Grace in the Saddle and Air: Rebecca Vick Supplements her Dressage with Aerial Training
Grand Prix dressage rider Rebecca Vick of Raleigh, NC isn’t your ordinary dressage rider that dabbles in fitness outside of the sandbox. She has become a skilled aerial silks performer and when she’s not in the saddle, she can be found flipping, winding and twirling through the air at performances up and down the east coast.
When and how did you get into this form of working out?
I was always the little girl who wanted to run off and join the circus, and about 4 years ago, I saw an ad for an aerial silks class at my local gym. I took one class and was absolutely hooked. It was the same feeling I had when I was 11 and took my first riding lesson, and similarly, I started looking for ways to practice and train at every opportunity. My first aerial instructor and I have since become good friends and performance partners, too.
Do you compete or perform at all or is it just for fitness/enjoyment?
I haven’t ventured into the world of aerial competitions so far, but I do perform quite a bit for a local company. We get booked for choreographed and/or ambient performances at corporate events, weddings, birthday parties, fairs and festivals–I was even an “aerial elf” for a children’s Christmas event at an aquarium once. Travel is one of the really fun parts of performing, and last year I was fortunate enough to get booked for jobs in some lovely places, including the Finger Lakes of New York and Key West, Florida. I really love the creativity involved in creating choreography for different events.
How often do you practice?
I try to hit something close to 4 times a week, and my real goal is to practice either on an apparatus or cross-train with yoga/acro/handstand/flexibility classes 5-6 times a week. There never seems to be enough time for everything I want to do, though!
How does this form of fitness compliment your riding? Have you noticed a difference in the saddle?
Aerial and dressage riding both require a huge amount of body awareness, core strength, and flexibility. I definitely feel stronger in my riding since I began aerial training, and I think my alignment and core stability have improved quite a bit. I’ve also taken some teacher training courses for aerial work, and I use a lot of the stretches and exercises I learned in those to condition for riding, and in my teaching. I think it’s given me a much better understanding of how our bodies work, which gives me more to pull from when I’m explaining things to my dressage students. And all the years memorizing dressage tests definitely give me an advantage in remembering patterns and choreography when I’m on the fabric!
In addition to your workouts, are there any lifestyle/nutrition standards that you like to follow?
I am famous for putting myself and my poor fiance on periodic diets of one type or another because I’ve read a book about how much healthier we’ll be if we eat “X”. We’ve tried paleo, no sugar, gluten free, green smoothies, etc. I will say that I feel best when I keep my eating habits pretty clean–heavy on veggies, healthy fats, drinking loads of water and steering clear of a lot of grains and processed foods. But I also live a block from Krispy Kreme, so the doughnut monster does get the better of me more often than I’d like to admit!
For more information on Rebecca, visit her business Facebook page.