How to Improve Your Horse Riding While You’re In Lockdown Due to Covid-19?

Hey Dressage Superstars! Today’s question is, “How to Improve Your Horse Riding While You’re In Lockdown Due to Covid-19?”

Super excited to support you on whatever’s going on. But today we probably can’t get to our horses. I know some people can, some people can’t. So I wanted to talk about what are some things that we can do to improve our riding. And I’m very, very excited to share. I’ve had something in my head. Ideas tend to kind of just sit in my head and percolate.

I’ve been thinking and playing with it and percolating, like I said, for over three years and I’ve landed on it, it’s called Equinection, and I want to share it with you guys today.


If you enjoyed today’s episode and it gave you huge value, I would love to invite you to a free class I’ve created for you to help you completely transform your riding with the simple dressage system I used to progress 6 levels, to Grand Prix level, in only 3 years!

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I’d love to hear from you how you go and what strategies you use when you are training your horse.

Offer as much details as possible in your reply – your story might just help someone else have a breakthrough in their riding journey!

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Thank so so much for reading, watching and sharing your story!

To Your Success,

Natasha Althoff

Full Transcript Expand to full transcript

Natasha Althoff: Are you in lockdown? Unable to get to your horse, unable to get anywhere you want to go and still want to improve your riding? Well, come in, let’s have a chat. Hey, dressage superstars, welcome to dressage mastery TV, and it’s a little bit different today. So this is my home and I thought I would love to do a DMA TV episode from home, because I feel that’s when most of us on the planet are at right now. And I just wanted to send you heaps of love and heaps of gratitude and heaps of encouragement. Wherever you are, I’m thinking of you, I’m loving you. And if there’s anything you need, riding or not, just anything you need, please reach out. I’m here for you. I’ve got you. I’m here to support you through this. We’re all stronger together, and I know the more I can help and the more I can be there for others, the more I’m going to be able to manage through as well.

Natasha Althoff: Super excited to support you on whatever’s going on. But today we probably can’t get to our horses. I know some people can, some people can’t. So I wanted to talk about what are some things that we can do to improve our riding. And I’m very, very excited to share. I’ve had something in my head. Ideas tend to kind of just sit in my head and percolate. And I’ve had this idea percolating for over three years on how we can improve our connection with ourselves, with our body, with our mind, and with our spirit, that when we do that and take that connection to a whole new level, we can connect with our horse at a whole other level and take our entire riding performance through the roof. I’ve been thinking and playing with it and percolating, like I said, for over three years and I’ve landed on it, it’s called Equinection, and I want to share it with you guys today.

Natasha Althoff: Equinection is based on who do you have to be in your body to improve your riding. So in our riding, we need to have a base level of fitness. Anyone who’s done sitting, extended sitting trot across the diagonal or run through an entire dressage test, knows we need to have a base level of fitness. Thank God. I bless the stars every day that we don’t need a level of fitness that triathletes need, that marathon runners need, that extreme sports need because that’s not my personality and I’m just not a runner. So the cardiovascular endurance I need for riding is a low requirement of fitness. Thank God, let’s just be happy about that. But it is still a requirement. I can’t sit on the couch for the next 12 months, and then expect to be able to ride a horse in sitting trot.

Natasha Althoff: I just won’t have the fitness there. So I need to have a base level of fitness. I also need to have a base level of suppleness in my body. I need to first be able to move different parts of my body independently from each other. And I also need to have those body parts stretched and supple, and working independent of each other so they can do what they need to do on the horse. I also need to try and even out all idiosyncrasies and unevenness in my body. If I tend to always sit to the right side, and I always sit on the right side of my body, where do you think my horse is going to be stiff? And how do you think my horse is going to go after carrying me where I put 75% of my weight always on the right? So I need to make sure that I’m even to therefore insist that my horse also be straight, supple and even.

Natasha Althoff: So with that in mind, I’d love to show you a quick stretch that can really open up your hips, which is a part where riders really get tight and really can get tight on one side more than the other, which obviously can cause imbalances everywhere. So let’s get on the floor. Okay, so you want to start off in table top position, which is a really cool position just to engage your core anyway. Think of each connected bits to the floor as a leg for your table. So you’ve got four legs to your table and make sure your table is nice and flat. Engage that core, push your belly button into your spine and suck everything up and in so you’ve really engaged that core.

Natasha Althoff: Okay. Then you’re just going to push this… We’ll start with the left leg, me with my left and right. We’re going to start here. Is this is my left? Yeah. Okay. And we’re going to do a nice big hip circle. So go up and then as you come in, bring your knee in and then stretch out and around. You should feel with every opening that you can just open that a little bit more.

Natasha Althoff: And so when you feel that you’ve opened it out, then we’re just going to reverse it. So we’re going to go stretch out. Oh God. And then you can really feel when you reverse it, it really opens up that socket joint the other way. Take notice of what feels tight, what feels blocked. What feels open. Listen to your body. Okay, now the other leg. Do you want me to pivot around?

Phil: The camera’s facing up again.

Natasha Althoff: This way?

Phil: Yeah. Just do one of those, I just want to check again, how you do them. Just do the normal way, so bring it forward first, the knee. Yeah, stretch. Yep. Yeah, really when you… hang on. Over here.

Natasha Althoff: I don’t think it matters, does it?

Phil: No, as long as you’re feeling it. Okay, we’ll just say you’ve reversed and see if that’s working for the camera. I’ll move the camera a bit here. Okay, once again. You’re right.

Natasha Althoff: Yeah?

Phil: And go.

Natasha Althoff: Okay. So now we’re going to do our right leg, stretch it out and up and around. Up and around. It’s really interesting because on my right side I feel it’s a lot more flexible and open than it was on my left, which is interesting. Now let’s reverse it, see how it feels on the reverse. Yeah. It’s still way better on the right than it is on left. Which is really interesting. Sorry horsies. So think about what it is for you. Think about how you feel in your hips after doing this exercise and feel if one was tighter than the other. Maybe go back tonight and just do the tight side and then see how it feels.

Natasha Althoff: And the last thing you need to do in terms of your body, is you need to have some core strength. Again, go back to that sitting trot. We need to have a core, we need to be able to whoo into that saddle, suck into that saddle and stay connected with our horse, and our seat bones plugged into the horse’s back, which requires that core strength.

Natasha Althoff: So I know while I’m not riding, I’m thinking about how do I keep my fitness up? How do I keep my suppleness up and how do I keep my core strength up? Then when it comes to the mind connection, I think about, okay, I need to make sure that my mind is strong. And how I do that and positive and optimistic and not reactive, not emotional, not angry, frustrated, sad. All those emotions can definitely hamper my riding. So I do that by making sure that I’m really engaging in goal setting, really thinking about, sure the goals have changed. Hands up who thinks 2020… Like anyone who set goals for 2020, of course they’ve changed and that’s okay. But what are, and of course I don’t know what the future looks like, who knows? No one knows.

Natasha Althoff: But by focusing on the goal setting, we can make sure that we have a future that we are working towards. I also am very, very into visualization. There’s been so many studies that show if you visualize, you can improve your performance. There was a study they did with basketballers, group A had to practice their basketball. Every hour they practiced drills and they practiced getting the ball in the hoop. Group B practiced an hour a day, but only in their minds. Only by visualizing themselves putting the ball in the hoop and dribbling the ball. And group C didn’t practice. Now of course, group C didn’t improve after a month. Group A improved, but the biggest improvement was group B. And why would that be? They didn’t do anything physically, but when they visualized, they never missed. They never did it wrong. They always got the ball in the basket.

Natasha Althoff: They always bounced the ball perfectly. So that allowed their brain and their neural connection of their body and mind to figure out what it had to do, and therefore when it came time to execute again, they were much better performers. And there’s been many studies proving that with golf and with so many sports. So again, I’m like, beautiful, because I am a pretty lazy person. I love my couch. This is my blanket. I just sit here, I’m just so happy and content here. So I’m really excited that I can sit here with my blanket on the couch and visualize me going through my perfect grand Prix text or whatever test it is for you and actually improve my riding. Now, am I saying, “Cool, Just sit on the couch, do nothing, visualize and you’ll be a grand Prix dressage rider in 12 months?” No.

Natasha Althoff: But there is things you can do to improve your riding. If you’ve always had a bit of a sticky trot/canter transition, do 100 trot/canter transitions in your brain every single day for the next 30 days. Things will change. And then when it comes to your spirit connection, again being that I call it the Zen master, to have no past, no future, and just in ever, ever moments of now ever present moments of now, that is being the Zen master. That is dissociating from your body, from your human confines, and just being. Now, I’m the least whoo whoo person out there. I’m not really into being, but I am aware when I ride my best, when I’m in the zone, which I do firmly believe in, that I can access parts of the zone when I meditate.

Natasha Althoff: So there’s a meditation component as well that you need to think about of how can I get into that space where there’s no past, no future, where there is no emotion. Where I’m me, but I’m also not me. Where I’m the ever evolved part of me. Where I’m connected to something bigger than me. Now, everyone’s got different religious beliefs, so that’s my best way of putting it. You’re just connected to something bigger than you. And I, again, I’m not going to even get into religious beliefs, but I do believe that there’s something bigger out there than little old me. Phil’s obsessed at the moment with astrophysics and he’s telling me that this star that we were looking at is 650 light years old and he was telling me how long ago that light left. Light years away, sorry Phil. See? My brain can’t even wrap my head around the concepts of how big our universe is. So side note.

Natasha Althoff: But that’s what our connection is about. How can I improve my body, mind, spirit, connection on all those levels so I can improve my riding performance? I’m super excited to share it with you today. I hope it’s given you something to think about, and given you some ideas while you’re in lockdown that maybe you could work on your fitness, or maybe you could work on your visualization, or maybe you could work on certain things. I would also love to… All I am is thinking about you guys. So I’ve created a free seven day train from home training.Train from home training. That’s right.

Natasha Althoff: So you don’t need your horse, you don’t need to leave your couch, and it’s a seven day completely free training. My gift to you while we’re all in lockdown and I just want to help you guys get through this and improve your riding.

Natasha Althoff: In this seven day training, we’re going to go through each pillars of Equinection at a deeper level, so you can understand them more and really take them into your life. It doesn’t take any longer than 10 minutes. I don’t want it to be this hour long study thing. It’s 10 minutes of your life to improve your riding exponentially after those seven days. So that’s my free gift to you. You can check it out, click the link on or around this video and register for the free training. Can’t wait to see you in it. Again, all my love and encouragement and support is just radiating out to you. Please contact me and my team if you need anything horse related or not, and I’m sending you love. I’ll see you guys soon.