Gain freedom from repeated tension for yourself and your horse.
Connect deeply with your horse through a soft, supple seat.
Ride effortlessly, easily cooperating with the natural design of yourself and your horse.
Carl Hester, Gold Medallist, British Dressage Team, London 2012 Olympics says “The Alexander Technique is one of the most valuable tools a rider can possess.” —
Sue Paterson, ESNZ Dressage and judge says. “After my first Alexander session with Jann I walked out feeling much lighter and freer. I ride and compete in dressage and my horse is showing increased freedom and energy also”.
Among folk who ride horses for Dressage or Eventing or just for fun, are riders who increasingly recognizing that a heightened awareness of their own bodies has a dramatic effect on their horses.
What will a rider be looking for while competing with or riding a horse?
- To be well seated on the horse so that both horse and rider are one;
- To have the familiarity of balance in whatever action the horse might take;
- To have no aches or pains due to jarring e.g. back pain, shoulder, hip or joint pain;
- To experience lightness and freedom while riding;
- And above all, to enjoy the whole experience!
Sally Swift, Alexander Teacher and Centred Riding: She knows that when her horse can respond to her aids with an easy alertness devoid of tense reaction, she is creating a more harmonious and pleasurable relationship with him. While a rider may understand this deeply, her own use may get in the way of these ideals. If she herself is not easily balanced, but tipping forward or leaning back, it will affect the horse’s ability to balance. If her own back is being held in place rather than allowing the elastic suppleness of the muscles, her horse cannot free his back. If her own reactions or communication convey frustration or annoyance, the horse cannot respond with ease. A rider cannot blame her horse for his lack of freedom, balance and joy in movement if she herself is not applying these principles to her own self, step by step.
Sally feels that students need a correct understanding of anatomy: “You need to know that what happens with the atlas and the occiput affects the centre and all the rest. Be aware of the top of the head; be aware of the seat bones, the soles of your feet-go back and forth through the centre. You see students will come into balance….. just by being aware. It’s fascinating.”
Gaining a balanced horse is of course of paramount importance. But riding will often tend to show up the whole imbalance of the rider through an aggravated sore back, or excessive tension throughout. Without poise and postural balance in the rider, the horse’s is gait is subtly affected which in turn influences the horses whole performance and willingness.
Rachel Williams of Auckland said “After just a few Alexander lessons with Jann, it was the first time I felt really balanced while sitting on my horse.”.
Many top class riders have used the Alexander Technique to boost them into a higher level of a great ride. If anyone deserves the title of master horseman, it is New Zealands Mark Todd who creates a seemingly natural affinity between himself and any horse he mounts. Olympic champion Mark Todd has had great effect in his riding career and won successive Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1988 on Charisma in the Olympic three-day event. And his latest successes in 2012 Olympics show his great poise and unity between horse and rider….a natural connection seen as a result of Alexander lessons.
Are you struggling to have cohesiveness with horse riding, For more information email Jann