A thread for those who ride (horses, etc)

After some thought I decided I wanted to start a thread specifically for those of us who are dealing with pilos and also have horses in our lives! Also, anyone who rides a motorcycle or bike - please contribute too as I believe we can all help each other. Riding horses, bikes or motorcycles, as we know, are activities that can be particularly rough on the tailbone area! I thought a thread for sharing suggestions might be a good idea.

Some ideas of things to share:

  • What do you ride? What type of riding do you do?
  • How long have you been riding? How long have you been dealing with PD? Do you believe your pilo may have been aggravated by riding?
  • Have you had surgery? If so, which procedure(s)? Have you gone back to riding yet, and if so, how is it working out?
  • If you have not had surgery - do you still ride? Any suggestions for keeping things under control, for those of us who are unable to get/do not want surgery for the time being?
  • How do you deal with flareups and how do they affect your riding?
  • Do you use any cushions on your seat/saddle when riding? If so, what type?
  • Any other experiences/ideas that might help others

I have two horses and love to ride...I've ridden regularly for 15 years (English and Western) and never had any problems until a few weeks ago, when my pilo reared its ugly head for the first time.:rolleyes: In my case I therefore don't believe my pilo was caused by riding alone.

I have had one lancing and drainage procedure (2 weeks ago) and it is healing nicely. After doing lots of research on this site (thanks Sasha - it's amazing!!) I insisted the doc make the incision away from the midline. I think this has, in-part, contributed to my fast healing. I have one or two pits in the midline. I have been told my PD is relatively mild.

My second year of graduate school starts in 6 weeks, and none of the surgeons on the hall of fame list is anywhere near me at home or at school (closest is several hundred miles). Lucky me! :eek: I really wanted to get pit picking done but I just can't see spending the $$$ to travel and get that done...I'd rather wait and see how long I have until my next flareup, and then if necessary travel and use that $$$ to get a cleft lift. I have opted against closed and open excision as I believe they are more invasive than necessary, and I have other health conditions that could impair extensive wound healing.

I have not ridden since my incision and drainage procedure 14 days ago. Although it looks like I'm completely healed and I have no pain/itching/redness...I'm nervous about riding again. I won't let the pilo stop me from riding, but it makes me anxious to not know how my riding will affect the thing. Being new to all this I realize it will largely be about trial and error. I've been taking a coccyx cushion with me everywhere when I know I'll be sitting for awhile - it's great and I highly recommend one!

Any riders have suggestions? I don't ride competitively...I usually ride Western but I'm thinking about going back to my English riding roots for awhile because the close-contact saddle seat sits you farther forward, so more of your weight is on your seat bones and not your tailbone. I love riding Western and have been doing mostly that for a few years, but since you sit "on your pockets" in a Western saddle that puts more pressure on the tailbone, so I think avoiding that for awhile might be better. Who knows - maybe it won't make a difference.

I look forward to discussing ideas and sharing experiences with my fellow riders! Cyclists and motorcyclists, please join in as well! ;)
GREAT thread!

As most of you know, my son was an avid equestrian (took lessons, but no horse of his own) for years, then found out he had pilonidal cysts. We, as a family, tried to deal with the belief that the ONE thing he loved most in the world, he would not be able to do ever again...ride horses. After a lancing that wouldn't heal and a newly developing cyst, we scheduled a cleft lift. Surgery was a piece of cake, had a minor issue with an undissolved stitch, then he healed up fine. Surgeon told us he could not say how the cleft lift would be affected if he went back to riding...he said he had no other patients who were equestrians, so he had nothing to compare him to. Jared decided to take that chance....he started riding again....and fell off at a canter and landed on his backside only 3 months after his cleft lift. The wound held, no reopening, no reoccurance. He is now pilo free for over two years, and still rides. We bought him his own horses now.... he owns a 9 yr. old Belgian mare he name Epona (a celtic horse goddess) and a 5 yr. old off track Thoroughbred gelding he named Beauseant (the battle cry and banner of the Knights Templar)...we call him Beau for short. ;)

He does not use any cushions, though I have seen some in tack magazines, and they look like a good idea. He does minimal western riding, mainly trail riding, but his major focus is dressage, english riding of course. he has found that western saddles, with the higher cantles and more closed in seating were a bit uncomfortable early on after his surgery. Any long or reoccuring western riding would have been a bit too much for him in the months after his surgery. The english saddles, however, never gave him any pain or discomfort, even in the early months after the surgery. The shallow seating and low cantle don't really push on the cyst area much at all. He can ride western now without the pushing and discomfort he felt early on, but he doesn't usually ride western much or for long periods, so I can't say he wouldn't be a bit sore after a 3 hour trail ride...but then again, who wouldn't?? Even normal people.:p

I cannot say if riding is a predisposing factor for him getting pilos in the first place, but I doubt it. Reason being is that he's been riding for two years now since his cleft lift, and there has been no reoccurance. In his case, when his cyst first came to our attention, he was on Prednisone, a steriod, for his asthma. Prednisone lowers your immune system, wreaks havoc with it actually, and we are supposing his body was not able to fight off the bacterial invasion because of the Prednisone. If not for the medicine, he may not have had a flare up ever, or for years and years...we are not even sure if he even HAD this disease before the prednisone. Likely, he had pits, to be sure.....but they were not active before being put on the steroids.

My advice to you would be to buy one of those saddle cushions, especially if you plan to ride western.... They look like a superb idea for people with tailbone problems.

Keep the cleft clean, dry and hairless, and since your case is mild, you may never need a surgery like cleft lift. It's worth a shot. Use baby wipes instead of toilet paper. It makes a big difference. Really.

IMO, riding does NOT exacerbate or create pilos. The fact that you've been riding for 15 yrs without a problem and my son for over two years AFTER the cleft lift would make this assumption seem logical.

BTW, my son also rides his bike alot, on average he mountain bikes about 20 to 30 miles a week.

That is the beauty of cleft lift, it gave him a normal life back.
I really hope you're right about riding not exacerbating the problem. It's been 16 days since my lancing and drainage and I'm essentially healed but I'm really scared to go riding. Not knowing how this thing is going to react to riding is driving me crazy...oh well. I'll just have to cross my fingers! If I end up needing surgery I have to wait until next summer when school is out, so hopefully I can maintain it well enough until then.