Workshops and Lessons for Equestrians
Are you confused by the volumes of instructions you receive about how to hold and position your body while riding? Books and words can only convey so much. The Embodied Way of learning utilizes the guiding touch and principles of Alexander Technique to re-educate your body, breath, and posture- the way you use yourself on or off your horse, every minute of the day. By changing the way your neuromuscular system (brain with body) operates, you learn to respond with more ease, grace, coordination, and control. You are not trying to do this and that, and follow all the visualizations and instructions. You are simply returning to your innate coordination and balance- physiologically and mentally- and that is all you need to revolutionize the way you ride!
The Alexander Technique teaches how to be relaxed and alert, toned, but not tense, in control without force. It is truly about harmonizing with your horse and the earth you both gallop on.
Fact #1 We all have unconscious habits.
Fact #2 Horses are amazingly sensitive creatures that receive and respond to mental and physical direction.
Fact #3 Your thoughts, attitudes, and physical and postural behavior come through your seat and out through your pores!
Conclusion: Your horse’s behavior and performance is directly related to you, the rider.
Working with Cathy
You will learn how to be in your body and with your horse from a place of ‘listening’, ‘sensing’, and ‘allowing’. Cathy’s skillful teaching is intuitive and playful. You will experience many aha’s, light bulbs of understanding flashing, and satisfied smiles throughout your lessons, as you come to understand HOW to communicate most effectively to your horse by knowing WHAT you are doing with yourself, mounted or on the ground.
Alexander Technique Teacher Cathy Pollock uses her embodied knowledge from decades of experience in the Alexander Technique, yoga, martial arts, mountain biking, skiing, and rock climbing to teach the principles of body-mind connection for riders- blending, flow, non-doing, and organized awareness. She has taught numerous classes and individual lessons to equestrians over the last 20 years, with astounding results.
Here’s what two students have to say:
“Saturday I rode three horses that I ride 4-5 days per week. I consciously let go of the bearing down in my core and elbows and narrowing of my seat bones which require a lot of muscle strength. Letting go of the “trying” was such a relief. I have been riding dressage for 28 years and have read and studied the masters since before I was in high school. I continue to take dressage lessons on a regular basis. It was such a relief to let go of the trying and focus on a few directives that you gave me in our first lesson. I focused on lengthening my cervical spine forward and upward as well as lengthening my lumbar spine by thinking about tilting my pelvis forward and thinking slightly down into heels.
I was aiming for:
• Connection in my seat-a plugged in feeling
• Lightness in my seat that allowed the horses back to lift under me
• Ear/shoulder/hip/heel alignment
• Willingness in the horse to move forward and slow/stop with ease from the lightest cue
• A feeling of lateral and longitudinal balance
• Most importantly a sense of harmony with the horse
After my first lesson with you, I went immediately to the arena and ride the three horses that I usually ride. They range in ages from 21 years (this horse is known to be fast and hard to stop), 15 years (known to trip and stumble and has fallen twice with two different riders in the past 6 months), and a 6 year old with only 6 months under saddle (has been resistant, lazy and bucks when asked to canter).
The first horse was the 6 year old. He responded so well to my “moving forward in space” thinking as well as my allowing seat and thoughts, that I didn’t have to use my dressage whip at all, and he broke into the canter 5-6 times on his own and didn’t swish his tail or buck at all! He responded to the slightest “thought” message that I gave him! I had the exact same response from him today, two days later.
The 21 year old horse responded so well on the first day that I felt him lengthen his neck and broaden his back and lift me versus his usual ingrained way of moving which is hollow-high headed and dropped back. The next ride (two days later), he and I were so tuned in that I never once used my rein or consciously half halted with my seat and we were able to counter canter and canter a figure 8 without changing leads. We truly were dancing!!! This is the same horse that I had to build up courage to even ask to canter a month ago.
I was so surprised at how little muscular effort it took to achieve not only what I wanted but much more- more connectedness to the horses mind and his listening to my slightest thought.
Normally, I am sweating and exhausted after riding for three hours in a row. I noticed that day that I never even broke a sweat! I was elated! I was so excited to share my experience with everyone I knew!
My students today got a brief introduction to my new area of study. They were all amazed at how easily they were able to do walk/halt transitions by following the simple directions of thought that I gave them, using the techniques that I learned from you. The horses visibly lengthened their strides and moved forward more freely when the students allowed their necks to be free.
I have goose bumps recalling these last few wonderful days. I know that my life has been forever changed. The well- being of not only myself, my horses, my students and their horses has and will continue to increase. I look forward to my next lesson!”
Rachel Kenyon, Riding Instructor, Salt Lake City, Utah
“Your posture on the ground is your posture in the saddle.” So many riders are not advancing because of their lack of understanding of their own “use.” I see riders who are not aware of their habits struggling week after week with their horses, while not addressing the real issue which is incorrect “use.” I really believe the Alexander Technique will result in real riding breakthroughs for most riders.”
Misti Seppi, Equestrian, Riding Instructor,Erda, Utah
Come learn about yourself and how your posture and tension patterns influence your riding and relationship with your horse. Most importantly, learn how to change and be find masterful rider within. You will leave this workshop with a new understanding of true balance, posture, and control.