DVD Review: Balance & Bodywork for the Horse & Rider

Balance and Bodywork for Horses & Riders by Sylvia Loch covers unmounted ground exercises in understanding gravity and balance that can be transferred to the saddle.
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Balance and Bodywork for Horses & Riders by Sylvia Loch covers unmounted ground exercises in understanding gravity and balance that can be transferred to the saddle.

Balance & Bodywork for the Horse & Rider
By Sylvia Loch

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2 hours and 15 minutes; Produced by The Classical Seat Video Company, available at classicalseat.com

Reviewed by Hilary Plint

Sylvia Loch's straight-forward approach to demystifying dressage for the amateur rider is superbly illustrated in her latest North American release DVD, "Balance & Bodywork for the Horse & Rider."

The DVD, filmed in Portugal at beautiful Quinta do Archino, uses riders and horses of varying experience and ability in a real-time unrehearsed version of Loch's very popular unmounted workshop. The viewer is able to participate in the step-by-step workshop process that Loch uses in helping riders discover the affects of gravity and balance on their own bodies. This awareness is then transferable to the saddle. None of the exercises are strenuous, employing easily accessible tools such as a normal chair, hoola hoop, book and long stick to help clarify body awareness and the aids.

The DVD covers exercises in understanding gravity, balance, the use of pressure and the yielding of the rider's back and progresses to transitions, circles, turns, shoulder-in, framing the horse, travers, half-pass, canter and counter-canter, flying changes, rein-back, collection, passage and piaffe. Unmounted ground exercises for all of the movements are extensively illustrated, complete with the normal mistakes most riders make, and clips of the riders applying the workshop principles while riding a variety of horses are shown. Loch also provides commentary with many instructional tips and explanations.

This DVD is well organized with a menu that allows one to easily access a particular movement or training concept. It is useful to riders from novice to Grand Prix level, and also provides instructors with different approaches to explaining common instructional challenges. For the many riders who will never have the opportunity to take Sylvia Loch's workshop in person, this an invaluable self-help tool and is highly recommended for one's riding development, regardless of discipline.