Rider Elite Physiotherapy is a business that specialises in both horse and rider rehabilitation and performance.
Nikki, the founder, has an impressive story behind her; from representing Great Britain in bobsleigh, to becoming a Pilates instructor and a horse physiotherapist. Still an avid horse rider herself, her passion for horses is clear.
I caught up with Nikki to find out more about her journey to becoming a business owner, and to find out more about the benefits of physiotherapy for horses and their owners!
What is Rider Elite Physiotherapy?
Rider Elite is a sympathetic business providing rider specific rehabilitation and performance aiding therapy for both horse and rider.
As a physiotherapist I help prevent injury, provide rehabilitation programmes and treatments, and use my physiotherapy and athletic knowledge to improve performance. It is a niche business that works with both horse and rider together.
How did you first get into horse physiotherapy?
It was always an ambition to become a physiotherapist since I was young. I had a series of back issues when growing through my teenage years, and a physiotherapist helped me through this and into my athletic career as I was competing at national level in athletics at the time.
It was at university that one of our tutors was also a Veterinary Physiotherapist. It was a complete light bulb moment which combined my love for horses and my current career path, and that was a no brainer as to where I was going in my next steps.
When did you first setup Rider Elite Physiotherapy?
June 2019 is when Rider Elite was established. I had already started to work with riders at that point and was nearing the end of my masters degree to become a veterinary physiotherapist, so what better time to set up my own business so I could hit the ground running when it was completed.
Do you think every horse/rider can benefit from physiotherapy? What are the benefits?
Every horse and rider can definitely benefit from physiotherapy. I have not met one rider or horse that is ''perfect''. It is always the end goal for any horse and rider combination to be as balanced and the least asymmetrical as possible.
Whether you have an injury or not physiotherapy can help reduce the risk of injury or re-injury, correct any postural asymmetries, muscle imbalance, reduce stiffness and relieve pain.
It can also help improve performance on both horse and rider. Both compensate for each other's imbalances which can lead to injury and muscle unevenness and there is ever growing research to show this. If you ride most days these can become habitual and potentially detrimental to performance.
My aim always is to restore normal movement and function no matter what level you are competing at. In conjunction with this benefits such as improved strength and range of movement can help reduce injury risk and ultimately holistically improve performance.
What is your favourite part of your job?
There are a few parts of my job I would call my favourite but I will narrow it down to three.
Watching a horses reaction to treatment is always an absolute favourite. A horse can tell you so much through their expressions and to see a relaxed calm horse or pony enjoying treatment is lovely.
Working with both horse and rider and seeing instant improvements in a session and also watching something clicks especially if they have been struggling with a specific hurdle for a while is also exciting.
However, as I am naturally competitive receiving results from clients or watching clients that improve in competition or achieve long terms goals would be my ultimate favourite part of my job!
Do you have a particular success story that you would be happy to share?
There wouldn't be a particular success story as such as I think every one has there own success whether that is achieving a still leg on a 20m circle or reaching regionals or nationals, every success or achievement should be celebrated!
What was your journey into creating your business like?
It is a fairly long journey however it has been worth every minute of it.
To become a chartered physiotherapist I completed my undergraduate degree in physiotherapy, from then I completed my masters degree in Veterinary Physiotherapy. It has taken 6 years of studying to get to where I am but I always think if you love what you do, it gives you the extra motivation to work harder and enables you to create a successful business.
It has been an exciting journey building Rider Elite from the start, creating your own logo and even thinking of the name took time but it is small aspects like this that makes it exciting. Its always hard and slow at the start as you build your clientele up, yet putting the hard work in is rewarding. I never thought that a year down the line I would be booked up for two months in advance!
If you could go back to day one of your business, what would you say to yourself?
I would talk to myself during the start of the business where I used to question myself a lot. I would look at the diary and see an empty diary or very few clients booked in during the week. You always dream of a full diary and being busy. I would take up other jobs such a groom work to help keep the income coming in. It would be a great opportunity to reassure myself that within 8 months you would have the business you are striving for and to keep working hard at it.
Get in contact with Rider Elite Physiotherapy
Rider Elite Physiotherapy is based in Buckingham but Nikki also covers the surrounding areas.
If you're interested in getting in contact with Nikki, head to www.riderelite.co.uk for more information. Or contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone, 07479933068.
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