Rider Injuries

Every day physical movements put our bodies in postural positions that at times weaken the posture, flexibility, strength and stability of the body. The effects however often go undetected as not all can be felt within the body, but when they are combined with the other environmental factors these positions can greatly contribute towards the cause of an injury.

Those who engage in sport face the prospect of being injured at least once. Participation in most sports activities increases the risks of injury and the sport of horse riding is no exception. After a significant injury, lack of medical advice and ignorance can only make matters worse. Medical advice should be sort after a severe injury, it is not a good idea to ‘tough it out’.

Injury in respect to the Rider’s body after a fall could be mild, short lived and manageable and can be treated. Any injury if more severe can become a painful chronic injury that does not respond to physio and pain medication and a premature rush back to training and competition without treatment is not advisable.

When a rider falls off a horse a range of injuries may occur from the mild to the very severe. There may even be ongoing injuries from the fall that can affect the riders’ ability and movements to continue to ride without pain. Not all injuries are painful or permanent but if you do have a problem the Equestrifit Rehabilitation program can help the rider rehabilitate back to full fitness.

The horse care environment

Unlike many other sports, riding gives rise to many opportunities to be injured. For example as horses require ongoing maintenance and looking after, riders can find themselves spending much time washing, grooming, feeding and walking their horses. These activities prove hazardous in themselves:

The riding environment

Riders may think that developing a good seat, leg length in the stirrups and improving their lightness at the given horse paces; will support the natural posture, flexibility and core strength of the body or even improve it. However similar to many other sports the rider’s body is continually subject to the forces of gravity and the sheer forces coming up through the horse’ body.

In addition, the riders’ legs (or hips) are constantly at an oblique angle to the pelvis. Compare this position to the comfortable and natural seated position in a chair or car seat. This unnatural leg position puts some muscles on stretch and overly tightens others.

It might be thought that the various riding postures and movements necessary for the optimal riding positions (for all the various disciplines) have very little negative effect on the body and therefore do not give rise to injury.

Many riders agree that post riding soreness is attributed to the physical effort required to overcome the gravitational and sheer forces involved in the movement of the horse. Add to this the necessary flexibility so as to avoid gripping or tensing in the muscles and one can clearly see why riding is also a contributor to the likelihood of injury.

Types of injury

Injuries can be classified into simple groups – the first we’ll look at are chronic or acute injuries. A chronic injury can be described as an injury that has been present in the body for some time and is either in the process of healing or has rendered the affected area dysfunctional so that it cannot be used as before. An acute injury is one that has just become apparent (from a recent diagnosis) and is in the process of being treated. Both chronic and acute injuries can affect any part of the body and give rise to various amounts of pain and discomfort (pain being felt more in the acute than chronic setting).

Secondly, the type of body part can be further classified in any given injury as the table notes below:

Injury ClassificationAffected body part that is injured
MuscularThe muscles attached between their tendons
TendinitisThe tendons that attach the muscles to the bones
LigamentousThe ligaments that cross a joint and restrict movement
CartilaginousThe cartilage that reduce the wear and tear at the ends of some of the bones
SkeletalThe bones of the body
SprainAn injury to any joint of the body such as shoulder or ankle
StrainAn injury to any muscle of the body such as the calf muscle
OtherThese areas include the nervous system, body organs and other organic tissues

Riders can experience any of the injuries in the table above caused by any of the 3 environments (horsemanship, life and riding). Reducing the likelihood of the occurrences of these injuries (the principle of prevention) is one of the main focuses of the Equestrifit® Rider Fitness Program. A much improved flexibility, strength, stamina, balance and agility profile will lessen the effects of the repetitive nature of the riding movements, but how will the program help those who are at present injured?

How the Equestrifit® Rehabilitation Program deals with rider injuries

A return to riding as soon as possible will be on the keen mind of most injured riders but experience tells us that some injuries take a lot longer to recover than we might hope. Of course, the Equestrifit® Rehabilitation Program is geared around getting the rider back into the saddle as soon as it is safe to do so, but the rider can be assured that throughout its course, ongoing testing and assessment will be the evaluation used to indicate physical recovery and readiness.

What if I’m presently having physiotherapy or another medical therapy treatment?

When it comes to injury rehabilitation, the Equestrifit® Rehabilitation Program is not a replacement for physiotherapy or any other registered medical therapy program. It is a complementary system expertly designed for the specific posture and movement needs of the rider so that they can feel confident once again in the various positions on the horse. The other therapy treatments of course do not cater for this; that said, we do liaise with and recommend other therapists and welcome their input also.

How long does the Equestrifit® Rehabilitation Program run for?

Due to the many various injuries, their severity and the injury history (chronic or acute), this question is difficult to answer. What we do provide is a thorough screening and evaluation of the injury and we will then be able to give an indication of what the program can do and how long it may possibly take to rehabilitate the injury. Our estimates are always given honestly and with integrity.

To find out more how you can benefit from the Equestrifit® Rehabilitation Program call us today or uses our contact page to get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!