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As a physical therapist and horse lover, Wes Rau finds satisfaction in knowing he can make an impact for both the animal and the rider.
by Lauren Davis Baker, for The Bulletin Special Projects
Published Mar 11, 2017 at 12:00AM / Updated Mar 21, 2017
Wes Rau is checking out the patrons of Wild Ride Brewing as they wander into the Redmond establishment in search of beer and a bite. He looks patrons up and down. As an experienced physical therapist, he can’t help assessing posture and gait as he people watches. By force of habit he scans for visual cues that indicate how well the bodies he seeing passing by are functioning. Rau is all about keeping bodies moving — running smoothly and efficiently — making it possible for his clients to keep doing the things they love to do.
From the Redmond office of Step and Spine Physical Therapy, Rau endeavors to help his clients achieve their goals by improving strength and mobility. From skiers to cyclists and from runners to golfers, physical therapy enables a wide range of athletes to remain active as long as possible.
Now in his 60s, Rau is well aware of the challenge of staying fit and healthy despite the ravages of time. He is meeting that challenge head-on.
“I want to be an aging competitive athlete,” he said, noting that his personal goal is to compete in a 100-mile competitive endurance horseback ride.
As an equestrian hiself, Rau has a special fondness for working with horse people.
“They’re easy,” he said. “They understand the relationship between movement and health.”
That understanding likely comes in part from knowing that movement is essential for horses to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Horse owners know that if a horse stops moving, every major organ in his body is effected, including the large intestine. If the intestines shut down, the condition can be serious — even life-threatening. So, horses are encouraged to keep moving within reason, through injury, illness and even surgical recovery.
While lack of movement may not be as life-threatening for humans, it significantly affects their quality of life.
“Wes helped me when I first started battling lower back issues,” said 81-year-old Dolly DeCair. “After my hip replacement, he had me back on a horse within six months.”
Getting back in the saddle was important to DeCair, an accomplished endurance rider who has competed in six Tevis Cup Trail Rides — a grueling 100-mile route that stretches from Salt Lake City to Sacramento, the very ride that Rau has set his own sights on...
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