F1 device helps horse rider get back in the saddle

1 min read

A professional horse rider who suffered serious injury after a fall is aiming to compete again after being one of the first people to use a new physiotherapy device.

The TGP Analysis device and software, invented by research physiotherapist Don Gatherer from The Gatherer Partnership, enable the physio to objectively measure and assess peak muscle force and fatigue rating to determine and administer the optimum course of physio.

Using F1 electronic strain gauges, the device’s creators believe that it can remove much of the subjectivity of current physio practice, improving recovery times and avoiding unnecessary medication. The data acquired could, it is claimed, be used to assess benefit claimants too.

Oxfordshire-based professional dressage rider Thea Maxfield was thrown from her horse in 2009, suffering a C2/C3 fracture that often results in death or paralysis.

Don Gatherer started treatment on Maxfield in February 2010 using his F1-derived force-measurement device and proprietary software.

‘We can precisely measure the muscle strength, enabling us to create a safe training programme while ensuring that forces exerting on the muscle during training are within guidelines,’said Gatherer. ‘We record and analyse all measurements so we can objectively assess progress.’

Using the technology on Maxfield, plus other elite athletes in rugby and F1, as well as trials at Edinburgh University, suggests that recovery times and performance can be significantly improved.

Gatherer said: ‘Previously, Thea lacked strength but, combined with using our patented harness that prevents excess loads from being applied, she has improved core strength to improve posture and stability.

‘The accuracy of this system, coupled with the analysis software, enables physios to use it as a method of understanding what muscle force is actually possible. This enables the physio to ensure that the right treatment is administered.’