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Move over, goats — it’s time for horse yoga in Huntington Beach

Move over, goats — it’s time for horse yoga in Huntington Beach
Chelsea Reese displays a yoga pose while sitting on Beau at Spirit Horse Yoga at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center in Huntington Beach. Horse yoga involves sitting or standing on a horse’s back while performing modified yoga poses and practicing breath control. (Photo by Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Finding inner peace is hard for some. But Melissa Reese believes it can be attained — on horseback.

Unlike some yoga classes that add goats to perch on a yogi’s back, the roles are reversed with horses.

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Yogis sit or stand on a horse’s back while performing modified yoga poses and practicing pranayama, or breath control. Another yogi will hold the horse, Reese said.

She promises the experience is “a lot deeper” than it sounds.

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“People love horses, and the spirit of a horse speaks to a lot of people,” Reese said. “It’s about combining horses, yoga and self-reflection.”

Instructor Melissa Reese, center, with Maggie McKitrick on Greymer and handler Morgan Tanner, left, and Chelsea Reese on Beau and handler Pattysue Billings. Reese will present a three-hour workshop at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center in Huntington Beach in March.
Instructor Melissa Reese, center, with Maggie McKitrick on Greymer and handler Morgan Tanner, left, and Chelsea Reese on Beau and handler Pattysue Billings. Reese will present a three-hour workshop at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center in Huntington Beach in March. (Photo by Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Next month, Reese will present a three-hour workshop at the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center in Huntington Beach before group and private classes are available in March. Dates have not been determined.

The workshop will cost about $125 per student. Estimated rates for group classes are $50 per student for an hour session, while private sessions will be $125 for an hour.

Reese said she’s received a lot of positive feedback since the program was announced in a newsletter from the equestrian center.

She believes it will draw a mix of people passionate about horses and exercise — similar to how she was inspired to offer the program.

Student Maggie McKitrick connects with Greymer at the Huntington Beach Central Park Equestrian Center.
Student Maggie McKitrick connects with Greymer at the Huntington Beach Central Park Equestrian Center. (Photo by Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Reese runs an equestrian boutique called SoCal Saddlery at the equestrian center and sells houses full time.

Having limited free time, Reese struggled to commit to a yoga studio or to ride consistently when going to the barn was usually a two- to three-hour endeavor.

Equine OM, an online horse yoga training program where she earned her certification, presented a solution because it combined three of her interests — yoga, horses and teaching, Reese said.

“I love … coaching,” she said. “It’s just a part of who I am.”

For more information about Reese’s horse yoga program, visit hcpec.com.

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