Berkshire riders connect horses and yoga at Equestrian centre in Hamstead Marshall
A group of Berkshire horse riders have taken yoga to the next level.
The keen equestrians from Enborne Equestrian Centre, near Newbury, have hired yoga teacher Rachel Eaton to teach them once a week.
“Initially they started yoga on the ground and then every third week they did a session on horseback without a saddle,” explained Mrs Eaton, who teaches across Hampshire and Berkshire.
“Doing yoga on horseback gives riders a great connection with their horses and the yoga breathing helps relax the horse and rider too.”
The idea for the horseback yoga came from Ruth Gardiner, the owner of Enborne Equestrian Centre, who always wanted to combine yoga with horses.
“I have loved doing the yoga on the yard and found that with increased flexibility it has improved my riding,” she said.
To help the riders develop their awareness they also attended a session led by Lorna Fraser, a British Horse Society coach and dressage judge.
The four-hour clinic concentrated on balance and positioning on the horse while walking through some of the most commonly-used exercises.
The final part of the session was on horseback where the riders could put their new skills into practice.
“The riders through the mounted yoga had a closer connection to their horses,” said Mrs Eaton.
“They were more aware of their bodies through the unmounted walking session and then were able to fully engage in the ridden lesson.”
Just like yoga classes on terra firma, the horse women are mastering positions like pigeon, warrior and Trikonasana.
And with no saddle or bridle on the horse it means the riders need good balance and core strength.