POSTED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 8:30pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 8:34pm
CROWLEY, La. — Horseback riding takes practice and of course skill. But what happens when you combine horseback riding with "downward-facing dog?” Well, you get ‘Whoa-Ga’.
It's a new way to teach horseback riding with yoga poses.
Abigal Fogelman is serious about horse back riding, even at eight years old.
"I wasn’t very used to horses at first,” said Fogelman.
By the looks of it, you wouldn't even guess she was only a beginner.
"When I started coming here I started feeling more comfortable around horses."
Yoga instructor and riding coach, Cathy Reynolds has taught Abigal to use yoga as a tool to help her on the saddle.
"I started yoga when I was about 35 to relieve a form of arthritis I have and I noticed that a lot of stuff I was learning in the yoga studio, was stuff I was trying to teach people on the horse," noted Reynolds.
Reynolds uses yoga positions to help her students not only learn but improve and of course balance.
“I have learned you need food balance when you’re on a horse,” noted Fogelman.
“It’s helping me a better rider because I am not very balanced person and just practicing the Whoa-Ga has really helped my balance on the horse," said Whoa-Ga student, Amber Lejuene.
So by starting on a medicine ball then moving to the horse, Cathy’s tools advance beginners faster and fill in gaps for the more advanced riders.
"I realized it was important to have a flight simulator before they got on the horse so they could learn some of the moves to do with their own body before they had to control a thousand pound animal.”
Riders like amber are living proof that yoga, on a horse, does indeed work.
"I've been riding since I was 8 so I didn't realize a little movement in my body could affect the horse," said Lejuene.
There are teachers across the nations who use both horses and yoga together, but as far as we know Cathy is the first person to develop Whoa-Ga.
'Whoa-Ga' is at Soaring Spirits Ranch in Crowley and the website is whoaga.com . ACathy is also working on her my second book "Whoa-Ga Horseback Yoga Moves" with accompanying video.