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The Wisdom and dedication that is demonstrated by James Shaw will help one's awareness of the body, in whatever task you choose to get accomplished.  Thank you.  You have helped me and in doing so my patients as well.

Dr Paul Carlson, Chiropractor

Long Beach CA.


As a trainer and coach I find riders are constantly in search of ways to be at the top of the equestrian sport. James, a dedicated Tai Chi Instructor, offers these athletes, valuable training techniques, of body control and focus.  I have found James' instruction clear and inspiring.  I highly recommend getting in touch with your Chi!

Betsy Steiner, Competitive Rider/Trainer/Coach,1990 U.S. Team Member World Equestrian Games. Coach of medal-winning Young Riders and Olympians.


Thank you so much for the "Tai Chi for the Equestrian Clinic in Marin. I did have dramatic results that same day. I've noticed a continued relaxed and calm oneness with my horse since the clinic. My jumping instructors noticed that I was riding much better (better grounded). I went to my first Hunter Show this last week and have never been so calm and relaxed to really enjoy the show.

Karen Buke, Rider and clinic participant
Davis, CA


I have been taking classes with James Shaw for almost three years. In that time my entire concept of the art of riding has totally changed. Through the practice of Tai Chi and Qi Gong, James gifts his students with his teachings of inner balance, he teaches us how to use energy and the economy of motion of martial art, in relation to the horse. James' work is amazing and his dedication to, and love for, what he brings becomes a joyful series of "enlightenment's" for his students.

Dian Dunsay, Rider and Student
Los Angeles, CA


James Shaw helped me this last season to rehabilitate from several injuries; notably a dislocated hip joint, broken ribs and deep tissue damage to the upper leg.

Particularly effective were his hip bending and lower back exercises, which I found similar to several of the positions required for work in hand with horses.

I was very pleased to be able to work around my injuries with less stress and pain, and to develop range of motion sooner than I would have expected using conventional PT.

About 6 months after our work together I gave the demo which produced these pictures. Thank you for the assist James, from your friends at The Pruyn Stud.

Bettina Drummond, Classical Dressage rider and trainer. Student of Nuno Oliveira

  Dear James,

thank you so much for a fantastic clinic in Chelmsford at the weekend. As it was my second clinic, I gained so much more from it, I can definitely feel an improvement in my riding, and so can Bob.

My body awareness has improved no end, and I may even have some of the keys to solving a longstanding shoulder problem. Since the weekend, I have realised that the right hip is further forward than the left, that holding my head forward is straining my neck, and I am using the right arm totally differently to the left, probably due to using it differently when my wrist was broken years ago.

I had never thought that the right shoulder being dropped could be other than a side to side imbalance, but can now see that if the hip is forward or back, this can contribute as well.

It's amazing how much we are just not aware of - driving to work yesterday, I became strangely aware of how much tension it's possible to have in your tongue.Plus a side benefit is that in throwing apples into the field for the horses, I seem to be throwing less like a girl- it's not been unusual in the past for things to end up behind me, or just go straight up in the air!

I'm very much looking forward to your next visit, in the meantime, I will take advantage of your video session. Kind regards 

Julie Parrott


     I first saw James Shaw at the Equine Affaire in Springfield, MA in 200_.  I later attended a few "Ridefrom Within" clinics and was impressed with the difference in my [horseback] riding.  Everything makes so much sense and it's a training method that finally works WITH the horse no matter how much "training" the horse or rider has and no matter which discipline the horse is "trained" in.

     As I continued to work with James Shaw I realized that his techniques are really for everyone, not just riders.  I started with just being conscious of how I stand anywhere that I am.  Later I applied it to lifting heavy objects such as two full five gallon water buckets or pushing a heavy wheelbarrow and found that it was much easier.  My back and other muscles weren't getting tired or sore and I had more energy.  

     I used to see a chiropractor on a regular basis (once every other month at least).  Now I don't go to the chiropractor except on the rare occasion - .  In fact, very recently I was very sick and was supposed to be flying in two days.  I thought I would go to my chiropractor to "open the channels" and recover quicker.  As luck would have it he had no openings before my flight.  Then it occurred to me that I could "open those channels" myself doing James Shaw's Tai Chi exercises.  While doing the exercises my head cleared of it's congestion and the pressure drained out of my  head, AND it didn't come back!  Looking back, I have to wonder had I been doing  the exercises on a regular basis would I have gotten sick in the first place?  Food for thought.   

      I am not a big person, and I use my body to the limits.  Before I discovered James Shaw and started using his techniques my back was sore at the end of each full day.  To combat this I worked out to make my back stronger, I went to the chiropractor, and I received massages every other week.  Now, I work out because I want to be in shape not because I have to to avoid pain. I apply the Tai Chi principles to  swimming, cycling, running, etc. and as a result,  I am re-energized at the end of my workout.  I have found that by using James Shaw's techniques in how I move on a daily basis has kept me free of pain and stiffness throughout my body.  I feel great! Thanks James

Sheri McKay


James’s techniques enable me to access my body so that I can achieve correct body position and effectiviness at the same time.

I have ridden with countless clinicians. The tools that I have aquiered from working with James Shaw have proven to be the best return on my investment as a rider and instructor.

The information that I have gained from participating in the james Shaw clinic is invaluable, I am a better instructor because of his generouse nature and clearity of explanation.

The tai chi principals combined with James comprehensive teaching style has proven to be the most valuble instruction that I’ve ever experienced.

Susan Hoffman Peacock, USDF 4th Level Certified Instructor/Trainer, USDF Silver Medalist and National Champion.


By a happy combination of circumstance and design I was recently able to combine a visit with a good friend in the Seattle area with a Tai Chi for Equestrians clinic with James Shaw. James, who has studied the ‘gentle’ Martial Art of Tai Chi for nearly 20 years, has been exploring the application of those principles to riding for the past several years. He has worked with many FEI level riders, most notably Betsy Steiner, who has written articles about her experiences with Tai Chi and its benefits. (Dressage Today, Practical Horseman) James makes it clear that he is not teaching a riding lesson, but is teaching riders to have a more enhanced body awareness, then correlating that awareness with how it affects the horse.

The two day clinic involved a 1 ½ hour unmounted session and 1 hour mounted session each day. During the unmounted portion the riders followed James through a series of Tai Chi based stretching and balance exercises. These movements are designed to help riders discover and change imbalances within their bodies that inhibit the connection with the horse. The movements also involved the unblocking of several 'chi' (energy) meridians to allow improved flow of energy. James monitored each person, cheerfully encouraging and carefully explaining as we went through the series. This gave him a chance to evaluate each rider and to have an idea of what he would then address in the mounted session. This work was quite revealing, as we all discovered areas of stiffness, one hip less flexible than the other, a balance challenge, or tight neck and shoulders. With greater controlled range of motion in your joints, you are able to maintain structural alignment without creating tension, thus enabling you to ‘follow’ the motion of your horse more closely. This in turn allows the horses to relax and move with greater fluidity. Believe me - these are not just empty, fancy-sounding words!! This really did work, in horse after horse during this clinic.

Mounted sessions then incorporated what we felt and what James observed about each of us. Again, James did not instruct us on how to ride or perform a movement, but rather guided us on the path of discovering more about how to use our bodies and our breath, and then noticing the influence on the horse. Rule # 1: Smile! We are, after all, supposed to be enjoying this! Besides, the smile literally and figuratively lights things up and eases tension. James then moved us along the Path of: Mind... Breath... Body. The Mind has to stay focused and aware. Be aware of you Breath... how deep does it usually go? To your throat? Your chest? Your abdomen? We returned to the focus on the Breath many times, and almost always as attention was drawn to the Breath and we breathed deeper into the abdomen, relaxation of both rider AND horse occurred. James taught us about 8 specific areas of our bodies he calls 'Gates of Energy'. By focusing awareness on these Gates and allowing them to ‘open’ we discovered a corresponding openness and freedom occurring in our horses ~ more freedom, less effort. What a concept!! James frequently pointed out how the horses ‘mirror’ what the rider is doing, often demonstrating stiffness and tension in a similar area where the rider is tense. As we released these areas of tightness or tension, by opening the nearby Gate, we really could notice a difference in the flow of movement provided by the horses. James often told us to 'ride with our Intent', not just our muscles. He also encouraged some visualization techniques, suggesting we visualize a perfect transition at some point in the arena, then riding with that Intent, believing that the transition already existed at that spot, and truly - it often did! Effortlessly.

To me the proof of a clinician’s effectiveness is what goes on in my riding in the weeks following the clinic. Have I 'gotten' something that I continue to use on a daily basis in my riding? And my answer is absolutely Yes. Now every day I am conscious and aware of my Breath, and changing it continues to produce a change in me and then in my horses, subtle though it may be. I remind myself to ride with Intent, not just muscle. I visualize those perfect transitions ahead of me on the track, and as often as not, find them.

Kay Kamish, USDF Silver and Bronze Medalist, USDF 'L' Judge, shown to Intermediare level.

Kay has also trained with Arthur Kottas, Chief Rider of the Spanish Riding School, Michael Handler (son of Gen. Hans Handler, late director of the Spanish Riding School) and Melissa Simms, Head Rider at Reitinstitut Egon von Neindorff-Stiftung.