It is a rare opportunity when an actively competing international rider takes the time to identify some of the secrets to her success. Betsy Steiner, member of the 1990 World Equestrian Games American Dressage Team and winner of CDI Grand Prix from coast to coast, has done just that in her new book and on her web site.
Betsy’s book, A Gymnastic Riding System Using Mind, Body and Spirit: Progressive Training for Rider and Horse, published by Trafalgar Square Publishing, offers more than the traditional aspects of riding—position, movements and aids. Instead Betsy reveals her unique and well-rounded approach that she has used to train many horses and riders to the grand prix level. “For me dressage is about the development of mind, body and spirit in both horse and rider,” Betsy explains. “I wanted the book to explore practical aspects of riding that have often been overlooked in other texts."
Never before has such a multifaceted training system been laid out for riders and horses of all levels. Using the Classical Dressage Pyramid Betsy offers a three-dimensional approach to rhythm, suppleness, contact, impulsion, straightness and collection. “My work is firmly rooted in the classical method, which is the key to all successful training whether the horse specializes in jumping, dressage or western speed events,” Betsy says.
A key component in Betsy’s system is rider fitness. Included in the book is a full program of Pilates based exercises specifically developed by Betsy for riders of all levels. Betsy’s Equilatesä program addresses and solves common rider complaints of crookedness, sore backs, and lack of strength. Her motivation for developing the Equilatesä program was to relieve horses and riders of common frustrations that occur in the training process. “A horse can only be as good as its rider,” she says. “Equilatesä teaches any rider how to stabilize the core through sport specific exercises, which will help achieve the independence of seat and hands, enabling horse and rider to enjoy the harmony we all desire.”
Logging on to www.equilates.com offers visitors the chance to sign up for an enewsletter, read tips from Steiner and view the Equilatesä clinic and certification schedule. This winter Equilatesä certification will commence and soon fitness and riding instructors will be able to help riders around the country achieve their riding goals. “I really believe that each of us can accomplish our dreams with our horses; we just need the right tools,” Betsy says.
In addition to writing, Steiner is a teacher, trainer and clinician based in New Jersey and Florida. For more information check out www.betsysteinerdressage.com