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The Alexander Technique

When I was a working pupil I was lucky enough to do a short course of Alexander Technique lessons for riders, with Sally Tottle. I enjoyed it so much that I had a few one-on-one sessions with her too. I would recommend it to anyone.

‘Alexander’ himself was an actor who used to lose his voice on stage – disastrous, obviously! When doctors could find no reason for it, he realised he must be causing the problem himself,  so he worked out a system to stop his body from tensing up, basically.
It is all about poise, balance and relaxation, from the top of your head downwards.

In the very first session, which I remember as if it was yesterday even though it was yonks ago, Sally brought along a 10lb bag of sugar, and dropped it into our hands, one by one. Then she told us that is how much the average human head weighs… it was quite a shock. We could see why a person looking down, for example, is pulling their whole neck and back out of alignment. This illustration shows exactly the sort of problems incorrect neck alignment can cause. Also, the sessions can really help to improve poise, showing the rider how to land very lightly in the saddle in rising trot, for example.

There are lots of Alexander Technique instructors, and I would recommend this to all riders. So many of us end up with chronic back pain, and this is one way to help to prevent it and prolong our years of riding.


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