Scared that my lack of ability will hinder my horse's recovery

my horse was diagnosed with kissing spine, and i opted to have the surgery done. we’ve gotten through the stall rest/hand walk portion and i think he’s doing fantastic. but now the physical therapy gets more serious, and i’m starting to worry about 3 weeks from now when i’m supposed to be able to ride him again. I’m afraid i won’t be able to give him the rehab he needs to fully recover due to my own physical limitations from a stroke years ago. i quit PT too soon because i needed to get back to work, and now i have lingering deficiencies. i can’t let that happen to my horse, but what if i’m not strong enough or balanced enough to give him the PT he needs?

Anyone have psych tips for calming fears and bolstering confidence? or a really great exercise plan for building balanced muscle?


Can you get another person to ride him?

What are your own limitations and how are those going to impact riding a horse in what I imagine is going to be very slow short increments for some time?

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I second the idea of someone else riding him, if only for the first couple of times, just so you can see that the horse is happy and unworried. Then you can take it from there. I suspect the rehab is slow and gentle and I can’t see you doing any damage.

my bff (a trainer) is going to come ride him once, but she lives far and can’t do it regularly. and i’m out of money to pay someone else to ride.

my limitations are weak left side, so i have a hard time giving cues with the left leg, and i sometimes catch myself leaning to the right. also i’ve gained a lot of weight since the stroke. i guess my big fear is being off balance and causing him more/different back pain by being an uneven load.

Ride with a dressage whip to support your left side. The horse will quickly become used to the whip as the main aid. Or use two whips if that helps, one each side. Do you have access to mirrors, to see how unlevel you are? Even a small domestic one hanging where you can stop and look at your position might help. Tie a ribbon in the mane to constantly remind yourself about posture. The best thing? Riding will be excellent help with your own disabilities.

i’ve never used a dressage whip and my left arm is pretty unsteady, but worth a try! thank you. and yes thankfully the indoor where i now board is mirrored all the way around.

If you can, try before you buy. The length of a dressage whip makes balance important and how a whip balance feels is a very personal thing. I gave a new whip away after 3 rides because it didn’t suit me.