Luckily I was able to take my Instructor Training with Sally Swift, Susan Harris, Mary Fenton, and Sally Haney. This was one of the very first Instructor Trainings offered and it was right here in Texas in 1991. Since then I have kept current and continued building my skills as a teacher and rider with Centered Riding® updates.
Centered Riding® is about riding in balance physically so that balance rather than grip keeps you on the horse. This allows for freer movement in the horse and greater comfort in the rider.
Centered Riding® is also about riding in balance mentally by utilizing both sides of the brain in harmony so that the body responds in a holistically correct manner for what you wish to achieve.
The Centered Riding® approach comes from a melding of the techniques of Alexander Mattias and Tai Chi. At the time I was introduced to Centered Riding,® there was also a collaboration with TTEAM and many of the instructors incorporated techniques from Moshe Feldenkrais. In 2009 I took and graduated from "Living In a Body" Level I, taught by Robyn Avalon of the Alexander Alliance SouthWest. In the last five years I have incorporated Equine Positional-Release into lessons as well.
Centered Riding® can be used with any discipline of riding. My particular background is with dressage and jumping however anyone riding in a balanced seat will benefit from the Centered Riding® approach.
Some folks find Centered Riding® to be rather challenging. This is due to several factors.
Centered Riding® Open Clinics are intensive whirlwind weekends that cover an incredible amount of information. If you are traveling any distance, these are great if you are a proficient rider and want to consolidate time and expense. These are also a great yearly checkup even if you live in the area. If you are just starting out, these are a great way to start out right!
There is a very basic level which is the starting point; however, for advanced students, there are very advanced topics.
If you are considering becoming a Centered Riding® Instructor, you will want to attend one of these clinics as they lay the ground work the the Instructor Training.
Centered Riding® Workshops are smaller units from the Open Clinic taught individually over the course of a year. These workshops are a great value for the student who rides at home and wishes to move forward with their riding skills in a steady yet relaxed manner.
Equine Positional-Release is an adaptation of Ortho-bionomy for riders and horses which, if you like, you can have a lesson dedicated to experiencing this.
The principles of Ortho-bionomy, move into comfort, attend to the pattern that presents itself, and trust implicitly that self-corrective mechanisms will prevail, has permeated all of my personal riding and much of my teaching -- to the point that this is one of three main aspects that I use. So chances are you'll experience this sooner than later as part of a lesson.
As a special treat, though, beyond it being part and parcel of a riding lesson, you can also have a session dedicated to this wonderful modality.
This is great for general alignment and also old, old, patterns that have been there 'forever.' It can release a tight psoas, resolve a past trauma, dissolve tension in the hands and shoulders and much, much more.
It's a priceless addition to the self-care of any athlete!
These workshops revolve around topics of interest. They are an amalgamation of 'everything I know' about the topic. This usually includes the basic anatomy and proper functioning of a body, Centered Riding information, Alexandar approaches, Feldenkrais approaches, whole brain approaches, Ortho-bionomy/Equine Positional-Release approaches, and more!
Some workshops are done with the rider in mind -- with ground work to introduce concepts and then riding to carry it over into 'real life.' For these workshops, you can ride a school horse or bring your own horse.
Some workshops are done entirely on the ground, working with people concepts and horse concepts. For these workshops, you also have the option to bring your horse if you wish, or you can pair up with a school horse.
The program is based upon traditional martial arts programs.
There are ten skills which would ideally freely flow at all times during a ride.
These consist of:
Each skill is taught at the simplest level on the ground. For instance, 'balancing the head' is a skill. You learn this first on the ground.
Then there are nine levels of progressing difficulty starting with walking on the lunge line. When skills are fairly solid on the lunge, then they are done off the lunge. When skills are good at free walk, then trot on the lunge is added in. When skills are good at the trot on the lunge, the free trot is added in. When skills are good at the free trot, the canter at the lunge is added in. When skills are good at the canter on the lunge, the free canter is added in.
After learning about 'balancing the head' on the ground, you get to practice this walking on the lunge. Then during all the things you would do while walking. Then during trot, etc. It is the same for all the other skills.
It may seem odd to bring Reiki into a riding lesson. What it can do, though, is address physical concerns or mental blocks. Things like a stuck hip socket, anxiety over riding in public ... actually, anything you can think of.
This is a versatile modality that is quick and easy to incorporate into a riding lesson, keeping the flow of what is happening in the lesson, and can stand alone as its own session.
Resonance Repatterning® is one of the 'big guns.' This will be a separate session or set of sessions to address the bigger issues and goals surrounding your riding.
For instance, things like:
These are the types of things you can do without Resonance Repatterning®, for sure, yet the reason to use Resonance Repatterning® is that it cuts to the chase. Rather than repeating an affirmation for 28 days, you do a session and most of the work of 'changing your mind' is done in an hour or so. I think of Resonance Repatterning® as taking off the parking brake and pressing on the gas pedal. You start moving in the direction you want without holding yourself back.
This is another versatile modality that is quick and easy to incorporate into a riding lesson, keeping the flow of what is happening in the lesson, and can stand alone as its own session. And it's also one of those modalities that can cover a multitude of topics. You literally cut the affirmation time down from 28 days to about 15 minutes. If you would like a separate session utilizing PSYCH-KTM for the benefit of your riding, we can set that up in lieu of a riding lesson.
This is another versatile modality that is quick and easy to incorporate into a riding lesson, keeping the flow of what is happening in the lesson, and can stand alone as its own session. And it's also one of those modalities that can cover a multitude of topics. If you would like a separate session utilizing tapping for the benefit of your riding, we can set that up in lieu of a riding lesson.