Applied Posture Riding - back pain horse riding,

  • A Disc Herniation And What Not To Do As A Horse Rider

    Do You Have A Disc Hernia In Your Lower Back?

    Is Back Pain Affecting Your Riding?

    Have You Been Told To Give Up Riding?

    Doctors and medical professionals will always err on the conservative side and the uninformed will always view horse riding as a high-risk sport, especially with a back injury.

    leanne liftingWell, I have written extensively on this topic, I have suffered a  disc prolapse myself and was told to never ride a horse again. I was also given many stretches by my treating therapist that increased my pain and pressure on my spinal nerves.

    Many horse riders suffer from a lower back injury of some description. The disc is the most common structure injured. The advice and rehab programs that are given to many horse riders do not come from a therapist who knows about horse riding. This is devastating for those who are told to give it away.

    Time to heal is very important and understanding the biomechanics of the injury and movement patterns used in riding is essential.

    If you want more information in this area then look at my Applied Posture Riding program

    Stretches You Need To Avoid With A  Disc Hernia Injury.

    You must avoid any stretch or exercise that pushes the lower spine into flexion.

    Lumbar flexion will increase the pressure through the disc and cause it to bulge or herniate further into the spinal structures.

    This increases the risk of a full-blown prolapse.

    Never stretch toward the floor with a disc injury. Sitting increases the pressure through the discs. Stretching your head towards your knees puts enormous pressure on the disc. Stretches that increase the disc pressure are very dangerous, especially in the early stages of recovery.

    All stretches for a disc hernia must be carefully set up and the patient must know what structure they are stretching and at what level do you push it. No pain No gain is only good if you know what the pain is.

     Be safe, learn about your injury, and return to riding with good healing, good strength, and confidence you are recovering well.

     Certain stretches may well be increasing the injury or increasing the nerve aware!  

    Twisting and Sitting is extremely stressful on your disc. Avoid this type of stretching.

    All stretches for a disc hernia must be carefully set up and the patient must know what structure they are stretching and how much pain can be induced. No pain, No gain is only good if you know what the pain is.

    Back bending is a great stretch if done correctly.

    If you want more information, contact me, and if you wish to purchase my Applied Posture Riding Program.



  • Age Injury Pain Fear The Damaged Horse Rider


    images 65

    The older rider just needs a little bit of help in certain areas.

    Age affects our strength, our flexibility, our physical endurance. Age gives us experience, hindsight, knowledge, and drives our passion. The older person takes less physical stress, less impact to create more damage, poorer healing, and a longer rehab and then, of course, a loss of confidence.  When I was young, I was strong, confident, and skilled.

    I had very few falls, I broke a few bones and they healed. I never suffered fear or a loss of confidence. Now I am Injury is affecting me as a rider. Shoulder tendon tears, lumbar herniated discs, and broken limbs in the past affect me now.

    Age Injury Pain Fear, A New Experience For Me?

    I did not expect old age symptoms to affect until I was old. It has snuck up on me, though. In 2013 my horse got bogged in the dam and struggled his way out. I grabbed for the neck strap but he went one way and I went the other way as I was flung out of the saddle. I landed next to him but I had ripped my shoulder apart.

    This was a simple bad luck fall. My age was the problem, my tendons just tore apart. Maybe 10 years younger they may have just stretched???

     I had surgery repaired my shoulder did all my own exercises and fully recovered, the fall was not a confidence hitter,...... just bad luck. I returned to riding, after 3 months of rehab, strength was good, confidence was good, all was good, then bang! The horse hit a bank, hit the deck, and rammed me into the ground, shoulder first. I suffered a grade 3 rupture of my AC joint in the same shoulder.

    Just bad luck really! Age or bad riding? 6 weeks in a sling more rehab but to no avail more surgery needed.

    Well, while planning surgery dates protecting my shoulders I did ride, gentle safe riding, I didn't lift anything just kept riding while waiting for a surgery date. Bang the other shoulder is ripped apart lunging a horse....2 shoulders needing surgery now. The right one to re-repair the torn cuff and the ruptured AC joint and the left one needing a cuff repair.

    Well, the left has been done and soon the right shoulder is to be done.

    I still have another repair on the right shoulder to look forward to.....Time off work, many $1000 for medical expenses, pain, time to heal, time to think, time to plan. Time to worry about what else may happen, and of course everybody suggesting it is time I gave up horses!!! I now have experience of age, injury, pain, and fear. I also have others telling me to give it all up.

    This is a scenario I get emails about nearly every day. Riders returning to the sport after a long time away.....scared. Riders returning to riding after having children..scared. Riders returning from a major injury..scared! Riders new to the sport, taking it up at a later time in their life..scared. Well as you can read the history is similar, that is, an injury, trauma, older bodies, pain, weakness, and a loss of confidence. Me at the moment.

    Recovering From Injury and Fear

    shoulder injury websizeI am physically accepting time for healing. As a Physio I have knowledge. I will start a range of movement stretches soon, once I have the range I will start gravity-free exercises. From there I will add strength and movement pattern exercises. Core exercises have never been stopped as well as posture movement pattern exercises. I  will then pick up all the Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns and plan to get back in the saddle within the next 6 weeks.

    I have to address my fear, though.

    The past  18 months have been filled with bad luck, pain, expense, and time healing. Before my first fall in the dam, I was a strong confident, skilled, and very safe rider. I practice safe procedures, I wear a helmet, chaps, a neck strap, my gear is always well fitted and safe.

    I understand the horse I am riding and the stage of training he is at. I warm up correctly and don't take chances on anything. I have been in this industry for a long time.

    Well, my bad luck continued and I had to put my horse down due to a bad luck injury, so now I am in the position do I start again or do I retire and just teach. Well, I still face one more surgery on my right shoulder, I have to buy another horse. I am recovering physically I am suffering financially and psychologically. I don't want to just be a trail rider. I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach.

    I revisit 18 months ago and focus on my skills, my strength, and talents as a rider. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it. The Applied Posture Riding Movement Patterns are still my principal routines to follow.  

    I don't want to just be a trail rider (no offense to those who do). I want to ride and train and compete at a low level and teach. I respect my age and luck. I plan to buy another horse and start again. I still have passion and time to enjoy. If fear is going to inhibit me I will look internally and gain confidence from knowing I am skilled and ready. I have given this advice, so now I will use it. 


  • Applying Biomechanics To The Horse Rider 2

    Part 2   

    If you have not read Part 1 starts here

    The training of the horse to go long and low requires "eccentric muscle work". This is opposite to "concentric work".An example of concentric work is, lifting a bucket of water off the ground, or getting out of a chair or walking up a hill. All these movements are into resistance. Examples of eccentric work are putting a bucket down, walking down a hill slowly, sitting down in a chair without flopping. The jumping posture requires eccentric work and can be trained on the flat.

    Any movement that requires your muscles to control the movement into the resistance. If you are in a tug of war, pulling the rope in is concentric work letting it out is eccentric work.  Stretching long and low is eccentric work. The building of a top-line requires the horse to stretch his head and neck towards to ground, (eccentric work).To do this he must be allowed to and taught to do it. This is the action that builds the tone strength and bulk along the back and neck-line.

    The rider must be balanced with a stable lower leg to allow the horse to perform this movement.  If the rider is not balanced then he will use the reins and inhibit the horse from stretching lower. The rider must be able to have a light seat as well, so the horse can use his back without the rider driving into it. We want symmetry in our training so yet again the rider must ride with equal weight distribution in both directions or the horse will become, or stay "one-sided".

    This is often demonstrated as a bridle lameness. When investigating lameness in a horse a vet does not necessarily know about the influence a rider has on the lameness. It may be worth getting an opinion from a respected trainer or coach, especially if the vet finds no clinical reasoning for the lameness.

    The importance of understanding the biomechanics of both the horse and rider can save many dollars and many hours of frustration. Arena work, as well as hill work, is great for eccentric muscle training. For the rider, the Applied Posture Riding exercises are a must. It takes time and patience to build up muscles.

    Skeletal Structure and Muscle Structure.

    Confirmation is the size and shape of the bones and this can’t change much,(skeletal structure). Posture is how the bones are held together and how they are supported and how they are moved by the muscles, ligaments, and tendons (muscular structure). Soft tissues can be changed. So the horse's muscle shape and strength and control are changeable as is the riders. Bad confirmation can't be changed totally, but it can be controlled and managed. Poor confirmation in the legs can be managed with correct shoeing.

    A bad posture in a horse and a rider can be changed. For example, a horse with a U neck (upside down necks which are more heavily muscled underneath) can be trained to reverse this posture.before and after APR A rider with round shoulders can be trained to be tall and upright.

    It is important to know your horses' past. Has he raced, has been badly handled, has been badly trained, and what is his breed? The thoroughbred has a different brain to the stock horse.

    It can be due to emotions the horses are carrying, for example, negative emotions like fear, or anxiety, anger, depression, etc. In a person who is stressed, fearful, and anxious you might see a contracted chest, tight muscles, and a tight jaw, round shoulders, and a stooped posture. Similarly, you can see these same patterns in horses, and of course, these tension patterns extend on all throughout the body. Poor posture could be the result of an accident or injury or due to pain or discomfort, for example, sore feet, or it could be from badly fitting saddles and poor riding.

    How do we change these Postures?

    As I have said it is important to have knowledge. I believe the rider is the first point of change. A rider can identify their own strengths and DSC 0087websizeweaknesses by following my Applied Posture Riding program. Only when a rider is able to balance through their core and lower leg will they be able to ride in balance with their horse. A balanced rider will be able to sit light and get off their horses back and allow it to develop.

    A balanced rider will be able to keep their weight centered and symmetrical as the horse grows bulk and length. A balanced rider will not pull on the reins. A balanced rider will feel the movement under them. When horses are ridden in better biomechanical balance their postures can start to change. Although in some cases horses need extra help with bodywork to make these changes.

    Massage, special stretches from the ground, showing the horse what you want is needed sometimes. A good saddle fit is very important. Knowledge in all areas is a must to have the best outcome.

    Good luck and enjoy your riding Annette Willson Applying Biomechanics Of The Horse And The Rider Part 2

  • Common Injuries Suffered By Horse Riders

    bruise by horse websizeBelieve it or not! Horseback riding carries a higher injury rate than motorcycle riding. On average, motorcyclists suffer an injury once every 7000 hours of riding. By contrast, an equestrian (horseback rider) may have a serious accident once every 350 hours.

    Locations and types of injury

    shoulder injury websizeInjuries commonly occur in the upper extremities,  the wrist, elbow, and shoulder are easy targets for being pinned or caught or flung around causing an injury. The lower extremity injuries, involving the knee, ankle, and foot, are more frequent in rodeos and less common in other equestrian activities.

    Although most accidents occur while riding a horse, some take place in the stable while handling, grooming, or feeding the horse. The stable is a dangerous area for repetitive type injuries. The lower back is susceptible to strains and trauma from lifting. The horse is in close proximity and always at risk of kicking or biting or fleeing another horse.

    People can be kicked, crushed, pushed over at any time. Serious injuries, such as an injury to the spinal region, can leave permanent impairment, possibly resulting in paralysis. 

    15932304 back acheA herniated disc is the most common injury. Others may cause long-term side effects, such as seizures from a head injury. Even a simple mild injury can result in permanent loss of range and or strength on various body parts. The most frequent types of injuries are bruises, strains, and sprains, which affect the soft tissues (skin, ligaments, tendons, and muscles).

    Other types of injuries include fractures (broken bones), dislocations, and concussions. The seriousness of the injury will determine the time away from the horse and from work. Many injuries can be healed with rest, however, many require surgery and a lengthy rehab period. Deaths resulting from horseback riding injuries are not very common. Most deaths are a result of a traumatic injury to the head.


    Approved safety standard hardshell helmets should be worn at all times when you are mounted on the horse. The helmet must always be securely fastened and should be replaced after any significant impact. Many riding and pony clubs have very strict rules regarding the use of helmets. However, many trail riding and pleasure riding clubs choose not to wear a helmet leaving them vulnerable to severe injury.

    Numerous injuries are related to being caught in the stirrup and dragged by the horse. A properly matched boot-stirrup combination is very important. The size of the boot must be 2cm smaller than the stirrup width. Release catches are available on some saddles to prevent dragging if your foot is caught in the stirrup.

    stock photo 7007831 riding boot Correct positioning of the foot in the stirrup is also important. This is taught at all registered riding and pony clubs. Riders should wear properly fitted boots and nonskid gloves. Do not wear loose-fitting or baggy clothing. All riding equipment should be maintained and inspected thoroughly before venturing out.

    Body-protecting gear can be used to prevent soft tissue injuries and rib fractures; however, it does not protect the spine from injury and does not protect against a massive crushing blow to the chest. Some horses are safer than others, but no horse is 100% safe. 

    The medical community has a responsibility to educate the horse riding public and to participate in investigations requested by the horse organizations. If you want to improve your Rider skill, balance confidence and ride better and safer then have a look at my program

    For Information on The Applied Posture Riding Membership Programuse this link

    Be safe everyone.
  • Core Exercises and Horse Riding

    Core Exercises have become the latest craze for horse riders, and rightly so.

    The core muscles are the key to good posture, good horse riding, good balance, and absolutely for back pain control. Core training exercises are taught by gym trainers, personal trainers, and of course Physiotherapists.  The core muscle is the key to any exercise program. A strong core will give you a Flat Stomach a strong stable back and more energy.

    As a Physiotherapist, I design exercise programs for all of my patients.  Having a strong core is great but how to use it in the saddle requires specific exercises and movement patterns. Many riders have a strong core but don't engage it when riding. Pain is also an inhibitor of the core. If you suffer back pain your core switches off and slowly weakens with time.

    before and after APR

    The core muscle provides stability so all the postural and working muscles, with stability, the body can work, and burn more energy, more efficiently. Stability through the lower back and pelvis puts the body in a better alignment, therefore minimizing stress on the joints. Trauma and injury during or after exercise are less likely to happen.

    Core Exercises

    If pain occurs then the workouts need to be modified, this interrupts the exercise program, pain is most often caused by over-exercising and or exercising in bad postures. A huge number of my patients present with injuries related to exercising and their sport.

    Very few are injured due to a trauma or an accident, most pain results from poor movement patterns during exercising.

     Abdominal exercises for women do not need to be heavy and hard. Women want a flat stomach and a toned small waistline. The old fashion abdominal exercises, like sit-ups, have been proven to be ineffective, too hard, and unsafe, causing stress and strain on the lower back joints. This why women give up and then find it difficult to get back into an exercise regime. I believe it is important to teach women more so than men about the transverse abdominal muscle and how to engage it, then test it, then train it, then use it. 

    Core Exercises for Horse Riders

    All instructors are now recommending their riders strengthen their core to improve their riding. 46There are many Pilates exercises available to everybody and certainly doing any exercises as well as core exercises will help your riding. Any exercises that will increase your general tone and fitness are of value. Many horse riders think they are fit and toned just by riding, in fact, horse riding without doing any other exercises will give you stiffness and usually lower back pain. The least a horse rider should do is stretch.

     However, core exercises are the be all end all for horse riders. A strong core when riding gives the rider stability, control, strength, and precision to perform aids with skill and clarity to the horse. A rider with a weak core is usually bouncing in the saddle has a wobbly lower leg and uses the reins to balance. A weak core causes a rider to stoop forward and be unbalanced. As a rider coach, my specialty is teaching horse riders to ride. I focus on the horse riding muscles and especially the core.

    My programs teach riders everything about the horse riding posture and the core. If you have a passion for your riding I have a passion for teaching you.

    Have a look at my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program

    LIKE and follow me on Applied Posture Riding Facebook page for tips and advice on rider training.


    Good luck and enjoy your riding. If you have any questions or need some advice about core exercises or back pain or posture then contact me.

    Annette Willson

  • Core Exercises For The Horse Rider

    Horse riding coaches are recommending core strength training for all horse riders. The topic "how to ride a horse" must include posture education and core training. Pilates can help but Pilates classes will not always teach a horse rider how to use their core in the saddle. Pilates does not teach riders how to use their core outside or "Neutral Spine".

    There are many exercises that will strengthen the core. A large number of core strengthening exercises can be done at home with no equipment while some require the use of equipment and gadgets.

    As a Functional Core Stability coach, I teach the core crunch, this is a very important core exercise for the horse rider.

    Core Exercises for The Horse Rider

    As a horse rider, though, it is important to be able to use the core in the saddle for strength, balance, stability, and skill. The core exercises out of the saddle aim to strengthen the core, but it is also important to train the core using specific movement patterns used in the saddle.

    Stretches are a must and so is protecting and controlling back pain.

    If you want more information on these topics, have a look at my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program. This Pilates-based exercises program is a great simple program to teach riders how to ride using exercises that are horse rider specific.

    LIKE and Follow me on my Applied Posture Riding Facebook page for tips and advice and fill in the subscribe form to receive updates.

    Good luck and enjoy your riding. Annette Willson Remember to do your core exercises.

  • How To Ride A Horse

    How To Ride A Horse is one of the most used phrases in google, as a keyword.Kulpara Show jumping 003 websize

    Horse riding is one of the most popular recreational activities on the planet, and everybody involved loves the sport, the animal, and the pleasure it brings. It is certainly one of the most popular competitive sports as well. Unfortunately, horse riding has also been listed as one of the most dangerous sports as well.

    There is a very high risk of injury and certainly a risk of death. It was reported not long ago that horses kill more people than any other animal in the world. As an experienced horse person I can believe this I have witnessed it and as a consequence.

    I teach riders to ride and achieve the best horse riding posture they can. New regulations in Australia in recent years with the need to have a PIC number and register horses like dogs has revealed an exponential number of recreational horse owners than expected. The number of horse riders riding just for fun, entertainment, and exercise is enormous.

    Over 300,000 in Queensland alone. This is why the phrase How to Ride a horse is such a used keyword. The horse riding posture is another keyword well used. Many riders turn to books, the internet youtube videos, and of course riding schools and riding instructors. The horse and rider are a team and need to be trained as a team but the individual problems each has, need to be addressed separately. The horse riding posture is a unique movement pattern and must be taught out of the saddle as well as in the saddle.

    How to ride a horse.

    How to Ride a Horse is not an easy topic to write about or video. It definitely requires one on one help as well as learning the basic physical requirements. This is where my program Applied Posture Riding is of such benefit to new riders. Horse riding exercises specifically for horse riding are a definite must to get your body into shape to ride. Many people who don’t ride and have never been on a horse think riding is easy until they hit the saddle. Even just walking for half an hour creates aches and pains in muscles riders didn’t know they had. So if you want to get into the sport of horse riding then I advise you to follow a few steps.

    The Six Most Important Steps to How To Ride a Horse.APR movement patterns

    1.  Find a mentor. Do some research on local riding schools and riding instructors? It is important to ask others about the services and people you choose. Not everyone is ethical I’m afraid. The horse riding industry is not always truth full, be aware of scammers.

    2. Watch videos and observe riders around you at, every opportunity. This is one of the methods I used to get to a very high level of competition. I watched every rider I could and I learned as much as I could just seeing what they did and how they did it. I taught myself some horse-riding exercises even as an amateur. My posture was poor and I was the only one to change it.

    3. Learn about the muscles and movement patterns used for horse riding. My Applied Posture Riding Membership Program is one of the most complete and detailed programs available. It is also a good idea to follow someone who knows HOW and can teach you.

    4. Practice riding with a friend or trail riding or under instruction as often as possible. It is amazing how this is so important. Ride many different horses (they must be safe and quiet, though). 

    5. Go to horse competitions and watch, learn, and speak to riders. Gymkhana Clare 2012 048 websizeThis is great for networking and can lead to many opportunities. One of the girls riding under me did just this.

    6. Get yourself physically fit and supple and flexible

    Join me on and LIKE my Facebook Applied Posture Riding page

    Good luck and enjoy your riding. Remember to look at yourself before you blame the horse.

    Annette Willson

    How to ride a horse does not have to be that complicated.

  • How To Ride a Horse..Well

    How to ride a horse is a very hard topic to discuss.

    200,000 people type this keyword into Google every month, it is one of the most used long tail keywords searched by google.

    This certainly says something about the popularity of the sport, horse riding. It also suggests that people are looking for an online instructional video to teach them about horse riding, rather than one on one coaches. “How to ride a horse?” is a very broad question. Many horse riders ask "how to sit still at the trot” or “how to stay upright at the canter ” These are specific questions from horse riders who are having riding problems. 

    Erin and Leanne Home feb 2012 085 Beginners are taught to sit up straight, keep their back straight and legs still, and never balance on the reins. Well, this is certainly the outcome horse riders want to achieve but it is impossible to achieve this without breaking it up and looking at what is required for each of these body parts to be independent.

    To be able to sit up straight on a horse for a number of minutes let alone an hour requires strength and endurance from all the stomach and back muscles. The core needs to be strong and engaged all the time. The lower back muscles need to be strong and coordinated with the abdominal muscles.

    The lower back joints need to be flexible but also very stable. These are the individual components of horse riding that are neglected and therefore not achieved. The end result is reflected in the horse riding posture. Weakness, poor balance, and instability all affect the horse riders' skills. 

    These core exercises teach riders how to find, test, and use their core muscles for horse riding. The stretches are specific to the movement required for riding. If you are having trouble riding, lack strength has had an injury, or are just starting out with riding then learning from an expert is the go. Have a look at the program and join my Applied Posture Riding Membership Program.

    I love teaching horse riders how to ride.

    Good luck and enjoy your riding Annette Willson.

    Look at yourself before you blame the horse.  

    How To Ride a Horse, an interesting topic.

  • Lower Back Pain...How To Manage It As A Horse Rider


    4820068 spine I think lower back pain is the single most inhibiting factor for horse riders. It certainly seems to be the most common problem horses riders suffer. It also seems to be the problem not well managed by the medical profession as far as horse riders are concerned. Every horse rider who has emailed me has been told to quit riding and find another sport. 

      I was told the same at 18 years old to never ride a horse again. I recovered and went on to ride at an international level, I still manage my lower back pain and live life as I want, not by a doctor's standard.

    The most common causes of low back pain are:

    • Overuse of muscles, ligaments, and joints
    • Repetitive movements
    • lifting and twisting
    • jarring eg. machinery
    • osteoarthritis
    • the trauma of various kinds

    Leg pain (nerve pain) can be caused by pressure from the disc, swelling, inflammation of the joint.

    When osteoarthritis affects the small joints in the spine, it can lead to back pain. Osteoarthritis in other joints, such as the hips, can cause you to limp or to change the way you walk. This can also lead to back pain.

    Spondylolisthesis, a defect that allows one vertebra to slide over another. Spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal, which is usually caused by getting older.Fractures of the vertebrae caused by a lot of force, such as from an auto or bicycle accident, a direct blow to the spine, or compressing the spine by falling onto the buttocks or head. 

    Lower Back Pain and Horse Riders

    The most common injury in horse riders is a disc herniation or a disc prolapse. This comes fromrepetitive loading and vibration. 

    4870095 ruptured diskAlthough this injury is serious and very painful it does not mean the end of your riding career or your dreams, 95% of people suffer the same, and many recover to live normal lives. The disc is the shock-absorbing structure between the vertebrae. It is the cushion that allows us to bounce and jump and run and ride and absorb the impact through our bodies.

    The disc is under pressure from all our activities in life, not just horse riding. Lifting, bending, twisting, coughing, sneezing, sitting, running riding, and many more life activities put the disc under pressure. The disc is damaged from these micro repeated pressures and eventually bulges into the spinal space, this is called a disc herniation.

    This often progresses to a disc prolapse, this is when the disc cracks and the pulpis (center structure) ooze out into the spinal space.

     The level of the prolapse determines the symptoms presenting. The symptoms depend on the position the prolapse occurs, sometimes the nerves are involved and in others, they are not. In my case, it completely squashed the L 5 nerve root and I had complete numbness and muscle weakness of that nerve root.

    I was lucky  I did not get leg pain I only had lower back pain and the tilted posture. The management of disc prolapse is determined by the level of the prolapse and the symptoms presenting. A person with a lot of pain needs to take pain medication prescribed by their doctor. Sometimes it is a matter of trial and error with drugs.

    Treatment on the spine is so useful to treat pain, muscle spasm, and joint movement. Everybody needs advice on posture, daily activities, and how to do what they do. The disc will heal over time and it needs to be protected as it does. The body recognizes the prolapse as a foreign body and the cells will slowly eat the prolapse away and the nerve root will recover to a point and the pain settles.

    Management For a Disc Injury. Lower Back Pain and Horse Riders.

    I prescribe a back bracein nearly all my back pain patients. Absolutely core exercises are started immediately and functional core training is started. Pain medication must be taken as necessary and heat is also very useful. Not everybody improves with heat, some respond to ice, so try both if you are not sure which is correct for you.

    Avoid sitting for long periods and also standing. Lifting, bending twisting, running, coughing, sneezing all increase the disc pressure and increase pain.

    Rest from loading is absolutely necessary. Rest from riding is necessary too. Rest is a word horse ridersdon't like to hear and all ask how long. Well, it is just a fact it takes a split second to be injured and months to heal...a fact of life riders!!! We are all prepared to allow our horses to rest the maximum time required, so do the same for yourself.

    Back Brace jpgAs a physiotherapist, I also treat my back pain patients. I use acupuncture, mobilization, and of course advice on lifting and work and exercises. A back brace or taping are also adjuncts to treatments.

    Some patients need to be referred for a prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs, but many just take over the counter medications.

    Controlling back spasms is primary. Time and knowledge are important. It is important to get your body back to a posture that it can heal in. Regaining muscle length, joint position, and flexibility and not aggravating it is important.

    As far as returning to riding, the core strength and the jarring need to be managed. Lower Back pain stops the core working so overriding the mechanism is important. I teach my patients the core crunch and how to use the back brace to improve their core. I advise you to ride in a back brace and certainly have it on while around the horse yard.

    To finish off, each person is different but the injury is the same. It affects your whole life, not just your riding. It is important to get and follow professional advice. I do allow my patients to ride early because riding is not bad for your back...putting the saddle, on, though, IS.

    If you are returning to riding after an injury and want to follow my program then join my

    Applied Posture Riding Membership Program

    . Good luck and enjoy your riding 

  • Managing Injuries In Horse Riders

    We all know riding is our passion and we all know the general public, health professionals in particular label horse riding dangerous. Well everybody is right but to be fair more money is spent on contact sports to rehabilitate injuries than in horse riding.

    Horse riding produces more repetitive inflammatory injuries rather than high impact traumas. Although my injury is an impact injury from a direct fall many riders suffer ongoing pain, stiffness, and soreness in many parts of their body on a daily basis. Shoulders are a primary target for sprains, strains, and minor trauma injuries.

    Lifting, throwing, pulling, tugging, dragging, rails around the tail ramp on a float, etc all cause pain. All these objects including throwing rugs and lifting feed buckets, even grooming horses regularly all affect the shoulder and or upper limb joints. The lower back is another common and painful area to affect horse riders.

    So How Do We Manage Injuries In Horse Riders?

    I believe and state "horse riding is good for your body" I state "horse riding is not bad for your back". The job of caring for your horse is the damaging part of the sport. Also, obviously, I have to say falling off IS bad for you, but if you don't fall off and ride to your own level then horse riding is one of the best sports for fitness, tone, and happiness.

    Managing Skill level

    ben and rusty 2A strong lower leg is essential for confidence and skills. Horse riders seem to spend so much money on lessons. Well, not all instructors will teach you good skills. If you are progressing and your strength, confidence, and performance improve then your instructor is of good value. If your instructor begins to reproduce the same lesson over and over and repeats the same instruction then.

    1. You have reached the limit of that instructor and time to change, or

    2. You have a block in yourself you need another approach or more professional instruction, or

    3. You need more time between lessons to establish the skills you are learning.

    Re point 1. Many instructors are great with the initial basics and great to a certain level. This is a good thing but if you are advancing beyond the skills of your instructor then don't be held back and move on.

    Re point 2. Many instructors are able to identify rider problems but don't have the skill or knowledge to fix them. Eg. commonly I hear from riders who are told over and over "You're crooked..straighten up", repeated every lesson. Yes, the instructor can identify the problem but the solution requires much more insight than just "Straighten Up"! This is one of the most common problems I hear about from riders. This is a problem that requires much more knowledge from a professional.

    The Applied Posture Riding program has detailed information about this. Gymkhana Clare 2012 068 websizeA rider will never be straight in the saddle if they can't sit straight on a chair, walk straight or lie straight. It may be their spine, it may be their hips, it may be their pelvis.  In many cases,  long term bad habits and lack of stretching can affect your riding posture.

    Without knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, a riding instructor will not be able to instruct a rider on HOW to fix their riding posture. Good skills lead to better and safer riding.

    Managing Minor Injuries and Pain.

     It seems a good idea to manage minor aches and pains before they become major aches and pains. We all manage pain... we don't manage NO pain. So if you have minor aches then learn to deal with them every day before they develop into serious problems that will require months of rehab, money, and time away from horses not just riding.

    A broken shoulder cannot even feed a horse let alone rug or, ride a horse. Minor shoulder pain can lead to a complete spontaneous rupture over time as it decays away slowly. Bang one day it is fine the next day it is ruptured! It happens!! Learn to stretch and exercise properly every day, don't assume riding is enough.! I have a great program to manage NO pain as well as manage existing injury.

    Managing Major Injury as a Horse Rider.

    stock photo 4145745 impromptu exit Lower back pain doesn't mean stop horse riding!  Of course, when you have a major injury you need to seek local professional medical advice and you need to follow it. Having scans and seeing specialists in their field is essential. If you break a bone and it takes six weeks to heal then it takes six weeks to heal, you or I cannot speed time up. If you try, it usually ends up needing more time because you wreck it. A CT scan or an MRI scan tell the truth, it is what it is. Healing time is real as well.

    I look at the cause of pain and deal with why you have pain as well as how to manage and fix it. I look at the state of the injury and give advice about the mechanism that will harm and help. It may be as simple as changing the way you do what you do not stop what you do. EG. I stand on a bench to brush my horse to protect my shoulders. I use a sack trolley to move feed around. I have gaps in my fence to walk through rather than climb under or over. I use a back brace for pain control in my back.

    My passion is horses and I also love seeing riders return to their passion after injury and most of all love seeing riders achieve what they have been told to stay away from If you have a problem with your riding and have reached a block in your progress and have a look at the Applied Posture Riding program. 

    If you want to follow my way of training join my, follow Applied Posture Riding Membership Program

  • Physiotherapy Treatment and Rider Services With Annette Willson

    Annette Willson Physiotherapist Two Locations in Clare SA.Add heading 2

    • Masters Degree in Physiotherapy
    • Special Interest in Clinical diagnosis and treatment of pain 
    • Chronic Pain Management
    • Functional Core Rehabilitation and Rider Training Programs
    • Horse Rider Biomechanics Lessons/membership program
    • Equine Biomechanics Strength Training Horses

    Phone 0447337276

     Health rebates apply.

    Bookings for

    • Initial Physio Consult (45 mins $95)AppliedPostureRidingPhysiotherapy Annette Willson 2 web
    • Standard Physio Consult (30 mins $75)
    • Individual Rider Assessments Unmounted (1 hour $150)
    • Individual Assessment and Treatment Unmounted (30mins $75)
    • Applied Posture Rider Lesson (1 hour mounted $100)

    For more information ring or email Annette Willson This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    Please follow me on Facebook to receive tips and updates

    Applied Posture Riding Facebook Page

    Please consider joining my APR 12 Month Membership Program and train yourself to ride with elite skills

    Phone 0447337276 for all bookings.



  • Rider and Equine Biomechanics and Physiotherapy

    Teaching Riders' to Ride and Teaching  Riders' to Train

    Teaching the rider to ride is the first step. Teaching the rider to train their horse is the next step and the training of both is endless.

    My new Applied Posture Riding 12 Month Membership Program is now online and available to riders wanting to change the way they prepare themselves for riding and training. This is a unique program designed by me (Annette Willson ) a Physiotherapist, retired elite rider, trainer, and Biomechanics Rider Coach.

    You will learn about yourself as a rider and an athlete and you will learn how to apply the fundamentals of riding with correct core function and independent isolated skills. Scroll to the bottom of this page or use this link to examine the details of the program.   

    Details Applied Posture Riding 12 Month Membership Program. (for a short time only you can access for 24months)



    The topic of Rider Biomechanics is evolving and becoming popular with riders and instructors. However, this topic on its own is not enough. Many riders have unmounted posture issues. These riders require professional Physiotherapy. They require retraining as well as rider training.

    An injury, age-related movement deficiencies, stiffness, weakness, and much more directly affect your posture and your riding posture. This directly affects your horse. These problems will not be fixed in the saddle. It is time to test, assess, and plan your riding posture rehab program.

    Riding "well" does not come easy to many and training a horse is more difficult than many admit!

     Have a look at the following list and I am sure you can relate to more than one problem.
    before and after APR websize

    • having poor balance when riding
    • round shoulders and a poking chin
    • arched lower back, and stiff through the spine
    • having an unstable lower leg that swings
    • having a weak core and unable to use your seat when you need it
    • balancing on the reins for security
    • bouncing at the trot and the canter 
    • tipping forward instead of sitting upright
    • getting confused with your aids and then confusing your horse
    • feeling anxious or ride defensively
    • many more

    These problems are all fixable once you know what your problems are.


    Does your coach repeat the same instructions:

    • sit up straight and lookup
    • you need more coreBiomechanical Education For Horse riders web
    • keep your leg still, stop swinging it
    • soften your hands
    • relax your back

    Your coach is not a Physiotherapist and cannot give you a rehab program.

    Does your horse:

    • drop the shoulder or lug
    • swing the quarters 
    • resist your legs
    • lean on the bit
    • rush/ sloth
    • buck/pig root

    Are these problems due to you the rider?

    Have you been affected by:

    falls 1

    • an injury affecting your posture and strength
    • back pain
    • arthritis
    • tendonitis/bursitis4870095 ruptured disk
    • children
    • a repetitive job
    • a sedentary job
    • little time

    All of these body issues directly affect your riding posture and your daily working/living posture.

    Rider Biomechanics, Physiotherapy, and Equestrian Sports Specific Rehabilitation are topics that every rider will practice to be the best rider/trainer they can be.Core hold

    Strengthening your core (Pilates) has been very popular in recent times but learning how to use your core when riding is the key to riding success.

    The key to good riding is specialized core training and Rider Specific Movement Patterns.

    • Learn HOW to use your core on demand.
    • Learn HOW to apply the correct aids symmetrically and effectively.
    • Achieve a safe effective strong balanced riding posture.
    • Know what you are doing and apply the skills in the saddle.
    • Achieve your ambition as a rider and be a better trainer for your horse.

     12 Month Applied Posture Riding Membership ProgramDSC 0050websize

    Topline Strength Training 

    In addition to training riders, I have now completed 12 months of study on Equine Biomechanics and strength training horses for better performance.

    Build topline 1web

      Casey Compare photos web This is Casey a 13yo Tb mare. This photo (left) is after 2 weeks of strength training. The basic training of long forward and low naturally is the target. (photo on the right). You can now apply this training to your horse to build a strong good looking and functional topline.



     My Credentials are as listed:

    • Physiotherapist
    • Bachelor Applied Science Physiotherapy
    • Masters Degree Physiotherapy
    • Diploma of Nutrition
    • Rider Biomechanics Assessor
    • Elite Competitor (Retired) and Horse Trainer
    • Special Focus in Horse Rider Training
    • Pilate’s Trainer and Educator
  • Tips On How To Care For Your Back And Your Horse

    liftinhMany people think riding is dangerous and the cause of many sporting injuries. Granted, falls can result in major injury but a majority of injuries come from caring for your horse. The postures you move in and out of during your day affect your lower back, more often than a fall does. The consequences of microtrauma can sometimes be more devastating than a major trauma, such as a fall.

    This part of riding is often not addressed with riders. It is just as important to learn how to care for your own body while you care for your horse as is it to learn how to ride.

    Back pain has a huge impact on every aspect of your life, not just your riding.

    I see many people with back pain in my Physiotherapy practice. Many of them state "I haven't done anything, it just started". When I dig deeper all of these people have a repetitive daily activity, like picking up toys, moving items at work, bending to reach objects, lifting children, driving, and desk work. All of these activities are repetitive.

    The common movements of bending and or lifting occur many times in a day. Each episode of lifting and or bending involves pressure through your body. If this movement pattern is performed with poor stability and or poor alignment then the stress each time may well be creating a micro-injury. Each micro-injury is usually pain-free but when they start to add up over time then an injury is brewing.

    This is the scenario I see all the time.

    Prevention, understanding the actions, and training yourself to protect your back is the key to pain-free longevity.

    Tips to Protect your Back

    • Learn how to use your core
    • Stretch everyday
    • Only lift when you have too
    • Do little backbends often during the day
    • If you can lean on something to bend over then do it
    • Sit with your legs spread wide at your desk
    • Minimize sitting trot and canter work if you are in pain
    • Wear a back Brace for heavy work

    Back Brace jpg 1 websizeMost back pain comes from the work you do every day, not from riding or falls.

    If you do have an injury then make sure you have an assessment and treatment and most important the correct rehab program. The rehab must involve core work, movement patterns, and time.

    Please LIKE my Applied Posture Riding Facebook Pagefor tips and training advice

    If you want to change the way you ride then read about my

    Applied Posture Riding Membership Program.



  • What Is Stiffitis?

     The most common problem in the world!
    You won't find this in any medical book or website, this is the name I give to problems that have no cause other than living!.
    People present with pain and stiffness, pain is usually worse at night and these people are very stiff in the morning. This is inflammatory pain and is very common. It can affect many areas at the same time, or just be nagging away in one muscle or joint.
    stock photo 20606409 businessman with backache isolatedPatients have a common history. Many have a job that is busy and repetitive. People complain of a mild soreness that goes away and comes back. The soreness may spread to other areas or just increase to become chronic in one area. The neck and lower back are the most common. The most common complaint is "I have not done anything" !. Yes, you have every day of your life that has contributed to this.
    The first point of help is often the Doctor. If you are over 60yo you will most likely be told you have arthritis, even without an assessment?  Your only symptom is the pain, your range of movement will be fine (or appear fine). Your Dr. will most likely just treat the pain and prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and say come back if it continues. shoulder impingementThe next round of money will go on x-rays, CT scan, US scan, and or an MRI, in some cases this will reveal a problem but in so many, it just shows minor joint changes that are normal. Some Drs. go further and prescribe a cortisone injection into the inflamed area. I am not a fan of this being the first choice of treatment. 
    So what is wrong with you? You have Stiffitis!
    So What Causes Stiffitis?
     This is my diagnosis after a full assessment of the cause! Sadly some patients do have major problems. A heavy fall in the past often comes back to haunt you, but still may well be due to poor postures that are repetitive.
    falls 1Your repetitive lifestyle over the years shortens your muscles, this causes the joints to become stiff and inflexible, the joint may have some swelling as a result. The swelling and loss of movement may impinge the nerve giving you nerve pain.
    The nerve pain may be the final pain that causes you to seek help.  A massage therapist will treat the site of pain and not follow it back to the cause of pain, they are not trained in clinical assessment.  A Physiotherapist will treat the cause of the pain, at the joint level in many cases.
    " Stiffitis" is the most common problem I treat.
     It occurs in young athletes and as well as old athletes. It may come on months after an injury, due to poor rehabilitation. It occurs in every person who has a repetitive job.
    Poor BalanceThis is killing your horsequote websize Sadly it tends to send patients crazy with pain and worry about something being serious. It results in a lot of money being spent on unnecessary investigations. Some people suffer for years because nobody bothered to do a full assessment. Even worse, is Horse Riders tend to inflict their own problems onto their horse. Strangely enough, these people spend a lot of money on treating their horse for pain and stiffness, never looking at the cause, the rider!
    Computer Stiffitis, sore neck, headache, arm pain, elbow pain.
    Driving Stiffitis,  all of the above as well as lower back pain.
    Running Stiffitis, knee pain, hip pain, foot pain, and the rest!
    Horse Riding Stiffitis, well this can be every pain in your body but most common is lower back pain
    So if you have pain that is nagging away and is now giving you night pain and you have no reason you can find then you may well be suffering "Stiffitis".
    I suggest you see a good Physiotherapist and change your habits.
     "It is not what you do It is how you do what you do".
    I love this topic, contact me if you have suffered "Stiffitis" it is easy to fix and manage.
    Please LIKE my Applied Posture Riding Facebook page and get tips on all rider training topics.