Sophie Wells’ blog: the before and the after

  • We had our last squad training session of the year last week. It was a quiet one, so it was a good opportunity for me, Emma Sheardown and Angela [Weiss] to look into how physio and osteopath treatments affect the rider on the horse through different movements.

    Mark Fisher, the World Class saddler, uses the Pliance system, which records pressures underneath the saddle. Physio Helen Mathie and osteopath Karen Robertson were both involved. I used Reece for this excercise. Looking at next year it’s all about getting the best out of each movement, and I’ve always felt my pelvis inhibits that. So this was a good opportunity to really look into it.

    We set a sequence of movements in walk, trot and canter — from a simple circle all the way to canter pirouettes and one-time tempi changes. I did the sequence on both reins before a treatment, then again after the physio and osteo. We then did the test again the next day to see if the treatment was still effective the next day.

    The results are still being analysed but the initial readings found a very positive link between treating and making my pelvis and weight-bearing much more even. We’ve always believed in it, and I frequently have treatment, but it’s interesting to get some science behind it and also shows how important the rider is, and how much it affects the horse. Hopefully it will make people more aware of themselves if they are having problems, rather than blaming the saddle or the horse.

    What winter is for

    I also took Jorge (pictured above) to training to get him out again, and make use of the support team we have there. He took it all in his stride — as you can see — and training over the last few days seems to have really clicked. His canter has become much more established and I’ve started teaching him the changes, which is exciting and just what winter is for!


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