Horseback Yoga Testimonial – Helena
How yoga helps build Helena’s confidence and her bond with Amber…
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your horse and how you came to be a partnership.
When I moved down to beautiful Somerset I made local enquiries to find a horse to share my spare time with… this is how Amber came in to my life! She is a big cob, at 16.3hh, so as a bit of a shorty myself, I need to be calm & confident when we work together. I had riding lessons as a child and have always loved spending time with horses but unfortunately have not had regular contact with them for years. The past year has been fantastic! I got back in the saddle with a few private lessons at various schools but really, most of my understanding has come through developing a bond with Amber and working with empathic horsey friends who have given me pointers on how to further my skills.
I work in the field of dog behaviour and welfare and have always been fascinated by the human-animal relationship and how we connect and communicate with other creatures, especially as we work with them and use them in our society. Yoga is a part of my lifestyle which I am always keen to develop to help harness my breathing, relaxation techniques and my physical and mental strength. When I first heard about horseback yoga I thought it would be great to try yoga techniques in a new context, as well as strengthen my bond and connection with Amber. When I am relaxed, controlled, calm and confidently in tune with myself, I know I always feel happier and stronger… if I am able to achieve this state with her too… I believe it will be fantastic for both of us as we work together!
What did you think of the sessions? How do they make you feel?
I have had two horseback yoga sessions with Nicola so far. After each, I felt a deeper connection with both myself and Amber. I felt more aware of our movements and breathing, and syncing my own body and behaviour with hers. Amber was very calm during the sessions – I truly felt our energies merging together.
Were there any specific issues you hoped the sessions would address?
Confidence in applying yoga techniques within new contexts and in relaxing and trusting mine and Amber’s partnership.
What do you think is unique about horseback yoga?
Horseback yoga develops your understanding of being alive… of your breath, your heart, your energy, your body, posture, poise and relaxation but all the while, you are considering these elements of your horse and deepening your awareness of their behaviour and its subtleties alongside and in response to your own.
What do you think the benefits of this approach are for people like yourself?
It makes you break your usual routine and take more time and consideration over yours and your horse’s energy, health, movements and strength. It definitely deepens your connection.
Have you noticed any benefits for your horse?
Amber definitely relaxes! She becomes calm and more steady. She listens to my movements with a finer tuning. I am 100% sure from her body language that she is relaxed and finds the sessions enjoyable, especially once I am connected with her on her back
Who do you think could benefit from horseback yoga sessions?
Anyone!! Any age. Yoga is about accessibility – it is for everyone. Including horses!
How did you feel about taking instruction from Nicola?
Nicola puts me at ease and while she has the sessions planned, I know that she is happy to adapt it as we go along so that Amber and I are comfortable with what we are doing and it suits the environment we are in on the day.
Would you recommend her?
Absolutely! Whether you are completely new to yoga or horses, or experienced in either or both, I think Nicola has the sensitivity and understanding to put you and your horse at ease and help you discover new things about yourself and each other.