The Whole Rider
Riding with Relaxation Techniques including Brain Gym and Reflex Integration
Heidi has studied Brain Gym since 2000 and is also a Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor and has coursework in Energy Medicine, and Rhythmic Movement Technique. Brain Gym is an educational program that uses simple movements to impact
whole-brain learning and to integrate the developmental reflexes (the movements babies work through in order to learn new physical and mental tasks). When you move your body, you move your brain and can
create new ways of thinking. Whether you have a fear of riding after a fall,
or just want to make riding easier, combining Brain Gym with riding can help
you accomplish your goals quickly and easily as described in The Whole Rider sessions, materials and coursework. You can learn the exercises
that will help you and therefore your horse. Nyland teaches how you can gain control of your body and make
your riding cues more effective no matter what your experience or discipline.
Tools To Teach With: Photos of the Whole Rider Movements
Help your riding students remember calming exercises or use movement as you ride. The set of over 20 photos comes on a ring so you can attach to your saddle's D-ring and have a new exercise handy as you ride. 4" by 6". Choose from photos of the movements shown on horseback or shown on the ground (photographed at Red Rocks, CO). Quantity discounts available--email for details.
Riders with helmets
At Red Rocks
Classes and Session Offerings:
Which of these reflexes are "active" for you as you ride? TLR may encourage your arms to draw up when you look down, causing you to easily feel unbalanced in the saddle. ATNR may make it difficult for you to apply right and left cues at the same time, causing you and your horse to feel frustrated! Riding with the reflexes means being aware of what your body is doing by "default" and learning ways to relax and choose to move with precision and fluidity. Nyland can introduce you to the balance process before you ride, observe your body postures in motion, then help you work toward your riding goals. Mounted observation sessions at your barn are combined with on-the-ground sessions in Nyland's office. You'll learn tools to help you prepare for riding and achieve your goals on and off the horse.
1 hour observed in saddle time followed by 1-hour office session, $100 (travel fees to your arena may apply outside of Boulder County, Colorado)
1-hour in office follow up sessions $50-$75
Balance Your Mind, Body, and Horse
First presented at 2003's Ohio Equine Affaire, this indoor, horseless clinic
invites participants to notice their balance using exercise balls and balance
equipment. Participants will learn how their balance impacts their horse
and learn Brain Gym techniques they can do at home and before riding to
improve their balance and relax.
2-3 hour intro, $100 per hour, limited to 10 people
Focused Riding: Brain Gym for Riding Instructors
In this discussion, riding instructors and coaches will learn how they
can add Brain Gym teaching techniques to their weekly lessons. Students
can learn what they can do to help themselves--relieving teachers from barking
repetitive commands. Learn how to help riders establish goals and keep working
toward their goals between lessons. Participants will learn how to use and
teach the 26 Brain Gym techniques to students as they ride.
2-3 hour intro, $100 per hour, limited to 10 people
Two-day Intensive Intro
Learn how Brain Gym relates to the developmental reflexes—and what happens if reflexes are active while riding. You'll gain insights to help you achieve your goals, relax in the saddle, and get to the next riding level. Learn how Nyland has applied the Brain Gym process to riding lessons and training sessions. Find out how the movement of the horse matches the three-dimensional way your brain takes in and processes information. Learn how a horse responds to your body's changing position as illustrated by your movements on an exercise ball—your "mount" for the class. This class is held indoors and doesn't include riding. You won't ride, but you'll observe and learn to watch body positions of riders and have invaluable tools to add to your personal riding or teaching sessions.
2-day intro, $275 per person when held in Longmont, Colorado (required materials are extra: photo-cards and high-quality exercise ball to mimic horses' movements).
E-mail Heidi@wholepicture.org to schedule an intro for your riding club or group of instructors. Classes can be tailored to work with special needs/therapeutic riding.
Heidi Nyland, M.S., is a licensed high school teacher,
horseback riding instructor (NARHA registered instructor) and has been trained as a Brain Gym® consultant. Nyland started riding Ponies of the Americas at age 5. In college, she was president and later assistant coach of the Ohio Wesleyan University Equestrian Team. Keeping active as a rider and riding instructor, Nyland became a licensed Brain Gym® instructor—an international program based on whole brain and active learning, www.braingym.org. At the same time she began her equine journalism, marketing and photography career (she’s an author of the Western Horseman Legends series and has stories and photographs published in Western Horseman, Horse & Rider, The Trail Rider, Equine Veterinary Management, America’s Horse, and American Cowboy through her Whole Picture business, www.wholepicture.org) Nyland started using Brain Gym’s simple movements to help her 4-H horseback riding students relax and achieve their goals in the saddle. Nyland is now an instructor with the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA®). She also works with well-respected trainer Julie Goodnight, acting as her marketing director and producer for the RFD-TV Horse Master show. Nyland is excited to share news with fellow riding instructors and horse owners—taking every opportunity to teach how solid horsemanship training and Brain Gym techniques can help any rider achieve any horsemanship goal. She has presented at Equine Affaire and the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, as well as at the American Youth Horse Council's annual symposium.
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The Whole Rider • Brain Gym for Riders