Monday, 16 May 2016 14:54

Five Tips to Get You Riding Fit

Getting fit for riding can be a real challenge. Going to the gym is hard work and often we lack time and motivation after we have been to work, ridden and mucked out! Let us help you solve these problems with our quick and simple solutions to get you to Ride Fit.

• Do your own jobs - Where feasible, keep your horse on DIY livery, and do your own stable jobs. Mucking out, turning out, carrying haynets and water buckets are all beneficial to your fitness, being strength and conditioning training, without you even knowing it!  Make sure when you muck out and sweep, you do it on both sides of your body, to promote balanced muscles and straightness. Similarly, carry a water bucket in each hand to balance out the weight and protect your back.

• Warm up – Very few riders warm up before they ride and get on the horse cold and stiff. This stiffness transmits to the horse and affects his way of going. Warming up is extremely beneficial because it increases blood flow, gently opens the joints and helps prevent injury. Contrary to popular belief, it is not onerous, and can be done in the stable. Even grooming the horse vigorously will help to open up the shoulder joints. The hips and knees can be warmed up with some simple lunges or squats, and the chest can be opened with some shoulder rolls, or by clasping the hands behind the back and stretching them behind you. All of these exercises will be beneficial not only to your body, but will turn your mental focus to riding, which will optimise your performance.

• Stretch – In our last blog posting, we discussed the importance of flexibility in enhancing riding. Everybody’s target areas are different (and a good coach or Pilates teacher can help you identify yours), but common areas of tightness in riders are: hip flexors, hamstrings, gluteals and pectorals. Stretching these muscles daily will take only ten minutes, and can be done in front of the telly (even with a glass of wine as an incentive), but will improve your riding tenfold. Ask your Pilates teacher how to complete these stretches safely and to give you the best effect.

• Join a class – Equestrian specific exercise classes are fantastic motivators, because you can have fun and make friends with like-minded people. The exercises will be specifically targeted at riders and the instructor will understand the challenges riders face, and help solve them. Often the classes are paid for a few weeks in advance, encouraging you to go each week (even when you don’t feel like it!), gaining the most benefit.

• Cardiovascular exercise – Exercise such as brisk walking, running, swimming or cycling are good for weight control, stamina and all round well-being. All of these factors result in better riders. Try and commit to an achievable amount of cardiovascular exercise each week. This may be half an hour once a week, or five times a week, depending on how much time you have, and how much you enjoy it. You don’t have to be a marathon runner; even the smallest amount will pay dividends for your riding.

Try these tips and let us know how you get on or if you have any questions in the comments below!

Lucy Field-Richards

 

 


 

Lucy Field-Richards : Lucy owns Ride Fit Equestrian, and is from Nottinghamshire.

Qualifications : First class BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Science (Equestrian Psychology),  BHSAI, Diploma in Equine Sports Massage Therapy

Lucy is a lecturer in Equine Science at Nottingham Trent University.

 

 


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Published in Trot On Blogs
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 10:50

Why Horse Riders Need to Exercise too

Commonly we talk about ‘working’ our horses and getting them fit for our discipline, whatever that may be. We spend hours and invest lots of money in training our horses to use their muscles correctly and perform at their best. Having said that, not all riders consider their own physical fitness and how it can enhance their riding performance. Many people assume that because riding itself is physical exercise, keeps us fit and burns around 300 calories a session, we don’t need to do other forms of exercise. Fortunately, equine scientists have found a link between rider fitness and improved riding, raising awareness of the issue. Rider fitness is paramount when taking to the saddle, and we owe it to our horses to stay in the best shape we reasonably can. So, why is it so important?

Weight control

Let’s see it from the horse’s perspective. An eleven stone (70kg)  rider, on a 550kg horse represents 13% of that horse’s bodyweight. If that same rider were to go for a run with a rucksack weighing 13% of their bodyweight, they would be carrying 1.4 stone (9kg). It wouldn’t take very long for the individual to tire. If the weight in the rucksack were slightly off-centre (as most riders’ weight is), the individual’s back could become quite sore very quickly. Using this analogy to empathise with the horse, we can see that to benefit the horse and improve performance, riders should control their weight and improve their straightness by a mixture of cardiovascular activities (eg running, swimming), and Pilates. These exercises will also increase endurance and stamina.

Stamina

Horse riding works a number of muscles including abdominal muscles, hip flexors, adductors (thigh) and calves. These muscles are not necessarily used in every-day life and therefore need to be trained separately, to keep strong and effective throughout a riding session. Riding is a very demanding sport, and as the rider becomes tired, their aids are less clear because it is more difficult to move the arms and legs independently of the seat. A rider with good stamina will be able to bring out the best in their horses, either in the dressage arena or cross country. Stamina is especially important in the cross country phase to ensure safety of the horse and rider, because the rider needs to be fit enough to remain focused on the horse and the fences, rather than working hard to simply remain up out of the saddle.

Prevent injury

A good rider is a well-balanced rider. The rider’s centre of gravity should be directly over the horse’s to allow the aids (seat, leg, hand) to be independent of each other. Apart from the effect on performance, good balance is important, so that if the horse spooks, or misses a stride at a jump, the rider can maintain their balance with the horse, and avoid an accident. Balance exercises used in both yoga and Pilates can help improve the balance, as well as mounted exercises on the horse.

Flexibility

Whilst strength and stamina are very important to keep the rider upright and effective in the saddle, flexibility is of equal importance to maintain balanced and effective. The musculature in the hips and pelvis needs to be supple to absorb the horse’s movement. In order for the lower legs to be long, loose and wrapped around the horse’s sides, the muscles of the hips, inner thighs and calves need to be loose and flexible. Again, these muscles don’t naturally get worked this way in everyday life and so need some help outside of your riding time.

How do you keep fit for riding? What are the best exercises you have found? Please share with others in the comments.

Lucy Field-Richards

 


 

Lucy Field-Richards : Lucy owns Ride Fit Equestrian, and is from Nottinghamshire.

Qualifications : First class BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Science (Equestrian Psychology),  BHSAI, Diploma in Equine Sports Massage Therapy

Lucy is a lecturer in Equine Science at Nottingham Trent University.

 

Published in Trot On Blogs

Welcome to the second of a three-part series of blog articles that will help improve your riding fitness. Last time we studied effective goal setting, which will mentally prepare you for the season and will keep you motivated. The next two blog articles look at our physical rider fitness. Apart from cardiovascular fitness, there are two key elements of fitness that can transform your riding; core strength and suppleness. This blog will cover core strength, and next time we will look at specific exercises to help you become supple and move freely with the horse.

What is core stability?

Your core muscles surround your trunk and are at the centre of your body.  These muscles support your spine and hips, and are involved in performing virtually every movement of the limbs.

Why is core stability important to riders ?

Core stability is essential to riders for a variety of reasons:

• Reduced pain – Having a strong core can help reduce lower back pain because all of the muscles surrounding your spine are stable. Instability in the core area means that you can’t absorb the movement of the horse effectively and over time, this will lead to injury because the ligaments and tissue surrounding the spine will be stressed and overworked.

• Enhanced equine performance –  Having a stable core and supported back will make you a much more elegant rider, and allow your horse to move freely underneath you. Riders that wobble on the horse’s back need to grip with their knees and hands to balance and the result is a tight, tense and short striding horse. A recent study has found the horses whose riders that embarked upon an 8 week core strength programme demonstrated increased stride length by the end of the programme. A top rider will create the illusion that they are totally still on the horse. In fact, they are moving at one with the horse, creating a magical harmony that many of us think we can only dream of. With our exercises, this harmony IS possible to achieve.

• Reduced risk of injury – Your core is your centre of gravity and a strong core will help you stay ‘with the horse’.  A strong core renders you more secure in the saddle so that if your horse spooks you will be far less likely to fall off and injure yourself. Strong muscles around the core will help protect your neck, back and hips in the event of a fall.

• Co-ordination - Your limbs are connected to your trunk, therefore unless you are balanced and stabilised in your core, it will be impossible  to move your hands and legs independently of your seat.

Core Exercises

We have outlined below some simple exercises you can use to strengthen a number of muscles in your body, including your core, lower back and shoulders. You don’t need any equipment for these exercises other than a mat or something comfortable to lie on, and there are several variations to ensure you perform the exercises at a level that is suitable for you. Many of the progressions can be carried out with an exercise ball, which adds a bit of fun as well as an increased level of difficulty.

The Plank. What it is.

This is a very popular and simple way to improve the strength across your upper body and core.

How to do it.

Start by kneeling on the floor with your hands shoulder width apart, as though you are about to do a push up.

Engage your abdominal muscles. Take a deep breath in, exhale and rest your weight on your forearms, and lift your knees off the floor, so that the only part of your body that is in contact with the floor is your toes and your forearms.

Keep your spine in a neutral alignment, and hold the body in this position for as long as you can.

Build up from twenty seconds, to up to two minutes over time.

Variations.

To make it easier:

If the above exercise is too challenging, and you are struggling to keep your spine in a neutral position, keep your knees on the floor whilst you rest your forearms on the floor.

Engaging your core in this position will help build your muscles sufficient to be able to perform the full plank. Gradually introduce the full plank for 10 seconds at a time.

To make it more difficult:

Try the plank, but with lifting a limb, and alternating which limb you lift.

Widen your stance and hold yourself up with your hands instead of your forearms, to increase the challenge.

Once you are good at both of these amendments, rest your legs on a Swiss ball rather than the floor, which provides an uneven base to improve your balance as well as your core stability.

Side plank. What it is:

This exercise works the oblique abdominal muscles and helps to prevent the dreaded ‘collapsed hip’.

How to do it.

Lie on your left side, with your body in one long line.

Take a deep breath in, exhale, engage the abdominals and lift your left hip and knee off the floor so that your weight is in the side of your left foot and in your left forearm.

Hold the position for as long as you can – up to two minutes, and then repeat on the right side.

Variations.

To make it more difficult:

When you are on the left side, rest on your left hand rather than the floor.

You can lift your right arm up and stretch it towards the ceiling.

Once you are confident in this position, you can also lift and lower your right leg, to give further challenge to your oblique muscles and also to improve your balance.

Dead bugs. What it is:

This exercise is aptly named, because when you complete the full extended version you look like a beetle stuck on its back! The exercise involves extending your limbs away from your centre of gravity, whilst keeping your pelvis neutral, which is a real challenge for your core.

How to do it.

Lie on your back with your spine in a neutral position, with your knees bent, and calves parallel to the floor. Take a deep breath in to engage the abdominals.

Exhale and lower your right leg and right arm to the floor, using your core muscles to keep your back flat to the floor.

Return to the start position and repeat on the other side. Aim for 10 repetitions on each side.

Variations.

To make it easier:

If your lower back lifts off the floor when you complete this exercise, you are making it too difficult for yourself and can cause injury. If this is the case, reduce the distance that your limbs move away from you.

The easiest option for this exercise is to have one foot on the floor with the knee bent, whilst the other one lowers. In this situation, the bent leg helps support the neutral position of the pelvis.

To make it more difficult:

Move both legs and both arms away from the body simultaneously. You have to be very strong through your core to maintain a neutral alignment of the spine with this variation of the exercise.

Once you have mastered the exercise with both legs and both arms moving at the same time, use an exercise ball to add additional weight and therefore challenge. Pass the ball from your hands to your ankles, and alternate whether you lift and lower the ball with your hands, or your legs.

If you practise these exercises regularly (at least twice a week), you will certainly notice a change in your riding. Let us know how you get on in the comments below. Which do you find the hardest and which do you enjoy the most?

 

Lucy Field-Richards

 

 


 

Lucy Field-Richards : Lucy owns Ride Fit Equestrian, and is from Nottinghamshire.

Qualifications : First class BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Science (Equestrian Psychology),  BHSAI, Diploma in Equine Sports Massage Therapy

Lucy is a lecturer in Equine Science at Nottingham Trent University.

 

 

 

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Published in Trot On Blogs

Improve your riding fitness. - A 3-part series by Lucy Field-Richards.

Part 1. Goal Setting.

This time of year is fantastic for riders, whatever our ability, ambition and aspirations. If you are a happy hacker, the nights drawing out and warmer spring days is enough to make you sprint down to the yard and leap on almost before you have time to do your hat up! If you are an event rider, planning the season ahead can be hugely exciting and this time of year seems so full of promise.

The flip side to the spring excitement is that it can be a little overwhelming and your regime may be lacking in structure. If hacking is your thing, instead of just riding as much as possible, you may want to constructively plan your hacks, to improve your horse’s fitness, or to school them whilst you are hacking. If eventing is your thing, instead of entering everything in sight, you might consider your finances and reduce the number of events you enter and instead focus on funding your training, so that you are more likely to be successful in the events you enter.

The key is to set goals, to give you something specific to work towards, against which you can manage your progress and keep the high energy and motivation that spring brings, throughout the summer and autumn season.

Goal Setting

Goals help us visualise our ideal future, and take the necessary steps in order to turn our vision into reality. Your goal could be to achieve the next level in eventing next year or to consistently improve your dressage scores. Whatever your goal, you are more likely to achieve it if you set it using the ‘SMART’ goal framework. Your goals must be:

• Specific

• Measurable

• Attainable

• Relevant

• Time-Linked

If your goal is to achieve the next level in eventing this season (let’s assume you compete at BE90 now and are ready to move up to BE100), we need to turn this into a ‘SMART’ goal.

‘It is May 2016, and I have successfully completed my first BE100, with a sub-35 dressage score, and no more than 4 jumping faults.’

Is it ‘SMART’?

• Specific? Yes - it details the level of competition you desire.

• Measurable? Yes – it details the scores you want to achieve. You will need to work with your trainer and/or sports psychologist to break down your overall goal into small sub-goals. These sub-goals will help keep you going and measure whether or not you are on track to achieve your overall goal. You will have to keep revisiting it as the weeks progress to make sure you stay motivated and on target. You might keep a journal to track your progress.

• Attainable? Your scores at BE90, and conversations with your trainer will help you decide this. Notice we have used the future tense in our goal… ‘It is May 2016 and I have’. Positive language is very powerful in enhancing your self-belief. Chances are that if you have been getting placed at BE90, have been working hard over the winter and have a talented horse, your goal is achievable because you have from March to May to work on moving up a level. Goals should be difficult to attain, but never impossible to achieve.

• Relevant? The goal must be relevant to you and what you want. Don’t be tempted to set goals to keep up with what your friends are doing or to please your trainer. This will just lead to heartache and failure later on.

• Time-linked? Yes – May is a set date. Using the BE calendar, you can select which competition you would like your first BE100 to be, and schedule a couple of BE90s in the next week or so, before you move up a level. This will help build your confidence, and having a set date will help build the excitement!

Now that you have your SMART goal, tell people about it! Ask your friends and family to share in your enthusiasm and understand what it means to you. This will help keep you motivated, because you will feel more accountable and let’s face it – they will be so proud of you by May when you are safely home from the cross country!

Lucy and Crouch :)

Lucy Field-Richards

 

 


 

Lucy Field-Richards : Lucy owns Ride Fit Equestrian, and is from Nottinghamshire. 

Qualifications : First class BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Science (Equestrian Psychology),  BHSAI, Diploma in Equine Sports Massage Therapy

Lucy is a lecturer in Equine Science at Nottingham Trent University.

 

 

 


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Published in Trot On Blogs
Monday, 08 February 2016 17:39

How to Beat the Winter Blues!

I'm sure I'm not the only person who come February gets a dose of the winter blues - stuck in the mud, weighed down by rugs and desperate for more daylight! However, I find one way guaranteed to lift my mood is to make plans for the Summer with goals that I start working on straight away.

Try to spend at least five minutes a day of quality time with your horse: Although five minutes may not sound like long, it is worth taking time to consider how much quality time you really do spend with your horse each day. Especially in the winter, we find ourselves rushing around to fit everything in- mucking out, turning out/bringing in, feeding, grooming and exercising. It can be easy to forget to just STOP and remind your horse how much you love them!  Start experiencing five mins a day of quiet time with your horse, simply standing or sitting with them. Stop worrying about the past and the future and be in the moment. Take a look here for more info on the benefits of being in the present with your horse or in fact anyone https://troton.com/item/195-connect-with-your-horse-be-herd.html

Or if you prefer, just stand there, focus on them and chat, in your mind or out loud. Whatever method suits you it's something that’s bound to bring the two of you closer and will cheer you up no matter what! Then on lovely sunny summer days just sit with them in the field for longer stretches of time. No pressures, just being in the moment, the two of you.

Improve personal fitness: Over the cold winter months a lot of us are prone to a bit of comfort eating on top of all those mince pies and chocolates we ate at Christmas. So start getting riding fit for summer by improving your strength and stamina.Try going for a brisk 20 minute walk every day or for a short run a couple of times a week. And if you just do the plank every morning you'll soon see an improvement to your riding and the way you feel in general. This exercise looks easy but has so many benefits; improving core strength, toning legs, arms, improving posture and balance. It also doesn't cost anything, just a few minutes of your time-so it's a WIN WIN! Here's a good article telling you how to do it and all the benefits. http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2014/12/05/5-plank-benefits.aspx

Move it up a level: Make this summer the season you challenge yourself and move your riding up a level, whether going up a jumping class, trying a harder dressage test or a higher level of eventing. So, set your goal now and start working towards it in small steps such as improving your horse's canter for jumping or trying a new dressage movement in the school. This can do a world of good for your confidence as a rider, and will make your summer one to remember rather than one that finishes with, what if?

Try a different discipline: For instance, natural horsemanship is something that fascinates me. The work of people such as Kelly Marks, and her lovely coloured horse, Pi, has always struck me as amazing, and through watching them work together it is obvious that they have an incredible bond as a partnership. There is endless help and advice online about how to get involved with the world of natural horsemanship;

this video is well worth a watch. But that's just what I fancy, maybe you've always wanted to try classical or straightness training, or a new sport such as horse-ball. Well now's the time to start searching for clinics and clubs. A change could be just be the thing that you and your horse need and you may find you both have hidden talents!

Go on a Beach Ride: Now this is my personal favourite! To me, there is nothing I'd like to do more than gallop down a long beach. Everyone who has done it says it's an incredibly exhilarating experience, and what could be better than a view of the sea and the beach between a horse’s ears?! There are many riding centres that offer beach rides for all abilities. Alternatively get together with some friends and search for a B&B close to a good riding beach that will accommodate both you and your horses. And if you've done the beach thing, what about planning a holiday with your horse in another beauty spot that's great for riding such as Exmoor.

Making your own list of goals can be the way to help you get through the remainder of these long winter days, giving you something to aim for. And there's no better time to take some steps towards achieving them, then now. I would love to hear what all of you have planned for this summer, and please do make sure you let us all know how you get on!

Ellie Fells

 

 


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Lucy Field-Richards has always been passionate about riding and improving equestrian performance. She has over 10 years experience coaching others at a variety of levels across all equestrian disciplines. A serious ankle injury prompted Lucy to begin Ride Fit Equestrian, when getting back to riding following several months off. She has always been very fit outside of her equestrian pursuits, and realised what an enormous benefit this was to her when getting back in the saddle. She now rides better than ever having committed to keeping herself as fit, strong and balanced as possible. Here Lucy contemplates the winter months...

Winter. Even the word makes us feel cold. It usually means, after long days at work, coming home to dark nights with soggy, muddy horses. The frustration of not being able to ride due to flooded or frozen arenas, when all our hard training over the summer goes to waste.

Or does it?

We can't change the inevitability that is winter. However, what we can change is the connotations that it brings. It's all semantics really if we just look at two words:

There is one letter that differentiates the two words. The letter 't'.

T is for 'training'.

Another inevitability...Unless you are lucky enough to have an indoor school, there will be days when you can't ride during the winter. It sucks, I agree. Whilst you can't control the weather, there is something you can control. Your riding ability. Your fitness.

Use these cold dark days to work on you.  Work on your strength, your balance, your co-ordination - all of the things that differentiate elite riders from the rest. It isn't just your horse that needs to be fit for the job; you do too.

From the comfort of your own home, or through group exercise classes, you can still improve as a rider through the winter, without getting cold and wet. Whilst your competitors are lacking motivation and finding it easier to stay at home, use the winter to train, train, train and emerge as a winner in spring.

Are you lucky enough to be able to motivate yourself easily during the winter? If so, share your tips below!

Lucy Field-Richards


 

Lucy Field-Richards : Lucy owns Ride Fit Equestrian, and is from Nottinghamshire.

Qualifications : First class BSc (Hons) Equine Sports Science (Equestrian Psychology),  BHSAI, Diploma in Equine Sports Massage Therapy

Lucy has recently been appointed as a lecturer in Equine Science at Nottingham Trent University.


 

 

Published in Trot On Blogs

18 months ago after a night out with her horse riding friends Marsha Giles from County Durham saw photographs of the evening and didn't like what she saw one little bit . At that pivotal moment she decided she was going to do something about it - she was going to change her lifestyle,her shape and her outlook on life...and DID she just

She changed her diet, started an regular exercise routine and only ate healthily and cleanly. Today she weighs 7 stones less than she did and now wears a size 10 rather than a size 26 dress. She is also back riding and competing in a dressage #thisgirlcan

A keen equestrian and animal lover for many years she had owned Bert her horse for over 5 years. She had abandoned any thought of riding him - She would only have enough energy to be able to muck him out  and lead him around the arena in a slight Trot before before becoming physically exhausted.

In Martha's own words " I feel great, my confidence is at an all time high - taking part in dressage made me feel like a new women. I felt elegant and proud to be doing something I had always dreamed of"

Bert is also happy " he loves being put through his paces now he is thriving and fitter than he has been for a long time"

What a lovely "Feel Good" story...you can tell in the video how confident she has become....everything is possible if you believe to be so! Well done Marsha

 


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There is no doubt we all know that YOGA  helps you to be a BETTER EQUESTRIAN .....physically it improves balance, aligns the body and builds up your core strength....emotionally it can make you a lot more at ease with yourself more "comfortable in your skin"... emotionally and physically you will be a better equestrian if you do Yoga.... The issue though for many is how do I get started? It's so daunting.  Or is it?

Starting Yoga is no different to starting any other activity - like learning to ride a horse for the first time. It can cause a little uneasiness at first until you get into the hang of it  - everything is strange - the lingo is different - as are the muscles you are being asked to stretch - the positions look impossible...why should I have to feel like I'm a pretzel?!!

So here are 5 practical tips to help you get over this initial hurdle  - tips that are passed on to you  from others that have trodden this path overcame the pain and got to the gain.

Those who have come to fully  understand how YOGA and equestrianism work perfectly to improve yourself and your riding abilities in all kinds of ways.

1- Go with the flow - Accept it may be a little confusing for the first couple of classes: Many times when you just accept "confusion" as the prevailing state of mind it suddenly becomes a lot less threatening - in fact,dare I say it can become FUN...I remember reading a story about a couple whose Sunday afternoon pastime was to drive out into the countryside and deliberately get lost....once they had got totally lost  - the game was to see how long it would take them before they knew where they were again....ENJOY the emotion of being confused.

2- Have patience and be like the rest of us "a happy work in progress" - You are asking your body to do different things to that which it has done before...Muscles and joints get comfortable doing the same things even if they aren't good for the rest of the body. Often times in YOGA you are asking muscles to RE SET themselves - resetting is good for you but in the immediate time the muscle will resist " Why are you asking me to do this differently?" Be kind to your body - accept that decades of muscle alignment one way will take more than a few sessions to RESET themselves. Accept you are a work in progress and a HAPPY one at that! What's the point of being an unhappy work in progress?

3- Appreciate NOBODY is looking at anybody else ( apart from your instructor !) - they are all too busy trying to sort themselves out. I have personal experience of this - In one of my first sessions I was late and the only place available was right in front of the class - right in front of the instructor who was very very FLEXIBLE . I was very very INFLEXIBLE and I thought how embarassing...all these people knowing what they are doing and  me not having a clue.....as the class progressed... I soon realised my focus needed to be on the YOGA  ....I also realised ( when I managed to get a second or two to look at the others in the room) that  nobody else was getting it right and that nobody was in the slightest bit interested in looking at this NEWBIE.

4- Compete primarily against yourself not against others. In all the classes I've attended you will find people who are stronger, weaker, more flexible , less flexible than your self in all the different muscle groups that are being worked.- Legs, Arms, Torso, Spine - everybody is different and inevitably most people have hangs up about themselves somewhere or other ....The truth is everybody is different, everybody has their own story to tell.

The beauty of YOGA is it can help everybody and anybody for the good.

5-  Always remember It's all about having FUN and keeping a Good Sense of Humour ...understanding your self, your body and how it all fits together ... You get to understand biomechanics  - what alignment means, how to stack your spine, how one piece of the body is attached to another , which muscles extend when others flex and how you can use this insight when you are on a horse....what having an independent seat really means....great knowledge to take on board even better when its done in a spirit of humour.

Enjoy!
And that is all there is to it  - go for it and make that first move - it can really change your life...seriously : )
John B


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