• Charli


Like many of us, my brain struggles to switch off at times, and this is why I find writing so therapeutic. These blogs give me a channel through which to air some of the many observations I make on a daily basis.

Interestingly enough I find I want to say more, not less, as the days go by and rarely do I spend more than a few moments deciding on my theme for the day. I keep a note of things that catch my interest and store these safely, ready for picking when the time comes.

J treated herself to a 90min facial yesterday, and was positively glowing when we FaceTimed last night, a whizz of modern technology that affords us the opportunity to bridge the 400 mile gap that separates us from opposite ends of the country. J had her ubiquitous G+T, I had a V+T (unfortunately gin makes me morose) and we passed a very pleasant 40 minutes chit chatting. Perfect therapy.

I was at a County Training session at Muirfield Riding Therapy this morning and I found it really interesting listening to physiotherapists and senior coaches whose role it is within RDA to consider best practice for the horse and rider so that the resulting therapy is meaningful, practical and sustaining. Encouraging the horse to walk correctly is an essential part of this process so that the moment of its pelvis transfers to the rider, boosting movement and increasing core stability.

I am very much a new face at MRT and there are many others who have a vast experience of horses and riding therapy. Perhaps it is because I am so new that I haven’t been to many training days, but it does surprise me that we spend a lot of time ensuring the horse is moving purposefully, we check that the rider is sitting as well as they can, with or without support from specialist tack or side walkers, but in my opinion one of the most basic elements of this therapy is missing and that is the relationship between the horse and the rider.

It is common practice to warm the horses and to meet, greet and reassure the riders, ascertaining how they are. We then walk a rider along the ramp to the back end of the waiting horse, assist with mounting before rider and horse begin the session with a leader and possibly a side walker or two.

I always encourage my riders to thank the horse on whose back they have received their therapy and sometimes this is the only facial interaction between rider and horse.

I don’t know if it is possible but it would be lovely to try to find a way to facilitate the mutual respect and caring that a rider naturally feels for their horse and to allow the horse to get a sense of who is on their back and for whom they will work so hard.

Therapy – a poem

When the pain is acute on my neck and back

I know it is time to take a step back.

The day is done and the list is long

I’ve tried so hard – where do I go wrong?

Is it time management that I need to apply

or am I trying to aim too high?

My back was aching, my head was sore

I clench my teeth, I lock my jaw.

The solution’s arrived its clear to see

I’ll write a blog – it’s my therapy.

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