The Aware Rider Program

The Aware Rider Program is an online learning experience for those understand that their own health and well-being ties into the health and well-being of their horse.

“I think that this will lead to a breakthrough for many riders. It gives them the freedom to experiment without the fear of making a mistake that will ruin their horse. If they start with the Feldenkrais exercises off the horse and then take the concepts and apply them on the horse, they can use the horse's feedback to discover where they need to be, how they need to sit, and how they need to move in order to shape and to balance the horse, because with every little change in our seat the horse either gets a little better or worse. The rider becomes our seat coach this way.  How to use the horse's feedback to improve your seat and aids.” - Thomas Ritter

 

You'll learn how to:

  • Avoid the seat correction mistakes which derail most riders
  • Cultivate an awareness of suppleness, balance, and support OFF the horse so you can transfer this ON to the horse.
  • Overcome your habitual posture and movement patterns so you can stop getting in your and your horse's way to progress
  • Develop your feel through nuanced lessons designed to develop your attention, sensitivity, and coordination.
  • Build a solid understanding of how you work as a whole unit, so you can enjoy an independent seat which enables you to communicate clearly with your horse and give clear, fine aids.
Feldenkrais is about learning to do less, so you can feel what you're doing that isn't helping you. Then you can develop better ways of moving which allow you to do what you want with ease.

You can’t follow instructions in a riding lesson to the letter if you are contending with your and your horses' asymmetry.


Therefore needs to be an ongoing dialogue with the horse where he and you are "in the present." This is about meeting yourself and your horse where you are (Not a monologue).

Do Less, Ride Better.

Feldenkrais is about learning to do less, so you can feel what you're doing that isn't helping you. Then you can develop better ways of moving which allow you to do what you want with ease.


It is really about learning to DO LESS so you can RIDE BETTER. It is about cultivating our intelligence and curiosity as riders, and using this to become better rider, to make the learning process smoother, and to create better relationships with our horses. It is about being the rider our horses would love us to be, and therefore the rider we want to be.


No matter how many years you have been making the same mistakes, stuck in the same patterns, or moving your body in the same unproductive ways, it is NEVER too late to learn a better way. Inherent in every person is the capacity to learn new ways of doing things. And Feldenkrais lessons are the key to unlocking this potential in you.


Riding is a learning activity, and if you are straining and forcing while riding, you aren't learning. The less effort you use in your action, the more you notice, and the more you notice, the more you can change your action. And THAT is how you change your habits and movement patterns.

Would you like to give it a try, and join other intelligent and curious riders like yourself?

How can Feldenkrais help riders?

Inherent in each one of us is the capacity to learn new and more effective ways of doing things. If you want to learn to ride better, you first need to become aware of using too much strain and force in your attempts to achieve what you want. The less effort you use in your action, the more you notice what works, and the more you notice what works, the more effectively you can communicate with your horse.

Feldenkrais is mindfulness in action, and this is what it can do for your riding:

• Develop science-based strategies to learn what the talented riders just "Do."
• Change your movement patterns and improve your riding.
• Address your habitual way of moving and open up for the new.
• Learn how to make choices with awareness while riding.
• Discover how to act with choice rather than compulsion.
• Experience how the smallest movement in one part of the body changes the whole body, and how doing less can get you more.
• Achieve better coordination, focus, and harmony with yourself and your horse.

When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want. In the words of Moshe Feldenkrais, ‘make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant’.

Become the rider your horse is waiting for.

 

(Scroll down to see what our current Aware Rider Program members have to say...)

Join Thomas and Shana Ritter as we sit down for a series of online Trainings with Feldenkrais Practitioner, Catherine McCrum, to explore how you can improve the way you move with the ultimate aim of having a better relationship with your horse:
One in which you can learn to listen to yourself as well as listen to the horse in such a way that they hear what you're saying.

This is a conversation about the conversation we have with our horses.

 

 

What is inside the Aware Rider Program?

Catherine McCrum and Thomas Ritter discuss how Feldenkrais can be directly applied to riding, and hear all the details about the Aware Rider Program πŸ‘‰
 

Theory Discussion Workshop Sessions

THEORY & DISCUSSION

Once weekly workshop sessions around a specific, thought-stimulating topic relating to how we approach movement and our awareness of ourselves in our riding. 

Each session contains a supporting Feldenkrais lesson within it and recorded Q&A session.

Awareness Through Movement Lessons

FELDENKRAIS LESSONS

To continue the theme for each week, Catherine McCrum provides movement lessons to support the discussion and exploration topic for the week.

Each lesson is 20-40 minutes and helps you explore new and better movement patterns.

Charlotte's Weekly "Feldy Tips"

ONE FELDY TIP PER WEEK.

Each week, Charlotte Zetterberg provides a body scan, tip, exercise, or lesson you can use on and off the horse to integrate your learning into the practical side of your riding.

Membership

PRIVATE FACEBOOK DISCUSSION GROUP

For ongoing discussion and support from Catherine, Thomas, and Shana, you get access to this private and exclusive group. Ask your questions, get personalized support and answers, share your experiences, celebrate your discoveries.

No matter where you are in your Aware Rider journey (just beginning, or repeating the entire thing again), you will be received in this group with open arms,

The Instructors:

Catherine McCrum

Catherine McCrum is an accredited Feldenkrais practitioner and has been teaching sport, fitness and movement since 1986 as first a ski instructor/coach and then as a Personal Trainer. In 2002 she finished her Feldenkrais training. She is also a rider and is joining us in this course to help you learn how to recognize how the way you use your body can be interfering with your ability to progress in your riding. She is also a Gestalt psychotherapist with a particular interest in working  with developing awareness of how her clients embody their emotional and  psychological patterns. Catherine  participates as an Assistant Teacher in our Artistic Dressage Online Courses Program.

Thomas & Shana Ritter

Thomas is an International Clinician and author of two books (Dressage Principles based on Biomechanics and Long Reining: From the Beginning through the Levade) and countless articles in many publications. Shana is a USDF Bronze and Silver Medalist. Together they create and orchestrate the Artistic Dressage program.

Charlotte Zetterberg

Based in Sweden, Charlotte is a Riding Instructor, Authorised Feldenkrais Practioner, Certified Mindfulness Instructor, and author of the Swedish book "Feldenkrais for Riders".

This is a 2-Part Program

of Workshops, Awareness through Movement Lessons, Tips and Body Scans, Community, and Personalized Support.

 

Each week we focus on a different topic that gives us a framework to observe our movement, posture and balance more accurately.

Part 1: The Aware Rider I

This is a conversation about the conversation we have with our horses.

Instant access to all the recordings so you can get started right away with no delays or waiting.

12 Pre-Recorded Theory Discussion Sessions, 12 "Awareness Through Movement" Feldenkrais Lessons, and 6 Feldy Blog Tips from Charlotte Zetterberg

Part 2: The Aware Rider II

Tuning the instrument which is our body.

This 6-week course is only for those who are already enrolled in Aware Rider I... 

6 Theory Discussion Sessions with Q&A with Catherine and Thomas, 12 "Awareness Through Movement" Feldenkrais Lessons, and 6 Feldy Blog Tips from Charlotte Zetterberg

 

18 20-40 minute Aware Rider I  'Awareness Through Movement' Feldenkrais Lesson:
  1. Lengthening the Lung. 
  2. Lifting the Hip to Lengthen the Side
  3. Cardinal Lines (aka Hosepipes)
  4. Lifting the Knees and Hiding the Foot
  5. Coordinating Flexors and Extensors
  6. Developing the X
  7. Tilting the Head to Mobilise the Pelvis. 
  8. Freeing the Hip Joints by Twisting the Heels
  9. Developing Abdominal Control
  10. The Tripod: Walking the Wall
  11. 

The Tripod: Feet Rocking the Pelvis and Lengthening the Spine
  12. 4-Point Support with a Pendulum Swing of the Pelvis
  13. Tanden: Moving from the 'small pelvis'
  14. Tanden: Swinging the Leg on the Side
  15. Pressing, Lifting, Lengthening, and Yielding
  16. Completing the Self-image: Rolling Fists
  17. Completing the Self-image: Rolling Fists Part 2
  18. Arms around a Clock
12 20-40 minute Aware Rider II  'Awareness Through Movement' Feldenkrais Lessons

1. Rolling the head like a ball between your hands 

2. Plexiglass Spine - a plane dividing the body

3. Hopping and Flopping

4. Transmission of Force 

5. Walking Backwards

6. Swinging the Pelvis from the Fingertips

7. On the stomach, tilting the legs

8. Flexion without limbs

9. The Jaw and Pelvis

10. The Mermaid - Heels and Feet in Circles

11. Cardinal Directions of the head

12. Reaching Like a Skeleton

NEW EXTENDED PAYMENT PLANS JUST ADDED!

Aware Rider I & Aware Rider II

€450

single payment

- 12 Theory Discussion Sessions

- 12 Awareness Through Movement Lessons

- 6 Recorded Q&As for Aware Rider 1

- 6 Additional Lessons for Aware Rider 1

- Aware Rider II

- Exclusive Access to both Facebook Groups

- Ongoing Discussion, Support, and Group Interaction

OTHER CURRENCIES AVAILABLE (USD, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, ZAR, MXN)

REGISTER NOW

Aware Rider I & II Payment Plans

EXTENDED PAYMENT PLANS JUST ADDED!

- 12 Theory Discussion Sessions

- 12 Awareness Through Movement Lessons

- 6 Recorded Q&As for Aware Rider 1

- 6 Additional Lessons for Aware Rider 1

- Aware Rider II begins April 6, 2020

- Exclusive Access to both Facebook Groups

- Ongoing Discussion, Support, and Group Interaction

OTHER CURRENCIES AVAILABLE (USD, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, ZAR, MXN)

REGISTER NOW

Aware Rider I only

€300

full pay or pmt plan

- 6 Theory Discussion Sessions

- 6 Awareness Through Movement Lessons

- 6 Recorded Q&As for Aware Rider 1

- 6 Additional Lessons for Aware Rider 1

- Exclusive Access to the Aware Rider I Facebook Group

- Ongoing Discussion, Support, and Group Interaction

OTHER CURRENCIES AND PAYMENT PLANS AVAILABLE (USD, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, ZAR, MXN)

REGISTER NOW

Aware Rider II only

€250

full pay or pmt plan

EXTENDED PAYMENT PLANS JUST ADDED!

- 6 Theory Discussion Sessions

- 6 Awareness Through Movement Lessons

- Aware Rider II

- Exclusive Access to the Aware Rider II Facebook Group

- Ongoing Discussion, Support, and Group Interaction

OTHER CURRENCIES AND PAYMENT PLANS AVAILABLE (USD, GBP, CAD, AUD, NZD, ZAR, MXN)

REGISTER NOW

Our Guarantee

We hope you will love this program. You will have a full 2 weeks from the date of purchase to see if it is right for you. If it doesn’t resonate with you, just let us know and we will refund your money. No hassles. No hard feelings.

"What I have received from The Aware Rider course is a message of hope. Both Catherine McCrum and Charlotte Zetterberg have pointed me in new directions regarding my body. So many of their teachings help me defy ageing! The deceptively simple movements and techniques these two ninja women generously share are all gems in their own right. Not only are the things I learn here applicable and useful for my own riding but for everyday living and moving about! They are kind guides, leading all of us on a wonderful trail towards less pain, more awareness and suppleness that I never thought possible. The old rules I lived by of "push through" drift away once I have been exposed to their teachings. I am humbled and amazed by both of them and grateful that Shana and Thomas Ritter discovered and fostered a platform for them!" - Ingrid Edisen, USA

"My whole seat changed. My horses back comes up, because my legs give room to do that. She breathes better because there is less tension in my thighs. For me it feels like I am sitting with more connection more inside the horse. My back problems got much better, also my knee pain is gone. I have scoliosis and the left side of my pelvis was moving differently that evened out and my shoulders and neck are not (so) tense anymore. My posture and movement changed and feels easier and I move with less effort. I grew awareness in my upper spine and how every movement is producing an echo that resonates through the whole body." - Verena Meyer, Germany

"For me Feldenkrais has and is still opening new doors of knowing my body and it's movement patterns. I have always been very analytic and concious of my body but Feldenkrais has given me tools to get to know my "black spots", help change bad habits and evening out my sides. Feldenkrais + Ritter dressage learning shows many positive ways in my riding. From sessions I have learned little movements and feel which I can use in my ordinary life, like supporting good posture. The best part is how calm and rested I feel after each session, helping reduce stress." - Maija Ylämäki, Finland

"For me I now have an increased awareness that was absent before. I really never payed much attention to habits and replacing those habits with new ways of doing things. I can now detect subtle differences in my body position. And I also am paying attention to moving in different ways. So the increased awareness has been the biggest change for me. I've never been one to spend much time on visualization and imagination. So imagining a movement, instead of actually doing it has been very successful. I still need to work on applying all of this in my riding and other aspects of my life, but I am starting to make it a part of who I am. Instead of pushing my self physically, to the point of needing to back off, I now have another option available to me to make improvements in my way of going. " - Brenda Foster, Canada

“I loved the Aware Rider course. I had never thought about body movement in that way and it was a huge eye opener for me. It made a big difference to my posture in general not just my riding position. An added bonus was that the lessons really relaxed me; I'm not sure they were supposed to but I am certainly not complaining!” - Jane Amaku, UK

“Developing an 'Intellegent Riders Seat ' has been brought about by my participation on the Ritter Aware Rider Program. Warning!! The sense of achievement is addictive. I realised that I was a rider that lacked 'feeling' resulting in stiffness in my aids & seat. I'm now aware enough to be able to ride half half to halt halt as oppose to dressage movement to movement, just like the pro's do!!! Happy days. I rode my first ever extended trot sitting while on this course. This is the course that keeps on giving even after it finishes, providing learnings that continue to change the way I move in and out of the saddle.” - Anne-Marie Spear, South Africa

"For me the concept of elbow hip connection, the bridge and kneeling seat have been instrumental in helping me develop a better connection. I find I feel things more subtly when I’m out hacking but not so much in the arena. Perhaps I am more relaxed out of the arena as is my horse. I seem to put less pressure on myself or my horse to get things right. At the moment I feel there are so many things I need to work on myself as well as with my horse. Out hacking I only choose 1 or 2 ingredients to work on which seems to go better for me and my horse." - Sharon France, UK

“Hello everbody, my name is Yvonne. I'm a holistic equine therapist in Northern Germany. This is the course I have been waiting for! When I started Feldenkrais 10 years ago, I had several herniated vertebral discs, was in severe back pain and felt really crooked. I was very unhappy because I could not find my centgre and didn't know how to change it. The first thing I learned in the Feldenkrais group sessions was, that it is okay not to be perfect. It helped so much to notice that it is all about becoming aware of how my posture and my body confirmation is. Not about judging... I then could leave the state of wrong and right behind me and enter the world of exploration and finding what feels good for me. On the mat practicing I learned a lot about the rider's seat and why sone positions are counterproductive on the horse. Needless to say, that my backpain completely vanished.
I started to take some habits of the Feldenkrais lessons into the arena. For example, when I get on a horse now, I start with a body scan: how do I sit (literally), how does my pelvis move, How is the horse today, his energy, how are the hindlegs moving.... and so on. I do the same with my students. It helps bringing them into the moment and getting connected with the horse. This was a good start, but I wanted more! I wished so badly for an instructor who would combine classical dressage with Feldenkrais. Who was able to put lessons together that adressed specifically riding related movements. You can imagine HOW HAPPY I was when I found Shana and Thomas Ritter. The moment I found out, they had with Catherine McCrum a Feldenkrais teacher, they were working with. Taking The Aware Rider course, took my riding to the next level. It didn't bring big changes for me, but many small ones which make a big difference in the quality. I can't wait to learn more.
A big thank you from the bottom of my heart, Shana Ritter, Thomas Ritter and Catherine McCrum, for putting this course together!” - Yvonne Lübcke, Germany

Feldenkrais and Fibromyalgia

I was very excited to try Feldenkrais as a host of therapies tried over the years have only succeeded in causing flares. My most prevalent FM symptom is sticky muscles. Every time I use them for something they seem to over-repair and form a mass of adhesions which over time greatly hamper my freedom of movement. The only therapy that counteracted this without a backlash was my riding in which long honed muscles did what they’d done for years with very little fuss.

In fact, a rhythmic trot on a horse with good impulsion accompanied by deep breathing even flushes my lymph and brings my pain down significantly.

About five years ago I discovered that I could ‘breathe’ sticky muscles apart in the warmth of my waterbed by stretching to the edge of a locked muscle’s range, using my weight or pillows to stay there, and relaxing into that ‘edge’ a little more with each successive breath. This had a wonderful affect on restrictions all over my body and I began using it regularly. But I eventually arrived at an area that resisted all influence to release. My right hip. I could encourage my left hip to relax so my left leg grew longer than my right but try as I might I could not duplicate that on the right side. Within seconds up popped the foot and I could only conclude my right hip had contracted again. I noticed that, when getting comfortable, and upon waking, my left foot invariably lay longer than my right. I’ve been puzzling and battling this muscle barrier for three years to no avail.

Until the first Feldenkrais lesson with Catherine! To begin with the ‘observing what is’ style of the Intelligent Pelvis lesson stressed me. I kept waiting to hear what should I be doing. But I learnt a valuable lesson that day.

The body doesn’t need to be always told what to do. Often it simply needs to become aware of what’s wrong.

The revelatory moment for me was when Catherine suggested a variety of muscles could be asked to advance our hips and might be different for each side of the body. My right hip seemed to propel itself forward with no thought at all. (I travel long distances in a lefthand drive car without cruise control and I’m guessing  the muscles directly attached to my right hip are well developed from using the accelerator in perpetuity.) My left hip remained unresponsive to efforts to propel it forward from within. Catherine suggested it might be necessary to pull the hip forward from the knee. That worked. But where the right hip stayed where I left it until I consciously released it the left hip wobbled all over the place and went flaccid the moment I was not actively using the muscles attached to my knee to hold it forward. I was really surprised just how weak it was!

Later that day I moved from preoccupation with the weakness of my left hip to wondering how what I’d learnt might apply to the contraction problem with the right hip. I realized that as Catherine had said something might have to contract elsewhere to lengthen the right hip muscles and hold them there. By now you may have guessed it would be those wobbly left hip muscles. No wonder I was getting nowhere; they hadn’t the strength to hold things in place long enough for the right muscles to begin releasing!

When next I had a chance to experiment (a convenient sleepless night and lie-in morning) it took a whopping seven long hours to support the left side contraction in order to peel the layers of stickiness apart on the right. The left muscles were surprisingly unfatigued afterwards and walking felt as though I could climb the sky!

When I rode next it was hard to tell just what affect my new suppleness was having. Tank and I are trying so many new Ritter things lately that every ride is a revelation for us both but I don’t need proof to know it will make his job easier if my hips become more equally strong and supple.

Strangely, the most noticeable change is whilst walking. For years now the jammed muscles over my derrière have jarred painfully with every stride. It is wonderful to be able to stride effortlessly along without a single wince. I feel like I’m doing a comedian’s outrageous frogmarch! 😁

PS: it has been so busy it took me ages to finally post this. I’ve continued to lengthen the right leg whenever possible. The cord of hard pain reaching from under my right shoulder blade, through all my ribs, lower back, forking over the wing of the R hip and continuing down both sides of the leg into the calf weakens steadily. What a large area to be stuck for so long! Several sleepless waterbed marathons later the tone and stretch is beginning to even out on both sides.

Thank you, Catherine. I never would have solved this body alignment puzzle on my own. πŸ™‚πŸ‘πŸ»β€οΈ" - Ruth Uffindell-Grinde, Canada

So go ahead and click the Register Now button. You will receive instant access to all of the Aware Rider sessions and lessons so you can get started right away with no waiting.

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