May 13, 2009

Riding, a little left of centre; the Alexander Technique

So the fires took out my most recent riding spot.. We went out to Kinglake on the weekend and caught up with Steve and he is getting there slowly with rebuilding the fencing and so on but it will be a long time til the park is open to riders again. We're hoping to work with Steve to get some more riding income for him on the property but it will take a lot of work.

In the meantime I had been looking around 'home' for somewhere to ride and came across Studio Evolving which intrigued me and when I spoke with Marigold on the phone I connected with her straight away. Today I went for a 3 hour intro session into Alexander Technique & Riding.

Taken from their website: The Alexander Technique is a unique approach to the study of movement. It is a means of eliminating unnecessary tension while learning to move in an easier more effective way.

It was a great experience; first we spent time getting to know Tamino (the horse I worked with) using touch/massage/grooming; likewise he got to know me :) Then a brief run-down on the human skeletal/muscle system and how it all works together and conversely how one 'wrong' part can impact on others. We then spent an amusing 15 minutes teaching me to sit and stand (I kid you not!). Marigold showed me how I was tense and stiff in the way I 'normally' sit down and stand; and then guided me to a more neutral/natural way of doing so.

Next we headed back outdoors for a session on the wooded horse and then the real thing. It's going to take time to un-learn my habits on a horse after a lifetime of riding 'as I was taught' but already I can feel a difference.. I had Tam walking, turning and halting with just movement in the saddle and no rein pressure at all - amazing stuff, really. (and my boots and jeans were less clean when I had finished!)

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