You feel it coming, that mantra that your riding instructor repeats. Breath all the way in, all the way out. It’s pretty incredible that as a society we need to be reminded to breathe. Sounds hard to believe, but this is the truth! Breath is a things that evades many of us. Even those who practice the art of focused breathing have to remind themselves once in awhile to breath properly, and pay mind to the breath that moves through them. Here at Maverick Riding, we see breath as such an integral part of the experience of being here at the ranch, out in Texas sunshine, and riding, that it’s actually become on of our “Rules of Riding.”
As a rider, whether you are a total newbie or a seasoned equestrian, you probably have a sense of both self preservation and preservation of the horse. Intuitively, you realize that riding horses does wear and tear to them, and you probably are happy, at least in theory, to alter your approach to improve your riding and also to help the horse. That sounds all fine and dandy, but what happens when sitting up straight and breathing is part of the equation? You or members of your horseback riding lesson group may have to stifle an inner scoff. Posture and breathing essential to good riding? They are!
When riders become tense, it transmits as tension to the horse via the mouth (through the reins and bit) and the spine. Riders who sit properly, breath in while drawing up through the crown of the head, exhale while relaxing the joints, move better with the horse, are less likely to fall if the horse moves suddenly, and are better able to make decisions because they are constantly flooding their brain with oxygen. I love to teach my littles that no matter what’s going on, whether it’s a panic moment on a horse or elsewhere, there is always time to take one good breath before a decision is made.
I can’t stress to you how much good posture and breathing affects the outcome of the ride. I’ve seen groups of 12 beginners outperform a group of 4. That’s significant. It really comes down to the rider’s ability to breath through tension and keep focused on the task at hand: overcoming the obstacle. Breathing and confident posture helps this process tremendously. Curious to hear more about our rules of riding? Stay tuned to learn about goal setting, visualization and overcoming obstacles.