Wonky horse or wonky rider? Here is a piece on how horse and rider can benefit from Osteopathy!
We sometimes have the feeling that our horse is ‘wonky’ but is it the horse or is it us?
Horse riders will always have a dominant side which can lead to biomechanical changes in our body which can sometimes translate to the horse.
These ‘dominant sides’ don’t just come into play when riding but also whilst doing yard duties, such as mucking out and always shovelling with the same arm.
These ‘dominances’ can often lead to muscular imbalances, especially around the pelvis, which can change the way your joints, and your body move. This will also affect the way you sit on your horse which can impact on your riding and the way your horse moves.
What can you do to prevent this?
On the horse:
- Once in the saddle, align your body, imagine a straight line running from yours ears, through your shoulder and hips and down to your heels.
- Distribute your weight evenly over your seat bones.
- If it is safe to do so, ride without stirrups! Riding without stirrups will make you aware if you are leaning to one side or leaning backwards or forwards.
Out of the saddle:
- Strengthen your core using exercises such as planks and sit up’s.
- Strengthen your legs and gluteal muscles using exercise such as squats.
- Take up yoga or pilates to ensure you are stretching and strengthening your whole body.
- See your osteopath! They will be able to identify and resolve any muscular issues or joint restrictions which are impacting on your riding.
And what if my horse is ‘wonky’?
People often forget that whilst we encounter sore spots and muscular issues from riding, so does the horse!
It may be that as rider you don’t have any issues, but the horse may be translating theirs to you! You may often notice they have a favourite rein which they go better on, or maybe there have been some recent behavioural changes.
Osteopathy can also help your horse, your osteopath will look at your horse as a whole and identify any muscular or joint issues and will be able to provide treatment to resolve these issues or give you the best advice to get your horse moving properly again.
Osteopathy can also be used as a maintenance treatment to keep your horse in the best condition regardless of them being a competition horse or a happy hacker!