Sue Leffler

International Centered Riding® and Balimo™ Seat Clinician

Balimo™ Seat Clinics

Balimo™ Equestrian Seat Clinics 

The Balimo Equestrian Instructor Program was founded in the USA in 2004  by Jill Hassler Scoop and Eckart Meyners to facilitate the education of riding instructors on ways to help their students unblock the tight areas in their bodies that have a negative effect on both their ability to ride well and on their horses.


Eckart Meyners, now retired professor of kinesiology from the University of Luneberg, Germany, has an incredible depth of knowledge of exercises from a wide variety of modalities that he brought to this program. In 2008 the German FN created a special certification course called "Bewegungstrainer EM" which was open only to their "Meister" level trainers who are experienced at the FEI level in either Dressage or jumping. In 2010 they began integrating this work into the German FN trainer and instructor certification.

 

Sue graduated from the American Program in September 2005 and was a faculty member from 2006 to 2010.  After the death of the American co-founder, Jill Hassler Scoop in October 2006, the program was financially unable to continue resulting in its closing in April 2010. Sue has been fortunate enough to be able to continue her education with Eckart Meyners by attending the Bewegunstrainer EM updates held twice yearly in Germany. She is the only graduate of the American program to do this.


Balimo Equestrian Seat Clinics


What makes these clinics very different from regular riding clinics?


  • First we watch the rider in all gaits, and maybe some lateral work as well, and look to see where the movement from the horse is blocked, or stops, in the rider. Depending on what is seen, Sue may ask the rider to dismount, do a specific exercise, remount and see if this exercise has made a positive change in horse and rider. She may do this several times during the lesson. Depending on the level of training of the rider, Sue may or may not include training or riding issues in the lesson.
  • These exercises come from a wide variety of modalities including Feldenkrais, Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Traeger, Brain Gym etc. In short, Sue uses whatever exercises she feels will help the rider improve his harmony and communication with his horse
  • Included daily in these clinics is a 1-hour combined theory and unmounted exercise session that all riders should attend
  • All disciplines require us to move in balance and harmony with our horses so these clinics are helpful for all riders
  • Because of the necessary one-on-one instruction at these clinics Sue limits the number of riders to eight with everyone having a 1-hour private lesson. There is no limit to the number of auditors for these clinics

In Eckart Meyner's words " You cannot learn to ride better simply by riding more. You must first correct the rider's ability to move with the horse's natural motion to see real improvement in the performance."

Heike Kemmer claims her success at the 2008 Olympics in Barcelona was largely due to the ongoing private clinics she had with Eckart Meyners. By learning to use her body more correctly she was more effective with her horse and was able to dramatically increase their performance level.