I used to ride as a child. This is a picture of me on my pony at a show in Anglesey, North Wales in the 1970's. Over the years since then I have been off and on horses, but never had any further instuction. I thought I could ride.
When we moved to Canada, I made a committment to myself that I would start riding again. And I found a teacher who teaches natural horsemanship. Horse Whispering stuff. It's facinating. I have found that yes, I can ride, but also I can't - there are many, many things I have to forget and start to learn a whole new approach to horses, to my body and to the communication between me and the horse.
Part of the natural approach to horses explores the connection that happens between the horse and the rider. I've had to let go of pulling on the reins and kicking the horse to go. I've had to discover what it's really about. About settling into the saddle, into myself, connecting with my own energy and intention and FEELING what I'm doing and what the horse is doing. Once we are in sync with each other magic can happen.
It's truly delightful.
Kaiut yoga has taught me a lot about my hips, so when my riding instuctor starts our class with some horseback yoga by having me put my leg in a half sukhasana, I smile to myself... I know sukasana (cross legged position) on horseback is exactly what I need. What my hips need.
For to be able to drop into the saddle, to truly communicate with the horse, I need to feel and in order to feel I need to have mobility and openess in my joints, especially my hips. And so everytime I feel into my own body and get a bit more aware and alive inside of myself, I have that available to me when I'm on a horse.
The horse I ride is a fine and sensitive creature, he will feel everything I give him. A stiff hip, a sore knee, a troubled heart... all of it he is aware and sensitive to pick it up. And so I want to get on him as if I'm doing my yoga practice on my mat. With the intention to feel. I can hear Francisco Kaiut (founder of Kaiut Yoga) in my ear. FEEL he says. I now know how important that is.
It's horseback Yoga. It's feeling more free.
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