Horseback riding anyone?

Does anybody who has TN and lives in a four season area own a horse? How do you take care of your horse’s needs in the colder weather? How do you handle ownership when you are suffering from a TN attack? I want a horse so badly, but fear this condition will not allow it. I’m looking for sensible ways to have access to a horse. I love horses.

I think you’re giving TN too much power.

I don’t think it’s about TN really, it’s more about having the time for a horse (I owned a horse in high school) and the money and resources (a trailer, a truck, a paddock, a barn, a vet, a farrier, a place to ride, trails to follow) the emotional commitment to a very large animal that will be depending on you and will require your companionship multiple hours a day, every day.

Horses are good for the soul. There’s a reason horses are used in all kinds of therapy. There’s no reason a person with TN is unable to own a horse, or any animal for that matter. You simply have to learn to manage the disease as you manage your life. Wear scarves against the cold and damp, and so on and so forth. It’s easy enough to adjust your behavior to protect yourself from external triggers.

It sounds like you’ve never owned a horse or large animal. You may be better served going on afternoon trail rides to get your “fix” of horse. Work at a local stable for ride time or for lessons. Get a really good idea of what is going to be required of you as a horse owner then make decisions from there.

Owning any animal is a large commitment. Owning an animal that basically requires its own apartment for housing plus a huge yard is a massive commitment. Finding a good local stable with trail rides and lessons may be the most sensible route.

Thank you for your wise reply. I will ponder what you have written. I did own a horse in high school. That was work, but ultimately, I was not wholly responsible since my parents took the brunt of paying for its care. I just had to make sure he was fed, brushed, stall mucked out, and that he was ridden plenty. I only had him one year before graduating from high school. Loved my Mughead.

I loved my horse as well, although I bore more of the brunt of the care in terms of money… I’ve always said I was going to own a horse as a an adult (a Clydesdale mix named Teddy is what I always thought, actually) but my life simply hasn’t worked out that way. Horses are beyond wonderful but also a ton of work. I remember in high school spending at least 2-3 hours a day Monday-Friday the barn or on horseback, weekends I’d go riding all day and spend 6-8 hours at the barn Saturday and Sunday. I don’t have that kind of time now and it just doesn’t seem fair to a horse to have one and not give him that kind of time.

Instead I’ve gone for highly annoying, long term, indoor pets! I rescue parrots! Now I can carry my animal burden around on my shoulder from room to room laughter a different kind of wonderful and one I can’t curse in front of! laughter

I’m not trying to dissuade you from a horse, I’m just trying to remind you how much work they are and how expensive they are, lord knows I love them too and wish I had one myself. Since it’s not the cards I’ve channeled everything into rescue work with smaller animals.

Hi Notafraid, Its been a long time since we communicated. I hope you are doing better everday!
When I met my wife she had 30 Arabian horse. Yes a lot of work but beautiful animals. I am not sure if there is a stable close to you, maybe in Wenatchee. We had a 4-H club, maybe there is one locally that you can volunteer at, I know there were times we could have used them. Good luck and I hope you are pain free.

How wonderful that you care for rescue parrots! I hear you loud and clear on the horse ownership thing. Indoor bird ownership is not for me. My husband is not a fan of their screeches, and our home is pretty small. In fairness to the little feathered creatures, we are not a good choice for their ownership. We have a small dog named Gizmo. He is who we dote upon and play with. Can’t ride him of course. I can pay to ride a horse on a trail along with other people in a line. I get to hear the sound of the saddle beneath my body, and feel it move against my tush and legs. The reins in my hands feel like magic. The familiar smells associated with the horses fill me with a remarkable sense of déjà vu. My face is very sensitive to cool breezes, so horse ownership is definitely a no no for me. I day dream of riding them all the time though. Though I have tried to meet and become friends with people who own horses, my efforts have failed because of my TN.

Hi Scott! It has been a while since we communicated. What a delight to hear from you. I hope you are well. I do alright painwise. Every day it seems my TN flares. It may be slight, or put me down, but mostly, if I stay rested and stress free, the pain stays away. Yeah, right. Like we can all stay that way, right? Anyway, volunteering in any form has not proved to be a workable plan for either me or the organizations I have attempted to work with. My facial pain is unpredictable. Oh well, mostly, I am at peace with all of this.
Take care, Laurel (notafraid)

Hi Laurel,
I am glad to hear your pain seems to be better than the last time I saw you. My is worse in the morning and night. Lucky to get three hours of sleep in a row. The hot tub or soaking in the bathtub will help break the cycle for awhile. I think about how you are doing every time I go past your house on the way to my sisters. Maybe we can get together sometime when you are felling better. Take care and wishing you pain free days ahead!


Hi Notafraid:
I got my first horse when about 5 years into pretty bad TN type 1 pain. Riding and caring for my horse was the best therapy in the world for me. Yes, there were some days that were more challenging than others. Yes, sometimes on cross country rides, when on uneven ground or an unforeseen move occurs, my face would fire off. You’ll just have to have judgement as to whether you should ride on that day or hold off. If you don’t have anyone that can help you working in the barn on really bad days, then that would be a limiting factor you should consider. But if you can, go for it. I rode mostly cross country and fox hunting, sometimes some pretty vigorous stuff. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse.” Roosevelt’s life story, particularly how he overcame his own health and psychological issues, by living in Wyoming and working on a ranch, should be a good inspiration for us all. Read up on his story. I’ll pray you can sort this out and be astride a horse when you’re able. Good luck!