The following day both Martha and Laura were due to have a lesson at their local riding school. I met them both afterwards. I do not know who looked more excited. Martha’s eyes and whole demeanour looked super awake and alert. She was holding her head and easily on top of her clearly lengthening spine. She appeared impressively open and broad cross her shoulders and upper chest. Her lower back had raised and filled out and her legs looked confidently planted underneath her.
“My teacher was really impressed with the way we both responded during the lesson today.” Laura told me. “She was particularly excited by the tight circles that such a big horse as Martha was managing, for the first time, to turn. Do you think the Alexander Technique could have helped that?”
“For a horse to be able to turn one side of its spine has to flex as the other side simultaneously extends. If even as few as two or three vertebrae are restricted by excess muscle tension then the mobility of the spine as a whole is reduced. Freeing those muscles and vertebrae should allow the horse to turn more easily. So, yes” I replied “the Alexander Technique could well have helped – particularly in that area at the base of Martha’s neck.”
Without suggesting that anyone can become an overnight Alexander teacher – in fact it takes three years of full time training- taking a little more time to consciously touch in the manner described above can, at the very least, do a lot to deepen the rapport between horse and rider. In human relationships the cool hand on the brow during emotional upsets and illness; the back rub after a physically demanding day can relieve stress and be of positive physical and emotional therapeutic value, The language of touch is perhaps an even more significant factor in the relationship between horse and rider.
NB It does have to be underlined that Martha is basically a hale, hearty and robust horse with no significant problems. The care mentioned above should not be thought of as a substitute for properly qualified professional advice.