Free Mini-Course

Learn the secret.

Free Mini-course!

The secret muscles that keep you on your horse!

Be stable and flexible in the saddle.

Course ends August 1, 2023.


Riding a horse can be wonderful!


However, it can be discouraging for you and your horse if you don’t know how to use your body correctly.


The Rider's Seat Method will show you how to use your body and breath to communicate directly with your horse.


When riding, the older you are, the further away the ground seems to be.


You will develop a safer and better relationship with your horse.



Riding instructors say:

  • Sit deep in the saddle
  • Sit on your pants pockets
  • Heels down
  • Find your balance point
  • Ride from your center



  • Using your psoas muscles accomplishes all of the above!


Riding instructors say:

  • Sit up tall

  • Shoulders back

  • Chest out

  • Chin in


  • Lifting from your solar plexus and releasing your head does all of this!

Hello, my name is Tom.

I get to teach riders how to consistently have great rides with their horses.

Their horses' lives (and usually their own) get better!


Hi. My name is Jane.

I had been riding by myself and taking lessons for years and it wasn't until Tom taught me how to consciously use my psoas muscles that I realized what my riding instructors had been asking me to do all this time.

Now Tom and I ride together.

The semi-annual marriage ride.

Discovering how to use the psoas muscles.

When I met Jane, I was practicing Aikido (a Japanese martial art) and Zen meditation. She was riding horses. I encouraged her to buy her first horse and that's probably why she married me some 40 years ago.
I didn't like to ride horses. I was not a natural rider and I didn't enjoy practicing. However, twice a year, Jane would ask me to go with her on a trail ride. The rides, on our Quarter Horse Mo, were always an adventure for me as I would bounce in the saddle at the trot. The more I bounced the faster Mo went. The faster he went the less secure I became. So I would slow him down and I would end up just walking. As I said before, I didn't enjoy riding.
However, it was on one of these trail rides that I accidentally experienced how to use my psoas muscles correctly and was finally able to sit Mo's trot and feel safe and secure in the saddle. I actually enjoyed the entire ride. My attitude towards riding changed completely as I experienced why people liked to ride horses.
Experiencing how to properly use my psoas muscles when riding Mo was an amazing ‘aha’ moment for me. Not just for riding but for my entire life! I suddenly understood what my Aikido and Zen teachers had been trying to tell me about how to use my body. 
I shared my experience with Jane and she asked me to work with her. After showing her how to use her psoas muscles, Jane told me she finally understood what her riding instructors had been trying to teach her. This was so beneficial for her and for our horse Mo, that she encouraged me to present it to other riders.

 “We believe every rider can be aware of how to use their core (psoas) muscles to ride safely and to move correctly with their horse.”

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The ‘Missing-link’  

I also discovered, through doing bodywork alignment sessions with two expert riders, that they too used their psoas muscles. I could tell these expert riders were using their psoas muscles from my experience in bodywork. However, when I asked them how they had learned to use their bodies correctly, they said on the back of bucking horses when they were growing up. Neither had even heard of the psoas.

I realized that the psoas muscles were the ‘missing-link’ expert riders were unconsciously using to ride their horses effectively. This allowed them to be stable on their horses without gripping them with their legs. I began sharing this information with other riders, both experienced and novice, and this eventually led to my Rider’s Seat clinics.

What Tom can do is show riders how to use their bodies in a natural, effective way that allows them to ‘get out of the way’ of their horse. The results are startling.”

Lisa Pritchard
Rider’s Seat Clinic organizer - UK

Why learn from me?

I teach you how to use your body to allow your horse to move with natural balance and freedom.

My expertise and training is in the basic biomechanics of how human bodies work. My experience in riding has shown me that how bodies move on the ground can be translated to how they move on the horse. This gives me a unique perspective to teach what I have learned in Aikido, Zen meditation and Zen Bodytherapy® and apply it to riding. My method enables riders to understand and do what their riding instructors are telling them.

While Jane was riding horses, I was at the dojo. I practiced Aikido and obtained the rank of 3rd degree black belt. I am an advanced practitioner of Zen Bodytherapy,® a bodywork discipline that combines deep tissue and alignment work. I started Zen meditation training in 1977 and became a certified teacher in 1986.

I was a guest speaker at the 2005 and 2006 Centered Riding© Symposiums in Brattleboro, Vermont where I met Sally Swift. It was after the symposium in 2005 that I asked Sally if she would write a forward to my book and she said yes. I was also a keynote speaker at the 2006 and 2007 Certified Horsemanship Association International Conferences in Colorado and Florida.

I have been teaching riders how to identify, experience and use their psoas muscles through my Rider's Seat clinics over the past 20 years. I conduct trainings and give lectures and presentations in the United States and Europe. I wrote and self-published Zen & Horseback Riding in 2001 and have sold more than 10,000 copies.

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Zen & Horseback Riding

Tom Nagel
Fourth Edition
Foreword by Sally Swift
Zen & Horseback Riding explains how to use your body to achieve tone, self-carriage and to move correctly both on and off the horse. It is also about using horseback riding as a means of self-development and training to improving both your riding and your life.

Some of you may have previous editions of Zen & Horseback Riding and each edition contains more information. Everyone joining the course will receive an electronic copy of the updated fourth edition of the book.

Read the reviews and get the paperback on Amazon.

Simple Pushes

Finding Balance in Life
Simple Pushes presents a method for finding balance. Using a simple exercise, you can become aware of your unconscious habit in life to either push or pull.
This can have a direct influence in your horseback riding. People whose habit is pulling, often pull on the reins and block their horse's movement. Also, when you are with your horse, you must do simple pushes to maintain your role as leader.
This book is a short and simple read, yet may lead to profound changes in your relationship with your horse and in your relationships with the people in your life.
Everyone joining the course will receive an electronic copy of this book.

Jane and I live in Northwest Illinois, with Sadie and Zak the dogs, Emma the cat, and Tucker and Chloé the horses.