Archive for July, 2011

Solihull Horse Riding Injuries treated at Atlas Pain Relief Centre

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Advice on preventing unwanted injuries when looking after horses from our resident Solihull Equine Osteopath at Atlas Pain Relief Centre in Birmingham.

When you think of injuries associated with horse riding most people would think of traumatic incidents such as fractures resulting from a fall, indeed studies of common riding injuries have shown that the areas of the body most commonly injured are the upper extremities and the head and neck, with fractures, sprains, whiplash and head injuries being the most common types of injuries. Back pain is another symptom experienced when looking after horses.

 These types of injuries are widely accepted in the equine world as just part of the sport and indeed if your beloved nag has decided today is the day to send you on a flying lesson then there is little you can do except brace yourself,  prepare for landing and hope nothing hurts too much once you’ve bit the dust!

 What people don’t think of is the stress and strain they put their bodies through doing all the daily tasks involved in owning and caring for their horse. The two 5ltr buckets of water you dragged across the yard, the wheelbarrow which felt like half a tonne that you had to push for half a mile to the muck heap, all that lifting and carrying of shavings bales/hay bales/feed bags etc etc, ever considered what that might be doing to your body and the way you ride?

So much of what we do with horses is so very one sided, mucking out, sweeping the yard, carrying buckets, next time you are doing those daily chores have a think about which side you do everything on – bet you it’s all one sided and probably on your right. This is going to lead to greater muscle development in some areas of the body more than others, that coupled with old injuries that most riders carry is likely to lead to crookedness in your posture.

 This maybe something you are already aware of, perhaps something your instructor has mentioned, maybe you can never get your stirrups quite right. Having a crooked posture whilst riding is not something that it is purely aesthetically displeasing it will affect the way your horse reacts to your aids and how supple he is to ride.

If you think of a seesaw, in order for that seesaw to sit level the weight has to be equal at both ends, this is the equivalent of a rider sat with a straight spine and an even weight distribution being transmitted down the seat bones, through the saddle to the horses back.

Now if we add weight to one side of the seesaw it will tip to the heavier side, this is the same as when a rider with a straight spine wants to turn whilst riding, they will look and turn their body towards the direction of travel thus putting more weight through the seat bone on the side of the direction of turn, giving an aid for the turn to the horse. 

 In the rider that sits with a crooked spine the weight distribution becomes uneven so instead of the weight being evenly distributed through both seat bones the riders weight will constantly be transmitted with more weight down one side as in the aid for a turn. Let’s consider that the rider sits in a crooked position where more weight is constantly transmitted through the left hand side, in order for this rider to ride a left hand circle it should be relatively easy as their weight is already predominately on the left, however when it comes to riding a right turn the rider will find it much harder.

 Going back to the seesaw analogy if the seesaw is tipped to the left it will need twice as much weight on the right hand side in order to get it to swing back to the right. Thus a rider who is sitting with most of their weight being transmitted through the left seat bone, due to a crooked posture, will find it much harder to work their horse in a right bend. So if your horse has always been stiffer to work on one rein despite having had his back, teeth, tack, feet and everything else you can think of checked, maybe, it’s time to get yourself checked out?!

Visit www.solihullosteopath.co.uk for advice and an appointment

 or telephone 0121 745 8792