Below is a brief interview with Kim
that serves as an introduction to the basic principles of Kim's Living Horsemanship program.
you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kim: Well, I’ve been
involved with horses pretty much all my life. In fact, my family ran
a pack station in the High Sierras when I was a young girl. I’ve
also been an actor all my life and I enjoy writing music, singing and
playing the guitar.
LH: You’ve been an actor and
Kim: Yes, I’ve acted and sang on
stage, starred in some movies and on television. I’ve even spent six
years playing the role of “Ginger” on the TV series “Knot’s Landing”.
LH: Acting and singing… These things
seem to be somewhat unrelated to horses. Are they?
Kim: Not really. What all three of
these things have in common is that one needs a good instrument to make
them work. For me, my body is that instrument. With the proper use
of my body, I can either make these things soar… or not.
LH: Can you explain that a little
Kim: Sure. Like a lot of folks,
I’ve owned and ridden a lot of horses over the years. I had always
figured as long as I stayed on the horse I was riding, things were going
pretty well. As time has gone on, I’ve learned that things can go
better… That just staying on wasn’t good enough for me – or my
horse. I had a lot more to bring to the picture.
LH: What picture was
Kim: The picture I was seeing in my
minds eye was that my horse and I could actually communicate. That
with some work, maybe I would come to know what he was thinking, and he
would come to know what I was thinking. I struggled with these
things for a long time, and I still struggle with them. Truth is, I
probably always will. Although now I’m seeing the pieces of this
picture starting to coming together a little better. For a while
now, I’ve had the opportunity to see and work with a lot of different
horsemen and I’m sure a lot of them you know. Each has added to that
vision of what can be done for our horses, and for ourselves.
LH: Some people would say that
training the horse is the best way to achieve the picture you’re talking
about. You seem to be talking about a little different way of
achieving it. Communication through your body? Your
Kim: Yes. Obviously training is
extremely important. However, a big part of training is how
effective we can be with our communication through our bodies. I
believe the balance that we bring through our bodies to our horse and back
through our bodies, engaging the whole life force depends on how strong
that life force is, i.e. core and/or powerhouse or trunk. This
is the center of ourselves, where we breathe from, where our breath gives
life, where our horse feels life from us.
LH: And this brings us back to the
rider’s body as an instrument?
Kim: Exactly. Of
course in order for this to happen, the body should probably be as healthy
LH: We understand that wasn’t always
the case with you... That over the years you’ve had some pretty
serious injuries that could really hinder your ability to ride in a
balanced manner that could help your horse under saddle.
Kim: That’s true. Being a
sports enthusiast, I have had some injuries over the years. Of
course injuries take a toll on one’s body. However, if one is as
dedicated as I feel I am, to live a whole and uncompromised life, one must
become even more aware of one’s instrument. After one particularly
serious injury which happened during a hang gliding accident, I started
various kinds of rehabilitative work and none really seemed to resonate
with my body until I found Pilates. Essentially, Pilates is a
core/trunk-based strengthening program which encompasses proper breathing
and neutral spine position. It was during my rehab work through Pilates
that I started to feel my body open and become a more powerful
force. Seeing the enormous benefit in this kind of work, I became
certified in Pilates at Long Beach Dance Conservatory and since have
become the Director of Pilates at Rapid Rehab, International in
LH: So not only has Pilates helped
you, but you’ve gone on to help others with it as well?
Kim: I’ve had the opportunity to work
with many injured people; neck fusions, back fusions, hip replacements,
knee replacements, rotor cuff injuries, amputees, fibromyalgia,
Parkinson’s, you name it. And oh yeah, plenty of just plain old
stiff and stoved-up muscles. Some people just become complacent and think
they should just live life with these little aches and pains. And with
horse people, it’s often these little aches and pains that get in the way
of our communication with our horses.
LH: It seems that Pilates,
with its emphasis on proper breathing and neutral spine, would be an
extremely helpful tool for riders to become better balanced in the saddle,
which in turn would improve communication.
Kim: Yes. The sameway we
approach our horse’s life is really the same way we approach our
day. It’s postural awareness through life balance. Ideally
when we are balanced on our horse, our body is free to act in a way, like
a marionette. The halves of our body should work independently of
one another, while at the same time working together. So, when our
right side is free to open, it sends a message to our horse and his right
side is free to open, and so on.
The wonderful thing is that life is always
moving, changing. Life in motion stays in motion, body in motion
stays in motion, life in motion, horse in motion. Body, hooves,
getting to the feet through the “life force” which is our breath and
I don’t remember the first breath I took,
it’s always been there, and its there for all of us. It’s just
getting it freed up - back to breath, to the muscle memory where we feel
good again, where we support ourselves and our horse. It’s there for
all of us and it’s a powerful place to be.
LH: Are these some of the things you
hope to share with folks at clinics during the upcoming year?
Kim: We’re working
on some Pilates-based exercises right now that we can encompass into the
clinics, and that should be very beneficial to interested riders. We
feel they will be exercises that will ultimately help people to better
communicate with their horses in a positive way.
To read some of Kim's Diary entries when she was working with Mark Rashid Click Here