What is Equilates?
Equilates is a system of movement for equestrians which focuses on improving the rider’s posture and stability.
The exercises are predominantly based on Pilates exercises and aim to improve the harmony between horse and rider.
This comes about by developing body awareness and balance,a tall spine, strong and flexible muscles and a strong and effective ‘core’.
As well as helping to improve the effectiveness of the rider’s seat
Equilates can help to relieve and prevent back pain resulting from poor posture in the saddle. Understanding the importance of makingour own bodies gymnastic deepens our insight into the importance of training our horses to be straight, strong and flexible.
How can we expect our horses to stay relaxed and straight if we as riders are not?
A correct stable riding position is essential to a successful partnership with your horse. Physical restrictions and imbalances in the rider have a huge impact on how the horse performs.
In order to get the most from our horses we need to communicate clearly with them through our seat and bodies.
It is very easy for this communication to break down if we are crooked or unbalanced in the saddle. If we rely on gripping through our legs or hanging on with our hands to stabilize our seat, it is impossible to make a connection with our horse or give clear aids; therefore we cannot make ourselves understood when asking our horse to perform even a simple task.
How can we achieve the correct seat?
Increasing our awareness of our bodies is the first step to improving our seat. By assessing our posture on and off the horse and understanding our limitations (bad postural habits and/or injuries/disabilities) we can begin to understand our individual requirements to strengthen our seat.
For instance, if we suffer from a sway back or a flat back posture, our pelvis is tilted backwards. This makes us sit in the saddle with our bottom tucked under and leaning back. Certain muscles become elongated and weak and others become short and strong. We will be less stable in the saddle and therefore will rely on our extremities (arms and legs) to remain in balance. How can we expect a horse to travel forward in a straight and relaxed manner with a rider that pulls on his mouth, grips his side and is constantly behind the movement?
Even riders with good posture develop bad habits. For instance, many riders collapse one way resulting in more weight on one seat bone with a rigid and dropped hand. Again this misalignment will cause the horse to compensate in such a way that hinders optimum movement.
From a young age Jennifer was fascinated by horses. Jennifer started riding when she was 6 and did dressage and show jumping from an early age. When she was a teenager her family moved to a house with facilities for keeping horses and it was then that she got a her first horse – a 10yr old Dutch Warmblood mare. Although bought as a jumping horse it turned out that this horse was more suited to dressage. It was then that she first started really focusing on dressage.
In 2008 Jennifer travelled to Portugal for the first time and was introduced to the Lusitano horse and to Classical Dressage. Jennifer fell in love with both instantly and has never looked back! Since her first trip Jennifer has travelled to Portugal countless times where she has had the privilege to ride horses trained to Grand Prix level. She has also had the great privilege to train with highly skilled and knowledgeable Master riders in the art of Dressage.
The dressage Masters of the past and the classical Masters of the present place huge importance on the seat of the rider. Jennifer soon realized that this posture was pretty much identical to the posture she had been teaching her Pilates clients for the past 10 years.
In 2012 she travelled to the United Kingdom to study Equilates with Rachel Faulkner who is a Pilates and Equilates instructor as well as a former Olympic eventing rider. At present Jennifer continues to return to Portugal for dressage training as well as regularly training with teachers in Holland on her own Lusitano stallion.
Jennifer is passionate about combining her work as a Pilates instructor with her love of horses and riding to help riders improve their seat and their communication with their horses
How can Equilates Help?
With Equilates we assess the rider in and out of the saddle. We identify any restrictions that are apparent and devise a specific program of moves on and off the horse to help the rider deal with the challenges of their postural misalignment.
Through assessment we can determine whether the rider’s core and stabilizing muscles are firing correctly. Without core endurance and spinal stability the rider will rely on global muscles (muscles in the arms and legs) to stabilize.
Through practicing Equilates we can learn to put our bodies into the correct alignment, increase core endurance and spinal stability. We will also learn to isolate certain muscles and switch off others thus creating body awareness.
This in turn will create a strong, secure and effective seat and allow us to use
our arms and legs independently.
Initially three lessons are scheduled
The first session takes place in the Pilates studio
The rider’s posture is assessed and any restrictions are identified (for example back, neck or shoulder issues, tight muscles etc).
The rider’s posture is corrected and any restrictions are removed (sometimes this might require further treatment
by a healthcare professional such as a physiotherapist)
The rider is taught how to activate their ‘core’ and Pilates exercises are taught to correct and strengthen the seat.
The second lesson takes place on the horse
The rider’s posture on the horse is assessed and corrected
Additional exercises to improve and strengthen the seat are given
The third lessons takes place on the horse approximately 3-4 weeks later
The rider’s posture is re-assessed and corrected if necessary.
Exercises are re-evaluated and new exercises are given if necessary
After the initial lessons, further lessons may be booked depending on your requirements either at the studio or on location with your horse
Package of three lessons: € 180,-
(This comprises the first lesson in the studio and second and third lesson on location.The location for the ridden lesson should be within 40km of the studio. Please contact the studio for locations further than 40km.)
On location with your horse: € 60,- In the studio: Please refer to studio rates
tel: 06 28932706