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Thread: horseback riding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    horseback riding

    I have been reading a few messages in different forums about riding horses even if one has a fusion or scoliosis.

    Am I missing something but isn't the motion of bouncing heavily(like tennis an jogging, although these are not even as severe) bad for the fusion and hardware, let alone ANY type of back, wether it's healthy or not?

    My sister has ridden her whole life, but she's not the one with the scoliosis/fusion problem in our family, I am; but I'm still curious to know if it makes her prone to DDD more(not than me but in general)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    the uk, between london and the south coast
    if you think about how many people ride and how many have problems, i don't think there's really a pattern. professional riders (not jockeys, i'm talking show jumpers, eventers and dressage riders) compete for far longer than other sports pros (like you can still compete in your 50s)

    i've ridden since i was 4, i'm 18 now and was diagnosed at 14, but my sister has also ridden since she was 5 and she is fine. if a person's scoli is caused by riding then it's postural, not structural (and i can't see that being likely anyways as riding forces you into a good posture, not a bad one)

    i'm nearly 11 weeks post op and i was back in the saddle at 9 weeks and 4 days (having amazingly got the nod from my surgeon) and he'd never told me i couldn't ride again eventually (though he'd previously said 6 months to a year before i could ride) and i intend to continue riding until i'm incapable of getting on a horse, but that's just me. i do know some older people with scoli who've had to give up riding due to their treatment not working for them and not being able to ride anymore as a consequence (though i'll stress that this happened a long time ago and with scoli treatments now, you wouldn't be allowed to get to the stage they're at)
    diagnosed aged 14 (2001)
    braced from july 2001 to february 2003 to hold curves
    fused T11-L3 on july 16th 2005 (aged 18)
    Discharged by surgeon july 11th 2007 (aged 20 and almost 2 years post-op)
    scoliosis support forum

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Northeastern Oregon
    I am 44 years old and have scoliosis, so do all three of my daughters. I have been riding and showing horses since I was a little girl and continue to do so. I saw my chiro the other day for problems unrelated to my back. He told me that my muscles compensate incredibly for my scoliosis. I told him that I felt it was because I have ridden all my life and use muscles that most don't use. All three of my daughters ride and show too. Our oldest had surgery in March and her doctor is going to release her the 27th of October to ride again and start playing basketball (post position). Our other two daughters play basketball and ride and show horses. The doctor told them to keep doing what they are doing as it is keeping their back muscles strong. If you are taught to ride correctly, there really isn't any bumping or jarring, per se. As you have been taught to use your body to work with the motion of the horse instead of against it. We ride Western Pleasure, reining, trail, and equitation classes. Just like jumpers, eventers, and dressage horses correct posture is important. I feel it has helped maintain my scoliosis and possibly kept my daughters from being any worse than they are. I was a pretty proud mom when someone at a recent reining event commented about how natural of a rider my middle daughter was. How straight her posture was and how she let her body work with the horse. This was all said while my daughter was doing her reining pattern for her youth division and I was watching. I didn't let on that I was mom, but I was pretty proud. And then to think that we haven't let scoliosis stop our girls from their dreams made me feel even better. My girls rodeo too, which is a little more risky than riding rail horses. Just like jumpers and eventers is more risky than riding rail horses.

    Keep on Ridin'.

    So, will we continue to ride until we can't. YOU BET. I'll ride until I can't sit in the saddle any longer. Someone can always help me get in the saddle. LOL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Northern California
    I believe that Sweetness was specifically asking about the bouncing/jogging of the spine when there is a fusion present. And, although I don't think I've ever heard of anyone doing a study, I believe most doctors will tell you that exercises that put stress on the fusion mass are more likely to cause degeneration. Whether or not people without fusions have more problems with degeneration, I have no idea, although we do often hear of runners having knee problems.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Thank you all for your replies.

    Linda that was my question, you are correct.

    I know some orthos do say that horseback riding is all right and others will tell you it's not te best exercise when one has fusion and/or pain associated with any back problems, but I do know that it's usually advised to wait for at least one year post op so that the fusion is mostly healed. Marmyte, maybe your case is different, since you don't have a long fusion, who knows. I know what you mean about doing something that you love as long as you're able to do it without pain, life is short but it's good to know that there is sometimes consequences, as long as we accept that.
    Last edited by sweetness514; 10-01-2005 at 02:22 PM.

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