My new wooden horse finally arrived in Beaminster for the Alexander Technique saddle work I do with riders, having had it on order for several months. For some reason the joiner wasn't able to get it stable (sorry for the pun), but with a bit of inexperienced jigger-pokery from myself with a drill and screwdriver, it's now got extra diagonal stays to help it remain sturdy and supportive.
Interestingly, it's not only helpful for horse riders, but anyone who comes to me for lessons in the Alexander Technique who has leg, hip or pelvis problems, I can achieve a lot of release and freedom around there and the proper engagement of the supportive muscles in the back, by having them sit on my leather saddle and wooden horse. I can then work with my hands to gently release their legs, allow their hips and pelvis to open out. They feel quite different afterwards and is a great aid during a lesson.
It wasn't FM Alexander who developed the use of the saddle in Alexander lessons, but his protege Walter Carrington who trained with him in the mid 1930s and who subsequently trained me. Walter had apparently been working on a young girl with spina bifida and he had not felt that he had achieved as much change and improved co-ordination as he'd hoped. It was then that he had the idea that if he put the young girl onto the rocking horse in his study (which he'd had there to entertain young children as he worked on their parents), then her legs would dangle freely on either side and he could work on her legs much better. It was so successful that he thought if it could work for children, it will work for adults, so he had a trestle made high enough for an adult to sit on. Subsequently he put a proper leather riding saddle on it in place of the previous blanket. He used it regularly with adults thereafter and trained those of us fortunate to study with him for the three year full-time course, in it too.
So my saddle is in the music room at home in Beaminster, Dorset and has already been used with great effect. My pupils love it!