February 2012 Newsletter

February 23, 2012
EQUESTRIAN PILATES® February Newsletter! 

Ride Better, Ride Healthier

I am so excited to be part of an equestrian community that is interested in their health and that of their horses. We are so privileged to have the opportunity to take part in an amazing connection with such wonderful animals. As we become healthier and more fit our riding only improves and thus our relationship with our horses only deepens. For many of us, horses were love at first site and thus it is only natural for us that we want to do what is best for them.

One of my favorite books is “1,001 Reasons to Love Horses”. As I combed through it to include a quote in my newsletter I was drawn to the following passage. “If you want to know how a horse should be ridden, see how he moves by himself when he is free. How he walks, trots and canters . . . Have a close look and see the beauty, the rhythm and harmony of his movements. Then sit down, close your eyes and try to burn this picture of effortless grace, beauty and harmony deep into your mind, your heart. Never forget it. Because this is the way you should ride your horse.” Franz Mairinger, Horses Are Made to Be Horses.

I mention this quote because one of the four pillars of EQUESTRIAN PILATES® riding success is increasing our awareness. Noticing what we do in the saddle and how it affects our horses positively (or negatively) is a priceless achievement that will bring us great rewards. The irony of all of this is that horses naturally have an acute sense of awareness.

So the next time you are the barn take time to be present and truly in the moment with your horse. I bet this alone will create magical moments.

Elizabeth Hanson, Creator of EQUESTRIAN PILATES®.

How is EQUESTRIAN PILATES® different from regular Pilates?
Recently someone asked my this question so I’m betting that many of you have asked it as well. In a nutshell I created this program to address the specific athletic needs of equestrians. While many of us do not consider ourselves to be athletes, riding is a sport. And if you want to excel at a sport you’ll achieve this goal more effectively if you take part in a sport-specific conditioning program. If you read anyone of my e-books or take part in my certification program I often talk about the Riding-Pilates Connection – this means to me that each one of you understand how each Pilates exercise you do specifically helps you in the saddle. For example, if you are having difficulty mastering flying lead changes how are you contributing to the problem? Are you so overly strong on one side that flying lead changes are easy on the right but horrible on the left. Basically it means that you are out of balance. Most likely you sit unevenly in the saddle, one leg is easier to control than the other and you grip the reins with one hand more than the other.  Yes, I have countless times heard the argument that no it’s not me- it’s my horse that is off balance. Maybe so but how did he get there? And if you are the rider it is your job to help him get straight. In any case, there are several exercises that help this problem such as pelvic bowl, spinal bridging and leg stretches. Finally we owe it to our horses to get in shape – otherwise they are doing more than their fair share of their work.

Frankly I don’t know very many people who don’t cringe slightly when they hear the word “diet”. So let’s admit to being equestrian athletes and try to think of it differently than our current cultural paradigm. Diet is simply how we choose to fuel our bodies to get the maximum results. I am betting that most of you spend countless dollars making sure that your horses get the proper nutrition, vitamins, etc. Given that you are the very important second half of the team if you are not doing it already you should invest sometime in taking care of your own diet.


Personally I have tried just about EVERY SINGLE diet on the planet! Here are the two that I have found to be the best.

“Eat for Health: The Mind and Body Makeover” by Joel Fuhrman, MD. This 2 book series is one of the best explained and researched plans that I have found to date. His proven system will help you finally conquer your cravings and food addictions and help you steer your taste buds toward healthier food choices. Book 1 explains his program and Book 2 offers recipes.

I turned my parents onto this diet and they both lost 12 pounds in the first month. They feel satisfied and happy about what they are eating. This is the diet that my family follows as well.

The second program is great if you need a reboot of your system and want to release toxins. It is called the Garden Diet. You can find out more about it at www.thegardendiet.com.  They offer several programs.  The one that I did was the 21 day raw cleanse, followed by the 28 day raw program. I did a total of 6 months raw and lost 28 pounds.

To maintain my weight I follow Dr. Furhman’s plan. His goal is a 90% plant based diet. This means that only 10% of your calories come from meat, fish, poultry, dairy etc. To some this might seem impossible but if you check out his book he gives you a great plan to wean yourself into it. Several of my clients have tried it and all of them yielded fantastic results and swear by the program as much as I do.

Upcoming EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Certification

I am very excited to announce a revamped and improved EQUESTRIAN PILATES® certification program. I understand that taking time off to get certified can be tough.  That’s why I have reorganized my certification program into two parts.


Level 1 EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Mat certification is now offered ONLINE via video conference call.  Level 2 EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Apparatus certification is now a 2 1/2 day workshop held in Camarillo, CA – a truly wonderful place to get away for a short break!

Take advantage of the EQUESTRIAN PILATES® name already seen in Horse Illustrated, Dressage Today, The Gaited Horse, Polo Players Edition, England’s Equestrian Magazine and More! EQUESTRIAN PILATES® can help your clients sit the trot better, perfect the use of the aids, develop a stronger seat, reduce back pain and have more fun on horseback. Learn about the

  • The Riding-Pilates Connection
  • Off the Horse Rider Assessment
  • Common Riding Problems and their Corrections
  • Marketing Your EQUESTRIAN PILATES® Business

Level 1 meets online 1 time per week for 9 weeks starting Tuesday, April 10 from 2 to 3:30 PST. The last class date is Tuesday, June 5th from 2 to 3:30 PST.  Level 2 will be held in Camarillo, CA over 2 1/2 days Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24.


Please email me at elizabeth@equestrianpilates.com for a complete course description and registration package.

Thank you Dressage Today!
Thank you so much Dressage Today for the fantastic review of my 3 part e-book series! Check out the wonderful ebook review written by Mary Daniels in the March 2012 issue of Dressage Today. You can purchase my ebook series for only $19.99 at www.equestrianpilates.com.

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