A Solution at Last

Sian Johnston was recommended to me in 2014 by the yard vet as my competitive dressage stallion had marked muscular and flexibility unevenness.

This occurred despite consistent and correct schooling under the watchful eye of a level 2 dressage instructor. We even had a complete lameness work up by Glen Austin Equine Veterinarians with no reasons being found for these problems. The unevenness was marked enough that there was at least 1 mark difference between the dressage tests for the left and right rein with the same movement.

During the first consultation, Sian took a complete history of the horse and did her own assessment of his movement in walk, trot and canter, on a straight line, on the lunge, in a small circle, as well as under saddle. She carefully explained her findings to me and set up a treatment plan which I could implement myself between her checkups, which ordinally was every 6 weeks.

The treatment plan was progressive, consisting of static strengthening exercises, stretches, as well as in-hand and ridden exercises.

She took the time and showed me each exercise, helping me get comfortable with them in order to do them at home between visits. During this initial stage, she was regularly in contact, asking if I was managing, the response and wether I had any additional questions.

When I had questions, I could send her an email with a photo or video of whatever I was unsure of, and she replied within 24 hours. Within six months of the first consultation our marks have evened out and there was mostly no difference between the left and right rein for the same movement in a test and our marks had improved by about 3% consistently.

Once my horse had achieved an even muscle tone and his flexibility and limb awareness was at an appropriate level for his competitive level, Sian helped me maintain him.

For my horse, this meant a maintenance visit every three to six months, depending on his activity level.

He is a highly competitive horse needs to be very fit and strong enough to compete successfully. Sian helped me keep him soft and supple and this meant that we could train hard and correctly. She also supported me in keeping his training varied and is always willing to give me her opinion on fitness training for him as a dressage horse.

She was an important part of my team keeping my competitive horse healthy. Her role is as important as the roles of his vet, farrier, chiropractor, saddle fitter, and my instructor.

I moved to Cape Town in October 2017 and miss having Sian as an equine physiotherapist. I can also highly recommend her as a part of any equestrian team. Perfect to keep a happy hack feeling good, or keeping a highly competitive equine athlete at the on top.