The Alexander Technique Wooden Horse
Many people lock their knees when standing, stiffen their ankles and jam their legs back into their pelvis. The long-term effect of this habit is that the legs become glued to the pelvis and function as though they are one unit. This, in turn, undermines good head-neck-spine coordination, and can become one of the major causes of chronic back problems.
I have found that using an Alexander tool called the ‘Horse’ helps students better sense their legs, free up their leg joints and unglue their legs from their torso. When this is accomplished, often chronic back and neck problems resolve.
Walter Carrington, I often heard, initially developed the Horse Procedure for a young girl with spina bifida who was unable to sit in a chair. He saw how much easier it was for her to organize her Primary Control while straddling the wooden Horse, and he soon began using it with many of his other students.
Although it is not commonly part of the repertoire of Alexander teachers today, I find the Horse Procedure invaluable as a teaching tool. I recently designed different styles of Horses with cushioning that does away with the need for a saddle. One of these styles is a Horse designed for maintaining one’s Primary Control while watching television, playing video games or working at a computer as shown in the photo.
Students clearly benefit from the Horse Procedure. In general, after experiencing the Horse, they seem to easily and dynamically organize their Primary Control. Spines spring upward when the pull of gravity unglues legs from torsos, and heads ease forward and upward more easily than when sitting in a chair or standing.
This info is from the book “Work & Live Without Pain.”
Reflections on the use of the Horse
As an Alexander Technique teacher, I think the ‘Horse’ is an excellent tool. It helps students find a stronger connection between the upper and lower body, freeing the hip joints and changing their sense of balance when standing and walking, being fully alive.
It is a great tool for teaching horseback riders, to help them be one with their horses and to ride with more ease.
After receiving work with the Horse, one of my students reflected: “Wow! I feel so light, taller and free in my walk!”
-Josette Pelletier, Alexander Teacher
My head, torso and hips seem to align so easily when my legs are free after the Horse Procedure. I say to myself, “So this is what good coordination of my Primary Control feels like!”
–Jeanie DeRousseau, Physical Anthropologist, student
My very first time on the Horse allowed me to understand what it means for my head to be truly balanced on top of my spine. I felt so FREE!
-Rich M., Investment Professional, student
*Three different styles of the horse are available. One of these is a horse designed for maintaining one’s Primary Control while working at a computer, watching television or playing video games.
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