Rider Injury – your soundness matters too!

Sophie Warren demonstrates a great exercise for rider fitness

Rider Injury – your soundness matters too!

By Sophie Warren

Rider injury is something that we all attempt to avoid at all costs. Having to stop riding, or reduce our riding volume, while rehabilitating and injury is a pesky interruption to our training schedule.

 “Make time for your soundness or you will be forced to make time for your injury.”

I love this quote, it’s very true, and all too often we forget to treat ourselves as athletes, always prioritising the horse’s training and recovery program. In reality our horses aren’t much chop without us also pulling our weight up there!


I’ve had my fair share of injuries either from falls or just
general wear and tear and every time it reminds me to look after myself better
and make myself stronger. It reminds me to think about the long term. 

Along with the physical side of things, the mental impact of an injury and the ensuing time out of the saddle can take its toll as well.


If the injury stems from a fall this can be even harder to overcome and it is important to pay attention to this side of things both during the time recovering and when getting back into the saddle and out into the competition or training ring.

What are my top tips for staying injury free, recovering well after a fall and getting back into the saddle?

most importantly - TRY AND STAY INJURY FREE!
1. Always treat yourself as an athlete. 

Riding fitness comes from riding, and overall strength and fitness comes from cross-training. Make sure you are aerobically fit, strong in all your major muscles and auxiliary muscles and don’t ride fatigued. Not only will your performance be better, you’ll make your horse’s job easier too.

2. Look after niggles and twinges

See a physio, do some stretching or back off a little for a day or so as soon as you feel a niggle. Preferably notice the twinge when it is just a “tw” or even just a “t” and you’ll avoid having to take any time off for a twinge that becomes an injury. There are lots of things we do in the equestrian world that are repetitive movements and these can easily create overuse injuries over time.

Your fitness is just as important as your horse's!
Try to stay positive...even when you have mud on your face!
Recover well!
1. Do your rehab

Listen to what your doctor orders. Rehab is important for treatment as well as prevention of injury recurrence!

2. Sleep! 

Getting plenty of good quality sleep is an integral part of recovery from activity, stress and general life! As equestrians our life is more active than most so don’t think just because you had a quiet day you haven’t still worked fairly hard.

3. Good Nutrition

Make sure you look after your diet and eat plenty of whole foods. Keep your protein intake high and your fibre intake higher.

Make sure you do your prescribed rehab effectively. Listen to what the doctor orders, even if you have to get in the pool!
Get back in the saddle
1. Confidence is important 

You need to be confident physically and mentally so do the homework to make sure your body feels right again and you are strong and fit so that the physical confidence is taken care of. This gives you maximum mental space to make the mental shifts required to learn from and move on from whatever caused the injury in the first place whether than be over use or a fall or accident.

2. Don’t jump straight back in at full throttle!

Make a plan, and take a step-by-step approach to rebuilding back towards where you were pre-injury and then onwards towards your future goals.

Sophie is currently recovering from back surgery, and we can’t wait to see her back in the saddle again soon!

Read some of other Sophie’s blog posts:

train your weaknesses
Ally Doumany
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