The Ophena magnetic safety stirrups can prevent serious falls, but also help many riders to improve their position and address their shortcomings. Some of them, like Lucie, are disabled. Ophena's patented technologies can therefore be a precious help for these riders, enabling them to practice horse riding on their own.
An animal lover, Lucie T. started riding when she was 5 years old. In 2016, while preparing for the French show jumping championships, she suffered a very serious cardiovascular accident. After many surgeries, she was bedridden for a long time and lost a lot of muscle mass. In spite of rehabilitation, today aged 20, Lucie faces a persistent problem:
“I can't control my left side anymore. Even if I can walk and there is progress, I may never regain my motor skills in my fingers. It's complicated for horse riding, since it can be scary to put force in my left leg when I can't feel it.”
After this accident, Lucie was offered a horse. Valo became part of her family to help her with her rehabilitation. The gentle chestnut horse with great empathy allowed Lucie to quickly resume, first in the form of horse therapy. “Even before I walked again, I got back on my horse, and he was always very attentive and patient with me.”
As soon as she resumed her sport, Lucie's goal was to be able to get back on riding like before, without assistance. She had to adapt to the horse right away, with special equipment to help her regain her autonomy.
Unfortunately, 3 years after her accident, the lack of sensitivity in her left leg was still a problem: she often lost her stirrup, so she regularly had to be helped to place her foot correctly. “I had safety stirrups before, but I was losing them way too often. When I rode, I had to have someone next to me to put my shoes back on every two minutes. I had to stop all the time, and it was no longer bearable.”
That's when a friend of hers introduced her to the Ophena S magnetic stirrups. A year ago, stunned by this innovation that could be the perfect solution to her problem, she took the step. I looked into it, and found the concept really cool. The budget was substantial as a student, but there was a trial period available, so I ended up ordering.”
Lucie knew that if the test was not successful, she could benefit from the 60-day trial guarantee and receive a full refund.
“My foot is steady, and I'm independent again.”
At the end, her pair of Ophena safety stirrups never left her home. After a short period of getting used to the magnetic sensation, Lucie adopted them. “The first time I put them on, it surprised me that I felt really hooked. But once I got used to them, it was great: my foot doesn't come out of the stirrup anymore, it's in the right place, steady, and above all I can be autonomous again.”
What does Lucie like best about her Ophena S stirrups?
- Their magnetism
- Their aesthetics
Logically, what Lucie was mainly looking for in Ophena was magnetism, an answer to her lack of control in her left leg. “These stirrups have helped me show that I can do things on my own, with a little help that even riders without health problems appreciate.”
“I can finally ride on my own and put pressure on my left foot.”
Their innovative features don't stop there, Lucie also appreciates the original and luxurious design of the Ophena S stirrups, with their stainless steel monobranch. “They’re really pretty. Everyone who sees them tells me they look great.” Finally, their safety aspect is an important point for Lucie, who although she has never fallen in them, has absolute confidence in them: “I feel that they come off easily even when I take them off to go down, so I am sure that if I fell, my feet would come off.”
Lucie therefore recommends magnetic safety stirrups to anyone with her type of disability: motor difficulties, sensitivity and control problems in the leg should not be a barrier to riding. “Having someone constantly with me on foot to help me put my stirrups back on was not the real riding I wanted to do. I wanted to get closer to "normal" horseback riding, and I did.”
Lucie's goals are now to practice the sport outdoors. The fear of losing her stirrups when she is alone, has long prevented her from going for a ride. But this is now a fading memory: “I intend to go into the outdoors and trekking, and that's where the stirrups are great. With the tree branches, my foot could be hooked. Before, I was very afraid to go out for a ride alone, not being able to put my stirrup back on and risk falling off in case Valo got scared.”
“The Ophena stirrups make me feel safe when I'm outside.”
Today, Lucie wants to work with animals. Undergraduate student in psychology, she would like to specialize in zootherapy and animal mediation. Spending her time in contact with her horse, her relationship with him is essential. Their evolution over the last five years is a proof of Lucie's determination despite her difficult life path, and Ophena is proud to accompany her in her riding.