At Independent Skipton, our aim is to support and promote as many of Skipton’s independent businesses as possible. We regularly share content about Skipton’s great places to eat, drink and stay but we know there are many other types of business in the area worth celebrating.
Each week, we will be speaking to a different small business owner in Skipton to find out more about the products and services they offer and the people who offer them. This week, we’ve been speaking to Sarah Rennison. Sarah is a Chartered Physiotherapist who has spent the past ten years working for the NHS and with local rugby union teams. Sarah has recently completed some additional training so that in addition to providing vital physiotherapy treatments to people, she can treat animals too.
Here’s a little more about Sarah Rennison and her business…
Sarah, you’ve been working as a Physiotherapist for ten years. What inspired you to choose this career path?
As a teenager, I was a keen Leeds United fan and an article in their club magazine about their head physio inspired me to investigate physio as a career choice. There are so many options within physio itself but my heart was always in musculoskeletal (MSK): treating issues relating to the musculoskeletal system. I worked within the main core areas of physio for the first 5 years post-qualification, covering respiratory, neurology, elderly care and orthopaedics before specialising in MSK. I still find it amusing I ended up working in rugby union when my passion was football, but I can’t imagine changing now!
You recently qualified as a Veterinary Physiotherapist? What led you to start treating animals as well as people?
As a horse rider myself, I have a lot of rider friends. I started teaching exercise classes for horse riders with a pilates-focus. The more I treated riders the more I thought it would be worthwhile to be able to assess and treat both horse and rider as they work as one.
What sort of injuries do you find horses need physiotherapy for?
Horses are athletes these days and can suffer similar issues to us humans: muscle strains, tendinopathies, arthritis and back pain. These conditions can respond well to physiotherapy interventions.
What sort of physiotherapy do you provide for horse riders?
I can provide a wide range of treatments and can assess riders on their horse or within a clinic setting. Treatment options are mainly focussed on rehab exercises to address any imbalances I find, but I can also use manual therapy, soft tissue therapy, acupuncture, taping and electrotherapy as deemed necessary.
Under what kind of circumstances would you be required to treat both horse and rider?
I am finding most riders contact me when their horse doesn’t seem quite right to them, or they are struggling with something specific (for example being unable to get the correct canter lead or a specific dressage movement). As for the riders themselves, most are aware they have imbalances but often aren’t sure where, or what to do about them! I think it’s important that all elements are considered. As a physio, I am a part of a wider team which includes the vet, farrier, saddle fitter, instructor and dentists among others. The reasons for reduced performance aren’t always obvious and often multifactorial and so require the team to work together.
What sort of physical issues are horse riders susceptible?
Horse riding can be a dangerous sport, so broken bones can be a relatively common issue! Bones do heal but sometimes can lead to deformity depending on how the bone has healed and what interventions may or may not have been undertaken (ie did it require surgery, or manipulation to return it to its anatomical position). Muscle pulls, strains and sprains all go with the territory as well: both from being in the saddle but also yard chores! It is important any injuries are fully rehabbed to reduce the impact this may have in terms of asymmetry. Riders are constantly striving for symmetry in order to maximise their performance and prevent injuries. A strong, balanced rider has been shown to reduce injury risk.
I have just completed my MSc research project: I undertook a study investigating the effect of rider asymmetry on equine movement at trot. It has been extremely interesting! I can’t reveal the results as yet as we are hoping to publish it later this year/early next year! My studies have lead me to understand in-depth the relationship between horse and rider, More research is ongoing in this field, but as a physio qualified to treat both, I find it a fascinating area and it is a great passion of mine to be able to help improve performance through physiotherapy interventions.
A huge thank you to the lovely Sarah Rennison for speaking to us this week! If you own a small business in Skipton and would like to take part in our #SmallBusinessSaturday series, please email [email protected] to secure your free slot.