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Riding Success Without Stress
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Joni Bentley's diverse fields of expertise include the Alexander Technique, classical dressage, BHS qualifications, stress management, functional medicine and singing. Her original chosen singing career began with the lead role in the rock musical 'Hair' at the age of 17. West End musicals were followed by the opera, where she excelled as a natural until more serious training began bringing with it more serious problems: dry technical repetition with no room for self expression strangled her natural gift and joy of singing. After four years, undiagnosed throat problems ended her career. Devastated, she turned her love of horses and qualified as a BHSAI. While training for her BHSII, problems cropped up again in a new form, her body refused to do what her instructors expected of it. Alexander lessons revealed the root of her problem. She had intense anxiety linked with learning instilled in her during her opera training at the music academy. The dry repetitive exercises, the constant warnings of the danger to her throat if her practice was not technically perfect had killed her natural confidence. Four years later, fearful of opening her mouth in case she might make a mistake, the joy of singing had been lost and with it her voice. Alexander technique lessons taught her to drop the ideal and enjoy the journey and discovery of learning. After three years full time training at Fellside Alexander school in Cumbria, her confidence and voice restored, she graduated in 1993 and joined the Alexander Technique International governing body. Her own experience of problems, combined with equestrian and Alexander knowledge, has enabled Joni to develop a complete holistic training system for both horse and rider. Dry mechanical training is cast aside for an artistry that embraces the spirit and joy of learning and performance. She teaches at all levels numbering Grand Prix riders, FBHSs and BHSIs among her pupils.

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