I have spoken before on the importance of your breathing whilst your ride.
However I want to focus less on the hip relaxing today and more on the energy and connection with your horse.
To be honest it can be quite a difficult thing to explain how and why horses respond to our breathing pattern when we ride them and there can only really be hypothetical answers ranging from it being how our body language/position etc. changes subconsciously, they feel vibrations and electromagnetic fields to plain old magic!
So rather than try and give you any of these arguments I’m just going to give you some things to try out and you can come to your own conclusion.
Just sat still on your horse or at a walk breathe right into your belly and then progress this by imagining you are breathing right into your thighs wrapped around your horse. Do this for a couple of minutes just focusing on your breath going right down into your thighs, down your legs and imagining that breath being felt by your horse. How does your horse respond?
If your horse is really tuned in and communicating with you, you may just find he starts to match your breath too, breathing in and out with you so you draw energy from each other’s breath. Imagine how connected you must be for that to happen?
You could also try breathing in for 8 beats (that’s hoof beats not full strides!) and out for 8 beats. This is great way to relax either you or your horse-or both! It can be useful to practice this at home and then it is comforting exercise when you really need it out at a show or on a hack.
When you are in a rising trot and want your horse to stretch down and really use his back, I want you to rise and breath out but think –breath down-yep rise up and breath down! Just try it…….does your horse stretch down a little bit more? This is only way I know how to get a horse to stretch down!
A great way to improve your seat in the sitting trot and canter is to try breathing in for 2 strides and out for 2 strides. This may be because it helps to free up your hips which in turn can also help to free up a lazy horse but to be honest don’t think about the why’s and wherefores just accept the magic as it happens!