Connect with your horse on a deeper level.
There’s a few different names- equestrian yoga, yoga on horseback, cowgirl yoga… but they all share the same purposes. They focus on mindfulness, breathing, and connecting with your horse. Through various movements and poses, the rider can strength muscles, improve their alignment, and support their emotional well-being. These exercises improve the relationship you share with your horse, while making you a more confident equestrian.
What are some of the Benefits?
- Develop a deeper connection with your horse
- Build strong core muscles
- Improve your balance
- Increase your flexibility
- Feel more confident in the saddle
- Quiet your mind
- Connect with nature
- Teach your horse patience and stillness
Horses are sensitive creatures. They easily pick up on your energy and can even act as mirrors. If you feel stressed or anxious, then your horse may exhibit signs of distress. It’s hard to interact with them when you’re frustrated, angry, or upset. By embracing yoga on horseback, you can learn to control your feelings. You won’t be able to cover them up or mask them.
When practicing yoga with your horse, you must remain calm and confident. Your horse craves a leader. They will respond much better to assertive energy. You will be given the tools to help stay present in the moment and collected.
Many sessions begin by focusing on your breathe. This can be done before you even get on the horse. By deeply inhaling and exhaling, you can quiet your mind. It’s enjoyable to follow your horse’s breathing, as well. Listen to their inhales and exhales. This will help you become more aware of their energy. It also helps to separate this time with your horse from the rest of your day.
Yoga Poses worth Trying
Some of these movements can be dangerous, so practice with caution!
Beginners can attempt a saddle twist by turning their torso to the rear of their horse. Your hands can grip the side and cantle of the saddle. Make sure to keep your chest up and shoulders pressed back. You should feel a nice stretch through your stomach and back.
Another simple pose is the saddle camel. Start by gripping the edges of your saddle with both of your hands. Push your chest upward, arch your back, and gentle tip your head backwards. This will also stretch out your back and core muscles.
The downward dog pose can be attempted on horseback, but takes a little more skill. It may actually be easier to try this one bareback or with just a pad. With your knees and hands positioned on the horse, slowly lift upward and straighten your arms than legs. It helps to spread out your fingers. Your body will form an arrow in this pose. You’ll feel the stretch through your legs, arms, and core muscles.
These are just a few of the many poses that can be performed with your horse. Some beginners may prefer to start off the horse. It’s also advisable to have someone hold your horse, until you’re sure they will stand quietly. Follow #horseyoga (https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/horseyoga/) for more cool poses! There’s a whole community out there.
In addition to trying a few basic poses, you can attend clinics, watch videos, and read books on horseback yoga. This new trend has become a popular activity on vacations and at retreats. Many farms offer instruction and quiet horses to practice on. Now’s your chance to try something new!
Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn’t writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily’s background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm.