My work is with the human body and I am extremely conscious of my performance with my horses because I am what you could call “a geriatric novice”, meaning that I only started riding at the ripe old age of 49. So I am really aware that my body and posture affects my horse’s.

It’s a really sad fact that many baby boomers have to face: we dreamed of having a horse all our life and when we finally can afford the time and resources to have one: we have run out of body! Whereas younger people ride to keep fit, the not-so-young need to get fit to ride.

Many stiff, uncoordinated, obviously in discomfort or even in pain riders do not seem to understand that the brace in their bodies is probably responsible for the brace in their horse’s body. Your horse may be reaching his peak, but are you threatened by arthritis? It’s all very well to give your horse the best of care, but how do you think he likes a stiff person aboard?

So how do we get the tendons supple, the muscles lithe, the joints lubricated and the circulation flowing? Have no Fear, Granny is here!

First Principle: Diet

You have been piling on toxins in your body for decades, toxins build up in your muscles and your joints, the first thing to do is to clean up your system. How do you do that? By following a *cleansing diet and then staying away from inflammatory foods such as:

Processed meats (like salami or devon)
Alcoholic beverages, especially wine.
Soft drinks with additives and artificial colours, especially cola drinks.
Preservatives, especially MSG.
Too much fruit, especially oranges.
Dairy products (except for natural yoghurt)
Cakes, biscuits and pastries
Lollies and chocolate.

Second Principle: Exercise

DON’T go to the gym to lift weights and/or do aerobic classes, those bales of hay and bags of chaff are weight lifting enough. These types or exercises (and that includes running, jogging and “power” walking) make the muscles short and hard and as a result they restrict joint mobility. What you need is to STRETCH. Before you get on your horse and after riding you must stretch. But you also must stretch everyday of your life, you can’t miraculously loosen up on the weekend when you have spend five days glued to a computer. The best exercises to lengthen the muscles and open your joints are:

Stretching (join a stretch class, rather than aerobics; when you have a good routine, do it for 20 mins daily)

Tai Chi: literally millions of ‘geriatric’ Chinese practise Tai Chi daily to keep limber, it has stood the test of time.

Swimming, with emphasis on movement and breathing, not number of laps

Aquarobics, no stress on the muscles.

Yoga. Be careful of yoga: many yoga coaches are a little too fanatical and cannot adapt their lessons to their clients. Shop around until you find a teacher who understands your needs.

The Alexander Technique, Feldenkreiss or Pilates are great to tone and rebalance the body.

Third Principle: Natural Remedies

I am horrified at the number of anti-inflammatory drugs available over the counter. They may work for a while but you soon need to increase the dosage, move to a stronger brand and finally go to a prescription drug. This does not augur well for the future of your liver and kidneys. Instead, do what you do for your horse: use herbs.

There are a lot of herbs that work really well, for a personalised formula you need to see a herbalist of course. However you can make herbal teas, which, if used regularly, will work just as well and Carol or Ruth will be too glad to get them for you:

Meadow Sweet
Devil’s Claw
Celery Seed extract is also good but you need to take it with Dandelion tea or coffee. On its own it is useless.
Ginger and Turmeric are great natural anti-inflammatory herbs: include them in your diet. Even glazed ginger will help.
Gotu Cola(Centella asiatica) is excellent too.

A Body Rub

For a home made lotion try this:

Grate one hundred grams of ginger, put it in a small jam jar.
Add three tablespoons of Turmeric and three tablespoons of Lime flowers.
Top it up with olive oil. Stir.
Leave it to macerate for a week or two, shaking now and then.
Strain and use as a rubbing oil.

Enjoy your new body!

Elyane is available for telephonic consultations:02- 9389 6344, you can also email her:

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