I’ve been reading a book for my hypnotherapy course and in it was a tip about how to reduce mind chatter. As being present with my horse is a big part of making our communication possible, I thought I’d try this little tip to quieten my mind whilst I was with Bronson. It simply involves putting your tongue into the roof of your mouth. Simple! Apparently this works because the areas of the brain linked to speech and language are also linked to the areas that control your lips, jaw and tongue. So there I was with my tongue in the roof of my mouth getting Bronson tacked up ready for our hack when he started swishing his tail violently, threw his head up in the air and was lifting his back legs. In the end I stopped what I was doing and started looking for the, presumably, horse fly that was causing such a ruckus. I’m such a townie! It’s not even the horse fly season….
Pip was getting Spartaca tacked up and looked over to see what was going on. She then called out “it’s not a fly, it’s you! I don’t know what it is that you’re doing to annoy him, but it’s definitely something you are doing”. Well, the only thing I was doing differently was having my tongue in the roof of my mouth. I mentioned this to Pip and she said “So what is that doing to your breathing?”, I checked in with myself and realised I was shallow breathing. I always make a point of having a relaxed tongue and belly breathing when I am riding, although I don’t much think about it the rest of the time if I’m honest. I immediately relaxed my tongue and did some belly breathing. Like magic, Bronson went from having his head up in the air, thrashing his tail and lifting his legs to lowering his head and standing quietly. I was stunned!
That such a small thing could make such an enormous difference to my horse really surprised me. His reaction was so strong! I thought I had an appreciation of how sensitive horses are, but clearly they are even more sensitive still! Suffice to say from here on in I will be mindful of having a relaxed tongue and belly breathing all the time and not just when I am riding. I really do learn something new every day at Pippsway!