By Ashley Eve
My love of dressage started with a feral 3-year-old New Forest Pony, a dream, and a love for the horse. From the beginning, I was drawn to dressage, maybe due to the quiet connection between horse and rider, or the fact that correct dressage training improved the strength, power and balance of the horse. My grandma used to tell people I “danced” with horses. I always felt that was such a beautiful description of dressage. Unfortunately, my riding career has been marred with injuries in my equine partners; injuries that would spur a fascination with the role rider mechanics have on the horse. While I wait for my foal to grow, I have dedicated myself to helping riders improve their performance and mindset through coaching.
As a certified personal trainer and Neurolinguistic programming coach, I specialize in identifying imbalances in the rider which directly impacts balance, symmetry in the saddle, and performance. Identifying weakness and tightness, and addressing these issues through proper programming, is essential to riders developing a truly independent seat and allowing the horse to perform without impeding their movement. I also assist athletes, of all levels, in overcoming self limiting beliefs which are holding them back from reaching their true potential in the sport. What I have learned, not only from working with riders but athletes from a variety of backgrounds, is that the mindset we adopt hugely impacts how we train, our motivation, and our perception of success and failure. Fitness and mindset are intricately intertwined, and in a sport where the horse typically takes priority, they are also often forgotten.
Whether it is riding one or 12 horses a day, novice to Grand Prix, staying fit out of the saddle has consistently been proven by research to greatly improve both rider and horse performance. Especially leading up to show season, emphasis is placed on horse fitness while simultaneously forgetting the other athlete in the sport; the rider. While we focus on the horses’ core strength, and lifting through their backs, crooked riders directly impact the forces transmitted via the saddle to the horse’s back, therefore impacting their ability to engage their core and hind end. This not only leads to performance issues in the horse, but can also lead to long term soundness issues as well. This has been a particular interest of mine, especially due to my background as an equine sport horse vet tech. While equestrians live extremely busy lifestyles, sport specific exercises that help support the muscles used while riding can benefit any level of rider and horse partnership.
Riders are some of the toughest, hardest working, and determined athletes in the world, and dressage is one of the most beautiful expressions of our relationship with the horse. I truly believe we owe it to the horse to make ourselves a priority and show up for them the way we expect them to show up for us. I feel beyond privileged to have the opportunity to leverage my experience and education in a way that I can not only help riders but their well deserving equine partners as well. As someone that has spent many years as an equine sport horse vet tech, for some of the most well-respected veterinarians in Canada, I am honoured to continue giving back to these incredible athletes by helping riders step into their true greatness.
Ashley Eve Coaching firstname.lastname@example.org
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