A Rider’s Return to the Saddle: Conquering a Hip Injury

As a competitive cowboy-mounted shooter, Toshana Barthel has avoided serious injury, despite an intense schedule and being bucked off numerous horses over the years. However, her ride of good fortune came to an end last fall when her hip locked during a competition, causing intense pain.

The hip injury would need to be fixed through surgery. The recovery stage would test Barthel, who was unfamiliar to the rehab process with only sprains and minor injuries in her medical history.

“I didn’t realize how long the process would really be, so they were great to keep me positive and reinforce that I was getting better,” she said.

Barthel is referring to the therapists at Accelerated Sports Therapy & Fitness. She chose the clinic after listening to her surgeon’s advice and reviewing the clinic’s history, which included successfully treating professional athletes with similar injuries.

Initially, Barthel said the clinic worked with her to set weekly milestones. The progress was substantial early on, and she was encouraged by the therapy, which she said included some of the best workouts of her life.

However, Barthel eventually hit that plateau many experience when recovering from such serious procedures. As she got back on her horse, the mental barriers, like a lack of confidence and worries of reinjuring, proved to be the toughest to overcome.

“The PT was great during these times to help me figure out what was an actual physical limitation and what was a mental hurdle that I could push through,” she said.

With each barrier she overcame, Barthel was another step closer to her ultimate goal of competing in cowboy-mounted shooting events at a high level. Her therapy was eventually tailored to this mission, which differed from hockey players and other athletes rehabbing from similar hip procedures.

“I was doing strength and balance exercises with the balance ball I never would’ve thought of, but I continue doing them now since they are so effective,” she said. “We even discussed how I was going to start riding again in stages to allow my body to acclimate. It was great to come back to therapy after a riding session to discuss how things felt and how to work out accordingly.”

About six months out from the surgery, Barthel still checks in with Accelerated for mental or physical guidance in her workouts. Following her time at the clinic, Barthel said her therapists are more than happy to still give her advice today.

“I had such a great experience that I miss them now on my own! The patience they had with me and what they taught me is invaluable,” she said. “I never would have recovered so quickly or so well without their guidance.”

Brittany Laeger