About Me

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North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pilates for the Dressage Rider

OK, I don't claim to be a dressage rider but as you all know, I am always looking for new resources, especially those that are connected to improving my horsemanship. Well, tonight I did Janice Dulak's Pilates for the Dressage Rider DVD for the first time and thought it was excellent. (thanks to my friend Clare for this wonderful Christmas present). I've been in contact with Janice's booking agent about a clinic up here but I just cannot get critical mass to do it. Anyhow, much to my surprise, Clare bought me the DVD! I definitely am going to get the book too and watch for clinic opportunities. The DVD is very clear, concise, and even if you are overweight like me, you'll surprise yourself and do better than you think! I had fun and was amazed to see that I did have some strength and balance I was not aware of. I didn't feel defeated but actually like I did fairly well for a beginner (I did not do the advanced workout--yet). it also helped my sprained back if you can believe it--I am feeling good. I look forward to doing this workout again. (I've never done Pilates before and had to learn--Janice made it easy!) Anyhow, just a thought, expand your exercise repertoire and give it a try! ---thanks Janice!

PS. Linda Parelli also uses Janice's techniques. :)

Pilates and Dressage from Chris Girard on Vimeo.

From Janice's website:

Master Instructor Trainer, 2001 Romana's Pilates®
Author Pilates for the Dressage Rider

Janice's life long work as an expert movement specialist is undeniable: a professional modern dancer and teacher since 1976; a student of Pilates with Romana Kryzanowska since 1989; a certified Pilates instructor since 1993; a dressage rider since 1995; and a Master Instructor Trainer for Romana's Pilates® since 2001. Janice has trained dancers and Pilates practitioners to the equivalent of FEI. Her dancers have gone on to dance with world-class companies and many of her Pilates students have become expert teachers.

Janice is considered a second generation Pilates instructor, and Pilates teachers come from all over the world to seek continued training from her. Janice regularly teaches at the International Romana's Pilates® Conventions, trains Pilates instructors at her studio in Champaign, Illinois, and now is a popular clinician, helping dressage riders find harmony and partnership with their horse through her work.

As a dressage rider, Janice competed her mare, India, up to 2nd level before her suspensory ligaments failed. Before that, she and India won the Gold Medal at 1st level at the Show Me State Games in Missouri in 1998. Since then, Janice has backed and trained India’s first foal, Rubaiyat, out of the Rubenstein lines of the German Oldenburg Verband. She and "Ruby" rode and earned a score of 68.6% in the FEI 4 year old test in 2006. After a three year hiatus in dressage training due to Ruby's growing issues, Janice is training Ruby with her method and trains in dressage with Jochen Hippenstiel of Tempel Farms as well as with David Blake and Sarah Martin.

Janice has forged a relationship with Linda and Pat Parelli and serves as Linda's Pilates instructor. Linda feels that Janice's work begins where her "Fluidity" ends and is essential for the development of the natural dressage rider.

Since the publishing of her book and DVD Pilates for the Dressage Rider (Half Halt Press) she has been teaching Pilates for Dressage® clinics throughout the country. Inquires for her clinics have come from all over the world and it suggests there is the need to begin to scrutinize the training of the rider, a concept to which Janice is dedicated. (Please see Philosophy for more of Janice's thoughts on this.)


strivingforsavvy said...

I just ordered that a few days ago! I am happy to hear you like it and am excited to get mine!

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

let me know what you think when you try it out! I was afraid of even trying but figured it couldn't hurt. I thought I'd not be able to do any of it and was pleasantly surprised. I am looking forward to incorporating it into my riding.


Lisa said...

I have been taking Pilates instruction for over 2 years from a good friend and fellow PNH student. I can honestly say that *NOTHING* has done as much for my riding as my Pilates training.

How does Janice describe engagement of the glutes and curve (or lack there of) of the lower spine? I don't agree with Linda's description of constantly engaged glutes and a flat lower back.

~ Lisa

Naturally Gaited said...

Now you've shamed me into doing the video myself! I confess that I have only watched part of it. No excuses now..


Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Lisa--I honestly cnanot answer that. I feel so new into it that I am only happy to slightly grasp how to do the basics! (So sorry.) Perhaps some of our other readers are more adept to respond? Folks?


Lisa said...

No worries. I just want to know more because what Linda is teaching is very different from my Pilates training. Just be careful that some of the strong engagement Janice Dulak seems to teach is counter to the way your body really needs to work. Heavy engagement of the glutes actually short circuits engagement of the pelvic floor and prevents the small spinal stabilization muscles from firing correctly and providing proper support to the spinal column. Flattening the lower back removes the natural curve of the spine and weakens spinal support and shock absorption rather than enhancing it.

If we are supposed to do in our body what we want our horse to do in his, then I don't want constantly engaged glutes and I want as much elasticity in the spine as the horse can manage. I want him strong through his core and able to engage his FQ and HQ as much as necessary but independently from each other.

Traditional dressage riders and their horses are not my idea of true harmony and true engagement. I know Janice Dulak has more public credibility than my instructor but I love the way she's teaching us to use the natural movement of our bodies. To think about what we want and allow our body to engage the correct muscles. To retrain those muscles that have gotten off too easy and relax those that are performing functions they ought not.

She's going to do some research and we're going to pull something together so we can better understand what's being taught and how that lines up with the correct function of the body.