If you’ve ever wondered why everyone seems to be talking about yoga or how it can help your horse training, this one’s for you!
We talk so much about our horse’s body – is he sound? symmetrical? fit and strong? balanced? engaged? moving correctly?
But it can be easy to forget that you’re the other half of that partnership and need to focus on your body, too.
Horses continue to blow me (Hannah) away with their sensitivity. Changing your breath, focus, balance, internal head talk, posture and alignment causes huge changes and responses. In my experience, we can all do this naturally but we often forget – too much ‘stuff’ on our minds, I think! This can be life stresses or to-do lists, or even getting too focused on the behaviour or outcome of what we’re trying to achieve with our horses. Taking a moment to breathe, re-balance and reconnect with our horses makes all the difference.
I was teaching just yesterday, a lady with a gorgeous big 17hh mare who is quite stiff in her body and heavy on her forehand. They’ve just started CT and we were working on some basic connecting in walk and halt. The mare was struggling to halt well, often drifting forward or taking a long time to stop and immediately wanting to walk off again.
The fix? I simply told the owner to change her balance when she asked for the halt. Just as when you ride, you don’t ask for a halt by pulling the reins – you sit up, engage your core and close your seat to help your horse halt in balance. She did the same thing on the ground when leading.
Since the mare had a tendency to lower her head right down and fall onto her shoulders, the owner lifted her hands, head and chest slightly as she prepared to ask for the halt, engaged her own core and focused on coming to a balanced stop herself. Of course, the mare followed her lead and the next few halts were soft, balanced and stopped all her drifting forward and struggles. And they got rewarded highly, reinforcing the balance and connection in both of them.
I absolutely LOVE this combination of natural body awareness, posture and focus combined with reward-based training and the two together just feel like magic.
That’s why it was so great to meet up with Helen Gilbertson, rider, vaulter and yoga teacher, to discuss the benefits of yoga to equestrians and get a practical equestrian-focused yoga routine.
Why yoga is so beneficial for horse people
Specifically how it’s helped me physically and as an equestrian
And it includes a 5 minute follow-along routine to release your back and hips before working with or riding your horse. (skip straight to it at 7 min point)
I hope you like it! Let us know if it helps you and if you have any questions in the comments!
Happy centred, connected, balanced horse training,
If you enjoyed this video, do check out the CT Club where you can see the FULL 15 minute yoga routine with Helen, as well as extra Tai Chi rider fitness videos. You can also learn from Hannah exactly how to use these techniques to improve your training, feel and relationship with your horse. Whether you’re looking to help your horse relax, tune in, or move in balance, both on the ground and ridden, this work forms a core element of our approach and is an integral part of the horse training videos within the CT Club.
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