Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis affecting the American population, especially the senior citizens. It happens when the protective cartilage that acts as a cushion to the ends of your bones wears down as you age.
The good thing is that osteoarthritis can be managed through supportive therapies, proper osteoarthritis diet, and general lifestyle change, including exercising. But what does it mean for the equestrians? Is osteoarthritis the end of you on horseback?
Well, it depends on the stage of the condition, but all in all, osteoarthritis shouldn’t ground you if you love horse riding. In this article, we have shared valuable tips for the osteoarthritic horseback rider.
Consider a Three-Step Mounting Block
When mounting your horse, a lot of pressure is put on the hip joints, and if you have arthritis, this might be quite unsettling. In worst cases, it could be the end of you and horseriding.
If you want to do away with such pain, consider going for a three-step horse mounting block instead of the two-step. With a three-step mounting block, you can easily mount your horse without pushing up either of your legs to the limits.
Another good alternative is getting a shorter horse, i.e., if you don’t have a favorite.
Try Stirrup Leathers or Different Stirrups
It is well known that the English-style stirrup leathers put less stress and cause less twisting on the knees compared to the Western-style fenders. So, if you have knee osteoarthritis, the former would help a great deal in managing your pain when riding your horse.
Also, try out the different stirrup irons and find something that works best for you. There are no universal stirrup irons – what works for one osteoarthritic rider is not what will work for the other.
Do Rope Reins and Ergonomic Grooming Tools
For the equestrians with hand stiffness, and weakness, the traditional flat leather reins prove to be very difficult to grip. They can also slip easily. For that reason, we recommend the thick, round rope reins. They are comfortable to grip and won’t slip whatsoever.
Grooming tools, for example, hoof picks need to be ergonomic. Also, their handling should be comfortable even in extreme conditions.
Dressage Saddles are Better
While most people assume that dressage saddles are for horse ballets only, they are also a favorite amongst trail riders. Dressage saddles are an excellent deal for horseriders with osteoarthritis because of the supportive structure which reduces strain on the ankles and knees.
There you have it folks, tips on how to manage osteoarthritis when riding your horse. You don’t have to call it quits because of old age and arthritis. Stick to the advice of your rheumatologist, and try out the above tips. You will surely notice the difference.