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  • Sandra Oxtoby PT, MScPT, BKin

Stop Ignoring Your Equipment!

Stop Ignoring Your Equipment!

We all try to clean our tack as often as possible to maintain it. But do you analyze it? Did you know: your equipment is offering information about your riding performance.

Are you ignoring it?!?

In a sport physiotherapy assessment with any type of athlete, we will ask about environmental factors, which includes equipment use. With equestrians, here is a few dramatic examples of why….

Photo 1. (below): Rider (before Equus) with a history of a thoracic (T12) fracture and chronic right ankle sprains. Notice left seat bone has worn down significantly faster than the right.

Neivson and Timmis (2013) studied rider asymmetry and stability through force plate analysis in a static saddle and the riders response to physiotherapy. It was found that 80% of riders (non injured) sat on the right side of the mat initially (this follows previous studies highlighting the natural right sided bias asymmetry of horses and humans). When this pelvic instability occurs, there is unwanted movement of the lower limbs (also asymmetrically).

---> Of important note, our rider pictured above, does not fall into this category of right seat bone bias. However, an injury has significantly changed the dynamics of her pelvis in the saddle.

“Injuries are our best teachers”

- Scott Jurek

Photo 2. (below): Rider (before Equus) with chronic generalized ligament laxity. Notice the decreased wear on left inner calf in comparison to the right.

Photo 3. (below) Rider (before Equus) with previous history of tibial plateau (calf) fracture on right. Notice significant change in angle of the stirrups over 5 year period.

Photo 3. (below) Rider (before Equus) with previous history of tibial plateau (calf)  fracture on right.  Notice significant change in angle of the stirrups over 5 year period.

If you see differences, ADDRESS IT!

"Your health is an investment, not an expense"

-Author Unknown

Neivson and Timmis found riders who received focus pelvis physiotherapy for this issue showed a significant reduction in postural instability and an increase in central bias over the force plates. This is important because the pelvis is considered a fundamental region for postural control. Addressing the issues will increase your performance, improve injury prevention and most importantly help you have better communication with your horse.

Photo 4. (below) Skeleton Stanley (after Equus) with previous lumbar disc herniation. Notice pelvis with balanced ischial tuberositiy (seat bone).

“Long term consistency, trumps short term intensity”

- Bruce Lee

Book an equestrian specific Equus Physio appointment today. We direct bill many major insurance companies. Our treatments always include education and prescription of an off-horse targeted home exercise program through our online software. You are emailed exercises that have photos, descriptions and an outline of how much we want you doing them. Treatments may also consist of manual therapy (joint mobilization), soft tissue massage techniques (cupping), K Taping, Ultrasound, Class 3b Laser, Shockwave, Dry Needling, TENS, eSTIM and more.

We look forward to seeing you, bring the equipment or photos if you can.

You can book online, or give us a ring!

1 587 493 0444


Nevison, C.M. and Timmis, M.A. (2013) The effect of physiotherapy intervention to the pelvic region of experience riders

on seated postural stability and symmetry of pressure distribution to the saddle: A preliminary study. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. 8 (4), p. 261-264.

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