Do you want to improve the communication between you and your horse? This isn’t about seeing a stride or how to perform shoulder-in, it’s about taking away all the unnecessary tensions and muscular activity we all have that interferes with the messages we are giving the horse. It also acknowledges that fear and anxiety inhibit performance and learning in both us and our equines. We need calm, clear, consistent communication to enjoy the best relationship we can with our horses.
Horse-riders often understand Alexander Technique more easily because they already have an idea that very subtle body movements and muscle tensions are important. Horses are so tuned into body language you will have noticed how your moods and thoughts can make a difference to your horses behaviour both on the ground and when ridden. Remember when your riding instructor says “just THINK canter” – your body does something to communicate your intention to the horse, but is so subtle you don’t think that you have actually made a movement. So, you already have an idea of how just thinking can have a very real result on your body.
Horses are fascinating to work with because you can’t fake it! They know if you are fearful (or anxious or angry). If you know what happens to your body when you are anxious, you have the means of moderating that response. The horse will then feel less tension and therefore be less tense itself. That obviously helps you in turn feel more confident! So for instance, when your horse is spooking if you know that this is likely to make you pull your head back and your shoulders up you can avoid doing this. The horse then feels that you are not responding to the ever so scary plastic bag, and that helps him calm down. You can’t eliminate all of your anxious response, or your horse’s, but you can definitely start a virtuous cycle of calm.
I can also help you with maintaining a good position when riding. If you force yourself to hold a “correct” riding position you will be likely to be using a lot of effort and muscle tension to maintain it. This is difficult to keep up, which is why an instructor might be reminding you all the time! Alexander Technique helps you gradually change your way of being, so you are more easy in everything you do, on and off the horse. With time and practise that lovely, balanced position that allows your horse to perform his best can become your natural way to be.
How do lessons work?
- These skills need to be practised first where it is easier away, from your horse – you can’t be expected to learn a new skill while also concentrating on what your horse is doing!
- Basic skills are learnt on the table and in a classroom type setting. However early on with horseriders I will introduce the saddle horse, so that you can practice in the riding position.
- Once you have the basics, we can start working with you and your horse together.
See here for details of my horse-riders’ Starter Course.