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Have you discovered the benefits of mindfulness yet?  You certainly can’t have missed the hype around the subject, and here’s a recent article on a study of the brain and showing why mindfulness eases pain (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323020.php). To be fair, mindfulness is something that I am a great believer in. I have suffered from anxiety in the past, and still do occasionally, and mindfulness is one of the many tools that I use to help me. I also use talking therapy, and see a counsellor on a regular basis – partly because I want to understand myself better and partly because I want to understand others better. The better that I can understand people, the more that I can help their horses, because I can explain things to them in a way that makes sense to them, and probably more importantly, in a way that is acceptable to them. It’s a very difficult thing telling someone that their horse is sore or lame, especially if the judges and/or riding instructors and/or others on the yard are not noticing it. Equally it’s difficult to suggest to someone that the saddle may not fit based on muscle spasm and atrophy of the muscles (usually under the back of the saddle area), when they have recently paid to have the saddle fit checked and apparently everything was okay. The more that I can learn about communication, the better that I can help these horses.

Equally, the more that I can be mindful and the more that I can stay present and be in the moment, the more empathetic that I can be with owners, and the better that I can protect myself from the ups and downs of the job. It’s hard not to get emotionally involved when a horse and/or owner that I’ve grown really attached to is struggling in some way. But to be the best physio that I can, to do the best job that I can, I need to stay strong and grounded, and counselling and mindfulness help me considerably with this. I’m interested to hear what techniques you use to help you to stay grounded in the face of emotional difficulty?

Sue Palmer MCSP is an ACPAT and RAMP registered Chartered Physiotherapist promoting fair treatment of horses through treating, writing and teaching.  You can find out more about Sue and her work at www.thehorsephysio.co.uk, join her community on Patreon atwww.patreon.com/thehorsephysio, find her on FB at The Horse Physio and on Twitter @thehorsephysio.

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