Competing against adults, Natasha Coventry from Cowes, aged only 14, recently won both Novice and Preliminary dressage championships. This created quite a stir and she was awarded a “Most Points” trophy – after only six months training!
Nowhere more than in dressage, are the rider and horse both under inspection. Each has to perform excellently, and the teamwork has to succeed too. In this discipline, an unbalanced jockey can cause problems as the horse automatically compensates. This thwarts the perfect outline that the competition requires. It’s no good one member of the team being fit if the other is not. Chiropractor Vav Simon had been treating Natasha and her ponies Charlie and Milo since she first started riding as a youngster.
As they all improved, Vav’s job changed. Originally it was to straighten out both horse and human after falls and other mishaps. Now it’s less therapy and more fine tuning – in discussion with their trainer – spotting subtle links between the ponies’ performance problems and Natasha’s posture and directions.
Chiropractic works entirely by hand. It aims to realign all bones that are not in their proper position in relation to the bones either side. Once misaligned, these bones are held out of position by ligaments and may cause pain or movement difficulty. Vav’s adjustment is fast, gentle and usually painless, and relies on deft accuracy rather than brute force.
Misalignments can be minute. Fractions of an inch within the joint can result in ‘trapped nerves’ which make an enormous difference to the ease of movement of the limbs. And in dressage, this is exactly what the judges are looking for – rhythm and control. Anyone who has had sciatica will know that sitting down and getting up again are thoroughly inelegant! Sciatica is a good example: caused by a misalignment in the low back, it can be quickly and easily treated by chiropractic.
Vav’s Natural Therapy Centre for Animals, based in Ryde, has just had its fifth anniversary.
She’s been treating animals since childhood on the family farm in Scotland. After
training in chiropractic for humans, she completed the postgraduate course for animals.
Moving to the Island twelve years ago, her dream is to bring together the best range
of complementary therapies that she knows to work. Alongside chiropractic, she offers
massage, homeopathy, herbal remedies, electro-
She has had huge numbers of successes: her patients include horses, dogs, cats and other animals, some from farms, and from zoos occasionally. They have ranged from life and death emergencies through to a few requiring many months of patient determination – from animal and owner, as much as Vav. But while she is proud of these more difficult ones, most of her cases only need one or two treatments.
Dog owner Cheryl Blakely is also celebrating. Rocky, her 2 year-