I would love to introduce you to a fantastic young lady who in which I am delighted to be supporting. I have met Sophie twice with Mechanical Millie and each time I was totally amazed at her riding, and balance. Have a read of her story she is an inspiration to everyone.
I have known Emily with Mechanical Millie since last year and was honoured (and surprised!) when she asked if I would consider being a sponsored rider for E Equine. When I asked Emily why she had chosen me, as I’m not regularly competing or in the ribbons, she told me she was inspired by my tenacity to keep doing what I love despite the physical set-backs faced by myself and my horse.
A bit of my background:
I’ve been around horses all of my life and ridden for most of it. My first pony, Rudy, was a wilful soul that may have been labelled ‘not novice ride’ however I adored him and he helped to make me the rider I am today by developing my independent seat and my resolve to persevere. I took a couple of years away from horses in my teens when Rudy was sold after I outgrew him before buying Bertie my current horse in 2011. It was in this gap from owning horses I sustained my first injury to my spine whilst riding out on a friend’s horse who became over excited, bucked and corkscrewed resulting in a partial collapsed disc in my lumbar spine. Upon investigation with the GP it was also discovered that I was hypomobile meaning my joints have more movement in them than what is considered ‘normal’. These joints include my fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, hips and spine.
My story and trusty steed:
Bertie is a 16.1hh, 12 year old Irish Sport Horse gelding who has had his fair share of illness in the seven years we’ve had together. Bertie has had numerous horsepital visits for his ailments which include kissing spine surgery, osteomyelitis of the pedal bone, Lyme disease, neurectomy and fasciotomy of both hind suspensory ligaments and having both hocks injected due to subsequent arthritis. However, he is now fit and feeling well but his work ethic and attitude are still a work in progress!
I too have not had the best of health over the past seven years. After Bertie had his spine surgery I developed an issue with my left hip resulting in muscle wastage in my left leg. An MRI of my spine and pelvis showed that I had one shallow hip socket and one overdeveloped hip socket as well as a lumbar spine lordosis (extra curvature in my lower back) and spondylosis. After failed prescribed non-invasive therapies I went in for a surgical procedure which was a left hip arthroscopy to dislocate the hip and physically look to identify the problem. It was then discovered my psoas muscle had developed scar tissue and adhesions to the surrounding tissues restricting movement. This scaring was removed and after six weeks I was given the green light to get back on!
It wasn’t until a few years later that I developed back pain, loss of range of movement and loss of sensation in my legs. I was referred for more MRI scans which showed that my disc had now collapsed and there was a cyst pressing on the nerves in my spine which was the likely cause for the loss of sensation. This scan had also highlighted an area of concern in my intestines too. At the moment there is nothing that can be done to fix my spine and the size of the cyst is being monitored every year.
However, I have now been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease which is a lifelong autoimmune disease causing inflammation of the digestive tract that is currently being treated with steroids.
Despite these set-backs I still love to ride most days and have become very body aware focusing on core strength and balance. In order to keep riding, both Bertie and I have to have regular chiropractor and sport massage treatments to keep us ‘straight’ along with regular riding tuition . I don’t feel that my physical challenges should be a reason for me not to ride, although I have been advised by many to consider if horse riding is the most sensible choice of sport!