Last reply 10 months ago

i’ve had ms for 23 years (49 now), spms since 2012. i’m in a powerchair fulltime and can no longer transfer by myself, as my left arm and hand no longer work.
it has been suggested to me to try hippotherapy, in order to improve my balance and posture. i have very limited upper body strength and tend to slump to one side in my wheelchair. i can no longer sit upright without proper support.
has anyone – especially those with more advanced ms – done hippotherapy, and has it helped you?
i’m booked for a trial session next week, though i must admit that i’m quite nervous about it. never sat on a horse before, and it feels a bit intimidating, to be honest.

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1 year ago

I have never tried. Just wanted to say my ms is as advanced as yours….😞

1 year ago

@rolly , I’ve not tried this either, but I can see how it would help.

Having faith in a therapy is the first stage of it being successful. Good luck.

1 year ago

on tuesday i had my hippotherapy trial session.
i had been quite apprehensive about it (proably afraid the horse might throw me off at some point, lol), but it actually went quite well.
they did have a ramp, but no lift for the trarnsfer. so they had to lift me from the wheelchair over to the horse manually, which wasnt too much of a problem, though.
as i have very little upper body strength and am unable to sit without support, the therapist was sitting behind meto give me the necessary stability, while two other staff were guiding the horse and checking my overall posture. i must admit that i quite enjoyed the view from so high up, especially as i haven’t been able to stand for several years now, lol.
my body was very tense at first, but seemed to relax a bit after a while, although i must admit that i didn’t quite as secure as in my chair, lol.
we were going round in circles for about half an hour.anti-clock-wise was quite ok, but clock-wise was much more difficult, as my left side is much weaker and i have no use of my left hand, so i couldn’t useit for stability. and after a while, my right hand, with which i was holding onto the saddle, was getting extremely tired.
by the time it was time to get off the hourse, i had absolutely no strength left in my body, feeling as if i had run a whole marathon, and i had difficulty using my right hand for the next two days.
but i had the feeling that the spasticity in my legs was slightly improved, though i’m not sure whether that was really the case, or whether i was only imagining it…
i would like to continue the therpary, as i believe i could benefit, but i was totally gutted to realise that the facility is actually too far away, and its too complicated to get there, in order to do this regularly. it’s just not practical. so after pinning quite high hopes on this, i’ve been feeling really depressed ever since. will have to see whether we can arrange to go there at least once in a while, although i was told that the most benefit could be gained by doing at least one session a week, which is quite simply not realistic.

1 year ago

Hi @roll

Thanks for the update! I was curious to see how it went! I see the point with distance and relying on people to get you there.

I guess the good point is you tried it! Good to be out!

1 year ago

I help out at our nearest RDA Riding for the Disabled. I used to help riders stay on the horses but due to terrible balance etc I can’t do that side of it any more but the benefits of just being on board the horse is really good for helping your core strength no matter how weak it is. I have seen children and adults with severe cerebral palsy and other issues able to improve a lot just by sitting on board a walking pony. I do manage to get on one of the ponies at RDA just walking and trotting on a really good day. The horses that are used in therapy would never throw anyone off as they are carefrully selected to be pretty bomb-proof as they say in the horsey world. I hope you enjoy it – horses are great healers – even being near them is very uplifting. Good luck!

11 months ago

Hi @rolly I tried riding for the diabled for a while, I was also told it would be more beneficial doing it every week but I couldn’t get a space for more than once a fortnight. I did it for about a year and a half and loved it. When I first started it I had an instructor, someone leading the horse and a helper on either side of me, (like you I’m in a wheelchair and my balance isn’t very good), in the year and a half I was going, I was never able to get above a slow walk (I had rode for ten and a half years before this) although in the end I was holding onto the saddle with one hand instead of two and one helper at my side instead of two. I had to change to a hoist horse, but I found him so uncomfortable, I was back to holding on with two hands. Hes been out of action now since October, they don’t have another horse suitable for me so I’ve got my name down at another place now. I use to feel like I’d done a marathon at the end of the half hour as well.

11 months ago

Have you considered a horse riding machine? If you haven’t, try looking on YouTube. A lot for sale, including second hand ones. I very briefly tried one at a friend’s house and it does just feel like being on a horse! I could only manage ‘level one’ i.e. very gentle movement, but the friend swears by it and goes on it every day. She says it was fantastic for building core strength.

10 months ago

What a great idea Cameron, getting together with associates in roughly the same position could bring the cost down considerably as no one willl want to spend more than an hour or soon the apparatus it could be a good business investment😍

10 months ago

I saw a second hand one for £150. They’re only the size of a small chair, look rather like a large footstool. Your feet are on the floor.

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