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That Magic Moment

In the words of Kerry Thomas (THT): "I am often asked what it is that I look for, and the answer is always the same; I am searching for what I call The Magic Moment. It's the nearly invisible moments where the rhythm of herd motion becomes impacted by individual triggers, individual psychologies. As the horses move and begin to settle, as the chaos from the launching from the starting gate begins to ripple out, indeed, as the ebb and flow, the seamless, nearly timeless beauty of the herd in motion gets its collective rhythm, a new mystery begins to emerge."

Sunday was a great day for us at Equestrian Performance as we supported many of our patients at Swanson Racing. There was one horse, that stole the limelight a little for me personally, and that was "Supa Wonder". He's one of those horses that looks the part, muscle by muscle, perfectly sculpted to form a superb athlete. He's the one who puts his head on your shoulder and goes to sleep in your arms. He's one of the favorites. Fast-forward to race day and it's been disappointing for us all, knowing what he is capable of and seeing what he produces. Wondering if he is enjoying his job, where the pain is coming from.

It's been a long road of rehab, soft tissue work, suggestion, brainstorming and frustration for the whole team. Plagued by poor performance and having exhausted most of the tools we had to offer, I set about one last time focusing on the lumbar tightness and using my favorite taping techniques to relieve back pain and correct minor postural deficits. The next day I can only describe what I call "The Butter Effect"

What I couldn't achieve purely with manual therapy, was achieved overnight in the hours when the body recovers, where the sensory receptors are relieved through the convolutions of the tape. The next day, as I ran my hands down his back, it was like the tension had melted away, and his back felt like butter. I think it's easy to get carried away as a Therapist, to overthink every aspect of your patient's condition. Sometimes its the intuition that speaks, sometimes it's lack of anywhere else to go. At the end of the day it's the realisation that "The back is central to function". Very often, what seems like an issue elsewhere, is actually a problem stemming from the back.

So when I looked up the straight at the powerful magic moment and saw the red, white and blue, charge to the front and run like he was on air, it was overwhelming. Every past frustration, every thankful look in his eye, every minute of work we'd done, pulsed through everyone who had lived his story. Every heart-beat was in sync to his own, beating there with him.

When I met him in the Winner's Circle, all I remember thinking was "even his eyelids are sweating"

I'm not ignorant enough to suggest that taping fixed the horse and turned him into a winner. That was done through the hours of expert training and exceptional care that all the horses at Swanson Racing receive. It was achieved by The horse called Supa Wonder, who was guided expertly by his exceptional jockey Keagan De Melo. It was trusting everyone in the team to do their part. It was pure magic!

So here's to Supa - "You are a great champion. When you ran, the ground shook, the sky opened and mere mortals parted. Parted the way to victory, where you'll meet me in the winner's circle, where I'll put a blanket of flowers on your back."


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Equestrian Performance


   Kylie Bonthrone - Equine Physio and Rider Sports Therapist

          BSc (Hons) Equine Science, PGDip VPhys, SMT, NKTP, MIAAT           

    Craig Bonthrone - Strength and Conditioning Coach

       MSc Coaching Science, NSCA accredited,  BSc (Hons) S and C,  FdSc. 

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