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Thread: Good question from 14 yr old

  1. #1
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    Question Good question from 14 yr old

    We are considering surgery to correct my daughters curves, her thoracic curve is at 47-51 degrees. It's a hard decision to make, especially since she runs around without a care about it. She makes comments about not liking this and that about her shape(but come on, we all do), but I am actually kind of proud of the fact that she is out every where wearing those strappy form fitting tank tops and does not think about hiding anything.

    Anyway, on to the subject. They all have their ups and downs about surgery and right now, her current question is keeping her down about it.
    She loves horses and has a couple at her grandparents house. She is wondering, once she is fused and able to get back to riding, if she falls off a horse will the rods hold up to a fall and can they cause worse injury?

    *********
    I am obviously no good at the posting. I wanted this in the adolescent, parent area and now have no clue how to move it.
    Last edited by Christl; 06-10-2008 at 10:51 AM.

  2. #2
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    I really don't know what they would say after a fusion. But back a million years ago (really in the 70's) when I was diagnosed and wore a brace, my dr. said NO horseback riding, skiing, or roller coasters. Not that I ever wanted to do any of those things.

    But now that all 3 of my kids have scoliosis (no braces yet though), the Dr. said it was fine for the boys to continue wrestling & football, and for my daughter to ride horses.
    __________________________________________
    Debbe - 50 yrs old

    Milwalkee Brace 1976 - 79
    Told by Dr. my curve would never progress

    Surgery 10/15/08 in NYC by Dr. Michael Neuwirth
    Pre-Surgury Thorasic: 66 degrees
    Pre-Surgery Lumbar: 66 degrees

    Post-Surgery Thorasic: 34 degrees
    Post-Surgery Lumbar: 22 degrees

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christl
    We are considering surgery to correct my daughters curves, her thoracic curve is at 47-51 degrees. It's a hard decision to make, especially since she runs around without a care about it. She makes comments about not liking this and that about her shape(but come on, we all do), but I am actually kind of proud of the fact that she is out every where wearing those strappy form fitting tank tops and does not think about hiding anything.

    Anyway, on to the subject. They all have their ups and downs about surgery and right now, her current question is keeping her down about it.
    She loves horses and has a couple at her grandparents house. She is wondering, once she is fused and able to get back to riding, if she falls off a horse will the rods hold up to a fall and can they cause worse injury?

    *********
    I am obviously no good at the posting. I wanted this in the adolescent, parent area and now have no clue how to move it.
    My daughter is fused (T4-L1) and her surgeon said she can ride after she comes off restrictions at 8 months.

    After your daughter is fused, the rods are doing nothing. As I understand it, the spine, once correctly fused, is stronger than the rods.

    I am not a medical doctor but I am a rider. In my opinion, improper form (over along time) at sit trot is much more likely to cause back difficulty (fused or unfused) than your average fall. I do not have scoliosis but have two naturally fused vertebra after the crushed disc dissolved in my lumbar region that is very likely due to improper form at sit trot. If your daughter doesn't ride dressage, this probably won't be an issue.

    Now of course some falls are catastrophic and I suppose having a fused back may predispose a person to injure the back but I don't really know that. In any case, all riders should learn the emergency dismount and practice it. This involves dropping the reins and stirrups, clasping the hands around the horse's neck, sliding towards the side and then under the horse's neck. Most horses will stop (or at least slow down considerably) as you are doing this because it pulls them off balance. Practice it and become proficient before you need it.

    Sometimes, if you have enough time and presence of mind (and the horse isn't being a complete lunatic), you can pick your fall spot and even how you fall. Try to protect your head and roll. And I'm ASSUMING you are wearing a helmet THAT HASN'T BEEN THROUGH A FALL or that you haven't even dropped. It needs replacing in either case.

    Also, I good idea for kids with fused spine might be to wear the protective hard-shell vests that eventers wear on cross country. If my fused daughter resumed riding, I would make her wear one of those at all times I think. I can send you an item number if you don't know what this is.

    Good luck.

    sharon
    Last edited by Pooka1; 06-10-2008 at 08:51 PM.

  4. #4
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    Smile

    Thank you for the great replies Debbe and Sharon. I have tried to convince her myself that once she is healed she should not have any kind of problem, and that if there could be problems, we won't know till it happens. No one can be sure of those kinds of things.
    I know absolutely nothing about riding, she does not do dressage, mostly just pleasure riding in a field near her grandparents house and she loves trail riding. When I have seen her ride, in my opinion her posture and form are excellent, it's the only time she is as straight as possible. She plans to be more involved with horses as she gets older, so this is where her concerns come in.
    She does wear a helmet and I will share the emergency dismount info with her and her grandfather. I bet she will seriously consider the vest for post op safety too. I think I have seen people wearing the vest on TV and have no doubt that she will know exactly what you are talking about.

    Thank you

  5. #5
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    You're welcome.

    I think pleasure/trail will be fine for your daughter. Jumping, dressage, eventing, etc. might entail much more wear/tear on the back. Not necessarily but possibly.

    In re avoiding injury, both from poor technique and falling, the best thing is to have good riding lessons with appropriate horses and skilled, experienced instructors.

    I know you said your daughter owns two horses but if either one is at all squirrely, I would not let my daughter ride that horse, at least for a year, maybe more. Any horse can ditch a rider at any time but you don't want to do anything that would increase the chances of that.

    Also, there are some things you can do if in trouble besides the emergency dismount and picking your fall spot if you want to try to stay on...

    for bucking, get the head up if possible and get the horse forward

    for running away, one-rein stop or run them towards a wall. (Be careful with this... some horses will not stop and have broken their neck though I haven't heard that the rider was hurt in these instances.)

    for rearing, spin them. I think most folks can sit a spin better than a rear. Even if you get thrown sideways, I think it is safer than potentially having the horse come all the way up and over on you.

    My horse is a very sane fellow but the sight of the large white hose and the roto-rooter guy exceeded the capacity of his (very finite) brain cells. He reared a few times and I couldn't stop him from doing so.

    My brain decided (it wasn't a conscious decision) that I could sit a spin more easily than a rear so I opened the rein and incredibly he followed it and spun. But he spun so fast like a reiner! I couldn't believe he could do that! Anyway, I had to spin him twice before I could access his brain enough to stop and dismount safely.

    It's good to think about these things as much as possible ahead of time but, in reality, your brain is likely going to make the decision for you.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Pooka1; 06-11-2008 at 05:03 PM.

  6. #6
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    Sharon,
    Yet more good advice. I have already been thinking of more lessons, she had some when she was younger, but some lessons to remind her of things may help.
    She mostly rides her one horse that is calm, she has had two spills within the last year on him. One was from an unexpected stop so he could visit his mom, this one got her good, had to visit chiropractor to relieve some pain, and the other was from him getting her with the bloated belly while being saddled trick. He is quite the character. I remember her telling me of using the spinning a couple of times, maybe for the other horse.
    All this safety talk makes me worry more for her. She dreams of doing everything possible with horses when she is grown up from just having horses to ride, up to being an equine vet. She talks about wanting to train horses as well. All my rambling has pretty much covered where all her concerns about falling have come from. I wish I could personally help her with horses more, but I have issues with such large animals and all my knowledge of them is just what I remember her telling me. My compromise with horses is that we have a mini horse at our home that she can work on training.
    I would like for her to visit some of the scoliosis forums to get some of this info herself. But she knows I will eventually get answers for her questions.

    Thank you again.

  7. #7
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    Hi.

    My best advice is to spend all possible time and funds on high-quality lessons on KNOWN-QUANTITY lesson horses.

    I don't want to put too fine a point on this but horses get your number. All riding is training. If that horse dumped her twice (once bad it sounds like), he/she KNOWS he/she can dump her AT ANY TIME OF HIS CHOOSING. I repeat... all riding is training. Horses learn quickly that sudden stops can unseat certain riders. And the girth/bloating thing is really very, very basic. You check the girth before and after you get on. Again, the horse has her number in my opinion. Is there a pony club near you? Safety is a big deal and things like checking the girth after mounted are covered as far as I know.

    Folks who don't know how to ride/train are nevertheless training the horse to be dull or dangerous. That's the reality of it. The horse doesn't know correct from incorrect training. Riding horses without knowing what you are doing is asking to get hurt or worse.

    Twice being dumped is twice too many. Were she my daughter, fused or no, I would not allow her on that horse.

    I am not trying to scare you for the sake of scaring you. I am trying to let you know the score with horses. My daughters have had about 100 lessons (basic riding and some jumping) and are STILL beginners. They could take 200 more lessons and would STILL be beginners such that I would not let themn on the horse that dumped your daughter twice.

    It's a long road to learning how to be competent at riding and there are no savants as far as I know. I have taken 2-3 lessons a week consistently for almost five years on top of years and years of lessons as a teenager and youngER adult. I am still at the lower level of dressage (but I can sit a spin!). My balance is pretty good mainly because I rode every day for five years (had to... no pasture and my mare would colic otherwise) and did a several month stretch without stirrups (I took them off the saddle) riding in the ring and out on trails. That will really improve your balance (or you'll be on the ground).

    I am sorry to go on and on but despite all the jumping lessons I have had, I didn't know how prepared my daughters should be before jumping. I stood by unknowingly while an instructor let my daughters jump too soon. They both took a few falls and one got banged up (though we didn't need to go to a doctor). I have since learned what EXACTLY they should have been able to do to be ready to start jump training and I will forever blame myself for not knowing that earlier. It just took me by surprise because I never fell even once while learning how to jump. Apparently I had better instruction and lessons horses than my daughters did.

    I pulled them out of jump training and put them in two lessons a week with a dressage instructor who put correct flat work technique on them during a fair number of months such that I let them take jumping lessons again eventually.

    I am sorry to go on and on but I made a big mistake despite having some background and I don't want any other kids getting hurt out of ignorance.

    And last, the rule of thumb for all beginner, intermediate, and even most advanced riders is it's always the rider's fault. The horse almost never at fault either because the rider isn't asking coprrectly or the horse hasn't learned what to do. Even the dumping of a rider is the rider's fault. The more lessons I take the more I realize just how nuanced riding is. There is a reason even the Olympic riders work regularly with expert coaches.

    Good luck.

    sharon
    Last edited by Pooka1; 06-13-2008 at 07:09 PM.

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