Q: Hi Carole, I’ve enjoyed your past tips, and my horse and I are taking trail rides in Cavallo boots! I appreciate your ideas to help me listen to my horse and do what feels right for his care. With so much stress about COVID-19, the economy, and everything, what advice do you have to stay calm and peaceful while you’re riding? I want to approach my rides with calmness instead of finally relaxing once we’re half done!
Cavallo President Carole Herder shares her thoughts….
A: Deep breathing is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to connect to the present time. By not ruminating about the past or projecting into your future, you can remain attentive, alert, and responsive. This allows a better connection with your horse. Breathing is something you can easily focus on to stop whatever is rushing through your mind and instantly become present. Breathing deeply helps you get centered, connected, and focused. Horses really like us this way. It creates a sense of certainty and it feels rhythmic, just like a good gait.
In these times of uncertainty, breathing is an important tool to cultivate. Most of us never even think about it, but you don’t get far without it. Physically, you are filling your system with fresh oxygen and flushing out toxins, both of which help you function better at the cellular level. What I also love about conscious breathing is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, and for any amount of time. When you focus on breathing, your mind calms down, your body relaxes and your whole system takes a reprieve from anxiety. I use this simple exercise, which I practiced every day until I got it right. Now it’s easy to conjure up whenever I feel stress welling up. In these COVID days, that’s often.
Try this: 1: Be still, 2: Close your eyes (unless you’re driving), 3: Take a deep breath in for the count of five (5), 4: Hold it for a count of seven (7), 5: Release it for a count of seven (7).
Repeat this several times, each time taking in and releasing more air than you thought you could. And remember you are releasing a little more than you take in, to get rid of as much toxicity and stale air as possible. This little exercise invigorates your body and improves your mental state. When we are feeling constricted, we are tense, we hold our breath or even forget to breathe. There’s no need for it.
In fact, connecting to your rhythmic breathing can take you to the next level in performance with your horse or anything else you do. Finding the rhythm pushes you and allows you to do more than you think you can, sometimes without even being aware of it. Have you ever been at the gym on the treadmill or on a bike and you’re working out at a normal pace; then you pop in your earbuds, turn on a high octane playlist, and next thing you know you’re running faster or longer than you thought you could?
Every November, there’s an annual Hunt here in my neighborhood. It’s a traditional fox hunt with dogs chasing the scent of a fox and the horses and riders following suit across logs, through creeks and around old-growth forest. The excitement of the pack of dogs with the horses and riders is pretty stimulating. Consistently horses and their riders get caught up in the emotion and tempo of the ride and end up taking a higher-level trail and jump than they intended. Both individually and in concert with their horse they are swept into pushing their performance to the next level. Next time you ride, pay special attention to the beat and you will resonate with the natural cadence of your horse. The rhythm will catch you, creating a deeper connection, and allowing freedom of movement that takes your experience and his to a new level.
Breathing is not only relaxing, but it is also stimulating. It helps you connect better with your horse. Conscious breathing is an essential element for elevating your performance and calming your mind. And you already have all the equipment. No expense required.
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Cavallo President Carole Herder is the author of the #1 International Bestseller, There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven, and the newly released Hoofprints on The Journey. She has been involved in horse health since 1993. Her company, Cavallo Horse & Rider Inc., develops, manufactures and distributes horse products in 26 countries. Herder designed and developed Cavallo Hoof Boots and Total Comfort System Saddle Pads. She presents trainings around the world to teach the benefits of keeping horses in a natural state. Herder is an honored recipient of the Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She is a member of the Women’s Presidents Organization, supporting female entrepreneurs in every industry.
Visit https://www.cavallo-inc.com to learn about the full line of Cavallo Hoof Boots. Call (877) 818-0037 from the USA or Canada or call direct, (604) 740-0037.
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