Recently I had the pleasure of heading over to Wellington Riding to photograph Sally - I met her a few years ago to photograph the children and their pony, Star. It was lovely to hear from Sally recnetly, I always love going back to see people again. Georgie and William looked so grown up, and Star was just as sweet. We split the time between photographing the family with Star, and their two dogs, as well as getting some images for Sally's business. I sent Sally over a few questions to answer, to explain a little about what she does:
"I'm Sally Mathews of Wessex Chiropractic. I'm the chief chiropractor and business owner. I treat people and animals."
I asked her why clients come to her, if it's part of routine maintenance for both horse and rider, or if it's something that should be looked at if there's a problem. I think it's valuable that Sally is a horse rider and owner - because she understands how our bodies are worked when riding, and common problem areas. She can also relate that in to practise.
"Horse owners will often come to me as their horse has developed an issue, such as new bucking or knocking down fences. Dressage riders will find the horse may struggle to change leads in canter, or favour one rein. We also have some research on the human side that shows that a regular chiropractic assessment is beneficial in the longer term. Treating the rider as well is nice as I can assess whether the human's asymmetry is affecting the horse. Biomechanics seems to be the buzz word of the moment - this underpins everything I do!"
That's a really important point, that sometimes it could be us as the rider, being out of balance, or compensating for a niggle, that in turn could lead to the horses poor performance. It's also important to remember that if our body is out of balance, it will begin to alter the horses too. We always provide the best care for our horses, but sometimes out own health is overlooked!
"I am based in Basingstoke and will travel to treat horses within 30 minutes of my clinic. I also treat people and horses out of the Equine Rebalance Therapy Centre at Wellington Riding."
And finally, I asked Sally what her top tips would be to ensuring we all keep our bones and muscles working, and easy ways to spot changes in your horse:
"Top tips! Posture posture posture for the humans! Mobile phone usage is a big culprit for neck and shoulder pain."
"Horse wise you could do a lot worse than groom your horse daily! We used to strap our horses and really work all over them. Nowadays we are all so time pressured horses tend to remain rugged and get a quick flick over. By giving them a thorough groom you will get to know their body shape and spot any issues quickly!"
"And to finish - Don't forget that you do need veterinary consent for any body worker to treat your horse or dog. I am fully insured and a member of the British Chiropractic Association, Member of the Royal College of Chiropractors and am on the RAMP register."