How can Physiotherapy help me?
As Chartered Physiotherapists we are all qualified to assess,treat and rehabiliate human as well as equine musculoskeletal injury and maximise athletic performance. As such we are uniquely placed to address the injuries you have or assess your biomechanics and maximise your performance as a rider.
Assessments commonly take place on land rather than ridden first. This ensures that a comprehensive assessment of your muscuuloskeletal issues, posture, symmetries, strengths and weaknesses can be made without confusing the issue of assessing how these may change when you and your horse interact. If for example your horse has a weakness through one hind limb, research has show that the saddle may slip to one side thus affecting the way you ride. Therefore we ideally assess you as a rider on land, provide you with a summary of your main strengths and weaknesses and provide you with a home exercise programme to address these. We can then progress to a ridden assessment on the mechanical horse (Margaret or Hercules) at the rider performance centre at Hartpury College (http://www.hartpury.ac.uk/university-centre/facilities/equine/rider-performance-centre/). This is an amazing facility, Margaret is a Racewood 3 day event simulator (one of only five in the world but the first in Europe). Whatever your discipline you can ride a Grand Prix dressage test, jump a course of show jumps, ride cross country, as well as going for a hack. As such you can have a physiotherapy assessment with an experience physiotherapist who has already identified your strengths and weaknesses on land and you can see how these manifest when whilst riding. This allows you to have hands on physiotherapy to address these weaknesses whilst riding through your dressage test or repeatedly jumping a specific type of fence. You can then address your weaknesses and strengthen without putting undue stress on your horse – its like going to the gym on horseback!
Human physiotherapy treatment may take the form of hands on treatment, proprioceptive taping (kinesotape) or may be as simple as providing you with a custom made home exercise programme to address your strengths, weakness and asymmetries.
We can then feedback all of this information to your instructor to help you and your horse achieve your goals.