[RIDER’S POSTURE TIP] Up, up and away

As an Alexander Technique instructor who shows horseback riders how to find effortless posture and balance, I notice when I mention the p word, lots of people get nervous.  I was speaking to a wonderful group of riders this week in Salem, OR and I noticed several of them shifting in their chairs. Our traditional idea of sitting up straight feels uncomfortable and unsustainable because it is.

The posture I’m talking about is what I call “posture that works for you”. That means it’s easy, it feels good and you can experience it by using your mind.

Welcome to the second of a

Rider's Posture Tip Direction Up for Mobility


[RIDER’S POSTURE TIP] Make gravity your BFF

Rider's Posture Tip - Connection Down for stability - ©2016 Emily Clark TheSuppleRider.comI show riders how to create effortless, free posture in and out of the saddle. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at the Oregon Equestrian Trails (OET) Statewide Roundup. The first point I mentioned was the importance of gravity for stability.

Gravity and stability

This comes as a surprise to lots of people, because most of us think of gravity as a bad thing, especially in terms of our bodies—”giving in to gravity” and “letting gravity take over” both sound negative. We’ve been taught to sit up “ramrod straight”, but free and easy uprightness isn’t possible without a connection down to the earth.

I was reminded how important this is when I heard from one of the OET audience members, Wendy Kerns, a few weeks later:

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3 pillars of positive posture for horseback riders

Holding up 3 fingers

Photo courtesy of stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net

Effortless posture, or what I call “posture that works for you”, isn’t just about the position you place your body in. It starts from the inside out and involves 3 things. Structure—your musculoskeletal system; how you deal with ever-present stress, and strategies for finding and renewing freedom in your body.

Good posture is a continuing journey of awareness.


Bones, muscles and soft tissues

The similarities between the structure of humans and horses are pretty remarkable, and being aware of them can help rider and horse work better together. Horses and humans both have a poll (or head/neck joint) and a topline (spine). Ideally both are free of tension so the body’s parts can move without hindrance and rider and horse can move as one.

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[Rider Resource] Should you be a horse whisperer or a horse listener?


Gwenyth Santagate

Welcome to our Rider Resource blog series, where we talk to equine professionals providing solutions for riders and horse owners.

Today we’re chatting with Gwenyth Santagate, Equine Behavioral Specialist and owner of Penzance Equine Integrative Solutions.

Hi Gwenyth, what do you do?

I’m a horsemanship coach. I help horse owners understand their horses and how to communicate effectively with them so they can establish a partnership based on deep mutual trust.

I speak for the horses who have no voice. It’s not about “horse whispering” … it’s about “horse listening”.

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[VIDEO] Get stress relief if it’s a pain working from your desk or car

Deborah Ivanoff interviews Emily ClarkIf you ever sit at a desk, work at a computer or work from your car, you’ve probably felt stiff and sore at one point or another. This week my colleague Deborah Ivanoff, The Being Coach interviewed me about this very subject.

Click here to catch the video for stress and pain relief tips. I walk you through how to de-stress by blowing out the stale air, connecting to your center of gravity to relieve shoulder pain, and freeing your neck for ease. Even if you never go near a computer, phone or office, you can use these tips on horseback as well.

[Rider Resource] Are you afraid to get back on your horse after a fall?

Jane Conboy and me

Selfie with Jane Conboy

Welcome to our Rider Resource blog series, where we talk to equine professionals providing solutions for riders and horse owners.

Today we’re chatting with Jane Conboy, Stress Reduction Specialist and owner of Back in the Saddle Rider Recovery about getting confidence back after a fall.

Jane, what do you do?

I help people who have had falls or scares involving a horse and feel fearful or hesitant, get back to the kind of riding they like to do.

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[Tip of the Month] Stop Clamping Down Your Posture & Start Going Up Right Now

Image of bubbles going up

Illustration courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Are you bothered by pain or posture problems like slumping? If the answer is yes, you could be making the problem worse by unknowingly tightening and clamping down your body. Read on for a tip to nip this pattern in the bud and start going up instead. Going up relieves the tension and makes you effortlessly taller.

What triggers clamping down?

Stress is the cause of so much unnecessary tension in our bodies! How do you know if you’re clamping down without realizing it? Are you dealing with one or more of these types of stress on a regular basis?

  • Time stress “I’ve got to get all the horses fed before I go to work”
  • Emotional stress “My partner’s upset with me because I complained about the socks on the floor”
  • Physical stress “My shoulder is tense”
  • Postural stress “My trainer says I brace my back (drill sergeant) or slump in the saddle”

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[Rider Resource] Can equine thermography tell me where my horse hurts?

Welcome to our Rider Resource blog series, where we talk to equine professionals providing solutions for riders and horse owners.

Today we’re chatting with Tom Cernansky, owner of Animal Infrared Imaging about equine thermography.

Tom, what is equine thermography?

Tom Cernansky and client

Tom Cernansky and client

It’s a non-invasive and sedation-free medical modality designed for early detection of hard-to-diagnose animal lameness, injury and disease. Since horses mask their injuries or present as lame for obscure reasons, thermography can accurately pinpoint the location and nature of their injuries.

Our service is non-invasive, sedation-free and mobile (we can come to your stable, no need to trailer your injured horse anywhere). In one brief session, we scan the whole animal and provide you with a detailed findings report (written by a vet) within 3 – 5 business days.

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Great news: The Supple Rider is moving!

The Supple Rider's new office at 211 SE Madison St. Portland OR 97214I’m thrilled to announce that we are moving to a wonderful new space in Portland’s Central Eastside Warehouse District!

Our new location:

211 SE Madison St.
Suite 22
Portland, OR 97214

Now we can offer you:

  • A dedicated space
  • Customized to your comfort
  • More schedule availability
  • More schedule flexibility
AND look for an invitation to our grand opening party coming up soon!

Watch our progress as we transform the space on our facebook page

before picture


Are you spending tons on clinics without lasting results?

illustration of money flying away

photo by kittijaroon freedigitalimages.net

Have you ever invested your precious time, limited energy and hard-earned money on a clinic and not had lasting positive results?

Has your clinician or trainer asked you to relax your legs, tighten your core, or sit deeper in the saddle, but your ride went worse? You got frustrated, and your horse did too because he didn’t know what you were asking for? Or, you tried to implement what you learned at home and your body wouldn’t cooperate?

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault (or your trainer’s)

But it does impact YOUR pocketbook and YOUR stress level, and not for the better.

Linda was upset because her pain, stiffness and posture problems stopped her progress

She’d had years of stiff shoulders and legs and she was frustrated because her horse wasn’t going as well as she knew he could. We worked together for a few sessions, and I showed her how to free up her body “on demand” with the Alexander Technique.

Now, her trainer says “when I ask you to do something, you can do it!”

Her rides improved right away. She moves her arms, legs and pelvis independently, and her posture is more upright, without rigidity. Riding is more comfortable and satisfying for her, and she has a better connection with her horse. As a bonus, her stiffness and pain is less and less every day. Yay!

Is this you?

Stuff that that prevents riders from maximizing their results:

  • stiffness – old injuries
  • pain – injuries, recovering from surgery
  • ongoing conditions – sciatica, scoliosis, frozen shoulder
  • posture – can’t move legs, pelvis and arms independently
  • mixed signals – horse gets confused
  • stress and anxiety – lack of confidence, horse picks up on stress

If any of these impact YOUR riding, we can help

Like Linda, you can get more out of your investment in clinics and training and feel great doing it!

My gift to you — a no-cost Posture Pain and Stress Assessment ($97 value)

No strings attached. We’ll chat about your situation, where you want to go from here and how to get there. We work clients in person or by skype. Claim your free assessment by phone, skype or in person. But there are only 5 slots left, and when they’re gone, they’re gone! Click here to register. Talk soon!