Welcome! My name is Christine English. I am passionate about horses, Classical Dressage and helping riders acquire an additional set of tools to help improve their riding.
The first time I sat on a horse, aged 10, I knew this was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Coming from a non horsey background meant this was a fight on many levels. None more so than when I announced I would be working with horses full time rather than staying longer in education. I felt a great need to prove this hadn't all been a terrible mistake. For the next six years I became a 'working pupil' and tried incredibly hard to be a great rider. I worked in various yards with top trainers in dressage, show jumping and eventing. I was desperate to improve and do really well in competitions and exams. I couldn't understand why this didn't really happen given all the effort I put in. I became demoralised by what I saw as my lack of progress and achievement and exhausted by the financial struggle of earning very little in return for training which didn't seem to get me anywhere. I came to the conclusion I would have to re train to get a more conventional job and leave horses as a hobby.
Four years later I emerged from university and, as soon as I had secured work, I bought a horse! By now I had developed more of an interest in Classical dressage and chose my trainers accordingly. Things were a little better in lessons but once I was left to my own devices, the same frustrations kept occurring. Nothing about my riding seemed to relate to what I was reading and seeing in the great Classical masters who were my inspiration. I could not emulate the lovely position of these riders who appeared to effortlessly sit on their horses and my horse certainly didn't move like theirs! In fact I always had trouble even getting my horse to move freely forwards, but not just my horse, any horse I rode. I was often so preoccupied with what my horse was doing that it left little space to think about me. However, I was really shocked when I saw photos of myself, I was so out of alignment. It looked much worse than it felt - I was at my wits end!
When someone suggested the Alexander Technique might help, I felt desperate enough to give it a go! My first lesson was an incredible experience and I knew beyond doubt that not only was this going to help my riding enormously, but was also something I wanted to train in and eventually teach. I came to realise that I had been moving around like a hollow, badly schooled horse and it took a series of lessons for me to start to learn how unhelpful my movement pattern had been, and what I could do about it. As my posture became more elegant and free, so too did my riding 'position'. I had been very fixed before and this had had the effect of blocking horses from moving freely underneath me. I had been trying to push/drive horses forward whilst my tight body was giving a different message. I became fascinated by how changes in me were reflected in my horse. Finally I felt I was on the right track! Several years later I managed to organise my life so I could attend a three year full time training course to teach the Alexander Technique.
Fast forward ten years and my passion for horses and teaching riders the skills of the Alexander Technique is as strong as ever. I feel if you want to improve your riding then taking time to study your number one riding tool, i.e. yourself, is never going to be time wasted. This work really gets to the heart of good balance, in every sense of the word, and every possible habit we may have that prevents it from occurring. It would be my greatest pleasure to introduce you to this work, so you can see for yourself how small changes in you can make a big difference for both you AND your horse.