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Interview with Kristen Kolenda Yoga

Updated: Feb 21

Kristen standing next to a horse
Kristen standing next to a horse

What do you specialize in? 

Kristen: I teach riders (out of the saddle) helping them to achieve peak performance by combining my skills in mental health, yoga therapy, and my degree in Equestrian Studies. Everyone's journey looks different and I love being able to help each of my students uncover their "horsemanship blind spots" and address them.  

How long have you been in the equine industry? 

Kristen: I've been in the industry for over 28 years and an equestrian business owner for over 16.

What led you to do what you’re doing now?

Kristen: I was first introduced to how the inner workings of our body and mind have a huge impact in our riding and horsemanship while attending Lake Erie College. That's where I earned my B.S. in Equestrian Studies and first learned how the rider's body, mind, and breathing impact the horse they are working with.  

As I continued to pursue my degree I began to realize that so many riders were missing out on this impact because equestrians tend to focus so much on the horse (improving their health, athleticism etc.) and the rider is usually downplayed or even ostracized, and horses and riders suffer for it.  

After college this led me to practicing yoga regularly to improve my riding and training skills. I worked as a riding instructor and trainer for nearly a decade and it was during that time I received my first yoga teacher training certificate. 

I began exploring yoga as a way to help my riding students (and myself) with issues ranging from poor mobility to back pain, insomnia, lack of body awareness, and difficulty connecting due to physical, mental, or emotional blocks.

Equitation Education

In an effort to be able to help more riders on a deeper level (and because I was turning into a yoga and anatomy nerd) I began training to become a certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT). 

I continued to work with equestrian clients and also I started working in clinical settings. 

After certification I took a job as a mental health researcher at the VA (Veterans Affairs).

My love of horses has driven me along the path from horse trainer to mental health researcher and my passion lies in the horse industry. By helping riders improve their life (in and out of the saddle) I'm also improving the lives of their horses. 

Your favorite thing about your business?

Kristen: I get to visit beautiful farms, gawk at gorgeous horses and support riders with the skills and knowledge I've developed over the last 28 years.

What are your future business goals?

Kristen: Expand my clientele, teach more clinics and workshops out of my local area.

Write a book on the Rider Training Scale I've developed to help even more riders.

Do you have any horses of your own?

Kristen: Yes, two.

Bittersweet (Sweetie) a chestnut thoroughbred mare and the rumors are true about chestnut TB mares, she's still a handful at 27 but she's also my sweet, sweet girl.

Mighty Maverick (Maverick) a palomino quarter arab who is 26 years young. When we were competing he was hands down the best competition horse I could have asked for and nowadays the best trail horse.

At what age did you fall in love with horses?

Kristen: It was probably when I was 8 years old. Around that time I obsessively started watching the Black Stallion movie (I wanted to be a jockey), reading anything and everything horse related, and constantly pretending I was a horse.  

Do you have any hobbies you enjoy doing outside of your business? 

Kristen: Hanging out with my dog and fostering other dogs for a local rescue.  Being with family, traveling, and swimming too. 

Kristen Kolenda Yoga

What is the best way to contact you if someone would like to work with you?

Kristen: Through my website 

or DM me on Instagram

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Kristen: I teach weekly online yoga therapy classes for equestrians on Zoom. Check out the calendar on my website to sign up and join classes.

I regularly post videos on Instagram with the goal of helping riders mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Kristen is an animal, yoga, pierogi lover, and Yoga Therapist with over 13 years of experience teaching yoga as therapy. She has spent her career acquiring knowledge to bring you the most up to date and informed techniques for your health and wellbeing in group and 1:1 classes.

Kristen has a degree in Equestrian Studies,  combining her love of riding and yoga to help equestrians and all athletes address their posture, biomechanics, and ability to effectively communicate with their horse to address blind spots, and achieve peak performance in the saddle. 

Outside of her private practice, Kristen is a mental health and yoga researcher and teaches yoga in clinical settings.



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