I never thought I would do yoga in a stable, let alone on a horse, but that is just one of the many things that I loved about the recently opened Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Va. A gorgeous rural setting in Northern Virginia, sprawling grounds, a sensual spa, delectable cuisine and well-appointed guestrooms also lend themselves to the experience. Yet, it’s the property’s equine program that makes the resort a truly standout experience.
I loved horseback riding as a girl, but I don’t get to do it very often anymore, especially because I am allergic to horses. However, under the right conditions, I do love to go trail riding. Salamander Resort and Spa goes beyond just offering a trail riding experience, with a unique variety of equine experiences. Sheryl Jordan has developed a program that not only appeals to riders but to those who do not ride but still love horses. Jordan specializes in human-to-horse interaction and builds interaction into the programs she offers at Salamander.
During my stay, I was able to experience a small sampling of what the resort offers visitors, including a program called the Equi-Spective Experience, an opportunity for self-discovery through hands-on equine interaction. One of the lessons involves listening to and controlling the horse through movement alone. It is a powerful lesson, allowing the visitor to gain insight into their own personality. I discovered that, if I could tune out the “noise” from the rest of the world and listen to myself, I was more in touch with my mind and, therefore, better able to communicate with the horse. I thought it remarkable when I was actually controlling the horse in the ring through my actions, gestures and thoughts.
Topping off our equine journey was the opportunity to try yoga on horseback. A new program under development by Angela Nunez, the resort’s yoga instructor, the experience includes a yoga class in the stables as the sun rises and is then followed by three yoga poses on horseback. The yoga on horseback was a great way to put my newly developed equine communication skills to the test. It took a lot of concentration to be able to stay calm and steady, keep the horse calm and steady and hold the pose. It was truly a bonding moment for me and my horse, Snowy — and one that I never want to forget.
Salamander Resort and Spa