Big Sky Studio: The Alexander Technique

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Candace Cox

Who uses the Alexander Technique?

The Rider and the Alexander Technique

Most riders would agree that getting on a horse who is tense, uptight, hurting, off-balance, or unfocused is counter-productive. In fact, too much time on a horse like this can actually cause similar problems in the rider. Conversely, how we are when we mount a horse has a huge impact on the animal, as well as the quality of the ride. From dealing with anxiety in beginning riders or trainers, to smoothing out the subtlest of issues for the professional, the principles of the Alexander Technique are enormously valuable tools to take to the ring. From Sally Swift to Mary Wanliss and beyond, this Technique improves not only the balance and ease of the rider, but the quality of communication with their horse, and even issues in the horse itself.  

HHH Conference 2006HHH Conference 2006
Above: Candace at the Horse Health Harmony Conference, 2006

Because the Alexander Technique has such a huge and instant impact on balance, “horse people” who come for lessons find their time in the saddle impacted, even without discussing the act of riding! Horse Health Harmony Conference 2006Specifically applied, with some guidance from the teacher and a mirror (!), students come to understand how to gauge what true balance is, and how to begin finding it on their own. We look as well at what the horse itself feels when a rider is even slightly off-balance or overworking. The larger implication, then, becomes how simple changes in the rider can lead to profound changes in the horse. The bottom line is always that people are drawn to horses for the sheer joy of being with them, so riding should not have to be a “no pain, no gain” kind of event, but rather a striding towards harmony in rider, horse and their partnership!!

Read the experiences of riders Lisa and Kerry