Hey! Welcome back to another blog post. Today, I am talking about tension and how to release your tension in the saddle. I feel that to truly become a better rider you have to develop confidence and clarity.
I have to admit, I have had some moments of tension in my riding lessons and while working one-on-one with my horse. It’s not easy just to release those nerves or emotions. Recently, I was working with Kahari, a horse I ride, and the ride just wasn’t going the direction I wanted it to go. Kahari wasn’t responding to what I was asking her and honestly, I was getting frustrated. The more frustrated and tense I got, the more frustrated and tense Kahari got. Now, Kahari is a super sensitive horse. I only have to put a little bit of leg pressure on her and instantly she will respond. But also, if I start to get tense or get nervous, she immediately picks up on my nerves and tension. This year while working with Kahari, I have really had to learn to put my emotions and tension away and come into a ride in the neutral zone. The neutral zone basically means no emotion or tension. There are pros and cons to riding a sensitive horse, but let me tell you, Kahari has taught me a lot. I honestly feel that I have become a better rider because of her.
This past weekend, I attended a dressage clinic taught by my trainer. I was planning on riding Kahari and honestly the ride a couple days before didn’t go that well. So, I wasn’t sure how this ride was going to go. But my plan was to come into the clinic as relaxed as possible. In the end, I felt that I had a much better ride than a couple days before. I felt much more relaxed and I know Kahari benefited from that as well.
I feel that to become a better rider, the first step is recognizing your tension and nervousness in the saddle. Even if it is just a little bit, it still can affect your horse. Again, your horse mirrors your actions. The minute you are tense, they are tense as well. Once you are able to recognize your tension, you are able to find a way to fix it. The biggest tip that I have learned through all of this is remembering to breathe. Sometimes when I am riding, I catch myself having stopped breathing. So, when you are riding focus on your breathing. What I found, is that when I bring my heartrate down, Kahari calms down as well. Always remember this tip because it is definitely beneficial to you and your horse! Until next time… don’t forget to hug your horse!
What is your tip to releasing tension in the saddle?