Janice Dulak created Pilates for Dressage® to help horses have better lives through educating the rider. By creating awareness of how to use your body more efficiently, Pilates for Dressage® can help you achieve harmony with your horse.
Try harder and you will get better.
Not so much. If you keep doing what you have always done, you will keep getting what you always get. Sometimes in the process of learning to ride, you get stuck. Very often, you blame your horse. You can’t sit the trot...you can’t get the horse on the bridle...you can't get your horse to come through the back...
Countless lessons help, but years go by and you still can’t get to second level, or third.
So you go out and buy another horse. Perhaps a school master. And guess what? You still can’t sit the trot.
Frustrated? It can’t be that hard!
When a riding instructor tells you to do something, they often cannot tell you exactly HOW to do it! Pilates for Dressage® is a tried and true way to help you understand what it is your riding instructor wants you to do.
Pilates for Dressage® is a rider training program that works!
We take you from the studio to the saddle and on to the success with your horse you have been looking for. Riders tend to focus more on the horse's progress, fitness and ability, more than they do on their own physical fitness and abilities. When you reach that point where you are stuck, you reach the point where you have to look inside and ask yourself if you have been an equal partner for your horse!
It isn’t just fitness.
A ballet dancer could spend hours jogging. While it may help her endurance, it won’t help her dance. Similarly, a rider can lift weights or run on the treadmill, but that doesn’t teach her how to ride. Learning how to use your body effectively is key to riding in harmony with your horse.
"Janice, you are a genius! After just one session with you, and the awareness you gave me of new muscles, my horse has become so relaxed and connected under saddle. It feels amazing ... and she is getting her leads and turning off my new seat muscles! I am so happy and grateful to you! So excited for more learning from you! Thank you!!!"
You've often heard, "Relax!" However if you relax completely, you will fall off your horse! Letting go of tense muscles is great, but you have to learn to create positive tension. You will learn to ride with your core and intrinsic muscles so you can allow the global muscles to let go, creating “relaxation.”
Core, core, core!
Everyone talks about using your core! But what is that? To be precise, we define “using your core” as “stabilizing your spine.” You stabilize your spine with your transversus abdominus, a large word for an ab that works when you pull your belly button to your backbone. But that is just the start, albeit a huge start. Step by step, you begin to learn how to “use your core” correctly, by first learning how your lower abs are your best friend!
How do you create independent seat, legs and hands?
While you hear about this, has anyone taught you how to achieve this? This is an intricate concept that is important to understand and be able to feel, but is a mystery, just as a half halt is!
It is easy to bandy these terms about, but to understand them is to ride with grace and harmony. You must first examine the way your skeleton is being carried by your muscles. Identifying imbalances between muscle groups is the first place to start. By creating balance in your musculature, you create balance in the saddle. When your muscles are balanced, you can stabilize your seat/spine and move your legs or arms independently of each other. Newton said “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” But to ride, you must learn to break this law of physics in order to have an independent seat, legs and hands. You can learn how to do this!
It's all about Self Carriage!
Creating good posture is a must, but posture is static. Creating self carriage in the rider is what will allow you to move up the levels.
"Riding well takes core strength, flexibility and body awareness. Pilates has helped me to understand, control and strengthen my core muscles. It has also helped me to use my arms and legs more independently and to maximize the effectiveness of my aids. I recommend Pilates for anyone who is serious about their sport or using their body more effectively."
B. Geissler, Silver medalist
Once you understand in your own body what a horse has to do to be in self carriage, you will understand how difficult it is for your horse! When you learn how to create self carriage in your body, you can get out of your horse’s way, and yet know how to be there to help him. Much like a male dancer does when he helps the ballerina perform feats of amazing movement, you will learn how to be strong and stable so you can allow your horse to perform what you are asking from him. This is a skill-based exercise program, and your fitness will improve!
"Janice's knowledge of the rider's body and how it affects the horse's body is profound. When she showed me what "collection" and "engagement" felt like in my own body, I was astounded. I am privileged to study with Janice for weeks at a time and I have great respect for her work. As a teacher she is funny, engaging, knowledgeable and effective."
Linda Parelli, Parelli Natural Horsemanship