Horse riding and lymphodema

I’m just wondering if anyone else has been told they won’t be able to muck out and horse ridie after a mascestomy and lymph node removal due to lymphodema risk? Obviously my main concern is my health but my horses have been a massive part of my life and was wondering if anyone has any tips

I really appreciate any tips and helpful hint regarding the matter, thank you in advance

Hi Danica

Nobody has told me I can’t and so I do!

I had an mx (inc node clearance) and immediate LD flap recon 12 months ago. The LD flap uses muscle from your back and so that has taken a bit of getting used to and I’m not as strong as I used to be on that side - possibly just as well or I really would do too much!

I was back on a horse 10 weeks after my op and rode whenever I could all the way through chemo. If I’m riding a real puller, I will use a gag, but I got bolted with the other week (Unexpected pigs!) and was able to stop in a reasonable length of time.

I wouldn’t want to heave heavy hay bales about for too long, but am fine with all other yard jobs. I don’t go as fast and I’m still building up my strength and stamina, but it all gets done.

I might be putting myself at risk of developing lyphodema, but I also put myself at risk of being decked! Life is for living!

Enjoy your horses.

I have only had lymph removal and it hasnt stopped me doing anything i want to do. Go with how your body feels it will soon tell you if its not right. I find it difficult now as ive broken my wrist but before that it wouldnt stop me mucking out just take care of infection risk and wear long sleeves on country rides so that brambles and stuff dont gash your arm. All the best.


I have 3 horses to muck out each day and it hasn’t stopped me. I was told by the BCN that if you did it before your op then you can do it afterwards?? Also rode through treatment.

I found having to do my horses kept me going through treatment stopped me sitting in the house feeling sorry for myself!!

I think the puppy pulling when we go for a walk more of a problem than the horses lol

Enjoy them thats what we have them for

Jill x x

I have ten terriers and found the dogs far easier than the 4 horses lol but your right tollibelle it gave me a reason to force myself out on sick days.

My two horses(and dogs) have helped me so much during treatment. Riding during chemo. got me out of the house when I felt really miserable and ill - good therapy! Also walking the dogs.

Danica - do hope you can carry on riding. Sounds like others do,maybe not heavy lifting though!

Jill - is that Golden Retriever puppy?

Found this thread by chance, so glad i did! I had just started riding again after a 20 year break when i got my dx. I’ve had a partial mx with recon and am waiting for rads to begin. I am having quite a lot of pain especially at the site of the snb and was beginning to despair of ever getting on a horse again, but you have given me hope! I know it’s early days but i miss it so much. I’ll give it a couple more weeks and then try to find a nice quiet non puller to walk around on!

Not horse related but doing dog grooming, self emplyed, have stopped now during chemo, but am worreid that I might be too much at risk after MX and ANC which I’m having in April, re scratches and lifting and basically loads of top body work, but this thread sounds so positive!!!


Christine xx

Hi all,

So sorry it’s taken me ages to respond.

Thank you all for the positive feedback and it’s made me feel happier about things.

Iv got four horses retired veteran at 38! A mare that Iv bred from and was hoping to bring her back into work now for me to ride again, a yearling and a four year old that’s off being backed at the mo. the four year old is called danica, hence the forum name I think theirs too many charlottes

It really does make a massive difference having animals when your going through this, so pleased it looks like I can continue to enjoy my hobby.