Back in the saddle after acupuncture

Genevieve Faith competes year-round with her horses, Maggie and Izzy, in dressage, cross-country and show jumping. Known as three-day eventing, this activity can take a toll on both the horse and rider, both physically and emotionally. When not competing, Genevieve is a professional horse trainer.

Between these two activities, Genevieve can sit in a saddle up to six hours a day, leading to hip and back problems. She’s had broken bones from being kicked, concussions from falling and soreness from hitting obstacles. “I’m just so broken,” said Genevieve. “I get one thing fixed and something else pops up.”

After trying various methods of pain relief, Genevieve found Nedda Greer, an acupuncturist at Lifestyle Health. Genevieve looks forward to appointments every two weeks. “When I’m finishing up with my last horse, I’m singing ‘It’s acupuncture day, it’s acupuncture day,’” grins Genevieve. “I might come in smelling like a barn, but Nedda doesn’t care.”

Genevieve recalls a time when the bottom of her neck just felt stuck. Her work suffered and she couldn’t do anything that required moving her head. She tried ice, heat, muscle relaxers, baths — everything she could think of that could ease the pain. The moment Nedda began treatment, her whole head relaxed, and she felt like herself again. “Nedda has been peeling back layers of old injuries,” said Genevieve. “I don’t have pain like I used to and that’s a big deal.”

Genevieve also appreciates that Nedda will listen and supply common sense advice. “She doesn’t know anything about riding, but she understands biomechanics and symmetry,” says Genevieve. “Sometimes I get home from a show and think I’m sorer from sitting in a car for 15 hours than the horse show itself.” Nedda will then point out how she might have favored a hip while driving and recommend different sitting postures. By doing so, Genevieve said Nedda is “on her team for keeping her healthy and showing her ways to live happily.”

“For people with jobs like Genevieve, the force, repetition and physical demands can be enormous,” said Nedda. “I try to look for the root of a problem and help my patients find solutions.”

When Genevieve stays healthy, so do her horses. She finds that if she starts to favor one side of the body because of weakness or overuse, her horses’ bodies start to mirror that same condition, and vice versa. She’s most successful at competitions when she and her horses work in harmony.

For this reason, her horses also get acupuncture. “My horses are spoiled diva princesses,” laughs Genevieve. “They get everything! Sometimes when I see them getting acupuncture, and I see how relaxed they are, I think, ‘Hey, I should be getting that, too!’ But it really comes down to seeing the results of it. The horses and I perform better when we take care of our bodies. It’s nice to know if we overdo it, that we have someone who can fix us.”