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For the Well Being of Horse & Rider: Trust Your Instincts

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ABOUT feldenkrais®

In any athletic endeavor, timing is everything; it’s even a part of learning. In conventional models of improving mobility, the emphasis is on strength training. This is a very yang approach. It completely excludes the elements of agility, coordination and timing. Without this more yin aspect of function, strength lacks subtlety and can impair agility. Strength without fine motor control leads to an imbalance in the resting length of the muscles, so that posture is out of equilibrium. An extreme example is a Clydesdale, who has trained to pull a heavy tractor blade, but is unable to dance with the lightness and sophistication of a Lipizzaner trained to do a capriole. Additionally, without attention to balance in the resting length of your muscles, you stand a good chance of throwing off your horse’s balance through the asymmetry of your own body. Feldenkrais addresses this and helps you and your horse move with equilibrium, finer motor control and the best possible timing. Strength without this approach leaves you set up for injury. It leaves horses in a state of being susceptible to breaking down long before their career is complete. Feldenkrais refines your ability to feel what you are doing and where you are in space, so that you develop the kinesthetic awareness of the natural born athlete.
Consider adding these keys tools to your riding:

  • Greater Agility (stop blocking your horse's back)
  • Improved Flexibility (sit the trot easily)
  • Better Timing (improve you response to your instructor)
  • Less Tension (happier horse)
  • More Kinesthetic Skill (the feel of the natural rider)
  • Increased Proprioception (greater awareness)
  • Improved Periperhal Vision (increased safety)
  • Greater Balance in Tone (improved symmetry)
  • More Equal Distribution of Effort (greater ease at any age)


Guild Certified feldenkrais Practitionercm

Gabrielle has been training clients in self care since 1998 as a massage therapist. After seven years of working primarily with deep tissue and medical massage, she sought a way to keep her own body working well, both in the saddle and at work, without absorbing the stress of those she worked with. This led to her interest in Feldenkrais®. She then pursued four years of formal training in the Feldenkrais Method® with Educational Director, Yvan Joly and Feldenkrais Trainer, Frank Wildman. She began teaching Feldenkrais in 2002. Gabrielle has also taught Anatomy and Physiology instructor for professional schools, as well as ongoing annual workshops for Sierra Community College. Her focus has gradually evolved from working with people in chronic pain to working with horses and riders as a natural progression of her interest in horses. A lifelong, avid rider, she currently keeps her Dutch Warmblood whose name is ‘Wisconsin,’ at Five C Farms in Woodinville, WA, where she rides dressage. Having improved her own body awareness immensely by doing Feldenkrais as a practice, she is happy to help other athletes and students learn this skill, because it brings so much, not just to riding, but to the quality of life it makes possible at any age.