Horse riders are often carrying old injuries, restrictions or weaknesses that their horse then has to compensate for. Sarah is an experienced ‘human’ sports physiotherapist who has been working with elite riders for a number of years. Sarah is an ACC provider and is registered with the New Zealand Physiotherapy Board and with the Health Professions Council (HPC) in the UK. She is a member of the New Zealand Society of Physiotherapy (MNZSP) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK.

A rider assessment involves taking a detailed clinical history, a thorough physiotherapy assessment on the ground and then the observation of the rider on the horse. A problem plan is established and then an appropriate treatment plan is discussed. Treatment may involve a number of physiotherapy modalities and techniques, soft tissue mobilisation, dry needling, joint mobilisations and or manipulation, neuromuscular techniques, electrotherapy, strengthening and stabilising exercises, stretches and often includes taping or theraband – for example postural or facilatatory taping using either rigid sports or elastic tape (kinesiotape or dynamic tape) to assist correct posture on the horse, switch off overactive muscles or activate weak muscles, theraband and rehabilitation techniques.

Common rider faults are actually caused by asymmetries and abnormal movement patterns in the riders body, weaknesses and restrictions that when dealt with can correct these faults and enable the rider to progress in their training. Many riders have chronic issues with posture, pain, poor core stability and one-sidedness and physiotherapy can help overcome these with manual treatments and specific exercise programmes in order to achieve optimum performance from each horse and rider combination.

Contact Vetphysio Limited for more information on horse and rider assessments and clinics. Group demonstrations are also available on request.