I’m Determined Not to Let EDS Keep Me Down

Karen Del Vecchio avatar

by Karen Del Vecchio |

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Generally speaking, showing my horse is great. The shows are exhausting, but they are so much fun that I do them anyway.

A recent show was no different. Even though riding is an individual sport, team members all support one another. I had a blast, and enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. And I came home exhausted and sore after the extensive physical workout.

When you think of a horse show, it probably sounds like you travel somewhere, ride, and return home. But the events that I do are usually multi-day affairs. I often travel four to six hours to the destination, and when I get there I have to set up stabling for my horse. That means I have an empty stall waiting, and I have to add shavings, buckets, a hay net, and anything else my horse needs. I’m also responsible for her regular feeding schedule (grain twice a day, and hay up to five times a day). I muck out her stall two or three times a day to keep it clean, and take her on walks for exercise. It’s a lot of work.

At the recent show, my phone logged about 28,000 steps each day — and that only includes the time that I actually had my phone with me. Many of you are probably thinking that I’m crazy, and I wouldn’t argue with you for saying so. An old joke in the equestrian world says there are crazy people, and then there are crazy horse people.

Horses are a lot of work. All the time. Every day. Without fail. Even when the weather’s bad, or you’re sick. But when you love them and love what you’re doing, it’s not work. It’s life, and it’s happy.

Despite that, you may still be wondering why I repeatedly put my body through it. I’m sore, and I have been for days. As I sit here with my heating pad, I’m thankful that my regular massage appointment is coming up.

It’s a valid question, but it comes back to something I frequently discuss: stubbornness. I refuse to let Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) keep me from doing what I want to do.

It may be harder for me, and require me to take numerous side roads and occasionally ask for help. But I still do it. And I always will. I also recognize that as far as EDS patients go, I’m relatively lucky. My symptoms are considered “mild to moderate.”

While there are things that EDS has taken away from me, such as soccer, I am latching on to the ones that I can do. Because there’s no way that EDS will keep me down.


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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