Aside from medication is there anything that helps your Dystonia?
I find hydrotherapy, passive stretching and trigger point massage have all been beneficial in helping to maintain the mobility that I do have. I try to stretch on a daily basis as my muscles are extremely tight due to the frequent and persistent spasms my body endures.
Have you tried Botox injections?
I have had Botulinum injections as part of my treatment for Dystonia. The injections were placed in my legs using an EMG (electromyography) machine for guidance, although the injections provided an immediate relief the effects were transient and began to wear off after just a few days. The majority of people with Dystonia have experienced positive results with Botox injections but unfortunately for me the treatment proved unsuccessful.
I was so inspired to see someone else with Dystonia competing, I ride regularly at my local RDA but I am unable to get out competing, do use you any special equipment which helps you when you ride?
Riding with Dystonia isn't particularly comfortable, luckily my backside is the size of the moon and has plenty of cushioning but I still use a seat saver for added protection. I am permitted to compete with loop reins, a bridging strap, a seat saver, a hand hold off the D'bars of the saddle, a whip and have my stirrups attached to the girth or ride without stirrups. My legs spasm badly when placed in stirrups so I currently ride without them. Have you thought about asking your local RDA centre if you can learn an RDA dressage test, video it and then upload it to www.dressageanywhere.com this will give you the opportunity to test your skills against others without having to leave your home turf, you could even win some money!
Can you ride any horse?
In my head my mind says yes, in reality my body says NO! Para horses aren't of a specific breed but need to be sane, safe and sensitive to their riders needs, it can take months to form a bond with your chosen equine partner. I have very little control of my legs and right arm they are extremely uncooperative and spasm frequently, I need a horse that is responsive to my seat aids and forward going yet light in the hand. I'm fortunate to have the ride on the mega talented Milly she's like driving an automatic car, we hit it off from our very first session and although we're still getting acquainted we've made a pretty promising start.
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