She didn’t look overweight as such, just a distended belly that looked quite unnatural. I took her for some SJ practice, and as soon as I saw the photos, I realised it’s actually how she’s holding herself – or not, would be more accurate! As you can see from the picture to the left, she’s not engaging her abdominals at all or working over her back, therefore her posture has become quite poor; the stomach is hanging down and putting extra downward pressure on her back; not good! Her jumping was also pretty poor, she had lost the bascule and her technique was very babyish –although it has been a long time since she was able to jump properly.
I consulted our physio, Equilibrium Veterinary Physiotherapy, and Sorcha came to assess her. She agreed that Ruby wasn’t engaging her abdominals at all when lunged or trotted up, and had become fixed through the mid section of her spine, underneath where the saddle would sit. Sorcha treated some specific areas with a laser pen, and came up with a plan to implement before seeing her again in four weeks time.
The plan is bespoke for Ruby, taking into account her sacroiliac injury, the level of work she is in, and Sorcha’s assessment of her movement and upon inspection. It incorporates a series of different stretches and belly lifts as part of her daily routine, all addressing specific areas. For instance, some of them help to encourage use of the abdominals, but also to lift the back, and help to ‘wake up’ that section of her back that has become immobile. Sorcha also advised a ridden work plan, including some specific pole work exercises (hurray says Ruby! Her favourite!). The first time we tried raised trot poles Ruby nearly gave me whiplash tripping over them, but she soon got the hang of it and it's really getting her to use herself properly - additionally helping to improve the trot, which is a bonus.
Ruby is also to continue using her Activo-Med rug to keep the muscles supple, and to address any tightness she may have.
Pleasing results so far as I've already started to see a shift in her shape for the better – and Sorcha has some other techniques up her sleeve that we will be incorporating in a few weeks time which sound very interesting! Blog post to follow...
About Equilibrium Veterinary Physiotherapy & FMBs Therapy Systems
Sorcha is a qualified Veterinary Physiotherapist, registered with IRVAP (The Institute of Registered Veterinary and Animal Physiotherapists) and IAVRPT (International Association for Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy). Sorcha is fully insured (approved by all the major Veterinary Insurance Companies) to work with your vet to:
* Relieve/prevent pain caused by surgery, medical conditions or movement dysfunction * Enhance muscle strength / condition * Improve or restore joint Range of Movement (ROM) * Aid recovery from neurological problems
* Promote wound healing * Assist healing of tendon and ligament injury * Improve behaviour/ridden problems eg. bucking/rearing/taking up wrong canter lead/refusing fences/falling in on circles/stiffness/one-sidedness/unable to collect/refusing to work in an outline etc. For further information please call 07872 568493 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FMBs Therapy Systems offer advanced therapy equipment to enhance suppleness, fitness and rehabilitation for horses, riders and their dogs. To find out more about their range of products, or to see which top riders are already using them, please visit the website or find them on Facebook and Twitter for latest news, competitions and offers.