Functional Assessment of the Equestrian Athlete

Register Here!

Online + 2 Days lab Instructors:  Arlene White, PT, MS Animal Studies (physiotherapy), Anna Nielsen, MSc Exercise Science, MSc Equine Science

Gain the Specific Skills to Treat this Fun and Challenging Demographic

As the equestrian’s awareness of the relationship between horse and rider biomechanics grows this relationship and its impact on performance is becoming  more mainstream. Physical Therapy is a field specific to assessment and treatment of injury to promote the highest level of function through movement. Through specific knowledge of the sport, we can contribute an aspect of  performance enhancement that has been lacking. Equestrian athletes are subject to many overuse syndromes and injuries and physical therapy principles may reduce their incidence. Equestrian sports could well provide the ultimate movement analysis challenge as we address the continuous interdependence of horse and rider partners as they move as one, without the benefit of shared verbal or written communication.

Introduction to the principles of evaluating rider posture and biomechanics as they relate to equestrian performance. This course is offered to physical therapists (24 CEUs  8 hours online lectures 16 hours live lab) wishing to expand their practice to serve equestrian sport clients. The participant will learn common rider musculoskeletal imbalances, restrictions and asymmetries, and will be introduced to exercise and treatment techniques to address them. General equestrian, and sport specific musculoskeletal demands will be addressed. Spine, as well as upper and lower kinetic chain dysfunctions will be covered. Basic saddle and tack considerations will be discussed as well. Both classroom and hands on practical instruction will allow the therapist experiential learning opportunity.
The Animal Rehabilitation Institute is located at Half Pass Heaven Farm a 10 acre Dressage facility located just minutes from Wellington, Florida. The facility boasts a 25 seat air conditioned classroom, stabling for 18 performance horses, a regulation dressage arena with mirrors, and comfortable living quarters for up to 6 students. The physical therapy clinic is located within one of the three stables, and is specific to the treatment of equestrian athletes.

Course Objectives

• Understand the therapeutic needs of equestrian clients
•Recognize common musculoskeletal dysfunctions and injury patterns encountered in  equestrian sports
• Familiarize yourself with equestrian terminology
• Recognize the unique physical demands of equestrian  sport
•Learn equestrian specific history taking and physical assessment skills
• Design cross training programs for equestrians
• Understand the function and variations of basic tack and equestrian equipment
• Learn ways to provide compensation for physical limitations
• Become familiar with basic differences in human and equine anatomy, physiology and biomechanics
• Apply movement analysis skills to the mounted rider
• Discover equestrian sport specific treatment and assessment tools/techniques

Day One
Factors unique to treating the equestrian athlete
Injury prevalence and type
Biomechanics of the “Horse and Rider System
Role of the myofascial system in communication
Rider posture; postural faults and their origins and impacts
Posture, conformation and gait of the horse as they  impact the rider
Impact of saddle on horse and rider
Energy transfer: the role of the spine and core muscles

Day Two
Rider assessment and postural evaluation; mounted and un-mounted
Treatment approaches unique to riders
Designing postural retraining programs for riders
Analysis of horse and rider introduction. High speed  video and live observation.

Day Three
Continued assessment and treatment of rider posture and its effect on horse’s performance
A day of interaction with horse and rider
Course information formatted for presentation to riders, veterinarians and trainers
Demonstrations, and hands on experience teaching,  posture and movement re-training to improve performance.
Use of high speed video analysis system

Register Here!