This is a favorite topic of mine. One, I am managing my own shoulder injury at the moment and two I get many emails from both riders and health professionals around the world asking for information and advice on managing horses riders with an injury.
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We all know riding is our passion and we all know the general public, health professionals in particular label horse riding dangerous. Well everybody is right but to be fair more money is spent on contact sports to rehabilitate injuries than in horse riding. Horse riding produces more repetitive inflammatory injuries rather than high impact traumas. Although my injury is an impact injury from a direct fall many riders suffer ongoing pain, stiffness and soreness in many parts of their body on a daily basis.
Shoulders are a primary target for sprains, strains, and minor trauma injuries. Lifting, throwing, pulling, tugging, dragging, rails around the tail ramp on a float etc etc all cause pain. All these objects including throwing rugs and lifting feed buckets, even grooming horses regularly all affect the shoulder and or upper limbs joints. The lower back is another common and painful area to affect horse riders.
So How Do We Manage Injuries In Horse Riders?
I believe and state “horse riding is good for your body” I state “horse riding is not bad for your back”. The job of caring for your horse is the damaging part of the sport. Also, obviously, I have to say falling off IS bad for you, but if you don’t fall off and ride to your own level then horse riding is one of the best sports for fitness, tone, and happiness.
Managing Skill level
Horse riders seem to spend so much money on lessons. Well this is great, but like all industry’s be careful, not all instructors will teach you good skills. If you are progressing and your strength, confidence, and performance improve then your instructor is of good value. If your instructor begins to reproduce the same lesson over and over and repeats the same instruction then, 1 you have reached the limit of that instructor and time to change or 2, you have a block in yourself you need another approach or more professional instruction, or 3 your need more time between lessons to establish the skills you are learning.
Re point 1. Many instructors are great with the initial basics and great to a certain level. This is a good thing but if you are advancing beyond the skills of your instructor then don’t be held back and move on.
Re point 2. Many instructors are able to identify rider problems but don’t have the skill or knowledge to fix them. Eg. commonly I hear from riders who are told over and over “Your crooked..straighten up”. This is repeated every lesson. Yes, the instructor can identify the problem but the solution requires much more insight than just “Straighten Up”! This is one of the common problems I hear about from riders. This is a problem that requires much more knowledge from a professional. The Applied Posture Riding program has detailed information about this.
A rider will never be straight in a saddle if they can’t sit straight on a chair, walk straight or lie straight. It may be their spine, it may be their hips, it may be their pelvis, in many cases it is just long term habits with work, postures and lack of stretching. A riding instructor without knowledge of the musculoskeletal system will not be able to the instructor a rider on HOW to fix this. A rider coach is needed.
To manage skill level seeks and pay for the correct advice. Good skills lead to better and safer riding.
Managing Minor Injuries and Pain.
It seems a good idea to manage minor aches and pains before they become major aches and pains. We all manage pain… we don’t manage NO pain. So if you have minor aches then learn to deal with them everyday before they develop into serious problems that will require months of rehab, money and time away from horses not just riding, A broken shoulder cannot even feed a horse let alone rug or, ride a horse. A minor shoulder pain can lead to a complete spontaneous rupture over time as it decays away slowly. Bang one day it is fine the next day it is ruptured! It happens!!
Learn to stretch and exercise properly every day, don’t assume riding is enough.!
I have a great program to manage NO pain as well as manage existing injury.
Managing Major Injury as a Horse Rider.
This is a topic I have a great passion for. I receive many emails from horse riders all over the world wanting advice on their rehab because they are horse riders. I even get emails from doctors wanting advice about their injury as a horse rider. Of course, when you have a major injury you need to seek local professional medical advice and you need to follow it. Having scans and seeing specialists on their field is essential. If you break a bone and it takes six weeks to heal then it takes six weeks to heal, you or I cannot speed time up. If you try, it usually ends up in needing more time because you wreck it.
A CT scan or an MRI scan tell the truth, it is what it is. Healing time is real as well. The advice on what to do while healing is the area I get emails about. Many riders are advised to never return to riding again…hmm. imagine. I was told this as an 18 yo…Many riders are told to do nothing while they heal and many are told they can forget to get back to a level they dream of.
Well, we as riders know passion and determination is a powerful thing.
Understanding the horse rider, understanding the injury, having experienced many myself and the attitude of the medical system and being an elite horse rider myself I can put the package together. If you are injured you need to follow the medical advice, but with knowledge and common sense advice from an experienced therapist who specializes in the horse rider and horse riding you may well change the way you achieve what you want.
I look at the cause of pain and deal with why you have pain as well as how to manage and fix it. I look at the state of the injury and give advice about the mechanism that will harm and help. It may be as simple as changing the way you do what you do not stop what you do. EG I stand on a bench to brush my horse to protect my shoulders. I use a sack trolley to move feed around. I have gaps in my fence to walk through rather than climb under or over. I use a back brace for pain control in my back.
My passion is horses and I also love seeing riders return to their passion after injury and most of all love seeing riders achieve what they have been told to stay away from If you have a problem with your riding and have reached a block in your progress and have a look at the Applied Posture Riding program. If I can help I will, fill in the subscribe form ,follow Applied Posture Riding on facebook, read and share you story.