As all passionate riders can attest, if anything happens in our lives to disrupt our being able to ride our beloved horses, even temporarily, it can be tough to handle. But if the disruption is due to a sudden or ongoing physical challenge, the difficulty only increases. We miss the smell of the barn, the time spent grooming our horse and definitely our connection once we’re in the saddle.
When A-list actress Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde, American Crime Story) was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in August 2018, she was optimistic that she could continue riding her grey gelding Mr. Nibbles. An avid rider prior to her MS diagnosis, Blair competed in the hunter/jumper ring, training with Kelly Jennings from Cellar Door Equestrian in California. Blair has documented her journey with MS on social media and in various interviews, never shying away from the physical and emotional toll the disease has had on her life and that of her young son.
And like so many of us horse lovers, Blair’s devotion to her horse and riding was evident in her many posts over the past two years. There were visits to the barn just to spend time with her horse and fellow equestrians, there were horse shows to watch her coach compete on Mr. Nibbles. But mounting up to ride herself seemed too much.
Suffice to say it was a massive achievement this past weekend when Blair was finally able to ride again. She posted two images on Instagram and wrote with her usual emotional candor about her life. “Getting back on my horse. It is what I miss the most about my current abilities or disabilities. But today, we managed to get it together to have a few minutes and I could not stop smiling. I can’t feel my left leg, or where my hips are. I break down and freeze when exhausted.
“We took it slow. I didn’t criticize my equitation too much. I am a mess with MS. I was told I would be jumping in a year when I was first diagnosed. I believed and have had shame I haven’t pulled through for the rest of us. I will always have MS, I now see. Always. But I am going to learn how to use this body, brain and emotions. I am so grateful to have a dear horse and trainer… I wish we were showing. One day. Maybe.”
All of us can relate to that goal, we wish her well in her journey back in the saddle.