My journey goes through the middle of an arena. This journey touches every thing on, off, and around the horse. While in college my dad had three shoulder surgeries in 10 months on his ROPING shoulder! I grew up with a roping arena in my front yard, so had he not been able to back into the box again life at our house would have drastically changed. I watched him scrap and work with his physical therapist. He and his PT got him back in the arena. Watching that experience is what drove me to become a Physical Therapist.
As I progressed through school, I noticed that my riding affects my horse's health. People essentially have the same anatomy as the horse. We are more interrelated and intertwined than you can imagine. During PT school, I had a horse get injured. As I took him to the vet certain of his path of treatment, I was completely surprised. My horse had atrophied through one side of his hip muscles. My vet put me in charge of his rehab. So the PT nerd in me started to bloom. Along with the patience of my professor, I worked out a plan that ended with the successful rehabilitation of my horse and return to the arena.
As my career progressed and I returned to competing more I continued to have problems with my horses staying sound. Wanting to stay in the arena and keep my vet bills down, I began again working on my horse with the knowledge I gained as I became a PT. My vet and I traced it back to a problem I was having with my own soundness. My SI joint pain was affecting how my horse balanced and worked. My mare was sore in the same area that I was.
Horses are mirrors of us in so many ways. This. This right here is was gets me excited and brings out the PT nerd in me. The horse/rider dynamic is so intriguing. It is the crux of all performance.
This is what drives me. My passion is horses and riders. It is fabulous to be able to combine my driving passion with what I have experienced my whole life. I'm thankful that you are along this journey with me. Just as our bodies are all connected so are we with our horses and throughout the industry.
Farley Schweighart is a Physical Therapist who helps riders and their horses heal from injury, improve performance, and return to winning.