Horses and RA anyone?

mazbaz Member Posts: 38
edited 15. Jun 2013, 20:54 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hello all, new member just joined as it looks very friendly and helpful here :)
I have quite recently (december 2012) been diagnosed with sero negative RA which was not the best of news obviously but was preferable to the year and a half of ever debilitating pain and fatigue I was experiencing while the Gp and Rheumatologist were trying to decide what was wrong with me .... :x
Anyway the point of my message is this : does anyone here have a horse or horses and how do they manage with having RA?
I had my horse before my RA and am struggling to do all that I used to do with him. I cant ride as often now and some days after a schooling session I am completley wiped out and very stiff for the following few days.
Any one else experiences and any tips on how to cope would be really helpfull - or am I being totally un realistic in thinking I can carry on with riding and horse related activities?
Thanks in anticipation.


  • lizzieuk1
    lizzieuk1 Member Posts: 302
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi yes I have a horse and ra, had ra for 9 years now,up until I had my toddler 2 years ago methotrexate worked really well for me and I was riding and competing fine. Was v hard when I got diagnosed but didn't have a horse then since mine had just died which we think triggered the ra!
    Since baby came along my ra's been grim and really I've ridden very little luckily my horse is out the back door so my oh could keep an eye out and we set up his field/stable so he could go in/out on his own which has really helped me cope and he's on shavings so its easy to poo pick then hubby can do the wet on a weekend!
    Obv I've had to adjust to having a baby to look after and would have had to juggle that time wise but honestly when I've had the time I've been too sore and tired to go out :(
    Am about to start biologics so hope I will be back riding over the summer.
    It is hard when ur not controlled but I have to say I felt riding really helped keep me strong and am sure that helped me cope with the ra.
    Don't loose hope once ur on a good drug regime I'm sure you'll feel fine and be riding loads again. In the mean time don't pressurise yourself if u need to rest do, ur horse will still be there later, I had a sharer to ride when I had my son so I felt less guilty if I couldn't ride - which was most of the time! Unfortunately they cant ride now so he's been off for 6 months but seems perfectly happy pigging out in the field, though I really miss riding my health and family are most important at the moment so I'm sure he won't mind waiting til I'm better.
    There's no easy way round it but hopefully it won't be long until u respond to the meds and will be back in the saddle before u know it. I def couldn't school until my ra settled but the odd hack was OK so long as I scheduled good rest periods after.
    Hope that's helped.x
  • mazbaz
    mazbaz Member Posts: 38
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    HI Lizzie
    Thanks for your message, its really helpful to hear some elses experiences and how they cope with it all. I'm sorry to hear of the death of your previous horse and can fully understand how the upset of that could trigger your RA. Mine was trauma induced by a rather awful fall from my horse (I have forgiven him as he was traumatised too , poor boy)
    I am lucky like you that my partner has been totally supportive and helps me a lot with house and horse. They are my life as I dont have any children.
    My Rheumatologist says he "wants me to be able to do everything that I used to do before " so that is why I am quite confused about finding it hard to ride (esp schooling). Its frustrating as I have brought my horse on slowly and sympathically ( he has issues!) and was starting to win low level competitions with him. I dont want him to slip back with his flat work as it took so long to get him to a reasonable standard. I cant bear all that hard work to be for nothing :cry:
    I am on hydroxy chloraquine and methotrexate for the RA. I try not to take any extra meds as it worries me with all the side effects and long term use. I guess I just wait until my symptoms are on more of a plateau but I do try and pace myself a bit better nowadays.
    My best wishes go to you and yours and hope we all have more better days than bad xxx
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,505
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    HI Maz

    welcome to the forums from me :D

    First of all I know very little about horses first hand....but once you are on some DMARDs to get the RA under some sort of control you will know how much you can/can't manage.

    Secondly (and knowing horsey friends :wink: ) I am sure getting rid of your horse is not an option. Could you find a young person who would help you out for the price of some free rides??


    Toni xx
  • lizzieuk1
    lizzieuk1 Member Posts: 302
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Try not to worry too much about schooling its v early days for u and the ra I'm sure it will get better and schooling is v hard on the body, as I say mine responded v well and I was riding and competing lots with no problems before baby arrived. I know its frustrating when you've put so much work into ur horse but it won't be for nothing even if he has some time off he will still remember his flatwork when u start off again, might take a few weeks to polish up again but it will be much easier than first starting him. You could, if finances allow, just enjoy light hacking and get someone to school a couple of times a week to keep him ticking over until ur stable on the meds, its v frustrating but better than nothing and doesn't do them any harm to have another rider school them, so long as they're good obv!
    Keep positive it will get easier.x
  • Boomer13
    Boomer13 Member Posts: 1,931
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I had to post when I saw RA and horses. I'm wondering how inflammatory arthritis sufferers manage too. I am not doing very well with my riding. I have seronegative spondyloarthrophy (recently diagnosed) and haven't ridden much in 7 years since my problems started. I have arthritis in all my joints and my back and I'm terrified of having a fall and making my problems worse. I used to ride in dressage, was an instructor here in Canada and horses/riding have been a huge part of my since I was little. Now it's a good day if I can briefly brush half a horse.

    I'm waiting for methotrexate and plaquenil to work and have all my tack, etc & horse at the ready. It's been such a long, slow and painful disease I'm really uncertain if I'll be able to ride again. I've lost so much muscle and feel so weak now. I'd settle for a trail ride now and again. The biggest problem is that exercise triggers flares for me so I'm always trying and failing at getting stronger.

    All the best with your riding, I really hope you can get back to it. Please post how it's going so we can all be inspired to keep trying and hoping. :)

    Take care, Anna
  • resusjan
    resusjan Member Posts: 290
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I've got ra, hypothyroid and pernicious anaemia. I'm about to start on ant tnf's. I've got two horses, kept at a DIY livery yard. Without them, I would have gone mad. One is retired, the other, a 16.2 Irish draught I still ride.i do mostly hacking, about 3 times a week and manage ok. The occupational therapist gave me some special wrist supports to wear whilst riding, I get on from a mounting block and get off onto soft ground (normally in the sand school). I sometimes have to ask a friend to help tacking up as its a long way up to chuck a saddle onto.

    I really hope you manage to keep riding, I just take it easier than I used to and my horse is enjoying his ambles around the countryside
  • DebbieT
    DebbieT Member Posts: 1,033
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi & welcome,

    I just wanted to wish you all the best with ure horse & getting back to riding & competing wen ure RA is in a more stabilized state than it is now!! (I'm afraid I'm clueless with horses & I don't have RA so I'm of no help)

    Good luck & take care.x