. Maybe you will find you are ok for a while challenging yourself with walk obstacle courses? You can find a lot of stuff on line for inspiration. Do it in hand if you are able first, to reduce the risk of too much excitment!

Would a gel or memory foam seat saver be of any help?

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Unfortunately he’s the sport horse type. More upheaded than a quarter horse but not by much, CAN giraffe when he sees something scary, but he’s not comfortable “up” like most saddlebreds. He’s usually mistaken for a Morgan/TB cross. I worked so hard to get him down and over his back, I think he’d be pretty mad at me to try to make him up lol :slight_smile: I’m kidding of course.

With the obstacles he’s pretty good usually. His default is “that’s scary, can I eat it?”. Even the tarp he walked over with no issues except on the day it was flapping in the wind. That was a little frightening. But that’s fair. Maybe I just need to build more of them. I’ve thought about doing Cowboy Dressage & Working Eq with him too (he’s a very versatile guy) since both of those have levels that are walk-gait friendly.

I’m not sure if a seat saver would help or not. It wouldn’t if it increased the width, but the height off of him helps. My western saddle helps because I can sit “correctly” on my seat bones without stirrups for a bit until everything relaxes without feeling super insecure (since I can kind of lock my thighs under the swells) then eventually pick up my stirrups pretty safely. And it sits me up off him a bit more than my dressage or CC saddles do. It’s heavier than sin, but it works (it’s a circle y equitation with silver on it…very heavy saddle).

Thanks for all the thoughts - I really do appreciate it!!!

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