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Old 02-11-2009, 08:19 PM
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Horseback Riding


Hi everyone,

I guess it might be easier to start with the question, and then follow with the background.

Put simply, do you know anyone with epilepsy who trail rides or rides horses regularly? If yes, what precautions do you take?

Here's the background. I had my 2nd seizure in Jan 2008. At the time, obviously driving was out for a while. Prior to the seizure I had gotten into horseback riding (I have my wife to thank for getting bitten with the bug). Once I was formally diagnosed with epilepsy (the 1st seizure had a LOT of alcohol involved :X so I wrote it off as a one time thing) naturally horseback riding also got put on the shelf.

The good news is that I decided to take lemons and make lemonade. I spent all of 2008 working with my horse entirely on the ground and building my relationship with her (6 year old mare named Freckles, btw). Using natural horsemanship methods, my experience with her was nothing short of amazing (at least to me). Getting your horse to come to you, circle, and back up with simply a look or a gesture (and no lead line) seemed like a Vegas fantasy to me prior to that year.

Anyway, fast forward to January of this year and my wife and I had agreed that I would consider riding again with the following constraints:
- Always wear a helmet (easy to do, since I was already).
- Always have my wife or someone else aware of my condition riding with or near me.
- Use special stirrups that would prevent my feet being tangled should I seize (and lose consciousness) and fall off.

We haven't ordered the stirrups yet, but I have started riding at the barn only, but we've begun to contemplate trail rides and thus why I'm posting here. Beyond the precautions I've mentioned, we both wanted to get some feedback as to whether there is anything else we should consider or if anyone knows of good protocols to follow to respect my seizure disorder.

Here's the kicker, the kind of seizures I've experienced thus far have given me zero warning (that I'm aware of) in the form of auras or any other cues. I also lose consciousness. Now, while on the Keppra, I have yet to have another seizure.

So with that lengthy background in mind, anyone with thoughts or suggestions are definitely welcome.

Thanks in advance for the feedback!

Lance
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:17 PM
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Hi Lance - Welcome
This is my own personal opinion. One must enjoy life.
My daughter is a competitive figure skater. She has tonic clonic seizures, but they are in much better control recently. She continues to skate, since this is one of the most enjoyable parts of her life.

I say use good judgement and keep your chin up. Discuss it with your doctor and come to a mutual agreement. Most important, don't ever swim alone.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:37 PM
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With Robin's advice. You must live life and enjoy it. We only have but one life to live. With that said, don't throw caution to the wind. Your precautions sound reasonable and well thought out. Just make sure you always ride with a friend and wear your helmet. Consider consulting your doctor with these plans. He/She may have a suggestion or two that would make you feel more at ease while proceeding with this love of horseback riding.
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Old 02-11-2009, 10:44 PM
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Hi Lance~

Welcome. Looks like you've thought of the basic needs. My only other thought would be to carry a blanket around with to put under your head to help your comfort level. Oh, and I take extra medication with me wherever I go...in the car, in my purse, etc. You never know when you'll get stuck somewhere, or need an Ativan, or whatever is prescribed for you, after a seizure.

I'm glad that you're finding a way to keep enjoying what you love to do. We all need to do that.

Swimming is on the "no no" list, but that is what I do. I swim in a pool with guards and in the ocean with my husband.

Take care.
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:16 PM
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Hi Lance

My Mum owns a horse which I look after and ride regularly or rather I get lumbered with it when she is feeling lazeee.

I have been riding horses nearly all of my life, as soon as I was old enough I was on a horses back. I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at the age of 10 and I continued to ride. My mum never gave a thought to the danger involved so no extra safety precautions were taken, but I always rode with a helmet and never alone just through default. I got a job working at a local stables through my teens, I am now 31 and have fallen off several times due to losing consciousness during my absence seizures, but I will never give up horseriding!!!!! hell there is enough things that we are not allowed to do, we might as well do the ones that we can.

(If you have a look in my photo album, there is a picture of Gypsy, she is a 12year old mare, coloured cob.)
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:05 PM
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Wow, you are truly passionate about horses! I guess I wouldn't be asking these questions if I wasn't too. In the end you wind up having to balance your fear with the desire to live life the way on your terms. That doesn't mean I don't respect my condition, but I won't be a slave to it either.

Thanks for the feedback everyone. Sounds like my approach is pretty practical. I'm ordering the toe stoppers tonight

Ronald Reagan had it right, there is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.
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Old 02-13-2009, 08:20 AM
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Wonderful day!

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Old 02-13-2009, 10:14 AM
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I had


soooooo much fun horseback riding when I was a kid. I haven't done it much as an adult, as I just have not had the time.

Truly, the only things that I have done are to have another person with me, and to make sure that my meds have been at decent levels....that's it. I really try not to let E get in my way as much as humanly possible.
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Old 02-13-2009, 11:13 AM
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Thanks for the links Bernard!

My wife volunteers at a NARHA affiliated program in Charlotte. She absolutely loves it!
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by doclotus View Post:
Put simply, do you know anyone with epilepsy who trail rides or rides horses regularly?
Hi there! Horses, wonderful!!! You must keep at it, enjoy. Be safe but enjoy. Have your phone with you aswell??
I have ridden all the time that I have had ep. I did find at one point that one of my older horses (18) used to sense when I was having an aura before the aura came!!! She would turn around + head home!! Once I was on her I had a complex partial, I kept her at a livery yard in the UK + she wandered into the yard with me on her back not having a clue what was going on!! Luckily everyone knew about my ep + were straight to my aid to get me 'off'!!

Clever animals, you have to enjoy! Good luck x
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:24 PM
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What an amazing horse!!! Good note regarding the phone. My wife and I both carry ours on our person while riding. Doesn't do any good if its in a saddle bag with your horse when you fall off
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by doclotus View Post:
What an amazing horse!!! Good note regarding the phone. My wife and I both carry ours on our person while riding. Doesn't do any good if its in a saddle bag with your horse when you fall off
Hi again, you must keep at the riding, Im new here + a tad confused!!!.. above your reply here saying 'What an amazing horse' there's a little comment saying 'put simple...'? Im confused! (again!) Is the msg from yourself??! Do I just answer it here??! (sorry!) Oh well, I'll answer it here anyway!!!....I myself ride still. I break horses in + ride my friends. (I had to sell my own due to lack of time with my daughter) Doesnt take a lot to confuse me! I blame the surgery lol!!!!!
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:08 AM
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Ooooops!!!!


Originally Posted by doclotus View Post:
What an amazing horse!!! Good note regarding the phone. My wife and I both carry ours on our person while riding. Doesn't do any good if its in a saddle bag with your horse when you fall off
Haha Oh how thick am I!!!!!!!! Ignore the prev message!! Sorry doclotus, I understand it all now!!!!! Enjoy your riding! You must keep at it xx
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:31 PM
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Question Re:horseback riding


i was told by a local stable near my apartment that thier insurance doesn't cover people that have epilepsy & get this i went horseback riding years ago & i had no attacks (isn't that discrimination against us people with a illness or am i the onlyone seeing it thatway) please respond to private message only thankyou dave from kentucky p.s. I have thier email adress & reply if you want to see it let me know email me & i'll send it to your email thanks again dave
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:20 PM
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Dave,

I can't speak to the laws of Kentucky, but in North Carolina, any rider automatically assumes any risks related to equine activities. I did sign a waver with the barn I board at so I'm not sure if that helps. Basically, you're assuming any risks when you get on the back of a horse or really do any activities at that facilities. Horses are live animals and just about anything can happen when you're on top of or next to a 1200 pound animal.
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by doclotus View Post:
Dave,

I can't speak to the laws of Kentucky, but in North Carolina, any rider automatically assumes any risks related to equine activities. I did sign a waver with the barn I board at so I'm not sure if that helps. Basically, you're assuming any risks when you get on the back of a horse or really do any activities at that facilities. Horses are live animals and just about anything can happen when you're on top of or next to a 1200 pound animal.
I think that when it is your own horse, you have the responsibility for yourself and the horse. But if I was to go and ride at a local riding school I wouldn't get passed signing the paperwork due to insurances.
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Old 02-19-2009, 05:41 PM
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Well, at least in this state, my liability waiver pretty much covered the barn owner. You both bring up good points, though, that I may discuss with my barn owner to make sure I'm not subjecting her to any potential liabilities.

Its kinda simple though, as long as you sign a document stating that you assume the risks for the activities, the barn owner shouldn't have any worries because you are incapable of suing them.

PS, my toe stoppers (new stirrups to keep me from getting tangled) arrived today. Can't wait to start using them. The trails will be next once Freckles is cool with them.

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Old 02-19-2009, 07:33 PM
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Do you have a picture or a link about stirrups? as I am curious about them. Are they expensive?
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Old 02-19-2009, 08:43 PM
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I can't post links yet, but if you google toestoppers, it should be the first link you see. The vendor is Positively Riding. Not sure what the shipping to the UK would be, but the cost for me was $65.
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Old 02-20-2009, 04:57 PM
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Stirrups


Originally Posted by Crazy Monkey View Post:
Do you have a picture or a link about stirrups? as I am curious about them. Are they expensive?
Hi there! The stirrups you are looking for have been in the Robinsons catalogue in the past! I havent got this years catalogue so I cant check for you. They do have stores around the country though. Hope this helps! Sam
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