Is Your Horse Telling You “You’re Unbalanced”?

Are you struggling to bend your horse in the corners or during shoulder-in and haunches-in?  Do you find it difficult to create a balanced trot down the centerline?

After trying multiple methods and trainers are you ready to give up on your dream to advance with your horse to the next level? 

You are not alone!

The horse’s biomechanics can only accommodate for so much when the rider is struggling with their own physical alignment issues.

Too often, riders overlook their own muscle imbalances or joint limitations as reasons they could be struggling to build a strong top-line, complete a correct haunches-in, or create a balanced trot down the centerline.

Working with a Doctor of Physical Therapy is a great way to learn more about rider muscle imbalances or joint limitations that may impact the horse’s comfort and balance.

A way to see if you need physical therapy for equestrians is to look at your horse. Does your horse have difficulty picking up or holding a particular canter lead? Does your horse have difficulty with straightness? Does your horse’s shoulder fall into the circle? If the rider is struggling with movement patterns due to biomechanical limitations, it will show up in the horse’s movement patterns as well. 

The Relationship Between Horse/Human Movement Patterns 

Understanding the relationship between horse and human movement patterns can give you an inside look at how your body impacts your horse’s development. A Doctor of Physical Therapy can help you understand these movement patterns.

Horses are so greatly influenced by minute movements of their riders that they have grown to mimic the human body position. For example, when a rider leans forward, the horse falls onto their forehand and loses the power from the hind end. Physical therapy for equestrians can increase awareness of your own body and minimize negative habits like this. 

Becoming a Skilled Dance Partner 

Think of horseback riding as dancing…
Imagine being dead weight on the horse’s back which moves like a sack of potatoes. If you’re dancing with a sack of potatoes, you can carry the weight, you can mold the weight, but you’re doing all of the work so it’s much harder. 

If you’re dancing with a floppy and poorly skilled partner, the routine will appear choppy and uncoordinated. You’ll most likely spend a large part of the dance stepping on each other’s toes.

After dancing with a poor partner, you may develop bad habits. You may start shuffling your feet to avoid getting your toes stepped on or looking down and slouching to watch your partner’s movements.

Now, when you dance with a balanced coordinated partner, those bad habits will stay with you and will be hard to shake. Your motor memory learned to dance that way and now it needs to unlearn it by identifying the imbalances and practicing the skill correctly– a journey made much easier with advanced physical therapy.   

Dancing with a skilled, coordinated partner should feel effortless and light. When developing the proper way of dancing, you stand up straight, look up, and move your feet lightly. Physical therapy for equestrians can help you unlearn incorrect movement patterns due to poor postural habits, pain, joint  limitations, or muscle imbalances to become a better dance partner for your horse.

The Case of a Twisted Seat   

I had one client whose saddle slipped perpetually to the left. No matter what gait they were in, what exercise they were doing, what direction they were going, the saddle continued to slip to the left. After first looking to the horse for an answer, the rider started to question if they were the problem. The rider saw many different equine practitioners before finding me, a Doctor of Physical Therapy for equestrians, specializing in movement analysis of both horse and rider. The rider described struggling with their pelvis twisting to the right, which caused saddle slippage to the left. After assessing the rider off the horse, the problem turned out to be a hyperextended right knee causing a twist in the pelvis. 

Due to the hyperextended knee, the right hip shifted back causing the left hip to move forward. The horse could feel this subtle shift and the grounding of the right hip. Because of this, the horse was moving its rib cage and hind legs around the riders right hip bone. Over time, the horse developed a strong muscle memory of going around in this haunches-in position. 

The horse’s motor memory is a powerful tool that requires significant correcting if allowed to go on for too long. With the help of mounted video analysis, rider physical therapy assessment, prescribed exercises, and balance retraining, the rider was able to overcome the hyperextension and correct both themselves and the horse. 

The Horse Cannot Lie 

Your horse’s muscle patterns can tell you a lot about your own biomechanics. Overtime, your way of riding (which is directly impacted by your posture, joint flexibility, and muscle strength) molds your horse’s body.  When you use video motion analysis and advanced physical therapy to assess you and your horse’s biomechanics you can tell how your riding may be affecting the horse and vice versa. 

For example, my saddle gives me a clue as to how I sit unevenly. On the cantle there is a slight lowering of the left seat, encouraging my already imbalanced riding to cause my horse to lead with her right shoulder.  As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I knew it was important to figure out how to improve my seat to help my horse use her own carriage correctly. I found a physical therapist that I traveled to New York to see. He was able to correctly identify my postural and muscle imbalances and give me exercises. This has helped me to accommodate the imbalance and minimize the impact to my horse. 

A horse with an unbalanced rider is like a dancer with an unskilled partner. They may develop bad habits such as picking up the incorrect lead or falling into a circle. If you look at your horse and notice one shoulder is much bigger than the other, a lack of top-line muscle, or tiny hindquarters compared to a massive shoulder, you know that imbalanced riding could be causing incorrect muscle development. 

One of the best ways to solve this is to assess yourself first. Take advantage of my expertise as a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a skilled equestrian. I can help you understand the hidden truths about your biomechanics and how they impact your horse. Physio Equine Solutions offers video motion analysis, physical therapy for equestrians, and treatment strategies to increase performance, optimize muscle development, and help you build a better partnership between you and your horse.

If you are ready to discover the truth about your riding biomechanics, schedule your free consultation at 443-883-0724.

Does your horse have a Doctor of Physical Therapy? Why Not?

Most equestrians that are serious about riding have a big support team. It can include a veterinarian, chiropractor, massage therapist, dentist, trainer, barn manager, and even a saddle fitter. Double that for the rider’s support team and you can easily have twenty people helping you and your horse succeed. So why do you need to add a Doctor of Physical Therapy to that already big team?


A physical therapist who has specialized training as a Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner can work with equine veterinarians to develop and implement comprehensive programs to help increase overall strength and balance of the horse. As movement specialists, physical therapists add a different perspective on the biomechanics of the horse and rider interaction.


A physical therapist can be crucial in taking you and your horse to the next level. Equine physical therapy focuses on the health and fitness of both horse and rider. With the help of a Doctor of Physical Therapy, you can find yourself overcoming recurring injuries, moving up the levels, and becoming a more balanced athlete.

Equine physical therapy uses prescribed exercises, massage, and various modalities (such as laser therapy) to promote wellbeing and athletic performance.

This is quite different from a chiropractor, who focuses on bone alignment. A chiropractor may perform a hands-on evaluation, make adjustments by manipulating the skeletal system, and then move on. The horse or rider may need a few days off afterwards and the chiropractor would have to return periodically to adjust the team again. This leaves the team dependent on the success of treatment with regular appointments which may never address the true imbalance.

A physical therapist is also different from a massage therapist. While a Doctor of Physical Therapy may use massage as part of their treatment plan, they also prescribe strengthening exercises to solve the source of the problem. A massage therapist focuses on relieving muscle tension, eliminating pain and stress. This may also have to be repeated periodically in order to maintain results.

How a Physical Therapist Reduces Chance of Injury

Equine physical therapy identifies and minimizes areas of weakness. A custom treatment plan is then drawn up to strengthen those weak spots. If they were left to persist, injuries would be more likely to occur.

For example, a horse that is predisposed to lean to the left is subjecting the joints and muscles on the left side of his body to more wear and tear, leading to an early breakdown in performance. A physical therapist could help identify this and provide exercises to rebalance the horse before the breakdown occurs.


Physical Therapy Can Improve Injury Rehabilitation

Let’s be honest, equestrians and their equines are not good at sitting still. Horses like stall rest about as much as your average rider likes to be confined to the couch. When injuries do occur, it can be difficult to allow oneself to rest and heal. Having a physical therapist on your team can safely shorten recovery time for happier horses and riders.

Exercises prescribed by a Doctor of Physical Therapy allows you to strengthen the necessary muscle groups, while still allowing injuries to heal. This means you won’t be half as weak when you’re let off stall or couch rest and can get back to doing what you love sooner.


How a Physical Therapist Enhances Performance

A proactive approach to recovery can allow you to minimize permanent damage and recurrence. By completing exercises as prescribed by a physical therapist you can regain balance and lessen the load on the injured body part.

Emily received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University in 2005. After graduating, she worked at MedStar Washington Hospital Center before becoming an American Board of Physical Therapy Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist in 2013. In 2017, Emily combined her passion for horseback riding and physical therapy by successfully completing The University of Tennessee Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner program.

All of this training and experience allows Dr. Shields to enhance athletic performance, reduce pain, and prevent injuries.

If you want to reap the benefits of having a physical therapist on your equine team, get in touch today to learn more about the services we offer here.

Physio Equine Solutions is here to help!
If you have any questions, you can talk to Emily directly. We’ll find the physical therapy solution that’s right for you and your horse.
Call or Text for Free Consultation 443-883-0724
Email Questions to Emily

Interested in Hosting a Rider Physical Therapy Assessment Clinic at your farm?

Did you know rider asymmetries are common?
Even highly skilled riders have asymmetries!


A functional movement assessment of the rider on and off the horse allows for a better understanding as to rider fundamental movement limitations or commonly called “asymmetries.”

The Rider Physical Therapy Assessment offered by Physio Equine Solutions combines human and equine functional movement biomechanics with sport specific analysis of motion. This allows the physical therapist to discern the underlying cause of the asymmetry or limited functional movement. Once the big picture cause – effect relationship is identified, appropriate physical therapy interventions and exercise programs can be implemented and monitored to decrease rider pain and/or asymmetry to improve rider and horse performance.

Are you interested in hosting a clinic? Minimum of 4 riders for mounted assessment required.

Email us for clinic availability.

  • Lecture will be from 8:30a-10:30a
  • Objectives
    • What is Rider Biomechanics?
    • Rider Anatomy
    • Human Functional Movements
    • Rider Strength vs. Stability
    • Pitfalls of Rider Biomechanics
    • Unmounted Rider Warmup
  • Rider Physical Therapy Assessments -unmounted 10:30a-12:30p
  • Lunch on your own 12:30-1p
  • Rider Physical Therapy Assessments -mounted 1-5p

Clinic Levels of Participation:
1. Mounted Assessment $150 (4 maximum)
2. Unmounted Assessment $75 (3 maximum)
3. Audit $25 (as space allows)



What to Expect with an Equine Physical Therapy Assessment

  • History of Horse
  • Presenting Complaint and Nature of Injury
  • Review treatments, injections, or surgeries previously performed by DVM for presenting complaint
  • Standing Inspection of Horse (Observation, Palpation, Range of Motion)
  • Horse Gait Observation with video recording (consent required by owner of the horse) unmounted and/or mounted by usual rider over soft and hard surfaces
  • Review of available diagnostic imagery/readings of horse
  • Review of DVM diagnosis/prognosis of current injury
  • Discussion with DVM if horse is amenable to rehabilitation with physical therapist
  • Discuss owner’s expectation of rehabilitation
  • Create/Develop in collaboration with horse’s DVM Outcomes/Goals that are realistic, responsible, and timely with adjustments to rehab care plan

Please Note: A Physical Therapist will not diagnose equine problems. For a Physical Therapist to treat your horse, a DVM must evaluate and agree to work collaboratively with a properly trained physical therapist for the rehabilitation care of the horse.

Dr. Shields, Physical Therapist for the Horse and Rider

Emily Shields received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University in 2005. She had been working at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, a Level 1 Trauma center, in Washington, DC since 2005 where she has gained the skills and knowledge to treat individuals with a variety of cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurologic, traumatic, and orthopedic conditions.

In May of 2013, Emily achieved the American Board of Physical Therapy Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist.

Since 2015, Emily has been focusing her clinical education and skill on the biomechanics of the horse and rider as well as common equine injuries.

In December of 2017, Emily successfully completed The University of Tennessee Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner program. Since then, she has been working with local equine vets around Woodbine, MD treating horses with injuries amenable to physical therapy treatments.

She has attended the Animal Rehabilitation Institute’s “Functional Assessment of the Equestrian” to learn techniques to assess and treat the rider on the ground as well as mounted.

Read more about my story and how my business got started.

What is a CERP?

Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner can be a veterinarian, veterinary technician, physical therapist, physical therapy assistant, or students of these professions that completed a postgraduate certificate course offered by the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville.

The Equine Rehabilitation Certificate Program (CERP) is a RACE approved credentialed program in equine rehabilitation which includes online courses, live labs, case studies, and a cumulative examination.

CERP Team Approach to Equine Rehabilitation:

As a CERP, we design and implement a comprehensive rehabilitation program for commonly occurring musculoskeletal, integumentary and neurologic conditions of the equine, document the rehabilitation programs using standardized forms.

As a CERP we are taught to understand the regulatory issues surrounding the practice of equine rehabilitation. We learn the different types of therapeutic modalities and mechanisms of action. We are knowledgable in the common causes and medical or surgical therapy for tendons and ligaments. We are aware of how to monitor response to injury and healing of tendons and ligaments. We are able to correlate the rehabilitation program with the physiologic processes that the patient is undergoing during its rehabilitation.

https://www.utvetce.com/equine-rehab-cerp

An Insider’s Guide to Equestrian Pre- and Post-Ride Workouts

Equestrians treat their horse as “the athlete,” however consider themselves last on the list. Why don’t we take our health seriously? Every competitive athletic sport has a stretching program to prevent injuries and improve performance. We have a program for our horses– why don’t we have one for ourselves?

It is time that we, as equestrians, take our fitness and health seriously to reduce our risk of injury. It doesn’t have to be regular pilates practices or a stretching routine worthy of a yoga guru. I’m talking about a short controlled and coordinated equestrian physical therapy program that will have you ready to be a better partner for your horse.

Why You Need Pre/Post Ride Workouts

It’s important that riders match their horses in terms of fitness and health. A rider who is out of shape will quickly find themselves overwhelmed by a very fit horse. In contrast, an extremely fit rider could push an out-of-shape horse too far, leading to injury. 

Fitness and health are not synonymous. Being fit can be easily obtained through practice, whereas health must be cultivated. Fitness is about using balance, coordination, and cardio to create the physical stamina that benefits the horse. Health is when all physiologic body systems within horse and rider are working in harmony.

If you and your horse are having an off day, you may want to consider the health of you and your partner. Were you stuck at school, work, or in traffic that increased your frustration level or gave you a headache? Was your horse stressed by their stablemate calling out to them? These are all examples of you and your horse’s health not being in balance. 

Of course we can’t be perfect all the time, that’s impossible! To improve your riding and become skilled dance partners, both rider and horse should match fitness and health levels. A pre- and post-ride workout, as well as a general fitness program, will help you achieve balance more frequently. A specific equestrian physical therapy program can help you create a plan that works for you.

The benefits of a pre- and post-ride workout are huge. A simple stretching routine can increase circulation, delivering oxygen and nutrients to working muscles. It also helps you become mentally prepared to ride your best, every ride. Through your workout, you can activate the right muscle groups for great equitation. 

On the other hand, a post-ride workout can prevent an excessive drop in blood pressure or pooling in the lower extremities. If we stop working out too suddenly our blood pressure will drop to or below our pre-workout levels. This can cause light-headedness and pooling in lower extremities. It’s for these same reasons that we walk our horses to cool down as well. A Doctor of Physical Therapy (like me!) can design the right pre- and post-ride workout based on an equestrian physical therapy program to help you obtain all of these benefits.

Types of Stretches

To get all of the benefits of pre- and post-ride workouts, it’s important to understand the different types of stretching and when to use each one. A Doctor of Physical Therapy can help you design an equestrian physical therapy plan that incorporates each one appropriately. There are several types of stretches, including: static, ballistic, dynamic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).

Static stretching targets a single muscle group by stretching for a period of time and then repeating. It is used mainly to increase muscle length and achieve an increased range of motion for a particular joint. One of its biggest benefits is to decrease muscle and joint injury. Research shows that this type of stretching is best done during your cool down workout, as it may decrease muscle force when performed prior to activity. 

Ballistic stretching provides a sharp contrast to static stretching. Instead of slow repetition, ballistic stretching involves uncontrolled and uncoordinated movements usually involving momentum and bouncing. While this can increase muscle flexibility, the risk of injury is much higher as it can cause unwanted soft tissue tearing.

Dynamic stretching uses controlled, coordinated functional movements of the joints and muscles without holding a position. These moves are repeated with an increasing range of motion and force. Dynamic stretching is best done as a warm up to increase muscle coordination during sport-specific movements.

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a physical therapy modality that activates muscle proprioceptors through facilitation, inhibition, strengthening, and relaxation of selected muscle groups. A PNF-trained partner assists with stretching by providing isometric contraction to a targeted muscle, followed by a relaxed passive stretch to increase muscle elasticity. A lot of technical terms there, let’s break it down.

For example, to increase the range of motion in your hamstrings, a Doctor of Physical Therapy may have you lie on your back and raise one leg straight up in the air. Then, they would use their expertise to push your leg to a straighter position and gently lengthen the hamstring. 

Research has shown that PNF stretching techniques provide the greatest increases in range of motion in the shortest amount of time. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I am trained and skilled at PNF stretching to achieve your fitness goals.

My Pre- and Post-Ride Program

I put my expertise as a Doctor of Physical Therapy to practice in my own riding routine. When I was 15 years old, I was competing in the hunter/jumper ring. I sustained a lumbar spine injury and eventually had to have a spinal fusion from the multiple traumas I had as a young competitive rider. Now, as an adult equestrian, I have had to learn how to incorporate a dynamic movement warm up to get me ready to be a better partner for my horse. I start with standing anterior, posterior, and lateral pelvic tilts. This helps me understand how my pelvis and spine are moving or not moving that day. 

In order to perform these pelvic tilts, place your hands on your hips. For a lateral tilt, shift your hip bones up and down vertically. For example, at one point your left hand will be higher than your right and vice versa. An anterior tilt moves the front of the pelvis horizontally forward and down, moving your rear end higher up in the air. A posterior tilt pushes the back of the pelvis down and your hip bones forward. 

Next, I have to turn on my gluteus medius. Yes, that’s right I said turn on! Since pain and muscle imbalances have caused poor posture habits in my past, my gluteus medius needs to be reminded to activate when and how I ask it to. This means tapping into muscle or motor memory. 

Start by standing with your left side close to the wall. Bring your left thigh parallel to the floor keeping your knee bent and your foot also parallel to the floor. Press your right foot into the floor, while pushing your left knee into the wall. Do not let your torso lean to any side. Make sure that you are in posterior pelvic tilt and your right knee is not bent. The gluteus medius of your right leg is now firing all its muscle fibers.

I don’t have to do all these exercises very long anymore because I have created new motor memories. I started at 1-2 minutes each, so really my pre-ride workout was no more than 5 minutes. Now on good days it takes about a minute, but some days are better than others. This drastic decrease in the time it takes me to perform my workout was all thanks to equestrian physical therapy.

My post ride workout consists of static stretches to help with the flexibility of muscles and joints. If at all possible you want to do these in the saddle while walking your horse out. 

The first one is to drop the stirrups and open my hip angle while bending my knee and lifting the foot. This is targeting my overworked and under-stretched hip flexors. To avoid goosing your horse, it’s important to keep your spine in neutral.

If my horse is cooperative, I then go into frog legs. This is when you flex your hips and knees lifting both legs out and off the saddle while keeping your pelvis neutral. This is stretching your back muscles. My horse is now able to tolerate me doing this at a walk– and I don’t feel like I’m falling off! Yes, I still hold onto the pommel for dear life sometimes. 

Lastly, I make sure my chest, upper back, and arms get stretched. Sometimes this happens off my horse (she only lets me get away with so many shenanigans on her back). It starts with stretching my arms forward clasping hands together while nodding my head down and holding it. With my hands still clasped I raise my arms to the sky rolling my shoulder back and down. Lastly, I drop my hands to my waist keeping my shoulder blades back and down. I try to touch my elbows behind my back as I look up, allowing the chest to open and the spine to extend. 

Treat Yourself Like the Athlete You Are

No matter how you look at it, equestrians are athletes and we deserve better than the treatment I see most riders offer their bodies. A pre- and post-ride workout is a great start to cultivating a better health and fitness mindset and become a better partner for your horse. As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, I offer the expertise you need to become your best self. If you want a pre- and post-ride workout program tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, sign up for a full rider assessment today. 

Do you have a Doctor of Physical Therapy in your phone’s contacts?

A Doctor of Physical Therapy who has had specialized training in the movement of both horse and rider unmounted and under saddle may be able to help you uncover physical imbalances. Physical therapists perform a hands-on evaluations, provide manual therapy techniques, and prescribe exercises to strengthen different body parts. This process of evaluating and strengthening or stretching exercises would continue until the imbalance was minimized.

A massage therapist or chiropractor may claim to provide physical therapy modalities to horses and riders. However, a Doctor of Physical Therapy is trained as a movement expert with specialized knowledge and decision making processes to help overcome inherent weaknesses in horse and rider which can lead to increased performance or decreased pain.

A more balanced rider is less likely to fall off while a stronger horse is less likely to injure himself during turn out. Overall, having a Doctor of Physical Therapy on your team can help you build strength where you need it most. This means fewer sore muscles, better balance, and a pain-free ride.

For example, if you’ve always struggled with the shoulder in, equine physical therapy can help you start to build the strength necessary to perform the movement. Prescribed exercises both mounted and unmounted offer your horse a stress-free way to build muscle, making a correct shoulder in that much easier.

Creating a balanced horse and rider pair isn’t done overnight. With the help of a Doctor of Physical Therapy, you can start moving towards increased athletic performance and an injury-free future.

Emily received her Doctor of Physical Therapy from Old Dominion University in 2005. After graduating, she worked at MedStar Washington Hospital Center before becoming an American Board of Physical Therapy Certified Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Specialist in 2013. In 2017, Emily combined her passion for horseback riding and physical therapy by successfully completing The University of Tennessee Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner program.

All of this training and experience allows Dr. Shields to enhance athletic performance, reduce pain, and prevent injuries.

If you want to reap the benefits of having a physical therapist analyze your riding biomechanics, get in touch today to learn more about the services we offer here.

If you have any questions, you can talk to Emily directly. We’ll find the physical therapy solution that’s right for you and your horse.
Call or Text for Free Consultation 443-883-0724
Email Questions to Emily

Equine Rehabilitation

Equine Rehabilitation is based on evidenced based protocols, tissue healing parameters, horse’s response to treatment, and consistently reassesses interventions to determine effectiveness of treatment strategies. At Physio Equine Solutions, a DPT who is a Certified Equine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CERP) will discuss and collaborate with your horse’s DVM to develop an individualized rehabilitation care plan to be implemented utilizing objective measures to monitor interventions to determine effectiveness of treatment strategies. 

Equine Conditions Amenable to Physical Therapy:

  • Traumatic or Surgical Wound Care
  • Post Surgical Care
  • Tendon & Ligament Injury Care
  • Muscle Trigger Point
  • Stifle Dysfunction

Rehabilitation Treatment by a CERP

  • Manual Therapy: Spinal and/or Joint Mobilization
  • Wound Management
  • Muscle and Joint Flexibility, Strength, Conditioning
  • Core Stability
  • Stall Rest Activities   
  • LiteCure Class 4 Laser

The elite athlete doesn’t just sit out, they exercise other sport specific muscle groups or modifies exercises to keep fit. Physical Therapists understand that active rest results in shorter rehab time which results in shorted down time! At Physio Equine Solutions, we promote DVM approved activity while on stall rest to maintain strength and flexibility to keep the horse active mentally and physically.

Rider Physical Therapy Biomechanics Assessment

Did you know rider asymmetries are common? Even highly skilled riders may have asymmetries! 

An Equestrian Sport Physical Therapist can evaluate the rider on and off the horse, as well as the horse, which allows for a better understanding as to rider fundamental movement limitations or commonly called “asymmetries”. The Rider Biomechanic Assessment offered by Physio Equine Solutions combines functional movement with sport specific analysis of motion. This allows the physical therapist to discern the underlying cause of the asymmetry or limited functional movement. Once the big picture cause – effect relationship is identified, appropriate physical therapy interventions and exercise programs can be implemented and monitored to optimize rider performance.

💥Message for Free Consult💥

Visit www.PhysioEquineSolutions.com for more information on services for horse and rider.

What happens when practice does not make perfect performance?

The Equestrian Sport is a sophisticated relationship between a horse and rider which demands physical and mental stamina, agility, and soundness in order to move in synchronous strength. All disciplines of horseback riding, however, have their own distinctive, risky, and highly unpredictable relationship between these two athletes leading to injury or poor performance. Through training, conditioning, and biomechanical analysis a comprehensive program can be created for both the equine and equestrian athlete to address optimal training performance.

Restore. Rebuild. Rebound.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) is highly trained in the art of Performance Rehabilitation which focuses on improving athletic performance, recovering from injury, and to prevent future injuries. A DPT who specializes in the Equestrian Sports has been trained in common mechanisms of injury, diagnoses, differential diagnoses, prognoses, and treatments for specific injuries encountered in both rider and horse. They have developed the critical reasoning skills to determine what can be utilized from a tool box to facilitate normal movement patterns to help you optimize riding performance.

The Ultimate Goal of Physical Therapy is to Restore Movement

Why is restoring movement important to both horse and rider?
1. Reduces abnormal movement patterns that produce pain while riding.
2. Reduces non-painful movement patterns that may increase risk of repetitive injury.
3. Reduces limited movement patterns that are causing plateaued riding performance.