Recently, TSB asked PILATES FOR RIDERS author Lindsay Wilcox-Reid a few key questions, hoping to share with our Fitness Month readers a little bit about what makes her “tick,” what she looks for in a horse, and what keeps her fit.
TSB: How did you get into Pilates?
LWR: About eight years ago my trainer at the time had a really bad back and was trying different options, including Pilates, to avoid having spinal surgery. I started playing around with some of the techniques and found that it was an incredibly effective method to improve body awareness and provide the tools for me to improve my own riding position. While I had always ridden in a “workmanlike” fashion, it was never very elegant! The more I practiced Pilates, the more I became aware of how to feel and correct my imbalances and tendency to ride with too much arm and leg strength. I decided to train as a Pilates teacher so that I could understand how to help my pupils on a much deeper level.
TSB: What other forms of exercise do you routinely enjoy?
LWR: Apart from the riding and Pilates, I absolutely love belly dancing! I practice every day and it really helps me ride my big-moving horses, especially in the sitting trot, as the fluidity and flexibility required in the lower back and hips, as well as isolation of the upper body, is very similar to riding. I teach classes at my studio which are a fusion of belly dance and Pilates—they are really fun!
TSB: What are your personal fitness goals for 2011?
LWR: I have to be quite disciplined to make sure I find time for myself—I have four horses plus two young children and a husband so they keep me occupied a lot of the time. I want to keep my weight as it is currently (I am the lightest I have been for many years now!) and belly dancing and Pilates really help with that. I only usually do short bursts of Pilates, say about 15 minutes, as with my daily routine it is hard to fit in longer sessions. It’s a treat to get 45 minutes in my studio for my own practice as I am so busy teaching. As I always say to clients, it is much better to do regular short practice than attempt to fit in hour-long sessions that you may not maintain for one reason or another.
TSB: If you were trapped on a desert island with a horse and a book, what breed of horse would it be and which book would you choose?
LWR: Well, the breed of horse is easy—it would be my horse, Trinity. She is by a Hanoverian stallion and out of a Shire/Thoroughbred mare, so a little bit of a mish-mash, but her movement is awesome and she can be a really naughty girl so I am sure we would keep each other entertained. Book-wise, it would have to be Twisted Truths of Modern Dressage by Philippe Karl—a fabulous book that explains dressage training in such a clear and logical way, it makes riding in lightness accessible and achievable to everyone, irrespective of horse breed, type, or talent. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to observe Philippe Karl in action here in the UK on his teacher training course starting later this month.
TSB: What’s in your refrigerator at all times?
LWR: Skim milk (for coffee), fresh orange juice, soup, probably leftover pasta or chilli that I have cooked the previous night!
TSB: What is you idea of perfect happiness?
LWR: To have myself and my family and all my horses in good health, to be able to continue with my teaching, riding to the best of my ability, and hopefully to be of some help to those I meet along the way.
TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember sitting on a horse
LWR: It was at the local riding school gymkhana when I was about four, on a little black shetland pony called Billy. I was so proud I won a purple rosette—only years later my mum told me I came last in the race but they gave me the rosette anyway for trying.
TSB: Tell us about the first time you remember falling off a horse
LWR: At a different riding school when I was about six, the instructor was a fearsome woman who barked out orders but didn’t really offer much instruction. I couldn’t steer my pony and he set off on his own route toward a large jump—I somehow managed to pull him off course but toppled into the wing. I didn’t hurt myself but I just remember the woman shouting the whole time. I drive past the same riding school sometimes and can still hear her shouting at the latest poor souls!
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a friend?
LWR: I can’t choose between loyalty and honesty—I suppose they intermingle.
TSB: What is the quality you most like in a horse?
LWR: Heart—given the choice between a horse with amazing paces and no desire to work with me, and one with ordinary paces and a lot of heart, I’ll take the one that wants to try every time.
TSB: If you could do one thing on horseback that you haven’t yet done, what would it be?
LWR: My first thought would be ride a Grand Prix test on one of my own horses that I have trained myself, but I would also like to ride bareback along the beach and swim in the sea.
TSB: What is your idea of the perfect meal?
LWR: Either an Indian or Italian meal with my husband at a lovely restaurant, candlelit table for two—to be honest any meal that doesn’t have to be rushed or eaten really late at night is pretty perfect.
TSB: What is your idea of the perfect holiday/vacation?
LWR: A warm sunny holiday with plenty of time to relax by the (very luxurious) pool, cocktails on tap, and entertainment for the children would be lovely, please! I really would like to go to Egypt and also India, but I would have to be in a 5-star hotel though! I’d also like to see Dubai—perhaps I will work out there one day.
TSB: If you could have a conversation with a famous person, alive or dead, who would it be?
LWR: Interesting question. Probably Philippe Karl—watch this space!
TSB: What is your motto?
LWR: Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open.
Next week TSB gets the dish from Menno Kalmann, the hilarious author of WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS AND SO ARE THEIR HORSES. Stay tuned!