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Riding with Chi Reviews


Lisa K. Schmidt


"Using the Riding With Chi exercises, riders of all disciplines can learn to improve balance and equitation

posture. The breathing program is particularly helpful for the more timid rider."

I found it covers so much of what I try to incorporate in my lessons and describes the balance of a rider I

prefer to see when I judge. I will definitively recommend it to my clients!

Lisa K. Schmidt

R Dressage judge, USDF gold medalist, FEI trainer

___________________________________________________________________________________ review


This DVD brings together the means to capture the essence of that magical and sometimes elusive

feeling that we all recognize from being 'in the moment' with our horses. The unity of being truly one with

the horse, the soft and relaxed focus. This production is wonderfully unpretentious.

Disc one brings you a round table discussion from the three experts with "out takes" to their individual

back stories. David Ritchie's keen knowledge of Tai-Chi is apparent and he guides the viewer deftly

through the principles of Tai-Chi. The key elements are artfully addressed and Patricia Norcia and Mark

Russell (whose work co-authored with Andrea Steele, Lessons in Lightness is a must read), direct the

applications specifically to the rider.

On Disc 2, David Richie has constructed key exercises for the rider to practice to enhance their ability to

breathe properly under stress and in motion. The music from Carlos Gonzalez adds a peaceful backdrop

to the program. While I have been riding since age 11 and have experience in multi disciplines and have

worked under many instructors and teachers over the years, I found this DVD to be especially useful. The

methods outlined here, for e.g visualization of standing 'in' the top of a pyramid as a grounding exercise

for your seat and breathing worked for me almost instantly when I practiced them just a few times. The

exercises are very accessible, and the CHI work is highly relevant to riding. I have also found that the

breathing technique ( now I can do it in motion ) is very useful when I find myself becoming nervous

around or on a fractious or nervous horse. Now I find my horse much more in sync with me, or is that the

other way around! Additionally, you can take these exercises to all parts of your life. I'm a nervous flyer,

and recently used the breathing and relaxation technique to calm myself at take off. Patricia showcases

her beautiful Baroque horses and Mark Russell demonstrates on some well trained Quarter horses and

both follow the French School from their training in Portugal. Patricia's background in dance and her

knowledge of balance and breathing techniques and spinal alignment bring the viewer a real application

to riding. Mark has a history rich in Natural Horsemanship and his harmony with his horses is

unmistakable. The lightness of feeling just the weight of the rein in your hand and the use of no more

muscle than necessary to effect the result is plain to see in his segments. The mix of these three experts

bring Riding with Chi to application for both English and Western disciplines.

In conclusion I highly recommend this DVD as a must do. It takes very little time everyday and I found the

routine surprisingly simple to master and know that my horses are performing closer to their potential as a

result, as am I. The highlights capture the key points as they are discussed making the material easy to

assimilate. This is a DVD packed with sage advice that brings true reward. I also love the fact that the

production house is donating 10% of their proceeds of this DVD to the Wounded Warriors charity.

Info on the experts: David Ritchie has trained in the art of Tai-Chi and Qi Gong in both Asia and the USA.

He owns and operates a school for Tai-Chi Ch'uan and Qi Gong in CT. Patricia Norcia owns a dressage

training facility in CT, has a background in dance and acting/directing and has taught breathing classes at

major universities. Mark Russell, almost needs no introduction. He owns a training facility in TN and gives

clinics across the country with a broadband approach to all horsemanship disciplines.


Redpin Publishing, UK


The majority of us have to combine looking after our horses with an endless list of other commitments

which can make it difficult for us to feel relaxed and focused when it comes to riding or exercising our

horse during the day. As it is pointed out in this fascinating DVD, horses mirror the way that we are

feeling, and more importantly, the way that we are breathing. When we tense up our breathing gets

higher and in turn the successful communication between ourselves and our horse may be hindered, but

rather than turning this feeling into more irritation, or more frustration, this unique DVD will unravel a

unique concept and show you how to improve your performance.

All the way from the US, Riding with Chi has been delivered by three experts; dressage instructor, Patricia

Norcia, author of Lessons in Lightness: The Art of Educating the Horse, Mark Russell, and tai chi master

David Ritchie. The first disc offers a fascinating discussion on the concept of combining Chi with riding

and the many benefits that it will offer. The trio discuss how proper breathing, relaxation, balance,

alignment, visualisation and positive energy flow (also known as Chi) comes together to form Riding with

Chi, they then go on to demonstrate how to achieve each of these, which will ultimately help to enhance

your riding.

One of the most interesting and fundamental aspects that is discussed is breathing; many of us are guilty

of holding our breath when in difficult or anxious situations, but the experts on this DVD are able to advise

on how to become aware of your own breathing as well as that of your horse and how to lower and

increase your breath thanks to a series of exercises.

It is also fascinating to discover ow being relaxed can improve the efficiency of your aids and how the Tai

Chi posture is in effect very similar to that of a correct riding posture. Patricia Norcia comments on how

Tai Chi has reminded her of the importance of slowness, something many of us forget in our hectic lives,

and this is all the more important considering the horse’s rhythm is naturally slower than our own. The

ability to be self aware and develop positive energy is all touched upon and will help to open up your mind

to new possibilities and in effect improve your riding position and help you and your horse to work in


In the second disc David Ritchie teaches a number of Tai Chi and Qi Gong style routines which will help

to focus your breathing and make you more relaxed and supple with an improved posture which can be

applied while riding. Exercises are aided by instruction and then repeated without, to really help you

develop your confidence and competence in performing these movements.

In all, this DVD offers a unique approach to riding which is sure to benefit the relationship between you

and your horse.

We definitely want this in our Christmas stocking!


By: Michele Morseth


In my line of work we have a light bulb joke that says something about the way we perceive our work:

“How many Feldenkrais practitioners does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. We don’t do energy


This does not mean however that the riders I work with don’t interpret what I do as energy work, they

often do. I use the work of Moshe Feldenkrais combined with a dose of Centered Riding, Alexander

Technique, and bio-mechanics to teach riders to move with the motion of their horse and ride in easy


When I watched the DVD “Riding With Chi: Your Pathway to Energy Mastery” I knew why my students

often think of me as an energy worker—like a clap to the forehead—here was a program all about

energy mastery that was describing exactly the same things I’m always proclaiming will positively bring

any rider to a new state of fluency and balance, nay, oneness, with a horse—relaxation, alignment,

balance, efficient movement, belly breathing, and flow. And they were describing it as energy

awareness! With the same principles I, the not-energy-worker, teach. I know Moshe Feldenkrais was an

engineer/physicist and based his awareness work on sound bio-mechanical principles and neurology.

He was also a Judo master—was that the tie that brings everyone else to think energy when I teach

riders to move with the motion of their horse? I don’t really know, but I do know that these principles

stemming from the ancient arts of Tai Chi and classical dressage will bring riders to a new level of

communication and balance.

Riding With Chi is a 2 part DVD that features Tai Chi Master David Ritchie, dressage trainer Patricia

Norcia, and western/dressage trainer Mark Russell. Three experts in their fields were brought together

to discuss the link between Energy, Tai Chi, and the Horse~Rider system and to give instruction on how

to master the essential relaxation, balance, alignment, and energy flow to ride a horse with true grace.

The first DVD flows like a natural life process, moving from discussion to action as the team talks about

and shows how an introductory level of Tai Chi and Qi Gong can bring a rider to a new level in the

connection to the horse. The second DVD has four parts, three sequences of Tai Chi exercises to bring

awareness, relaxation, and alignment to the rider. The fourth part teaches Dantien breath or how to

breathe into the lower belly—essential for efficient movement and back health. Patricia ends by giving a

relaxation sequence that, done before mounting, will prepare the rider to ride with energy mastery.

This DVD is filled with gems about both riding well and horse training as the team both demonstrates

and discusses how the practice of Tai Chi can inform the rider to effectively influence the horse in a

relaxed, easy way and at a high level of performance. It’s obvious that Mark and Patricia ride with the

concepts they teach when in the riding sequences their bodies flow in unison with the horses. You can

see how, when riding with chi, riding becomes like a moving meditation. This program will benefit any

rider seeking to ride with that “Centaur feeling” in any riding discipline.


“The information presented in Riding with Chi brings the interaction between horse and rider to a new

level. It is professionally done, easy to understand, and the video quality is first class!!”

– Mitch Taylor, Owner, Kentucky Horseshoeing School

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