we introduced 4 key concepts that are ESSENTIAL for riders but with a twist - how to develop core stability without straining using the image of the pelvic clock, how to get agile legs and supple hip joints without stretching, how to Improve spatial awareness and reduce fear of falling, and how to build the power and strength necessary for all sports in a functional and effective way without injuring yourself.
Our course members loved this new way of developing the fitness necessary for riding well, but with a finesse that they hadn't dreamed possible. They couldn't believe the changes they made in such a short time. So we decided to do a second Feldenfit programme.
we took a deep dive into the key concepts that we introduced in our first programme and we added the requests of the course members. We introduced the image of the diagonal connecting lines in the torso that proved to be a game changer for our riders. In the second week we focused on re-organising the shoulder girdle, upper back and arms to find a light and elastic connection to your horse's mouth without interference. Week 3 continued with the theme of differentiating the hip joints and freeing the legs from the tyranny of long held muscular contractions. With the core, upper body and pelvis and hips re-organised, the last week was all about how to use these improvements in dynamic changes of orientation. We learned to move from lying to standing with the effortless ease of a martial artist. Even the relationship of the head, neck and jaw to the ability of the pelvis to move in all its possible directions was explored and clarified.
As the feedback came in and people related their experiences of the changes in their bodies, their riding and their every day life, we decided to make a third programme.
that improve your foundation and support from the ground up, movements that free your head, neck and eyes from long-held patterns of muscular contractions, experiencing how ribs that are springy and supple impact the independence of your legs and hip joints.
the wave like oscillations of the pelvis, spine and head that make riding the more dynamic gaits smooth beyond imagination.
4 specific lessons to do in the saddle, or in the barn before you get on.
Riders will love these 7 sessions that clarify support from the ground up. When your feet, ankles and lower legs are well-organised, you can access the potential for both mobility and stability in your centre, your spine will feel effortlessly lengthened and your head and eyes free to orient you in space.
Day 1 - Introducing the Tripod
Day 2 - Sweeping the Arms from the Feet
Day 3 - Side Lying Oscillations
Day 4 - Introduction to Salamander
Day 5 - Painting with the Soles of the Feet
Day 6 - Painting the Ceiling with the Soles of the Feet
Day 7 - Legs Like Springs
Week 2 - 360 degree Awareness
7 sessions that develop your ability to turn your head, eyes and shoulders with equal ease in any direction. By the end of Week 2 your head will feel effortlessly balanced on your spine, your shoulders and arms will be light and free, and your chest open and wide. Your horse will thank you for this!
Day 8 - Self Hug
Day 9 - Rolling the Head between the Hands
Day 10 - Rolling the Head between the Hands in Kneeling
Day 11 - Hand and Shoulder Clock
Day 12 - Hand around the Clock
Day 13 - Sternum Getting Flexible
Day 14 - Eyes on the Backs of the Hands
Week 3 - Ribs and Hips
You asked for more lessons on the ribs. This is a week of sessions which explore the relationship between the freedom of the hip joints and the legs and the capacity for the ribs to be like a supple spring. The sensation of length and width you can develop in your torso from these sessions is truly expanding.
Day 15 - Leg and Rib Flexions
Day 16 - Softening the Ribs
Day 17 - Seesaw Breathing in a Twist
Day 18 - Mobilising the Pelvic Thrust
Day 19 - The Hip Joints Getting Flexible
Day 20 - Further Differentiations of the Hip Joints
Day 22 - Freeing the Hip Joints in Sitting
Week 4 - Spine like a Snake
7 ways to feel the wave-like potential of your spine. When every vertebrae is differentiated yet connected, the control you develop over your movement is marvellous. Imagine sitting the trot without jarring, tensing or bracing - every part of you available to absorb, amplify or be quiet at will.
Day 22 - Buttocks
Day 23 - Caterpillar Wave
Day 24 - Reptiles
Day 25 - Salamander
Day 26 - Heels under the pelvis
Day 27 - The Cossack Dancer Continued
Day 28 - The Pelvic X
2 Additional Days:
Day 29 - Roller Lesson
Day 30 - Scan
I am an internationally qualified ski instructor and spent my early twenties coaching both members of the public and ski instructors world wide. On my return to London I retrained as a fitness instructor. Through this I developed a passion for writing about health and fitness, subsequently worked as a health and fitness journalist for various newspapers and magazines.
During this time I personally trained a number of well-known people including public figures, actors, musicians and models. I also worked as a fitness model for various books and videos. In pursuit of improving my athletic performance, I trained in Pilates Reformer and Matwork for over 5 years and was one of the first to introduce the Pilates approach to core stability into my training programmes. I’m the author of The Supple Workout which is based on how to incorporate Pilates into fitness programmes. I also presented these concepts at conferences to fellow health and fitness professionals.
This changed my life and the course of my career. Currently I teach a wide variety of individuals and groups in my practice in London ranging from those who wish to improve their performance in their sport or their art, to people with neurological difficulties. I also have a psychotherapy practice. I have presented on how the Feldenkrais Method can support rehabilitation to physiotherapists, biomechanics experts and body workers as well as how it can improve performance to the British Association of Ski Instructors.
Quality fitness training has always been a huge part of improving my performance and staying injury-free for my sports, but when I embarked on the Feldenkrais training, my ideas about what it is to be fit and healthy RADICALLY changed.
I learned how to work out intelligently, rather than hard. And I learned that if I listened to the feedback from my body rather than pushed through pain, I could improve my performance and stay injury-free.”
The Feldenkrais method is a way (or means) of developing your awareness of how you move (and also what STOPS you from moving as well as you can, or as well as you would like to) in your daily activities and in your sports or hobbies.
I use my knowledge as a Feldenkrais teacher and blend this with my background in sport and fitness to make a flowing sequence of exercises that enhance co-ordination, agility, suppleness and effortless power.
FeldenFit is a totally new concept. It’s an amalgamation of my current work as a Feldenkrais Practitioner but also of my earlier work as a ski coach and fitness instructor.
We hope you will love this program. You will have a full 2 weeks from the date of purchase to see if it is right for you. If it doesn’t resonate with you, just let us know and we will refund your money. No hassles. No hard feelings.
"My whole seat changed. My horses back comes up, because my legs give room to do that. She breathes better because there is less tension in my thighs. For me it feels like I am sitting with more connection more inside the horse. My back problems got much better, also my knee pain is gone. I have scoliosis and the left side of my pelvis was moving differently that evened out and my shoulders and neck are not (so) tense anymore. My posture and movement changed and feels easier and I move with less effort. I grew awareness in my upper spine and how every movement is producing an echo that resonates through the whole body." - Verena Meyer, Germany re: The Aware Rider Program
"For me Feldenkrais has and is still opening new doors of knowing my body and it's movement patterns. I have always been very analytic and concious of my body but Feldenkrais has given me tools to get to know my "black spots", help change bad habits and evening out my sides. Feldenkrais + Ritter dressage learning shows many positive ways in my riding. From sessions I have learned little movements and feel which I can use in my ordinary life, like supporting good posture. The best part is how calm and rested I feel after each session, helping reduce stress." - Maija Ylämäki, Finland re: The Aware Rider Program
“I’m a 65 year old FEI rider, who is still in the process of wrapping my head around reaching an age “which is for OLD people“!!!
Having said that, I have had some physical issues crop up with wear and tear, and the Feldenfit exercises have been the one thing (having gone to many osteopath, massage, physiotherapy and chiropractors regularly), that has really helped my ability to actually do what my coach asks, with my body.
The new gears my horse has found because of my more correct balance and therefore more effective use of aids, is most rewarding. My theory is a horse can only mirror what we do with our bodies.
So very much of the responsibility for seeking correctness, is ours alone
Thanks to Catherine’s gentle exercises in Feldenfit One, addressing the skeleton, I have been able to actually articulate my short, stiff lower spine! Following the trot in a really supple way became more and more important on the FEI road, has always alluded me to this point.... so to sit so much better is like a miracle!
Each session is geared in such a way that if the physical issues you may have get in the way, there is still an alternative way to connect with the movement, to get the benefit
Feldenfit two, for me, then went on to address the imbalance in my sitting bones and rib cage (from mild osteoarthritis in my right hip.... and to compensate, I had ended up with a small groin tear, likely from over-correction on my part). How I wish I had had the Feldenfit knowledge under my belt before that happened!
My coach’s corrections about my body symmetry then was “seconded”, from using Franklin Balls. I knew then I needed another way to find connection between the diagonal lines.
And along came Feldenfit Two!
This dressage journey of mine, with the help of Catherine’s invaluable information and the new courses she is developing, led up to the whole concept of “connecting diagonal lines”, giving a whole new comprehensive visual (I’m a visual learner) to using my body far more correctly, for not only the FEI work, but for the basics we all strive to perfect.
I can highly recommend the very essence of these sessions. On another level, Catherine’s voice and delivery of her Feldenfit sessions, is almost hypnotic in the sense that isolating the body parts and pieces, in my day to day life as well, allows my mind to really gravitate and focus on the problem areas ....and relax into awareness of connecting with them, throughout my day.
So on many, many levels, I find the Feldenfit information incredibly beneficial, not only for my so-important dressage journey, but dealing with aging issues along the way!
Thank you for providing what you do, Catherine! I’ve recommended your work to even people who arn’t riders; what a great alternative to climbing on the pharmaceutical train!”
- Jane Windeler
“During lockdown l found The Ritters and the Artistic Dressage FB page, l enjoyed their videos, with great tips about dressage. Thanks to the Ritters I discover Catherine and Feldenfit. I started Feldenfit during lockdown. The first week l noticed that l could go down the stairs heading to the front (instead of sideways and step by step).
Some exercises were difficult to me, but doing just what l can with out discomfort, and repeating the same exercise again l was able to accomplish it the second time.
Now that l can ride again, I discover that l no longer needed the step to mount my horse. I've gain suppleness and flexibility.
I noticed that my horse responded better to my aids, because of the awareness of the weight and balance l had developed with Feldenfit.
Feldenfit gave to me body awareness, suppleness, the opportunity to regain movements that l've had lost with time. Also the correct alignment of my spine and pelvis. I am aware of any unbalanced position and able to modify it so l can give the correct aiding to the horse.
I feel renewed, l ride better than when l stopped because of the lockdown. No more gripping with the knees!!
I really recommend Feldenfit to anybody, but specially to those who feel stiff and are thinking that this should be normal due to age or falls. You will feel completely restored.
And we are never alone because Catherine and all the group are always willing to help.
Thank you all!!!
Sorry for my English, this is not my first language.” - Monika Palacios
FeldenFit 3 is the ultimate rider's programme. FeldenFit 1 and 2 are a general approach to improving your fitness the Feldenkrais way. FeldenFit 3 focuses on the specifics of what's required for riding with finesse. The details of how you can use every bone in your feet for support, how each joint in your leg can be available for supple aids. The importance of equalising the use of your eyes so that you can easily indicate new directions to your horse without hesitation. These are just a couple of examples of the specificity of what's on offer for riders in this programme.
FF1 and 2 introduce fitness the Feldenkrais way so although you can do FF3 without participating in the first two programmes, it helps to have the foundations of this unique way of working firmly established.
To get FeldenFit 1, click here.
To get FeldenFit 2, click here.
To get all three, click here.
If you want to be the best possible partner for your horse, if you want to refine your self-use and take your riding to the next level, if you are an intelligent, thinking rider...then you are ready for FF3.
Feldenfit exercises are designed to extend your movement abilities and improve your co-ordination and the health of your posture. This makes it particularly suitable for riders who need to be both stable yet dynamic, powerful yet soft, clear in their intention yet able to change tack at a moment’s notice.
You can expect to improve your motor skills - co-ordination, balance and agility. You can expect to become more stable and centred without sacrificing you ability to move dynamically according to the demands of the situation. You can expect increased awareness of the sensations that let you know when you’re working at your most optimal.
You need to be physically capable to follow an exercise programme. If you’ve had surgery recently or you have a medical condition that could prohibit you from exercising, then you need consult your GP or Medical Consultant.
You can do most of these exercises. A few may be more challenging, but there are ways of modifying the movements so that they’re suitable. If you’ve had surgery recently you need to consult your Medical Consultant.
Yes. For example if you have difficult being on your knees, then I suggest that you place pads or cushions. Also many of the exercises start with an easy version and become more demanding. You are encouraged to stick to the variation that is within your limits and personal comfort
This is not a pre or post natal programme. Some of the exercises will not be suitable for pregnant women whereas others will be.
Yes. All the movements are done slowly and with attention to ease, comfort and enjoyment. You don’t have to be especially flexible or strong to start the programme though it’s especially important in Feldenfit exercises to listen to your body and not push beyond your limits.
Some of the exercises are simple and others are more challenging. If an exercise is too difficult for you, then you can skip it and return at a later date. It’s likely that your co-ordination and skills will improve through the programme so that all the exercises become possible eventually.
This is a series of lessons which primarily improve motor skills and co-ordination. As long as you can get down on the floor then you have the skills to start.
On a carpet, rug or padded mat. A yoga mat is not suitable as you need to be able to slide.
Yes these exercises are often done in a group. The more the merrier!
Just a floor and a rug or mat to lie on .
Loose comfortable clothing.
All the exercises are designed to be done in your own home.
Any time that suits you. You may find that first thing in the morning you feel stiffer and want to use the exercises to prepare you for your day. Likewise you may find in the evening that you would like to use the exercises to ground and centre you after a busy day’s work.
As often as it feels enjoyable to do so. Like any physical skill, practise is a vital part of improving how you move in all aspects of your life.
Although there are 30 days of exercises, it’s important that you work at the pace that is right for you so just pick up where you left off.
Yes, you will have unlimited, lifetime access.
Yes, you can do them at your own pace. These are 30 days of lessons to do at any schedule that works for you. Some may choose to do them less frequently. Others may choose to do several a day. Both are possible and both are absolutely allowed. We encourage you to find what schedule feels good to you, and works for you in your current situation.
I suggest modifications. But you can also ask in the facebook group. If an exercise is too challenging then move on to the next one. You may find that you come back to the more difficult exercises in the future and miraculously you are able to do them with ease.
There is always room for improvement! You can learn to do what you already do well with less effort and more flow so that you have energy left. These movements are inspired by the Feldenkrais Method - many artists, sportsmen and performers use Feldenkrais to improve their performance.
Of course!! As long as you are not pushing through discomfort or pain, you can do the exercises as often as you like.
You can repeat the sequences you find enjoyable. And you can go back to the exercises that you found more challenging. When we have the next FeldenFit programme in the series ready, you can join that, too.