kim and bridgerLiving Horsemanship


Living Horsemanship

Living Horsemanship Clinics

"Living Horsemanship is where we find the best of ourselves and bring that to our horses."


Living Horsemanship is for everyone of all riding disciplines. From high-level dressage riders, to reiners and cutters, to hunters and jumpers, to gymkhana, to trail riders, and polo players alike, we haven't come across a riding discipline that has not caught a groove with this awareness.

You are probably asking yourself: What can you expect from a Living Horsemanship Clinic?

I can offer you tools to build your body awareness and confidence and bring that to your horse.

We like to work from the inside out. That is why we are taking a keen look at the biomechanics of the human in conjunction with the biomechanics of our horse. When we line up the horse and rider, we see how similar our movements are. We are always looking for softness. Softness, for me, is working from the inside out. When we feel lightness, I believe that is the outside working inward. There is not a lot of understanding from the horse when it is our outside working and not our inside. And that is true for the human as well.

Our Living Horsemanship Clinic consists of techniques to increase our Body Awareness. This body awareness has come together, for me, through many disciplines. I tend to take what works for me from these disciplines. Digest them. And, make them my own. This is what I hope for you. You will take what works and make it your own. I always want to encourage you to try different things. In doing so, we find what resonates in our own soul. If this truth resonates within us, it certainly will resonate with our horse.

The disciplines that are foremost to me are Pilates. I am a certified Pilates Instructor with an emphasis in rehabilitative work through Long Beach Dance Conditioning. I have incorporated practices from Alexander technique, Feldenkrais techniques, Qi Gong, as well as Aikido. However, I don't limit myself. I am always looking to and for new ways to improve my body and horse awareness. This is "Living Horsemanship to me." A wise teacher said to me, "When we listen to our horse, we get an education. When we don't, we get experience." I want to always listen. I want to keep myself open to what you have to say and what my horse has to say. And believe me, horses do not whisper. Their voice is loud and clear. Yes, they are subtle, sometimes more than others. It takes a soft ear from us, the human, to hear the horse. But, their words are always there.

In Living Horsemanship, as our title suggests, we want to be in the moment. We ride for the moment and we train for tomorrow. Living Horsemanship is addressing the human, with our conscious and unconscious braces, that unintentionally block the flow of energy and movement, not allowing our partner, the horse, to move with the grace and beauty he was born with. I believe that the horse mirrors us. I've had students say to me, "My horse is really tight in the left shoulder and it has made my shoulder really tight." Of course, I smile and ask them to possibly rethink that. Nine times out of ten, it is our shoulder that is tight and has brought that lack of movement to our horse. Our horse is compromised because we have become compromised without even knowing it. A wise cowboy told me many years ago: "The horse is never wrong." I get exited when I hear a student say, "It's me and not my horse." I realize that we are taking our first steps on a never ending path to becoming better horsemen.



Your Clinic Experience

You can expect ten concepts from human groundwork. They are the awareness referred to as Pilates - Based Equestrian Awareness. These concepts apply to our students and their horses. The concepts from human groundwork are:

1. Neutral Spine Positioning
2. Breathing Techniques
3. Center to Center Awareness (Horse and Rider)
4. Abdominal Awareness
5. Softness and Articulation - Spine
6. Points of Balance - including elbows and what part they play
7. Strengthening of the Core
8. Joint and Pelvic Mobility - education of the pelvic clock and horse relationship
9. Living Horsemanship
10. Experimenting with techniques and finding your own way to be the best that you can be.

We'll be working with Pilates on the mat focus on opening hip-flexors, always strengthening core, always working from the core as you know that is the power house our life force. We will continue to lengthen and strengthen the muscles that hold our skeletal system together. We will be working with physio-balls. We will use visual images to engage the mind and body. By using visualization, we can change muscle memory. We are re-educating the muscles to work the way they were intended to work. By using visual metaphors, we are subconsciously able to call upon the use of muscles without needing the technical knowledge of the muscles and their functions. For example, if I ask you to visualize your spine reaching to the Heavens, not only are you using your mind's eye to visualize that sensation but you have also employed a myriad of muscles you never knew existed. So, you are presenting your mind and body with a challenge that unites efforts to achieve that goal. Essentially, we will learn that it is our own creative ability that will control the actions of our body. When we have control of our body, we have an opportunity to influence and direct our horse's movement.

Until I figure out a way to travel with my reformer (the main piece of Pilates equipment for exersize), actual work on the reformer with students will take place only at Living Horsemanship Clinics on our ranch. However, if any clinic host provides a reformer, I will happily include that work as well.

We will be working with Feldenkrais rolls and neutral spine balls. We will do exercises that are Aikido based. We will work with the energy that is generated here within each of our clinics.

Aikido in Japanese is the way of Harmony. This is the way I see the work we do with each other and with our horses. It is the rhythm in breathing, the rhythm resonating in all of us, the rhythm inviting harmony to all of us, through all of us, for our horses. This work is designed to keep us moving with our horse, directing the energy our horse offers or redirecting that energy. Being balanced and staying in the saddle is a rhythm. The rhythm is harmonious. The rhythm is the music. The rhythm is the dance.

This work may sound intimidating. Trust me, it is not. It is the work of Life, the work of our Horsemanship, the on-going work of being all that we can be.

I wish you all breath (deep diaphragmatic thoracic breath) to find your rhythm and harmony. See you in the saddle (in neutral spine, of course).