THE ‘ENLIGHTENED’ APPROACH – SIMPLIFYING RIDING
This method of teaching using simulators is unique to Heather Moffett, who pioneered their use in the teaching of riding. Heather analysed and devised methods to teach riders the precise way in which to adhere to the horse's movement, when only a teenager. Watching cowboy films, Heather realised they seemed to be much more effortlessly glued to the saddle than many riders she observed. Also, having seen the great Portuguese Maestro Nuno Oliveira, at the 1966 Horse of the Year Show, sitting so apparently still, Heather experimented on her own horses, and in this way, evaluated exactly what it was that enabled good riders to sit easily to the movement of the horse. Friends then asked her who she had been to for lessons, as her riding had improved so much! Heather replied that she hadn't been to anyone, but had worked it out for herself. So, the friends asked, could she show them what she was doing? Using a saddle horse and her own hands to guide the lower back and pelvic movement, Heather found that she could teach the precise synchronisation of the rider's seat with the back of the horse in a very short time.
Realising that if only the saddle horse could replicate the movement of the horse without actually moving away from her, Heather reasoned that the riders could learn to ride in a fraction of the time, and set about trying to get a simulator made. She tried engineering departments of various universities, engineering firms, all to no avail until 25 years later, a friend, Jonathan Broughton-Heyes, finally made a prototype machine.
Heather has now been teaching with the Equisimulator for 14 years and it has surpassed even her expectations. It is possible to teach not only absorption of the movement, and a correct, balanced rising trot even to a beginner in less than an hour on average, it is also easy to teach riders from day one, to learn 'feel', that mystical quality that so many of us are told, only certain riders are born with. Rubbish!! Everyone has nerve endings in their rear ends, and so if told precisely how, can learn to feel with ease, which hindleg is coming under, striking off the ground, when the shoulder is coming back and when it is going forward, and therefore to feel the diagonals in rising trot without having to look down, and also to feel the right moment for the canter strike off.
Heather has been invited to lecture and teach clinics with the Equisimulator all over the world. Lecturing and demonstrating at Your Horse Live, UK, and South West and Northern Equine Events, BETA International, Equitana Kentucky USA, The Horse Event, Holland, Sydney Olympic Centre, Australia, Equitana 2007, Essen, Germany amongst others.