Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain LIFE Spring 2015, Issue 11 - Page 19
I went to their practices, and the
following year I purchased my first
horse from a member on the team.
Filly and I became best friends. She
helped me realize that I don’t have
to stop living my life because of my
disability. I can adapt, adjust, and
find a way to be normal, if only for
a few hours or a day. While I can’t
ride the drill routines, I can participate in parades with the rest of the
team, and I really enjoy them!
On a warm September day, Mustang, Oklahoma held its annual
Western Days Event and Rodeo
complete with the big parade on
a Saturday morning. Since this
is the Rangerette’s hometown,
we ride in this parade every year.
This year I was very reflective
about what those of us with disability and chronic pain must do
to adapt. We may not look sick
on the outside, and our normal
isn’t everyone else’s normal, but
we can still have positive and exciting experiences. I don’t think
about the pain when I’m in the
saddle on the parade route.
When I reach the staging area and
feel well enough to mount
my horse and ride, I cannot express
how fulfilling it is for me. For a
while I’m like everybody else. As I
warm up in the staging area, the
people around me have no idea of
my daily fight with fibromyalgia,
chronic migraines, IBS attacks
and other neurological problems
that forced a complete change
in my life and ended my professional career as a legal assistant.
I had to completely rebuild my life
and change the way I do everyday things. With God’s help, it
became a very fulfilling, albeit
different way of life.
To be successful and attend the
parades, I plan early in the week.
There is a lot of work to getting
a horse parade ready--trimming
bridle paths, clipping ears, shaving
whiskers--necessary things that
make the horse
shine and sparkle. A healthy
can do this in
one setting the
or morning of
the parade, but
I must take
tasks into little
steps over several days, all that
remains on parade day is a quick
scrub down, and we are off to the
staging area! This way minimizes
the chances of a flare up of the
disease, allows my body more time
to rest, and increases my chances
On parade day I’m usually a mixture of excitement and anxiety-worried that my FM symptoms,
IBS or a migraine will occur at
the last minute and ruin my fun.
But I’ve learned that I must forge
ahead and hope for the best.
Most of the time, I’m fine once
I’m in the saddle. On a few occasions after all the parade preparations, I was too weak or sick
to ride and sat out for safety’s
sake. Thankfully that doesn’t
happen often. The passion I have
for horses, and the friendships
and support I get from my teammates helps me to overcome the
bad days. There have been times
where I’ve sent my son off to
warm up my horse while I sat and
caught my breath, hopeful that
the FM symptoms passed quickly.
I felt well enough to ride. I’m
grateful for those days!
Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain