Nottingham Equestrian Center is an holistic equine boarding and training facility. The daily care of horses at Nottingham focuses on preventative health care practices with regularly scheduled visits by a chiropractor and acupuncturist veterinarian and yearly exams by an equine dentist. Nottingham students and boarders are also taught the TTeam Touch, which is a type of muscle massage and nerve release technique developed by Linda Tellington Jones. This technique can be incorporated into the riders’ daily grooming routine and not only can identify sore points in the horse but can also relieve soreness. Many of our boarders have also received Reiki energy healing training. These individuals will happily work on any of the horses that need energy work for veterinary problems, such as colic and various lameness issues. With an emphasis on homeopathic care, many of the supplements our horses are fed include various Chinese and English herbs, Aloe Vera, Pro-biotic and Apple Cider Vinegar. During periods of stress our horses are given Rescue remedy and Bach flowers to improve the horses’ mental and emotional well-being, as well as their physical health.
Nottingham Equestrian Center specializes in both dressage and jumping, with a strong emphasis on developing the rider’s position in a balanced and centered manner. Cheryl Connell-Marsh is the head instructor at Nottingham, with 30 years of teaching experience. In addition to her considerable teaching experience, Cheryl is also a nationally recognized judge in both dressage and eventing. Cheryl’s teaching style is a unique blend of classical dressage, centered riding and natural horsemanship. At Nottingham, our teaching philosophy is based on first developing the rider’s position in terms of their own body balance and then progressing to achieving this same balance while riding their horse. In order for a rider to effectively communicate their aids to their horse, they must first develop a secure, supple and strong seat, back, abdominal and leg muscles. Once the rider has established a secure and effective position, they can then begin to develop the horse’s physical training through Dressage basics. Through various exercises and movements, both horse and rider work to develop freedom and regularity in all three gaits (walk, trot, canter). Next, the rider works to improve the horse’s impulsion in terms of his desire to go freely forward from engaged haunches, with long elastic strides through a supple topline. After the horse’s impulsion is developed, the rider begins to improved the horse’s submission and connection into the bit with exercises that improve the horse’s bend and flexion as well as balance in transitions within and between the gaits. After the rider has developed a solid dressage foundation, they can then progress to higher levels of dressage, jumping, or other riding disciplines.
At Nottingham, riders improve both their physical and mental development. By “listening” to their horses’ every stride, the riders are able to communicate with subtle cues and true harmony is achieved between horse and rider. Much like Tai Chi, horse and rider develop a form of riding meditation – staying focused and relaxed with both minds quiet and yet also aware. The wonderful part about riding is that it takes time and patience. When riders enter the barn, they are now on “horse time” – not modern time. When riders mount their horses, they thank them for the privilege they provide us. When riders leave the barn, they leave with a sense of peace and contentment for time well spent in the company of a horse.
“There is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.”– Winston Churchill
Taken from an article about Nottingham Equestrian Center in The Holistic Book – Summer 2007 by Cheryl Connell-Marsh