In the intervening weeks since my competition horse Spotty was diagnosed with a disorder affecting his legs, I realized that if I wanted to continue to improve my riding and be able to compete on occasion, I’d have to look for another horse. Now don’t worry, Spotty isn’t going anywhere; he’s stuck with me forever, the same way Arti was until he passed away in 2016. Riding is both a physical and mental stress reliever for me, so I had to figure out a way to carry on.
With a little bit of creativity on my part and significant generosity from my parents, I went on a hunt for another horse. Finding the right one for me is a difficult proposition. I need a horse that’s athletic and fun, but also level-headed and kind, and unlikely to be fractious, as that would increase my chances of a fall. Horses can be unpredictable, so riding is always a risk, but I try to stack the deck in my favor as much as possible by having a quiet, safe animal.
With the right mount, riding makes me feel normal. Sometimes, I have difficulty performing a necessary physical task. It also takes me much longer to build up the physical strength to do new things, but once I’ve achieved success with a certain activity, I’m no different from anyone else. I love that.
I’m stubborn, I work hard, and I don’t give no as an answer. It might take me five times longer than someone else to learn something new, but I do it anyway. There’s the occasional moment when I’ll get frustrated by the struggle and get upset about it. Then I’ll turn around and go right back to doggedly pursuing my goal, whatever it might be.
As is common with horse shopping, there have been a few stops and starts along the way. I’ve tried out a few horses. Some did not pass a veterinary exam; before purchasing a horse, you want to make sure it’s healthy. I searched many different places for an animal that would meet my unique needs.
Last weekend, I brought home my new horse, Cherry. She’s a 12-year-old quarter horse that’s been eventing with a teenager. She’s sweet and calm and has just the right balance of “go and whoa,” as we say.
I’m excited to see where this new adventure — and my new horse — takes me!
Note: Ehlers-Danlos News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Ehlers-Danlos News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Ehlers-Danlos.
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