by: Maggie Harling
I’d been riding for four years before I realized what the problem was. Because of MS I have a weak left hand. As I ride, my hand gradually slips up the rein; I can maintain a hold around the rein but I no longer have the finger pressure to maintain a grasp. Then, when I need to adjust the left rein, I no longer have any contact with the horse’s mouth.
This problem was already apparent to me when I saw the solution at another MS stable. There are rein loops. These are leather loops about 10 inches in diameter. These loops clip onto the rein at an optimal point. The rider can then use each loop to maintain a constant rein length without a grasp.
The first time I used these the effect was phenomenal. Suddenly I realized what it was like to be completely in control of the reins. I realized that I had been putting up with a fairly heavy degree of uncertainty when it came to controlling the horse, probably chalking it up to one of the effects of MS!
So, this what I’m thinking: Don’t give up on something you love to do, just come up with another way to do it. I’ve always thought that having MS makes you a very inventive person. MS people often cannot rely on their bodies to do things the “normal” way, so they tend to seek out, and even invent, things that help them get the job done.
You may feel that using a cane, or a walker, or a wheelchair or even rein loops makes you look weak…it doesn’t, it makes you look someone has decided to take control of a problem.