what is equistretch?
When I first started to practice yoga I did it with the pure intention to help with my ill health that I was struggling with at the time. But very quickly I realised that this it was not only aiding my health but also improving my riding.
At that point I had been riding for over 20 years and considered myself an experienced rider with knowledge and understanding of my position, aids and horse. I was having weekly training with my dressage coach and felt happy with my riding technique. I had the general slight unevenness of aids where I was stronger on one side, I felt tighter through one set of lateral work than the opposite, but nothing I was too alarmed by, and was working on with gradual improvement each time I rode.
But as I started to practice yoga more regularly I noticed that this improvement increased in pace, and I was becoming much more aware of my body and how I could make the changes required on the horse. My horse also showed more freedom and comfort whilst I rode and as a partnership we improved. My scores also reflected this pattern and weird things like I was feeling less nervous at competitions, I was much more able to focus and even if I had to have some time out of the saddle, with a continued practice of yoga my riding continued to improve.
I noticed things like tension in areas I hadn't been aware of, but also a deeper and more powerful core strength building.
I hadn't expected to become stronger whilst practicing yoga, my perception of yoga was that it was all about relaxation and suppleness, but what really happened was that my muscles continued to strengthen but they also were able to lengthen, which allowed me to move more naturally with my horse and respond as required.
And this is where Equi-Stretch was born. In the notion that yoga for riders is what the missing link is between horse and rider development.
Fast forward a few years and I am now a fully qualified yoga teacher as well as a senior equestrian coach with over 20 years of equestrian coaching, over 6 years of yoga teaching under my belt, and after developing a practice and doing research to match I now offer sessions focussed specifically for horse riders.
These sessions will focus on subjects from "improving the riders seat" to "creating more balance and awareness of the position whilst performing lateral movements", "using the breath to cope with nerves" etc..
I am also offering individual sessions where we can get really geeky about how we can build a practice that will help you with your own particular challenges as a rider to help you really improve at a greater pace.