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LEMTRADA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Because of its risks, LEMTRADA is generally used in people who have tried 2 or more MS medicines that have not worked well enough. It is not known if LEMTRADA is safe and effective for use in children under 17 years of age.

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In the Saddle with RMS LEMTRADA patient blogger: Kimberly By Kimberly, Texas Gal, Born and Raised • October 3, 2017

Relapsing MS patient, Kimberly, riding her horse

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My freshman dorm room

Beep... Beep... Beep...goes the alarm.

"Ugh!" I silently roll over and glance at the clock. It's 3 a.m. I breathe deep and smile. My mind flashes back to 22 years ago, when I was a college freshman in Texas. It’s a very vivid memory. I remember lying in bed visualizing my dressage test. By the way, “dressage” is just a fancy way of describing a specific type of horseback riding that requires much discipline from both the rider and the horse. I take another breath and remember the very important rules of English riding. My trainer liked to call it DAWNS: sit Deep in saddle, Always sit back, Weight in stirrups, Never break contact, and Stay with your horse movement. 

I bounded out of bed. I was nervous but excited. I grabbed my riding garment bag and headed to the show. I was ready. It was show time.

Shortly after that, I was diagnosed with relapsing MS. I decided to take a break from competing for a while to focus on my overall health, but through it all, I never lost my sense of commitment or my determination.

22 years later

This time when the alarm goes off, I do a slower stretch. I don’t bound out of bed. There is no bounding without coffee. I smile to myself. It’s been a while since I’ve competed at a recognized horse show and in a few hours, I’ll do so again.

As I sip my coffee, I look back on this past year. After spending five years watching my daughter compete, and copious amounts of time at the barn, I decided it was my turn. I was going to “get back in the saddle.”     

How did I do it?

Well after a couple of lessons, the fire I once had came back to me. Soon, my confidence had built up enough that my trainer thought it would be a good idea for me to compete. My daughter was competing in the same show, and while she was competing at a higher level, I participated in the activities in the show that I could do. So after looking over the options with my trainer and my very delighted 9-year-old, we decided that I could easily do flat classes (which are walk, trot, and canter) and I could do the lowest level dressage test. I was elated.

Then for the next two months, I practiced both of my patterns for dressage. I made sure my circles were the right diameter. I practiced keeping my horse round, and making sure I stayed within my dressage arena. After I felt comfortable, I moved on to get ready for competing in the Hunter classes—which are judged by my horse's performance, grace, and manners. I took time to really work on my seat position, my horse’s gait in trot and canter, my leg and heel position, and made sure I was on the correct lead in the arena. Finally, I worked on my transitions between walk, trot, and canter. I needed everything to be smooth when I passed the judges table.  

Getting in the zone

We loaded everything into the trailer, the night before, so, all I needed to do was rouse my daughter, eat breakfast, and head to the barn to load up the horses. It was time to head to the show area for competition.  

When we arrive, I need to get my horse off the trailer, groomed, tacked, lunged, and warmed up. This is all done under the watchful eyes of nine 17-year-old young ladies who ride at the same barn I do, and who were competing as well. Let me tell you, it is a humbling experience to have so much support. Humbling.

Finally, it’s time to put on my show coat and my number and walk my horse to the arena. I wait patiently and they call my name. “Now entering the arena, number 287: Kimberly— on Wendekate”. It is time. It is my time. I take a deep breath. I remember my DAWNS and I enter the arena.   

I completed all of my classes. The horse show was done. I walked up to the judging table and gathered my score sheets. I took a minute to contemplate whether or not the score is important. In the end, curiosity won. When I took a good look at my score sheets. I exhaled and smiled. I placed 4th. My daughter gave me a hug. She was so proud of me.

The biggest win of all

My daughter watched me reconnect with an old passion. She saw that I never gave up even when I fell, and yes, I did fall. She saw me cave in and get a cooling vest, so that I could continue practicing in the Texas heat. Most importantly, she saw my determination, my willingness to learn, and she saw her momma smile through it all. So I am encouraging each and every one of you to find your passion no matter how big or small, and smile—because that’s the real win!

Now aside from my daughter’s encouragement and support, there were a lot of other takeaways for me during the competition and in those two months leading up to it. I learned a lot about myself. One: I am not as young as I used to be. I need a lot more walk-and-water breaks when I practice. Two: there is no such thing as “soft sand” in the dressage arena. When you fall, it hurts. Yes, I side-eyed my daughter as she was giggling that at least “Momma fell where the sand is soft.” Three: horseback-riding pants need to come with spandex. Yup, they really do. Lastly, I realized that no matter what happened, no matter if I placed or didn't, I was grateful that I was able to share this experience with my daughter.

So think about it. What are you determined to do? And what can you do to make it happen? I’d love to hear it, so feel free to post in the comment section below!

  • DIAGNOSIS
  • FAMILY
  • HOBBIES
  • LIVING WITH RELAPSING MS



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