Anyone ride with just one arm/hand?

LC2013

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Hi

due to an accident in August, I have lost all use of my left arm & hand. Desperately trying to get it back but it's not currently working!! Being left handed this is making everything pretty hard!

I cannot tack up or get on alone ( my left leg is also pretty useless!!) so my poor horse has been left to go wild for 9 months. I have been riding at the local RDA and last night went to ride a friends horse. The problem is , due to only having one functional arm & hand I cannot hold reins normally. I currently use a bar rein & am waiting for the lazy saddler to make me one!!

Am I the only person on here that rides with one arm?
I dream of getting function back & being able to live a normal life, as in riding my horse, driving etc.

the one thing I have learnt from this is do not take anything for granted- anything can happen at any Time. Ohh and stay safe- never ride without a hat or anything else that endangers your life.

My accident was not horse related, it was due to a bike.

ohh and if anyone would like to lend me a horse to do the RDA national championships at Hartpury ( just walk & trot)! Please let me know

Thanks guys
 

Ella19

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Can you get a western or polo rider to help teach your horse to neck rein. After I smashed my collar bone I had reduced use of my right arm. My pony thankfully neck reined so I rode her with just my seat and reins in my left hand. I'm lucky almost all my use has come back. I still have no feeling round the top of my arm and my hand sometimes doesn't respond correctly but every horse I've ridden has adapted. Its taken 3 years. Keep practicing I found I could saddle and rug one handed, bridling I got someone else to do. I could get on with a mounting block but struggled to get off! There is no reason your horse can't be retrained to help you by the right people as long as his temprement is right.
 
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LC2013

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Can you get a western or polo rider to help teach your horse to neck rein. After I smashed my collar bone I had reduced use of my right arm. My pony thankfully neck reined so I rode her with just my seat and reins in my left hand. I'm lucky almost all my use has come back. I still have no feeling round the top of my arm and my hand sometimes doesn't respond correctly but every horse I've ridden has adapted. Its taken 3 years. Keep practicing I found I could saddle and rug one handed, bridling I got someone else to do. I could get on with a mounting block but struggled to get off! There is no reason your horse can't be retrained to help you by the right people as long as his temprement is right.
Thank you. I am determined to get back on her. Did you hack with one arm? That's really what I want to get back to. Dressage too- jumping can wait!! I just need her to come back into work & we 'll be flying!!
 

Ella19

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Yes but I had total faith and control of my pony! I started being led round the arena to build up my core strength.lots of lunging so she was so switched on and controlled by my voice. Lots of inhand with voice commands. Then ridden in school teaching her seat aids in walk. She became so sensitive to my seat that others found her difficult to ride and when I came to sell her I had to dull her down a bit!
 

Ella19

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I think a polo trainer may be the way forward, worth an ask. They never ride with two hands! Its hand up and lean forward to go, lean back to stop and hand left and right to turn!
 

Cortez

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I train and ride horses for a "baroque" cavalry display, also provide horses for film/TV and do medieval jousting displays, etc., so all our horses are ridden one handed - it's because you need the other hand for weapons, BTW. It isn't too complicated to retrain a previously two-handed (or as the western riders call them "plough reined") horse, but you may be better off with a curb-type bit as the jointed snaffle is too imprecise to give subtle aids. I also train for Doma Vaquera/Working Equitation competitions, also one-handed.

Oooh! Not too keen on the polo training though - it's a bit, erm "basic".....
 

TarrSteps

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Well, every polo and western/stock rider (yes, there are 2 handed classes for western horses but only very young ones) and lots of para riders. It really should not be a huge limitation.

I started riding western and often revert when I'm hacking etc, although I usually use a one handed English hold rather than a western style one now because nothing i ride really neck reins.

Google 'the one armed bandit' and watch his videos! He would be amazing even if he had two arms!
 
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Sugar_and_Spice

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Put honey or jam on the bit so your horse will eat the bit, hold the bridle at the headpiece between horses ears, horse eats bit and you pull ears through one at a time. Leave horse tied up with the headcollar on under the bridle if you have concerns about horse escaping. Headcollars with a buckle on the nose, instead of under the chin, can be easily undone and removed after the bridle is on if you want to use a noseband on the bridle. You can do up straps with one hand for the buckle and your teeth to hold the end.

As already mentioned your horse needs training for neck reining. Though it is possible to ride a normal trained horse one handed if its well behaved. Just have your reins short and bridge them in one hand, holding that hand sideways like your going to punch someone instead of with the thumb on top. You can then tweek your wrist sideways to give a little feel on one or the other rein. Hope that makes sense its quite hard to describe.
 

Sugar_and_Spice

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It's easier to bridle with a straight bar bit, less chance of the horse ending up with a mouth full of leather by mistake.

ETA treeless saddle and plastic stirrups makes it light enough to throw up with one hand, use teeth to assist with fastening the girth.

If you're dealing with rugs, Horseware rugs have surcingle fittings at the chest which I find easier. I draw the line at holding muddy straps in my teeth! A lightweight turnout over a stable rug is 100 times easier than a middleweight turnout as only the lightweight layer gets wet and heavier. Use separate clip on neck covers as full neck rugs are just too heavy to put on/off one armed.
 
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mudmudmud

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Yes, I work on a western yard! Our horses all neck rein and actually respond from very little hand movement and more from our seat. could you send your boy off for some training and get him used to it before you hop on board?
 

TarrSteps

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I'm with Cortez on the polo training, frankly. With all the best will in the world, it's not the way I'd want my horse to go, especially if I wanted to compete!

Get help from someone like Cortez who trains horses for that kind of work and who can also help you train your horse, not just on the rein aids but any groundwork that will make you more self-sufficient
 

martlin

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I have a friend who has one arm, he rides and jumps to a decent level (1.30m) with normal reins, just bridged over, he also works with horses and is pretty self sufficient in all he does. No idea how he copes, but he does well.
 

LC2013

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Amazing- thanks for all your help. She's only ever been in a jointed sniffle but she's pretty good & learns quickly so I have faith in her behaving for me! She keeps nudging my arm as if to say "what's wrong with it, give me pat ( or a carrot!!) bless her she's just lush. Well get there!!

Thanks everyone xx
 

khalswitz

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I'm no western rider, but having done mounted games as a kid, had a go at western, and then later played very amateur polo, I've repeatedly 'had a go' at neck reining. It's surprisingly useful - and I teach all my horses to neck rein. I also admit to riding one handed whenever I hack out...

I agree that I'd speak to a western rider rather than a polo trainer though as there is a lot more rein, bit and contact with a polo pony than in western riding, which is very much rein rather than bit, if that sort of makes sense...
 

Auslander

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I hack out one -handed. I have pony reins on my big lads hacking bridle - they are short enough that I can a; pull him up in an emergency without having to reel my reins in, and b; steer him easily with one hand. If he's being good, I have my hand a few inches in front of his withers and he can stretch out, and if he's bad, I just bring my hand back and I have sufficient contact to stop him disappearing! If you can touch your stomach with the buckle of the reins when the horse is in its normal hacking frame, they're too long to do this.
 

Kimchi

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I have use of both my arms but a lady I know does not. She rides dressage very successfully, I know that she does get help from her trainer to keep her horses in line when she is not able to but she is a very capable and good rider. Here is a link to an article about her.

http://www.dressagedaily.com/article/utah-para-equestrian-wins-idaho-dressage-festival

So keep your chin up, It is doable! It may be harder and you may need the help of a trainer, but If you want to you can do anything!
 

TarrSteps

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I would really recommend a good, sympathetic trainer to help you find the best way forward. You may find you have to adapt more than just the rein aids. For instance you may find you have to adjust your mounting procedure. Trailer ties might help you with grooming. Try and find a trainer who sees this as an interesting journey and wants to help you think outside the box to meet your needs.

Good luck!
 

spookypony

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I'm very sorry to hear of your injury! I was taught to ride one-handed as a child, just as a useful thing to be able to do, and also to be able to use a schooling whip in certain ways with the free hand...from what I've seen here, this doesn't seem to be very common over here (though I may well be mistaken?). It's definitely possible! :)
 

JFTDWS

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I school one handed sometimes, and am often found playing around one handed - rather different to one handed by necessity of course, but my lot are trained to it just by me playing around and I'm an amateur hobbyist type. So it's certainly do-able and you don't have to be a master of your trade like Cortez etc. With some help and guidance I'm sure you'll do great - good luck :)
 

LC2013

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I have use of both my arms but a lady I know does not. She rides dressage very successfully, I know that she does get help from her trainer to keep her horses in line when she is not able to but she is a very capable and good rider. Here is a link to an article about her.

http://www.dressagedaily.com/article/utah-para-equestrian-wins-idaho-dressage-festival

So keep your chin up, It is doable! It may be harder and you may need the help of a trainer, but If you want to you can do anything!

Thank you so much forthis. She is amazing & I guess I might as well try.it just shows that anything is possible.

Thanks everyone for taking time to reply. It really means a lot.

You are amazing people on here

Thank you xx
 

Kat

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Look up Deb Criddle, lost her arm at the shoulder in a motorcycle accident and has since been to the para-olympics as a dressage rider. She was featured on horse and country in the run up to the Olympics and the footage of her caring for her horses independently was amazing!
 

Goldenstar

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I watched a lesson a clinic a while ago the rider was a teenage para rider with one arm she was fantastic.
 

tinap

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There's a lady on Facebook who's daughter has 1 hand (or use of one hand, can't remember). She's invented some reins that help her immensely. Search for Alice Reins on Facebook x
 

paddi22

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i had a bad accident and have only about 10% power in one arm. i still do dressage and event, but it took some work. I had to learn to ride completely from my seat. my left arm has no power so can't function properly. i have to 'lock' it at my elbow so it doesn't bounce, but still try and keep it somewhat supple . Luckily i have two very generous horses. One coped immediately as hes a sensitive soul, by listening to my seat and going behind the vertical slightly but in self carriage as much as he can. i can't take an even contact at all, so its the only option we have. he looks pretty but wouldn;t be correctly on the bit. But we only do low level dressage so its not an issue.

My other horse is for eventing and is a really strong horse, but i had to train him to slow down by my seat and giving him a signal of tweaking the right rein (my good rein) 3 times. once i do this he knows to slow. the path to getting to this involved tweaking the right rein 3 times and then literally reefing him round in a circle till he stopped. was a battle at first, but once he understood he just slows now and he has no issues.

I find mounting really difficult still, i end up flopping over the horse and can't do the girth up from one side at all. I trained my lads to lower their heads for bridling, and they are very forgiving. The biggest help was my horses personality, they seem to know i have trouble with stuff and help me out.

My eventer one is the cleverest horse i have ever ridden and he must know he can escape out to the same side at jumps, but he never does, and he must know there's nothing i can do if he tried!.

It is do-able and a lot of people on my yard forget i only have the use of one arm! I evented at a low level all last year and most people there wouldnt have noticed my arm. I lock it to my side in flat work, and hold the mane jumping so it doesnt fly around! but its my horses that help out the most, if you have a horse that would take advantage you have no chance!
 

NZJenny

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My only experience is having an arm in plaster after a wrist fracture and I managed, including riding and saddling up etc.

But, I endurance ride with a lady who is missing her left arm from above the elbow. This has obviously been a life time thing, and there is no way she would ever accept the word "disabled" and anyone who thinks she is, is in for a bit of a fright.

When I first met her, I didn't even notice until I was idly watching her saddle a horse and thought "that looks a bit awkward" and then I twigged. She has figured out ways to do things that are just mind boggling to those of us who take two arms for granted.

Like most endurance riders, the one handed riding thing just happens, although it isn't always a good thing as it does alter your balance slightly. I guess it's just a matter of taking things slowly and figuring your way around riding, as I'm sure you have had to with the rest of life, the universe and everything.
 

Alphamare

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I don't know where you are located but if you are near tenbury wells Shropshire Bob Trussell would be the trainer I recommend. He can retrain your horse and you
 

Batgirl

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Jane Bartle Wilson says that if you can't keep a horse on the bit one handed you haven't really got a horse that rides on the bit. With all the great advice you are getting I will only add persevere, carry on enjoying horses and good luck finding a horse for Hartpury!
 

Spring Feather

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If you can have someone teach your horse neck reining then I think that's the way to go. You should maybe look at investing in some gaming reins.

Well done you for not giving up! :smile3:
 
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