Yoga for Horse Riding

Yoga for Horse Riding

Cultivating the Mind-Body Connection for Enhanced Performance and Harmony with Equine Companions- By Sarah Green

Reading time: 3 minutes

If you practice yoga regularly, you realise that you develop a deeper connection to yourself and to your emotions. This is an extremely powerful part of any yoga practice, to not only increase range of movement and flexibility, but to also gain a deeper understanding of YOU! But how can this relate to a sport like horse riding?

I work with international dressage riders and recreational horse riders to aid their flexibility, but also their ability to tune into their horse - which often comes as part of the process through self-exploration in the movement practice of yoga.

So, what does this mean? Horses are naturally very sensitive and receptive animals; it is interesting to see how two different riders can ride the same horse and get very different results. If a rider is stressed and tense in their body - the horse will feel this tension and will often react to the rider's stress.

It is therefore important to remain calm, grounded and centred when horse riding - to not overreact to outside stimulus, e.g. noises, that will negatively influence the behaviour of the horse. In other words, our own fight or flight response (our stress response) can trigger the same reaction in the horse.

This can take practice and the more of a greater sense of inner calm we can have, the greater our connection to our horse. So, it is the mind-body connection that you often hear about by developing a yoga practice that can help horse riding. Yoga is the best placed tool to enable riders to develop this connection, as when the body relaxes and becomes less tense, the mind creates an inner sense of ease and calm that transfers not only to everyday life, but to our horses.

This is also one of the reasons why horses are becoming increasingly popular as a tool for therapy. When we are around these majestic animals, we have to breathe deeply, be mindful of our body language and our outward expression. This is interesting as horses seem to touch humans in often unexplainable ways. They seem to challenge and probe parts of us that need to be healed in some way. It is an incredible thing to experience and reminds us of the power of nature and the need to connect to ourselves and the animals that we share our planet with.


Sarah Green

As a yoga teacher, academic and consultant, Sarah holds a passion for wellness, with an aim to inspire and transform.