Equestrian Tai Chi can be taught to individuals or to groups of any age. It can be enjoyed by young people, as well as elderly people and by riders of different levels of ability.
Equestrian Tai Chi teaches us to live in the moment and to let go of anxiety and tension, making riding an enjoyable experience for both horse and rider.
Equestrian Tai Chi is an ideal complementary activity to riding because Tai Chi and Equestrianism have a lot in common and they share many of the same principles. There’s even a Horse Stance in Tai Chi, if you were sitting on a horse and it was taken away from underneath you, you would be in the Horse Stance of Tai Chi.
Equestrian Tai Chi is developed from the normal standing and moving Tai Chi, specifically for performance on horseback. It is authentic to Tai Chi and includes the energy flows of Tai Chi and the benefits of Tai Chi.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps improve Posture
Equestrian Tai Chi has many benefits that relate to riding, for instance having a balanced relaxed posture is very important in Equestrian Tai Chi and your practice trains you to be continually aware of your posture. This makes it easy for you to bring this continued awareness of your posture into your riding experience and also into your daily life.
Good posture helps to relieve stress and it promotes relaxed breathing, and it’s easier for our horses to carry us when we have good posture.
Equestrian Tai Chi Centres The Rider
Equestrian Tai Chi trains Riders to connect to their centre or their Tantien. This awareness and connection to their centre gives them a feeling of security and stability in the saddle as the Tantien is also the location of their centre of gravity. When riders are connected to their centre, the horse senses it and this makes it easier for the rider and the horse to connect.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps to improve Core Stability and Balance
Practicing Equestrian Tai Chi helps to improve core stability and balance, as riders learn to stay in balance and connected to their centre as they move their arms in the many different circles and spheres in the sequence of Equestrian Tai Chi. This helps riders to stop having to rely on the reins for balance and helps them to have a more secure seat.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps to improve Coordination
Equestrian Tai Chi helps to improve riders’ coordination by training them to move body parts in unison and also independently of each other. This is helpful is giving riding aids.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps to improve hand-eye coordination
Equestrian Tai Chi also helps with hand eye coordination as riders learn to follow their hands with some of the movements they make.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps to Correct One-sidedness
We’re all naturally one-sided and Equestrian Tai Chi helps to illuminate this by showing us if it’s easier for us to perform the movements on one side more so than the other. It helps to correct one-sidedness because it’s practiced equally on both sides and so helps to make both sides of the body equally well coordinated.
Equestrian Tai Chi Relaxes The Joints and Muscles and Ligaments and Tendons
Practicing Equestrian Tai Chi helps to make the joints and muscles, and ligaments and tendons more flexible and relaxed all though the body. It helps the elbow and shoulder joints be supple and flexible so riders can maintain a good contact with the horse’s mouth.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps with Dexterity
Equestrian Tai Chi also trains riders to have soft and supple hands and wrists, and to let go of tension in the hands. Constant repetitions of the tiny movements help with dexterity and fluidity.
Equestrian Tai Chi helps the rider to have an Independent Seat
Equestrian Tai Chi helps the rider to have an independent seat, it relaxes their spine and lower back. It softens the connective tissues in their pelvis, reducing tightness in their hips, because one of the ways that Chi runs through the body is through the tendons and the ligaments. This helps the pelvis to be free to follow or be carried by the natural movement of the horse without disturbing the balance of the upper body.
Equestrian Tai Chi promotes body awareness
Practicing Equestrian Tai Chi helps to bring riders into their body so they become more aware of it, and notice if their holding tension in it, then they can bring this awareness to their riding experience and notice if they are holding tension anywhere in their legs and hips, their hands and arms and shoulders.
Equestrian Tai Chi relaxes the Nervous System
Equestrian Tai Chi deeply relaxes the Nervous System, as one of the ways that Chi runs though the body is through the nerves. When the Nervous System is relaxed movements become more fluid and physical coordination becomes easier for people. Having a relaxed Nervous System also makes it easier for riders to quickly transfer thought into action. This ability to quickly transfer thought to action was essential for Tai Chi martial artists when they were fighting for their lives at high speeds years ago.
Tai Chi is meant to strengthen the human Nervous System. It teaches you how to keep your full focus on your body in your body until it feels alive inside. It takes your shift from ‘thinking’ to ‘feeling’.
As well as these benefits Equestrian Tai Chi promotes a deep and satisfying relaxation that can heal the body from the damage that stress and anxiety causes. The effects and benefits of Equestrian Tai Chi are further amplified by being in the therapeutic presence of horse.
Many horses seem to sense the increased flow of energy or Chi in their rider’s body while they practice Equestrian Tai Chi. They respond positively to it, indicating this by licking and chewing and behaving in a relaxed manner.
Lisa Scott, from Co. Durham in the United Kingdom says:-
I Joined Equestrian Tai Chi in March 2016 after looking at options to add to my current instructor Qualifications! I was given lots of material by the founder Jenny Pim in the benefits to both horse and rider in Tai Chi and decided to start the instructors course (Certification option).
Having never done Tai Chi or anything similar before I wasn’t sure how I would pick it up.
I need not have been concerned the modules are easy to follow with both written and video tuition on how to perform both the Equestrian Chi Gung and Equestrian Tai Chi. It’s a full step by step guide of what to do! The horses really look forward to the break within the lesson to practice and I’ve witnessed for myself with several horses how calm, relaxed and generally happier they seem.
I am so pleased I decided to do the course and am thoroughly enjoying every moment of it. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this course. It most certainly has a place in the equine world! Jenny has been amazing and has been available for any questions I have, and has given me very thorough and positive feedback in my video analysis.
I’m now teaching my own clients and they’ve found it easy to follow too. Both they and I are very much enjoying the practice and I have noticed a big difference in my clients confidence and positivity when riding!
These are some of the comments that we have received from other Instructors and their students after learning Equestrian Tai Chi.
The horses relaxed, they licked and chewed, they lowered their heads, their eyelids were drooping, and some of them closed their eyes completely while the class was taking place. When riding after Tai Chi, the horses were much more relaxed, went in a better rhythm, listened more. In some cases riders were more balanced. Younger animals were definitely more relaxed.
The riders said that whilst they were doing Tai Chi, they found it very relaxing, and they felt more confident in their horse. One of them said after her ride that “It was more even”. Another said he found his shoulders more relaxed. Many of them felt tingling in their fingers and toes and pins and needles.