Therapy and recreational riding are the cornerstones of our lessons, but we also use techniques such as yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Alexander, and body-mind centering. The difference between these body therapies and our approach is the uniqueness of the horse as a mentor and instructor. The connection between horse and rider is key because once that connection has been established the horse gives instantaneous feedback so rather than trying to figure out whether something is right, you can immediately feel effect when something changes. As the relationship between human and equine grows, a rider learns to trust that the horse has much to teach. These sensitive and caring beings want very much to help a rider to be safe and relax into their learning. When the combined desire of both the horse and the rider is to understand each other in harmony, true interdependence is possible. As the rider learns to better communicate with his/her horse, a deeper connection with the horse is created, which will result in bringing the rider’s body into better balance & alignment.
Observations and suggestions offered by the riding instructor combined with the addition of the element of hands-on bodywork is one of the reasons Blue Rider’s approach is so unique. Through incorporating bodywork, the riding instructor functions as mediator between rider and horse. The instructor gets their information from the horse about what the horse is experiencing and how best to assist their rider. By observing the horse’s subtle signals of body language, such as shifting weight, gait changes, breathing, stiffness, ears & facial expressions, the instructor gains valuable insights on how to help the rider to realign and readjust. By reading these cues that the horse naturally communicates, the instructor can then add the support of hands-on bodywork to assist the rider in accessing greater self-awareness, release of tension, and subtle healing shifts. These all lend to a sense of more ease in the body, a more focused mind and a calmer spirit. Pivotal in this holistic approach, the rider learns to trust the physical prompts offered and to integrate the input, not only into the immediate experience of riding, but to further take their learnings out into the rest of their life.
We also teach Ground Work and Liberty Training with the focus of communication between the horse and human partners.