calm and kick on
Your Horse Live
Warwickshire, November 2012
published in STATNews, January 2013)
Following on the past years of success bringing the benefits
of the Alexander Technique to riders, the Your Horse Live
Exhibition provided another opportunity to build up more
awareness, understanding and contacts.
event is the biggest and most popular equestrian shopping
event of the year and part of its success is down to its mix
of the commercial with the educational.
Sarah Witkin and her team of teachers organised a
very successful stand bringing the Technique to the
forefront of riders’ minds.
two day equestrian event had a 24% increase in attendance
this year with more than 18,000 through the gates.
Some of the very best riders and trainers in the
world shared their skills and experience from all
disciplines in riding from Show Jumping to Eventing, with
demonstrations from Olympic medalists Mary King, Charlotte
Dujardin, Carl Hester and Ben Maher amongst many other well
respected figures in the equestrian world.
Interwoven with this high profile line-up, were interactive
demonstrations where Sarah Witkin and Sally Tottle explained
how the Technique applies to riding, horsemanship and the
enjoyment of communication with our equine friends. Their
presentations were well balanced with a prominent STAT stand
in the "Improve Your Riding" zone, and throughout the two
days, a steady flow of interested people came to find out
location in this zone was ideal as it was in the more
"thoughtful" area aimed at a variety of ways to improve your
riding, rather than simply sales of riding equipment.
Fifteen minute taster sessions for £10 were offered
throughout the two days, and often there was a queue, so
that time slots were booked in advance.
We worked on people on two static saddles, and also
had a table for turns so two or three teachers could give
was an interesting mix of pupils -riders who had pain or
injury limiting their riding, as well as non riders with
back problems or similar, including those who had difficulty
walking around the exhibition for several hours without
Many came specifically to the stand from prior
awareness of the Technique, or from interest sparked by the
Through having the annual STAT presence at Your Horse
Live, we are developing further links with others in the
equine industry -one of several examples of this is an
Instructor from the Centered Riding stand next door who
specifically came across for a taster session as she wanted
to understand how we made such a difference to the posture
in the saddle of those we worked on, as she could see this
repeated time after time, with very little effort or stress.
Details were taken of all those having a taster session, and
the STAT office has contacted them by email since the
exhibition, to remind them of how to get in touch with an AT
teacher, and to suggest a teacher local to them.
directions and classical riding pointers
were often lively discussions of how Alexander directions
align with those taught as part of classical riding -forward and up, with lengthening and widening, and knees
forward and away all fit well with the riding principles of
softness over the horse’s back and light easy steps.
Obviously this can best be promoted by a rider with a soft
and easy seat. Of course the impact of having the
opportunities to talk to potential pupils at this exhibition
will evolve in time, but already Sarah has had an email from
a riding instructor in North Wales thanking her for giving
his pupil a taster session that has allowed his pupil to
understand all that the instructor has been teaching for the
past few months.
you to all those that helped make the event another great
success: Sarah Witkin (Cambs/Essex), Miriam Wohl (Leics),
Sally Tottle (Monmouth/Hereford)
Caroline Chalk (Bristol/Wilts/Somerset), Rosie Lane
(Powys) Christina Wilton (Surrey) Anita Bennett (Bristol).
Harriet Saunders (Glos)