I am a resident Alexander Technique Teacher with Trainequus and an affiliate Researcher at Bournemouth University.
I am a researcher investigating the use of self and its impact on the horse and rider. The Alexander Technique is a valid prerequisite for becoming more informed about your use of self in relation to your horse. If practiced well, it will develop a deeper embodied awareness and physical confidence of the whole body, and your perception of it.
Much has been written on the biomechanics of the horse and turnover. I am unpacking the impact of riders on the equine back. Firstly, as a rider, you need to understand what it feels like yourself, to have good use (form, not outline) and drop at the poll and lead with the head. The Alexander Technique addresses this fundamental aspect of good use (form), which for riders becomes essential to giving neutral aids as you learn a new and natural alignment of the neck, head and spine, and good use and engagement of your own hind quarters! these govern the qualities of strength, balance and coordination and a reliable proprioceptive sense.
Riders are already 'bi-lingual' in that they have developed their proprioceptive sense to a level which gives them a greater than normal command over their limbs. However, what most riders are not aware of is that communication through the aids is also transmitted through the way in which they 'carry' themselves generally, which the horse 'hears' as our unnecessary background noise. I can teach you to 'get out of the horses way' which is a high level skill necessary for the experience of real riding.
My impulse to pursue this line of work has been influenced by Ralph Alcampora and interspecies ethics. Realising that we are humans which are mammals using another animal's back for our pleasure. Far better to develop a symphisis between both horse and rider and the Alexander Technique is a tool which enables this to happen.
I have been accepted by Writtle College to develop this knowledge with a Phd, and I am a published researcher with an Hons degree in Psychology.
Riders are interested in posture. There is an increasing danger that people translate this into a fixed position and in the process of trying to change and perfect their posture they create other problems in various parts of the body and that can be mirrored in the horse. Massage, pilates, yoga , physiotherapy all want the muscles to work at length and increase your core strength. The Alexander Technique also wants muscles to work at length but to lengthen into the upright. Its this embodied knowledge and understanding, which gets you out of the horses way and out of your own way.