Are nerves spoiling your riding fun? You're not alone - many riders suffer with confidence issues which makes their time in the saddle more 'clinging on' than 'kicking on.'
Thankfully there are some simple things you can do at home, at the yard and at competitions to help you stay relaxed and focused. Here we share two breathing exercises with you that can offer a simple solution to getting in a tizzy.
1. Learn to breathe easily
Practise this breathing exercise whenever your feeling in a stress (at work, at home, when traveling etc) and you'll soon reap the benefits when you try it in the saddle. The more times you do it, the better.
- Breathe in for four seconds
- Breathe out for eight seconds
- Repeat two to three times. Breathing out for longer than you breathe in will send out a relaxation signal to your mind, helping you to feel calmer. Breathe through your nose throughout the exercise as this gives you more control
2. Relieve tension
Clenching your jaw can tense up the muscles around your eyes, making tunnel vision more likely which isn't what you want when you're riding, especially if you're tackling a round of jumps. It also brings lots of tension to your shoulders, which can cause further problems with your riding. For example, you'll find sitting trot more difficult if your body is tense, and your horse will suffer too as he won't be able to move properly underneath you. Try this easy exercise to help your jaw to relax - then your body will follow.
- Drop your tongue to the bottom of your mouth
- Open your jaw slightly, so that your lips are parted
- Run your tongue between your teeth to check you're not gritting them
- Repeat as many times as you need to get you to a place of relaxation
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