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  • Sisters, OR
  • United States
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A Bit About Me and my Horse(s)
I own Sit The Trot! Movement Education & Body Awareness for Equestrians. I teach clinics, workshops & classes for riders, athletes and anyone interested in moving with more freedom, ease, and strength.
Sit The Trot! 2010 Sisters, OR Clinics:
April 9 - 11
May 21-23
Ride Without Fear: Build Confidence & Control in Mind & Body:
May 8 - 11
June 26-29
September 4 - 7
Sit The Trot! Clinic Experience

In a Sit The Trot! Clinic you listen to your body’s patterns and allow more harmonious movement: within yourself and between you and your horse! I help you sense your patterns of movement, including habits that inhibit or imbalance and habits which are helpful. We work together to retrain your brain, muscles and skeletal alignment for riding ease.

I ask you to be physically and mentally engaged and open to learning about yourself, as you gain tools to help you ride with ease and effectiveness. I evaluate how your position, balance, and muscle inhibitions affect you and your horse’s comfort and athletic ability. From whatever level you start, I help you make your own discoveries so you can attain your goals in a way that suits you. I give you tools to take tension out of riding, improve your feel and timing, and discover a more elegant, balanced way to ride. By riding in fluent balance, you will increase your horse’s chances to have a healthy and pain free life.

Daily Schedule:
Daily activities start with 2 ½ hours of on-the-ground group lessons and continue in the afternoon with a longe lesson or semi-private lesson. During the clinic you will also have one 45 minute personal Functional Integration lesson with Michele.

What Will You Learn?
• self-organization to put you in tune with the motion and balance of your horse;
• improved body awareness which, in the saddle, will improve communication;
• efficient movement patterns and to abandon patterns that interfere with your riding goals;
• life-long tools of self-evaluation to improve your riding skills and enjoyment every day;
• correct breathing for a deep and following seat; and
• horse-supporting, dynamic balance necessary to attain your horse’s top performance.

What Will We Do?
Movement lessons are an opportunity for you to explore your habitual movement patterns and learn patterns that allow you to move in better balance, with fluency and ease. There is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ with Feldenkrais work, only ‘what works best for you’. How you move during a lesson is based on your experience of yourself and your own exploration, not some outside ideal. I will guide you toward a greater awareness how you move and your movement potential.

Mounted lessons are your opportunity to apply to riding what you have learned about your own self-perception, movement, and balance. I bring your attention to your habitual patterns of movement and through voice and touch help you increase awareness, balance, coordination, and fluency so you will integrate your new self-awareness with your ability to sense your horse’s balance, movement, and his needs for support. We will generally start the first day with lessons on the longe.

In a private movement lesson, through gentle touch and verbal direction I will guide you through habitual and non-habitual movement patterns, helping you to discover balanced, dynamic movement that will help you move in harmony with your horse. This process is partly subconscious, as your brain connects new neurological pathways between your impulses and actions.
Do you have any pets?
3 horses, 2 cats, 1 dog, a vegetable garden, flowers & shrubs

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Sit_the_Trot's Blog

The Smile Muscles of the Seat

As someone who specializes in movement…

Posted on February 23, 2010 at 10:00pm — 1 Comment

How can I keep my hands quiet? The Secret Lies Below your Navel!

Question: When I ride my hands bounce up and down at all the gaits. Not a lot but enough so I am not riding horses to the best of my ability and knowledge. I can keep the horse on the bit but in the posting trot every time I go up my hands come up too.Holding a strap doesn't help. Trying to make my hands go down as I go up doesn't help. What can I do?

Basically if you are stiff in mid-back or in the upper chest and shoulders and the shoulder blades don't slide well over the rib cage… Continue

Posted on February 9, 2010 at 10:00am

Breathing: A Lesson on the 1st Step to Effective Movement

As riders we get all sorts of information about how to have correct posture, how to breathe, and how to use our abdominal muscles. All of these things affect the way we stand, sit, move, and breathe. They even affect the way we think and our emotions. As babies we knew how to breathe naturally and use our breath for power. We filled our lungs, letting our belly expand, and screamed! When we breathe naturally our lungs fill as our diaphragm lowers and flattens out, and, because our stomach,… Continue

Posted on January 30, 2010 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

From Chair to Saddle: Take it slowly

Unlike four-legged mammals that generally move with a horizontal spine, the human spine is uniquely shaped to allow us to move in multitudes of activities while standing or sitting upright. With the muscles and tendons providing structure, the spine can bend and twist and oscillate. It can also relax and allow us to sit for long periods. Unfortunately, our spine also has a good short-term memory about what it has been doing.

The tissues hold on to what we have been doing. What does… Continue

Posted on January 25, 2010 at 3:48pm

Tummy Out! Find Your Strong and Supple Core and Release Tension

“Tummy out, tummy out,” I heard in lesson after lesson when I rode in Germany at Etoile International Equestrian Academy under the direction of Stephan Kiesewetter, chief trainer. Tummy out? I’d never heard such a direction from a dressage instructor, yet when I did it, I felt my lower back fill out and hip joints relax, the mobility of my lumbar spine increased while my upper torso stabilized, and I sat deeper. I found it easier to follow each big, bouncy stride—in fact, my horse gave bigger,… Continue

Posted on January 20, 2010 at 4:30pm — 7 Comments

Comment Wall (11 comments)

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At 3:15pm on February 15, 2010, Jackie Cochran said…
Thanks for your comment. I think it is slightly different than your tummy out, like the area between the ribs leading up to the sternum. I have been practicing (separately and alternately) pushing both areas of the belly out. Again, I feel like a belly dancer, who by the way I respect highly.
Isn't riding fun!
At 5:32pm on February 10, 2010, Catherine Chamberlain said…
All of your work sounds really interesting! And thanks for posting your blogs, they're very helpfull and fun to read. :)
At 1:40pm on January 29, 2010, Jackie Cochran said…
Thanks for your comments. I eventually will get it all together. Due to my MS I have a hard time coordinating 2 or 3 things at a time, so I have learned to practice each movement by itself. Eventually everything starts working together like it should.
The mare I ride has a weak back, when I started riding her it was REALLY weak. Though her back is stronger it still has a ways to go before it is strong enough to take on a rider with a "deeper" seat, so yes, my seat bones are coming somewhat above the saddle when I use my butt muscles. This is on purpose, I am trying to be light enough so she will raise her back somewhat. If my seat is not light her head goes up and her back feels more concave. With the lighter seat at the sitting trot her back is getting stronger as versus staying weakish and inverted when I use the deeper seat.
Maybe in 6 months or so MY muscles will be stronger and more coordinated and HER back will feel better when I sit down fully. Until that time I will practice coordinating my tummy out and my back, and hope that we both will get strong enough so my body can figure it all out.
Thanks again for your help.
At 10:48pm on January 28, 2010, P.Ann Turner said…
Hello there,

no I have not seen that book, it sounds fascinating! I actually made myself a Baroque riding costume and am looking forward to riding more exhibition rides etc. this year, if I can get the time to do more of that stuff apart from just ridng and training my 4 horses, I will look for it, cheers, Ann.
At 6:18pm on January 27, 2010, Jackie Cochran said…
Hi! It's Jackie. I got to try the tummy-out sitting trot today. I did not do it very well, it takes me a while to get the feel and coordination to do a new movement well. The first time I tried it I was having trouble not bouncing, and I rounded my shoulders.
At the end of the lesson I did one circle of the ring using (in turn) tummy-out, the FS, butt muscles, tummy-out and abdomen rectus ab. muscles. I had some trouble the first time tummy-out, I was almost banging her back with my seat. The second time I was better, feeling more coordination between my tummy and back. With the abdomen muscles I was hearing the 'splatting' sound of her front feet landing. I suspect that this sound comes from her putting her heel down first. She also lost impulse. I did not notice much difference in her way of going with the tummy-out, though both the tummy-out and butt muscles had a little less impulse than in the Forward Seat sitting trot. My teacher could not tell that I was changing my seat by that time.
When I first did the tummy out I was 1) pursing my lips, 2) rounding my shoulders, almost bouncing in the saddle, and getting tired pretty quick.
My teacher said she could not see me change my seat after I got my shoulders back in the correct position, though she noticed the loss of impulsion with using just the rec. ab. muscles.
I hope I have explained this clearly enough. If not please tell me and I will try again.
At 4:28pm on January 11, 2010, Akaash Maharaj said…
Thanks for your note. Perhaps while you were looking up tent pegging, I was looking up Feldenkrais! It seems like an interesting approach to the art of balanced riding.
At 7:09pm on October 1, 2009, Heather Sansom at said…
Hi...are you Michele from Sit the If so, it's really great to see what you are doing with Centred Riding etc...I think we're on a lot of the same pages.
It might be interesting to chat further offline. I answered your questions to my blog post, with a new post. However, naturally I see so many tributaries to the question, depending on where you're coming from--

I think that with your experience with classical riding Iberian horses, you would really understand what I meant by hands that are not moving all over the place, but are yet soft.....classical dressage being a little more inclined to have you ride with very straightly stacked posture, long legs, and arms at your side yet very light hands. Light might have been a better choice of words for me to use.
At 1:54am on July 30, 2009, Annette Willson said…
Feldenkrais is fantastic for riders but takes a long time. I teach Pilates and HOW TO apply it in the saddle. It is very effective and very simple. as a physiotherapist i can see so many posture problems with riders that then get transferred to the horse. I have great success with this program and love teaching it. The theme of what you teach is the same Pity we live on opposite sides of the world my blog is
Check my websites Applied posture Riding and Horse riding Equipment
At 10:54am on February 10, 2009, Lallanslover said…
Great blog post, really interesting reading. Thankyou for sharing...
At 6:19am on January 14, 2009, Barnmice Admin said…
Thanks, that person has been banned.

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