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Home :: The Horsey Bit :: DVD Lesson 7: Tai Chi Rope Handling Skills by Alexandra Kurland

DVD Lesson 7: Tai Chi Rope Handling Skills by Alexandra Kurland

DVD Lesson 7: Tai Chi Rope Handling Skills by Alexandra Kurland
Tai Chi Rope Handling Skills by Alexandra Kurland

This DVD covers the morning ground work that I include in my clinics. In these sessions we leave the horses in their stalls to take a nap while their owners work on their mechanical skills. These sessions are extremely valuable. We work out the details of how we are going to ask for something before we involve the horse. This lesson looks at what I refer to as "t'ai chi" rope handling skills.

We begin by experiencing what the lead feels like to your horse. How much can you perceive when you are tense versus relaxed? Are you balanced and how does that effect your horse. Do you know how to use the alignment of your bones and bone rotations so you can be powerful and effective without being forceful or aggressive? I use a series of Laing Gong exercises which I learned from James Shaw ("T'ai Chi for equestrians: to help explain the rope handling skills I incorporate the clicker training. This DVD will be especially useful to all of you who are using the Riding book and who cannot get to one of my clinics.

The word exercise can put many people off. Don't think push ups or jumping jacks. The best way to describe them is to quote from James' book "Ride from Within."

"Laing Gong is a complete set of therapeutic exercises designed to unblock and create a strong flow of internal energy (chi) throughout the body. . . Beyond the general health benefits of these exercises are gains of particular interest to riders. Laing Gong enhances the range of motion in your joints while maintaining the structural balance essential in riding, and through Laing Gong, you develop highly sensitive control of your physical body as well as focus and concentration of the mind. These exercises . . . quickly and effectively increase your body's ability to ride." Ride from Within by James Shaw

In this new DVD I am presenting the Laing Gong exercises which I have found to be the most useful in understanding and accessing the rope handling skills I teach. I had help on this DVD from Ilse de Wit of the Canadian Clicker Centre. First I teach the exercises to Ilse, then we explore how they relate to ground work and to riding. We look at how you can develop better sensitivity and feel down a rope, how to improve your balance and riding position, how to use bone alignments to be powerful and effective without being forceful or aggressive.

The lesson explains why the rope mechanics work the way they do. And the exercises take you to the "t'ai chi" walk (see the Riding book - Chapter 24.) Good rope mechanics are very dependent upon being able to "walk and chew gum." Can you slide down a lead rope and step up into a balanced structure? In other words, are you using your core when you use a lead? Do you know what that means?

I also relate these exercises to riding. We look at what creates a stable, powerful riding position. We contrast this with what contributes to backwards traction and a rider who must hold onto the reins or lose her balance. We look at what allows a rider to stabilize her hand effectively versus one who is easily pulled out of the saddle. What are the subtle changes that gives a rider a secure, grounded seat?

This DVD is the third in a series of lessons which I am producing to accompany the riding book. I'll be producing several that will look at the underlying mechanical skills that lead to riding success. This lesson focuses on rope handling and body alignment.

This DVD is intended to accompany the book “The Click That Teaches: Riding with the Clicker”.

Approx 1 hour 40 minutes.


Click Here to read what Alexandra Kurland says about her series of clicker training books and DVDs, and how to get the best from the lesson sequence.

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