4 Tips On Breathing To Help You Relax When Riding Your Horse

The simplest, quickest, way to find relaxation on your horse is to BREATHE. Here are 4 quick tips to help you with your breathing.

Now, I know you’re breathing or you wouldn’t be reading this! But are you breathing in a way that promotes relaxation?

1. Let’s find out. First, let’s dissect what you do when you inhale. Stand up. Take in a really deep breath. Did your shoulders go up? If they did, you’re just breathing in your upper chest. And there’s always tension associated with breathing like that.

To inhale correctly, put one hand on your stomach and the other hand on your shoulder. Inhale. Let your stomach expand and get “fat” while you keep your shoulders DOWN. By doing so, you’re lowering your diaphragm and taking in a really deep breath.

2. Now, exhale. Sit in a chair. Inhale as you did above. When you exhale, keep your back straight (don’t slouch), and feel your butt getting heavier on the chair.

3. Now let’s bring this breathing technique to your riding with one addition—visualization.

Walk around on your horse. Inhale keeping your shoulders down and letting your stomach get “fat”. As you exhale, feel your seat getting heavier in the
saddle, and visualize that your butt is dissolving into your horse’s barrel. In your mind’s eye, pretend you’re a mythical centaur.

By the way, this is the last thing I do when I circle the arena before I go down the centerline in competition. I take 3 deep breaths. It’s a sure-fire way
to keep those show nerves in check.

4. Sing! Or you can hum or whistle. It all comes back to breathing. You can’t sing, hum or whistle without breathing.

Promoting relaxation when you ride your horse is as simple as that. The better you breathe, the more quickly you’ll relax. For more tips and 2 free videos on horseback rider confidence and relaxation.


  1. Meg Skerchak says

    Hi Jane,

    I have your “Freedom From Fear” program and have started listening to it again. I was wondering how to handle this situation. I desperately want to ride on trails with my thoroughbred mare, Daisy, but she doesn’t have a lot of experience on trails and I’m not very confident. The other day I hand walked her around the pasture of geldings – they started running, bucking, rearing, etc and she was out of control. She spun around in front of me and hopped up like she was trying to rear. I tried to be calm and tried to get her to walk forward but she’d just keep spinning in front of me with head way up and nostrils flared, snorting. This is the kind of behavior that I worry about on a trail. I couldn’t imagine what I’d do if I had been riding her and this happened. Something similar happened when I was riding her. I got off as soon as I stopped her and cried all the way back to the barn because I felt like such a coward. She’s a very good mare – not very spooky or hot – but I just can’t seem to shake these fears I have. My friend says the more I ride through these kind of episodes, the more I’ll see I can do it and become more confident. I agree, but I’m afraid I may get hurt trying to ride through. And I know she senses my tension – how do you overcome that when you’re panicking inside? I’m almost to the point where I feel I may never overcome these fears and lack of confidence and may give up riding. I just love it so much and it has helped me in many other ways. I’d appreciate any advice you can give me. Thanks so much.

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