Secrets of Energy, Breathing and Core Stability

Jenny 1- 17

By Jenny Rolfe

Several years ago if someone had told me that they could gain response from a horse by becoming aware of breathing and levels of energy, I may have been extremely sceptical. Without much thought, I was placing my human limitations on the mind and sensitivity of the horse. 

I discovered that when the rider enhances a natural pattern of deeper core breathing together with more grounded energy; it instigates an immediate and profound response from the horse. If the rider is disciplined and consistent with this practice, it will not only enhance general health and wellbeing but also open the doors for further exploration. This practice can become a life-changing and profound experience as the rider undertakes a journey of self-discovery. This experience will lead to deeper connection with the horse, on every level. The rider will feel empowered to explore the many possibilities that will be revealed. The study of natural posture awareness and breathing will become a journey towards lightness and harmonious balance.

The power of breathing has a direct affect on how the human and equine body can function. Shallow, tense breathing results in tightness of muscles and limbs which restricts both mobility and coordination. The rider has so much to focus on, that if her body is restricted by shallow breathing, she cannot fulfill her aspirations of relaxed harmonious riding. I am very aware of this as I used to experience times when I was tight and unyielding when riding. I thought that I needed a more highly qualified trainer to help me, yet I now realise that first I needed more awareness of how I was sitting and breathing.

Once we begin to master our own state of mind, tension and balance, we will be in a place where we can more easily be taught, by both a trainer and the horse. We will be able to respond more effectively with fluidity within our body and greater focus of our mind.

It is possible to look aesthetically correct in a good position but the rider cannot be totally effective unless there is a true connection and energy exchange between himself and the horse.

If we can gain an understanding of core breathing, it will help us to achieve more poise, posture and core stability within our riding. There will be insufficient control over the important muscles of the abdominal area if we only breathe into the ribcage and chest muscles. If we inhale and exhale, using lateral breathing, thus using correct abdominal muscles, then a core of stability will be created. This will help us to locate our correct centre of gravity and balance.

In my first book, Ride from the Heart, I covered a logical progression of training from loose work through to more advanced classical riding. Since I wrote that book I have had the privilege of teaching students and clients from many different countries and shared mutual experiences of life and horses. Sometimes I would be asked a question, which made me dig deeper to give a simpler explanation of technique.

Students wanted to know why breathing awareness had such a profound impact on both humans and equines. Not only were they looking for answers but also a depth of understanding that would enable them to instigate a more harmonious connection with their own horses.

One of my clients had travelled to China to study Tai Chi and Chi Gong. He remarked that my clinics were very similar to a Tai Chi Master’s class.

My experience had been gathered from my relationship with horses, who had become my teachers. I had not undertaken any formal training for these techniques. I felt, though, it would be beneficial to gather more information by reading the principles of Tai Chi and the subtle energy of breathing. I found that I had been on a journey akin to these philosophies – which really proves the truth within them – that connect us with nature.

The journey for me has raised my awareness and stimulated much emotion as I have watched people working with my stallions. Some students have left us with a greater sense of ‘self’ and connection, whilst for other people it has proved empowering and life enhancing. My horses have taken them to a deeper level in their life and helped them to find for themselves a meaningful path, which frequently meant a change of direction in their lives or the undertaking of a new challenge.

Fear is the opposite emotion to personal mastery and empowerment. If we lack confidence then we may be giving the horse signals of our fear. Often we are not aware of this. Personal development does not mean to gain false ego but a humble and open mind, prepared to expand, experiment and grow.

“Breathe Life Into Your Riding” has been written to help the rider, not only to ride in good posture and balance but also to cultivate a deep sense of connection and feel. We look at subtle energy and how the senses of the horse are tuned in to a deeper level. Mankind, on the other hand, uses more verbal communication and is not conscious of the many other dimensions that can create a connection.

The book looks at exercises to build awareness and core breathing from the ground. Riding becomes not only a physical activity but one which enhances us and our horses mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

Throughout the chapters, I guide the reader towards the many possibilities of connection through loose work. This will lay the foundation of trust in the relationship both as a friend and a rider. When we learn to ride with trust, we can ‘let go’ and connect from our core with more lightness in our minds, hands and hearts. It is amazing how many of us without thinking will only offer the horse heavy hearts, hands and minds. Allowing hands often come from an allowing mind.

There is much responsibility here for the rider to become disciplined and develop personal awareness. I encourage the rider to take full responsibility for this and reap the rewards of a more harmonious relationship with the horse.

Many people have said to me that they wished they had known these ‘secrets’ many years ago. Hence, my goals have been to pass on the deeper levels of communication that the horse has revealed to me.

My quest is to enhance quality of life and connection for the good of the horse and the soul of the rider.

About Jenny Rolfe

Jenny is a Classical trainer who teaches people looking for a deeper empathic connection with their horse. Students travel from across the world to learn the art of communication through breath-heart-energy awareness with Jenny and her stallions.

Jenny writes regular articles for leading equestrian magazines in the UK, Europe, Egypt, Australia and the USA.

 Thank you to publishers JA Allen for granting permission to share these methods taken from Jenny’s latest book “Breathe Life Into Your Riding” available now from www.allenbooks.co.uk

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