Article about Alexander Technique for Horse Riders by Chris English

My name is Chris English and I have been teaching the Alexander Technique for over ten years. I love this work as it gives us another set of tools to help improve our riding. I help people to uncover their habits around how they think, how they move, and in particular what they do when they ride. It gives a big boost to your awareness and a sort of gentle re boot to your balance and coordination!

Here is a simple piece of information that not many riders are not aware of – how you balance your head dramatically affects the rest of your body! What you do with your head affects your back and how you sit in the saddle, how you absorb the movement and the clarity of your aids.

The reason for this is that our head is such a heavy object, (4.5 – 5 kg). Balanced well (as observed in the movement of very young children) it will lead our spine in an upward direction and allow our back to be its full length through its curves. If we interfere with this by any means such as dropping our head forward, to one side or pulling our head back then this will exert a downward compressive force through our whole body. Not many things work as well as they might when compressed, and that includes us! Over time compression will most likely lead to general stiffness and aches and pains. It will also prevent us from being as good as we could be when we ride.

This is just one example of how we can inadvertently interfere with our wonderful natural design and really get in our own way! Thankfully we are not set in stone and my job is to help teach you about your habits and how to make positive changes to restore your freedom and ease of movement. Benefits to riding typically include:

• Improved riding position, more even and straight on both reins • Ability to give clearer but more discreet aids • Improved ability to synchronise with the horse’s movement • Tools to overcome rider aches and pains • Improved response to stressful situations

Here is some recent feedback from one of my clients.

“I began having lessons with Chris at her home. This helped me become more aware of my posture generally and to be more grounded. It changed the way I do chores involved with horses and the deeper I delved, the more I could see how it could benefit all aspects of our lives.

We recently moved to lessons on my horse and I’m loving this. I know from experience that our horse will mirror us and what we do, and think will greatly affect how they perform. I totally trust Chris as a trainer as I know from feedback my mare gives me that what she is telling me, is making a difference.

Chris is a very welcoming teacher and never makes you feel silly or that something is ‘wrong’, she just gently shows you a different way to think and be. As someone who wants to ride my horse to the best of my ability, and also stay fit and well myself, I can highly recommend Chris and the Alexander Technique”

If you would like more information please see my (still under construction) website www.balancedridersecrets.co.uk or call 07808 157836, chrisenglish.alexanderteacher@gmail.com

I’m offering readers of Rosie’s newsletter a half price dismounted introductory lesson until the end of January 2018, or, pay full price and bring a friend! Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, Chris