So this thing called 'breathing', a simple action that we all unconsciously use every day for our very existence. You would think that it would be easy to do, but, oh no!
Apparently I have been doing it wrong all my life.
I tend to be a shallow breather, just taking my breath into my chest, so it took a lot and I mean, a lot of practice to change, to take my breath down into my diaphragm. This is all before I even attempted to connect with my horse.
Cazique can be very full of himself and I do occasionally get a bit worried that he will really explode but having the awareness of my breath and also of any tension that I may be holding, gets us through.
As time goes on, I am exploring new levels of lightness in asking for a particular movement or transition. For a while, we had a real hangup about cantering on the left lead. I put it down to the fact that I find my own rotation to the left much stiffer than my right and also that Cazique is tighter stretching through his tight shoulder and lumber on that side too.
Now I believe I was asking too strongly, with too much anticipation that it would be difficult. When I realised this, I changed my attitude towards the transition and literally “thought” skip, slightly looking to the outside which automatically bought my inside hip leading, whilst making sure no tension crept into my body and smiled.
Smiling releases tension in the jaw. If your jaw is tight, so is the rest of your body. The same applies for your horse. So off we would go into a lovely smooth up hill canter. The same applies in lateral work too. Breathing into the hip that is slightly forward and allowing side to side movement as well as forward and backward, in unison with Caziques rib cage.
Jennys breath technique has not only helped me understand the horse and his language, but it has helped me in all spheres of life
Sara McKay Mead