Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hearts TRC Open House and Yoga

On Saturday, our farm had an Open House.  I am one of the partners in an LLC.  Our company, Hearts TRC, LLC, offers therapeutic horseback riding and certified instructors, yours truly included.  Although our combined experience in therapeutic horsemanship amounts to decades, our program is in its first year.  We decided to have an Open House to showcase what we offer and bring some prospective clients to the farm.  This required lots and lots of prep work and, corny as it may sound, teamwork.  I also spent several hours the night before baking chocolate chip and blueberry muffins.  My husband wondered what I had done with his not-very-domestic wife, but he liked the baked goods just the same.

At the Open House we offered light refreshments and lesson demonstrations.  Some of the instructors gave short, 15-minute riding lessons, there was a groundwork demonstration, and yoga on horseback!  We are very fortunate, because one of our therapeutic riding instructors is also a certified yoga instructor.  She has adapted some yoga poses to be practiced on the moving horse.  This is where Harley and I got to participate.

Thank you, Husband, for taking all of these lovely photos!

I always use the therapeutic ramp to get on Harley.  Since I do not have to put my foot in the stirrup, there is no bracing in his back or ribcage as I swing my leg over.  This saves his back and my saddle.  He is very used to the ramp, but not so accustomed to having a leader in front of him.  He was a little perplexed at first.

I overheard a little kid say, "Mommy, I want to ride that one," as we walked by.  Me, too, kid.  Me, too!

Harley inspected the people watching at the fence every single time that we walked by them.  He liked all the activity and visitors.  He is such a social guy.

Prayer position.  I had to follow the instructor's directions to breathe into each pose.

Here I am lifting my shoulders to my ears...

...and then dropping my shoulder blades down my back.  This was a really good exercise for me to practice.

We had a gorgeous day for our event.  A thunderstorm the night before broke the heat wave and watered the ring for us!

After a little while, Harley got the idea and kept a nice pace behind his leader, who happens to be one of my favorite people in the whole world!


He never got tired of looking at the crowd though.  I cannot imagine how many cell phones snapped his picture.  He is such a ham.


My shoulders were feeling the burn here.  Keeping your arms raised is hard work!

The cat stretch felt nice afterward.

My riding teacher would like this one, because it puts space between my shoulder blades.

The triangle pose is my favorite.  Harley is concerned that I am going to slide off his back.

But then he just accepts the fact that I am a silly human.

This one was fun, too.  A modified warrior pose, maybe?

This pose really showed me the difference between my left and right shoulders.  My left shoulder was nice and loose, which made this pose easy.  My right shoulder (pictured above this photo) was so tight that the motion in Harley's hindquarters actually made it ache, but it felt much better afterward.  The horse's motion has a massaging effect.

Harley and I and our awesome leader participated in a second demonstration later in the day.  We did a few more complicated poses, like a modified downward-facing-dog, cat and cow stretches, and a back bend.  It was fun and really challenging.  I am tempted to sign up for the classes myself.  I think Harley is ready, too.

At the end of the yoga demonstration, I decided to try some of the controlled breathing with canter-trot-canter transitions.  I tried inhaling on the upward transition and exhaling on the downward transition.  After a couple repetitions, all I had to do was breathe a certain way and picture what I wanted and Harley would make the transition.  It was really interesting.  Harley was happy to be moving out, so we did a mini-dressage demonstration complete with his big trot, leg-yields, shoulder-in, and half-pass.  He was foot perfect and strutted his stuff like a true showman.  He even jumped a pole on the ground, demonstrated his big, exciting canter and then came back to a delicate, collected canter when I asked him to.  If only we could have a dressage show at home.  He was electric and happy to perform all of my requests, but with none of the nerves or tension that comes with showing, even though there were people hanging on the fence watching him go.  He basked in the praise and attention that he received afterward.  I was very proud of my pony.

Hearts TRC, LLC has a website thanks to our very talented and attentive webmaster.  You might see Harley here and there.  We also have a Facebook, but since I do not use Facebook, I am not very helpful in that respect.  I think I am supposed to say something to the effect of "please like us on Facebook".  I drew the sketch for the logo and the yoga instructor, who is also a graphic artist, digitized it.  Enjoy!

11 comments:

  1. Love your logo. I'd "like" you on Facebook but I don't use it either. I think you and your fellow instructors showed a well thought out program for therapeutic riding. Anyone who takes lessons and rides with your program is sure to have a wonderful experience.

    Harley you are a ham! But you deserve all the attention and praise.

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    1. Thank you for your support! We have a small group of students and parents who are very dedicated. We are hoping to acquire a few more.

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  2. I am a yoga addict! I absolutely love it for riding, especially the balancing poses and hip openers.

    I love the idea of practicing it on horseback, too. I use my yoga breathing for upward and downward transitions and also half-halts. I also love it for lengthening my spine and legs in the saddle. I try to think of mountain pose the whole time I ride, especially while sitting the trot!

    I never thought to try triangle pose in the saddle, that's a great idea! I usually just stick to mountain pose and prayer pose, with the occasional back bend thrown in if my abs feel tight. I'm definitely going to be experimenting with different poses on my next ride!

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    1. I am glad you liked the idea! Mountain pose is the standing pose, right? It has been a long time since I practiced yoga seriously. I should really get back into it, as it very good for riding, flexibility, and strength.

      Try the triangle on horseback. It feels great!

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  3. wow that is truly an amazing thing you are doing so inspiring! Love the pictures xx

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  4. A few years ago I had a trainer who is also a yogi. She had me warm up with the poses you show. I forgot about how great they felt and how helpful they were.

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    1. Great! I think that it did make a difference, because we had a great ride afterward. Very fluid and easy.

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    2. Although, Harley being hand-walked for two sets of 15 minutes probably also helped. ;)

      Maybe I should take him for a walking hack before we ride.

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  5. Looks like you had a great workout on horse back. Harley was such a good boy! The farm looks very nice - neat, nice ring, etc. Good job.

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    1. Thank you, Carol. We spent many, many hours cleaning, mowing, putting away, painting, etc. before the big day. I even bought some potted plants to display temporarily (deer treats, otherwise). I felt like I was preparing for a wedding.

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