Balance. A little word with immense meaning. Now when it seems the world is spinning out of balance it is essential for our own well-being to find balance within ourselves first and then to our external world. Physical, mental, and emotional balance keeps our good humor alive and our hearts open to whatever the world throws at us. The practice is not to feel numb or to feel nothing at all, but to have awareness to feel unquestionably alive in the moment. With a daily practice we can learn to nurture compassion, strength, and resiliency through awareness of own imbalances and rebalances enhancing all that we do. Then we can extend this to our horses and riding acumen.

In the practice of T’ai Chi and Chi Gung we practice letting go of excess tension in our bodies so we can be physically balanced to move with ease within the pull of gravity. When challenged in sparring we learn to tame the mental wild horses to stay in a focused and alert mental balance. When our fears rise we learn to respond in emotionally balanced ways so our fears do not take over. T’ai chi/chi gung tames the energy in our body/mind/spirits so we can think and respond in front of a tiger.

Through practicing the exercises one begins to feel where tension patterns  restrict movement. Feeling restrictions is noticing them and noticing how they force you to struggle to remain in balance. Noticing brings awareness which allows us to let go of excess tension patterns allowing muscles return to their inherent position and function. As a rider, understanding and developing your body/mind/spirit balance opens you up to feel and release those same qualities within the horses’ body. Your riding becomes more balanced and connected so that your aids are truly continuous, quiet, and focused without force or excess tension.

In this quiet time, it is a good opportunity to exercise and develop feel within yourself. I offer you our video that we produced in the late 90s when I began to teach T’ai Chi to equestrians. It is still relevant to this day. The philosophy and practice of T’ai Chi has survived thousands of years…it’s still relevant. Like good riding it takes mindful practice each day to develop the feel of softness, strength and flexibility wherein lies the foundation of relaxation and quiet balance. If you truly desire these qualities in your riding, your practice will not disappoint.

If you would, please feel free to comment, ask a question, or just connect with me in practice.