EUSTIS, Fla. — As mental health has been pushed to the forefront of many peoples' minds, especially during the COVID pandemic over the past year, a Eustis woman combined two of her interests to provide an innovative service.
What You Need To Know
- Eustis woman competes in dressage and trains others in the sport
- Cara Blanchard Kilbourne is transitioning as a yoga instructor, too
- She runs yoga sessions out of her stable, combining her career passions
- Yoga classes at Cara Blanchard Training will pick up during September
Each day starts the same way for dressage trainer Cara Blanchard Kilbourne. And her love for each horse at her stable, runs deep.
“It’s like a friendship or partnership with every horse. It’s always different just like relationships with people,” said FEI dressage trainer and instructor Cara Blanchard Kilbourne.
Preparing Fiona for a ride is second nature for Blanchard. From childhood, Cara had horses in her family, and she’s been laser-focused on her career.
“I wanted to be a horse trainer,” Blanchard Kilbourne said. “There was no other option for me. That was the only way.”
She both competes and trains others in dressage, which she says can bring on stress and impact mental health.
“You put everything into going to the show and you feel like you have a lot riding on it,” said Blanchard Kilbourne. “Everybody gets worked up. Everybody has anxiety.”
Blanchard Kilbourne currently owns 10 horses and holds 20 classes a week. But many of her employees are nearing retirement age.
“They’re family, so they’re staying,” Blanchard Kilbourne said. “So I had to come up with another way to support them and support my family.”
Her aging horses and her desire to stay grounded during difficult times helped her find another passion, from competing, to holistic healing.
“To live a happy life, we have to stay centered,” Blanchard Kilbourne said. “There are so many natural type of things we can do to improve our lifestyles.”
She received several certifications in activities like yoga, meditation and breath work, and then Stable Yoga was born.
“You don’t have to be an equestrian,” Blanchard Kilbourne said. “It’s incredible for everyday life, for mental, physical and emotional health.”
For high school student Brooke Neiman, it’s the perfect break from a full load of Advanced Placement classes.
“Just learning how to breathe, to calm down, how to enjoy the moment,” Neiman said. “It was really nice to have something different.”
Blanchard Kilbourne said she hopes this new venture will help others conquer their nerves both in and out of the saddle for years to come.
“I would love to be able to fill the barn with people, from, you know, a year old to a hundred years old,” she said.
Blanchard Kilbourne will compete at a National Championship horse show in September. Then her yoga classes will go forward in full swing through Cara Blanchard Training in Eustis.