So this may not interest a lot of people, but I was reading an article in the november issue of Equus that just came out about breathing, for the rider. This article grabbed my attention because I have been working hard on my seat recently and strenghtening my abdominals and lenghtening my seat.
The article started talking about how most of our breathing is done by the diaphragm, and if we are hunched over, or whatever, then we can't properly use those muscles. The author was saying how a rider can literally "breathe" herself into a tall and better position by using your diaphgram.
A horse can feel when we are tense or relaxed just by how we are breathing. This is also how horses alert others to danger. If they are tense or snort, etc., there is danger, but if they relax their head, and lengthen their neck downwards and sigh, they are saying that danger is past.
They're were 7 key breathing things which the article talked about...
1. "Breath down" to deepen your seat
When your breathe downwards it helps lower your center of gravity and makes you feel safe and secure.
2. Breath for relaxationa and calming
3. Breathe for rhythm
4. Take a "power breath"
This helps to deepen your seat, engage your core muscles, and puts power into your seat, legs and attitude. It can help protect your lower back, also useful when lifting heavy objects.
They say to first say "hiss" as you exhale, and eventually you'll be able to do it without that noise. You should feel your spine lengthen, your seat deepen, your shoulders drop, and your legs drop down around your horse.
5. Breathe over jumps and poles. (something I forget to do : ) )
6. Breathe to engage your core muscles and protect your back.
7. Breathe your horse to a halt.
This article was extremely interesting and motivating. This can also be applied to every day things. The more relaxed your breathing is the more relaxed you'll be, and people around you will be, and the more worried and quick your breathing gets, the more other people's will be too.