Horseback Yoga Frequently Asked Questions
Let go of any preconceptions about how you should be and accept what and where you are now.
Q) I notice you aren’t wearing a riding hat in your pictures. Do I need to wear one?
A) It isn’t a legal requirement to wear a horse riding helmet but some riding centres will not allow you to ride without wearing one. Urchinwood Manor requires that one be worn at all times when mounted. Therefore, it is down to the discretion of the proprietor of the facilities in which a session is held and/or the rider. I cannot be held liable for any accident which may occur. In the case of people with disabilities and children, I will not teach unless you are wearing a suitable, approved helmet.
Q) How long is a session?
A) A session lasts between an hour and (more ideally, an hour and a half). Please bear in mind that yoga must be practiced in order to see the benefits.
Q) How does a session work?
A) To some degree it depends what you want to get from a session and how much yoga you have done already, as well as how long we have to work with (we could go on for hours quite easily) and the environment we have to work in but usually,
- some work on the ground first to begin to open up the body including an initial meditation and intention setting
- an exercise to begin connecting with your horse’s energy, some mounted exercises and breathing work
- a visualisation
- relaxation and meditation
Q) Do I need to be really strong and flexible?
A) This is about building strength and flexibility within the limits of your own body and there is no perfect level to be attained. Yoga is about learning what your boundaries are and working within them. Although some of the photographs on my website show me in some fairly challenging poses, yoga isn’t really about twisting your body into a perfect shape. Through a number of sessions you will gain strength and flexibility. The point of yoga is to practice first of all, kindness and compassion to yourself, your horse and the environment. To be in the present moment, joining mind, body and spirit through focus or control of the breath.
Q) Does my horse need to be really quiet?
A) Often, even slightly flighty horses will relax and chill out during a session. It may require a few sessions and some patience and possibly even some hay but remember that this is about working with them too. Hay can always be brought out for horses who really do refuse to stand still.
Q) Does it have to be done bareback?
A) No but it makes it a lot easier. Hopefully, we can work up to removing your saddle if you aren’t confident without at the moment. Most of the work is done at a halt until we reach a point where we integrate what you’ve learnt into more complex riding work, though even then, the most we would probably work on is trot.
Q) Is any special equipment required?
A) No. It can be done in jodhpurs and ideally, with just a headcollar and leadrope. It’s also great if you have your own yoga mat. In a group scenario, you’ll maybe need someone to handle your horse unless he/she is exceptionally quiet.
It isn’t necessary but a vaulting numnah and roller would be the ultimate if you have access to them.