Centered Riding & Breathing To The Rescue


Riley and I got out for a bareback ride a couple days ago. The goal was some exercise and some foraging for grass through the snow. We ride these woods and neighboring fields year-round, avoiding the two known ground hog holes in the far field. Unfortunately, we discovered a 3rd one on this ride.

Suddenly Riley’s right front leg disappeared, dropping him completely down onto his left knee……..and then the scramble started! Time seemed to stand still, as is often the case in these types of situations. I sat pondering my dismount because it was clear to me that we were both going down in some unknown fashion. Suddenly, Riley rose up beneath me and continued walking along calmly like nothing happened.
I was filled with relief that we were both upright and he seemed to be uninjured.

What I found so interesting was the visceral reaction my body had to this event. My lizard brain was triggered and I found my heart racing as we walked along. I don’t even remember the last time I felt like this on a horse. It was such a good lesson for me because I work with many anxious riders who are trying to overcome these feelings. I was able to practice what I preach……deep breathing and returning to the present moment. In addition to my wonderful horse, I credit my Centered Riding background for staying on top.

For over 25 years now I have taught students about breath being their most important tool. It is always the place to return to, during daily life, in crisis and for just trying to be in the present moment.
If you are interested in learning about how breath and mindfulness can lead you to more safe, enjoyable experiences there are several lessons and exercises in my book, Open Heart, Open Mind-A Pathway to Rediscovering Horsemanship. You can order your copy on this website. Just click on “Shopping”. Ride safe and enjoy the journey.

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