When our client Amy said she was interested in horse riding as one of our many Physio Active activities to support her rehab, she didn’t know she would enjoy it so much and meet Dolly the horse!
Amy was involved in a road traffic accident in 2014 which left her with a brain injury, multiple fractures and issues with balance, fatigue and cognition. Physio Matters started providing neuro-physiotherapy treatment for Amy last year during lockdown, using virtual sessions at first, then progressing to face-to-face and now including new activities.
“As part of her rehab, I organised a visit to Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre,” explains Eleanor Jones, Senior Neurological Physiotherapist at Physio Matters and part of Amy’s rehab team, together with our Neuro Rehab Assistant, Kat Holeckova.
“One of Amy’s goals is to go riding with her daughter, but she needed to start with an introduction to horse riding and learn some key skills first, as well as find out how she managed sitting on a horse.”
Learning to ride with Dolly
At Ryders, Amy was supervised by Riding Instructor, Jenny and introduced to a very calm horse called Dolly. She was first shown how to prepare the horse for riding with a saddle and reins, and then led Dolly to the Indoor Arena. Amy used steps to mount the horse and then ride her around the arena, all supervised by her Riding Instructor. Amy was shown how to turn Dolly left and right, and practiced walking and turning the horse until it was time to dismount.
“I wasn’t sure how it was going to go but I really enjoyed it,” said Amy. “I want to practice more now to build up my confidence and look like I know what I’m doing before I take my daughter!”
Rehab benefits of horse riding
“Horse riding is a great activity for improving skills and abilities,” explained Eleanor. “This includes cognitively as Amy has to learn new skills, such as preparing the horse for a ride. As a very physical activity, horse riding will help improve Amy’s core stability and balance as she needs to use a range of muscles to help her sit on the horse and hold the reins, plus it is excellent exercise for leg strengthening as the rider has to grip the horse’s sides with their legs. There is also the physical challenge of mounting and dismounting a horse, which is not easy for anyone and especially if you have mobility or balance issues.”
“Amy had a great time, and it was good to see her enjoy being around the horses and interacting with Dolly,” said Eleanor. “It gave her confidence, knowing she can learn new skills and enjoy a new outdoor activity. With more practice, Amy could progress to learning how to trot a horse, ride in the outdoor arena and achieve her goal of riding with her daughter.”
More activities opening up post-COVID19
“Now that many activity centres have re-opened, we can take our clients back to the rehab activities they enjoy,” said Colin Green, Clinical Director at Physio Matters. “They bring so many benefits, including improved mobility, balance, core strength and co-ordination.”
“And we can introduce new clients to Physio Active and identify activities to boost their treatment, such as the horse riding which is benefitting Amy. These activities are very important, not only for physical rehab, but to help clients get out and meet new people, build their confidence and gain new skills.”
About Ryders Farm Equestrian Centre
Ryders specialise in riding lessons for people of all ages and abilities, and encourage people to enjoy the sport of riding and share their love of horses. Based in Bolton, Ryders Farm is a family run business and a British Horse Society (BHS) approved Riding School and Livery Yard, an Official Pony Club Centre and approved by the local authority.
It has an indoor and outdoor arena, spectators area, training fields and tackroom plus a farm shop and café. As well as private and group lessons, Ryders offers college and riding school rooms for training and is a Pony Club Centre at weekends.
To find out about the wide range of activities offered by Physio Matters, visit Physio Active, or speak to your Physiotherapist. You can make further enquiries by calling Physio Matters on 0161 681 6887 or emailing: email@example.com