Meet Shannon Menestrina: The Eventing Yogi

On the surface, eventing and yoga might not seem to share much overlap. But 22-year-old Shannon Menestrina, who happens to be a talented practitioner of both pursuits, might argue otherwise.

Shannon and her horse, a big bay OTTB named Dan, were eventing at Training level and on the verge of moving up to Prelim when a suspensory injury ended Dan’s competitive career. She retired him to Dry Ridge Farm in Loudon, Tennessee, and the pair still spends plenty of time kicking around together, hanging out and hitting the trails.

Shannon is a go-getter of a young woman, and without lessons and events to focus on, she turned her attention to a different physical activity: yoga.

Cloudless skies and yoga highs #shannonmayyoga

A video posted by Shannon May Menestrina (@sm_may_yoga) on

Between Shannon’s discipline, drive and natural athleticism, over the next two years she progressed from the yoga equivalent of Green-as-Grass to Advanced. Having completed the 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher training program, she now moonlights as an instructor at area yoga studios while studying Nutrition/Dietetics at the University of Tennessee.

The shift between riding and yoga was an organic one, Shannon says: “Just like in riding, I had to learn that the act of practicing was different than the art of practicing. In riding, communication between horse and rider is so important, and in my practice that communication occurs between mind and body.”

“To feel the process unfold on your mat, to feel how the between moments and the imperfections can be brought to their fullest expressions as part of that process is intriguing to me,” she says.

“Learning on a young thoroughbred, you have to embrace those between moments and trust in the process, practicing NOT perfection but rather practicing progression. You learn that the act of yoga and the art of yoga are very different, just like when you leave the startbox — you have to be present. You have to show up and be all there.”

Not surprisingly, one of Shannon’s favorite places to practice is at Dry Ridge with her horse.

“Practicing on the farm enables me to mesh the two things that bring out my most authentic self,” she explains. “Dan is a saint for putting up with my yoga antics, but it has also revealed just how much I trust him. He also knows that peppermints come shortly after savasana.”

Plus, you don’t find props like this in a yoga studio!

Shannon records her horse, yoga and horse/yoga adventures on Instagram — you can follow along at sm_may_yoga. Here are a few more photos from her unique, out-of-the-box practice:

There is always a way to get #plank work in #farmyoga #yogawithdan #shannonmayyoga

A video posted by Shannon May Menestrina (@sm_may_yoga) on

Go be yourself. Go Eventing.