Rappahannock News - - COUNTRYSIDE - By An­gelA nunez BAi­ley Spe­cial to the Rap­pa­han­nock News

ou do what?” This query is the most com­mon re­sponse when I tell peo­ple what I do, which is teach yoga with horses.

I founded So­laris Sta­ble & Yoga Stu­dio in Flint Hill last No­vem­ber, and through it I of­fer, in ad­di­tion to “Yoga with Horses,” train­ing, horse­man­ship and rid­ing lessons, Equine Fa­cil­i­tated Learn­ing Pro­grams, and a va­ri­ety of yoga classes and work­shops.

From a young age, I dreamed of cre­at­ing a place where hu­mans and horses could in­ter­act on a deep level and where hu­mans could re­con­nect with na­ture. I never could have pre­dicted land­ing in Rap­pa­han­nock County, but I am so glad I did.

I learned to ride with my mom pony­ing me as she ex­er­cised hunt horses in the Blue Ridge Hunt ter­ri­tory. My love for the Vir­ginia coun­try­side was in­stilled from my very first ride out at age three. When I was five years old, we moved to Gar­rett County, Mary­land to be closer to my grand­mother. I spent most of my for­ma­tive years there, rid­ing through the Ap­palachian Moun­tains, my love for na­ture never wan­ing.

A for­mer mem­ber of the Blue Ridge Hunt sug­gested I con­sider at­tend­ing Smith when it came time for col­lege. I en­joyed two years on Smith’s Eques­trian Team, and ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ing in Spain dur­ing my se­mes­ter abroad.

Once I grad­u­ated from Smith, I at­tempted to take a tra­di­tional route to suc­cess, hold­ing var­i­ous cor­po­rate jobs, but I never felt ful­filled and I missed horses like crazy. My yoga prac­tice was the only thing keep­ing me sane, so I de­cided to pur­sue my 200-hour yoga teacher train­ing and be­come a yoga teacher. I wanted to share the ben­e­fits of yoga with oth­ers. I have since also be­come a cer­ti­fied Ad­vanced Buti Yoga in­struc­tor. Buti Yoga is a soul­ful blend of power yoga, car­dio-in­ten­sive tribal dance, con­di­tion­ing and deep ab­dom­i­nal ton­ing.

One day I had the idea to com­bine my two big­gest pas­sions — yoga and horses — and see what hap­pened. I moved gen­tly and slowly on my most trusted equine part­ner’s back, and he went into a state of bliss. He en­joyed the mas­sage on his back mus­cles and hindquar­ters, as well as the peace­ful, cen­tered en­ergy of the prac­tice.

Want­ing to be sure I would not cause my horses harm, I con­sulted with their vet, chi­ro­prac­tor, and mas­sage ther­a­pist, and they all as­sured me that the move­ments I was do­ing were ben­e­fi­cial to the horses. When I prac­ticed, my horses gave me clear signs that they en­joyed it, low­er­ing their heads, let­ting their lower lips hang, eyes softly shut, re­laxed and in a zen zone.

I started to re­ceive re­quests to teach horse yoga, and I was happy to oblige. The prac­tice con­nects horse and hu­man in a unique, deep way. The more I opened my heart to the horses, the more I knew I had to share with the world their sen­tience, depth, and wis­dom.

From that de­sire, So­laris Sta­ble

& Yoga Stu­dio was born. I set­tled in Rap­pa­han­nock County in late July of this year at Stand­ing Rock Farm (formerly Whit­cairn) in Flint Hill. I am hon­ored and grate­ful to be able to share the magic of yoga and horses with oth­ers. This is just the be­gin­ning, and big things are com­ing.

➤ So­laris Sta­ble & Yoga Stu­dio is lo­cated at 13316 Crest Hill Road in Flint Hill. Phone 571-969-9782 or email So­lar­[email protected]

‘MY HORSES gave me clear signs that they en­joyed it, low­er­ing their heads, let­ting their lower lips hang, eyes softly shut, re­laxed and in a zen zone’


As can be seen in Flint Hill, Rap­pa­han­nock equine in­struc­tor An­gela Nunez Bai­ley has taken yoga to a whole new level.

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