Tips for Getting Back on the Horse After a Riding Injury
We recently sat down with three high-performance BioStar sponsored riders to hear how they handle nerves when getting back in the saddle after a riding injury, and how they approach recovery. Read on to learn how these top riders in various disciplines help themselves and others “get back on the horse”!
“I’ve had so many different injuries over the years, and each one has been so different. The worst injury was when I had a broken hip. I was not able to be weight-bearing for a long time so there was no way I could stay fit. When I got thrown off the horse, I was quite fit, but healing was quite a process, doing physical therapy and rehab learning to walk right again. It was really difficult to physically get back on again, and I was pretty vulnerable mentally because I got hurt on a horse. Physically I also had to take it really slow because I just didn’t feel stable at all on my hips.
Give yourself no pressure and no deadlines, take off the preconceived notions of how fast you should go, just respect your mental limits and your body’s limits. You just don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you end up being vulnerable again. Just allow your body time to heal and mentally be in the right place. Don’t let yourself get ahead of where you should be so you don’t end up getting hurt again. That would be my biggest piece of advice:
Respect your body’s limits and don’t let your own ambitions get in the way of healing.”
“In the world of Eventing, injuries are a common but difficult reality of our sport. With both horses and riders, the road to recovering from a riding injury can be a scary and uncertain journey. When bringing horses back into work, my team has always taught me to have a slow and systematic approach. When bringing a rider back, we try to incorporate the same gradual series of progression. This systematic way of thinking has always helped my nerves and builds confidence with the success of each milestone.
“I try to set one goal for each ride, whether that is tangible like jumping cavalettis, or mental like feeling my right seat bone better. Complete recovery can be a daunting and overwhelming objective.
By setting these small but realistic goals each day, you can build on them to make the overall goal feel more attainable.”
“I calm my nerves by doing yoga, deep breathing, and meditation! I always make sure I have plenty of time to warm my horses up. Rushing only makes nerves worse for me, so I really make sure I am ready early. I also start moving and breathing slower, so I keep my internal energy grounded & calm. I stretch a lot, and work on finishing a deep breath. I also visualize my tests and that helps a lot! I work on controlling the controllable things and grounding myself deep into my intention.
I focus on my intent, and have positive words to help trigger that intent, whether it’s harmony, control, partnership, or softness! I use those words to call up my intention that I have already set.”
It’s not easy to get back on the horse after a riding injury, but it can be done with right attitude and approach. Thank you to our riders who have offered their words of wisdom from experience!