LIS­TEN TO YOUR BODY

Horse & Hound - - Letters -

Sir — I agree with Laura Tom­lin­son about preg­nant riders (opin­ion, 15 Novem­ber), but ev­ery preg­nancy is dif­fer­ent and a rider’s level of fit­ness and skill will de­ter­mine whether or not to ride dur­ing preg­nancy. For ex­am­ple, a pro­fes­sional rider has a dif­fer­ent level of neu­ro­mus­cu­lar con­trol com­pared to that of an am­a­teur.

As preg­nancy pro­gresses, our mus­cu­loskele­tal sys­tem must adapt to our ex­pand­ing ab­domen and new cen­tre of grav­ity. These changes make it more dif­fi­cult to main­tain our align­ment and bal­ance, so can have reper­cus­sions on our po­si­tion in the sad­dle and, there­fore, im­pli­ca­tions on the horse’s mus­cu­loskele­tal sys­tem as well as our own.

A healthy preg­nancy should in­clude ex­er­cise, but un­der the guid­ance of a suit­ably qual­i­fied pro­fes­sional, and ul­ti­mately the de­ci­sion to ride or not should be based on a full un­der­stand­ing of the risks to the rider, foe­tus and horse.

An ap­point­ment with a women’s health phys­io­ther­a­pist dur­ing each stage of preg­nancy and post­na­tally can be hugely ben­e­fi­cial and with this in mind, a woman should feel con­fi­dent in the de­ci­sion they make and be im­mune to the judge­ment of oth­ers. Fiona Tay­lor, char­tered phys­io­ther­a­pist Ford­ing­bridge, Hants

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