I myself like many riders forget to breath! At times its holding my breath other times it’s just really short shallow breaths that restrict us from getting enough oxygen into the body.
This week it really did turn me blue.
This week I had a fantastic but very gruelling lesson with Dane Rawlins, trying to nail the half pass (We do seem to have found the magic training technique for him now) Dane kept saying breath - in my head I responded, I am...... Well it wasn't until Mr Orange reared up like a stag and I began using my breathing to calm us both down, a method Ive used for many years now. It was at this point I became ridiculously light headed and almost fell/had to get off through lack of oxygen. It was then the penny dropped, Dane was of course 100% right, I wasn't breathing properly, I wasn't taking enough oxygen in. No wonder I was struggling to focus and keep Mr Orange from exploding, I couldnt read him as well as I normally can.
Throughout the lesson everything seemed to be happening so fast and coming up so quickly, before I knew it I was missing turns - forgetting to change my diagonals. At the time I put it down to being a bit tired and trying too hard. It’s been a rough week with the very sad loss of two horses and really wanting to establish the half pass, so I really was putting in everything I had.
Once I'd realised my short shallow breathing was the problem I corrected it by counting outloud in sequences of 4s and then 6s to help give me something to focus on and manage my breathiung within each count this made things slowdown in my mind and in turn gave my body more time to prepare and react, not to mention a load more oxygen!
I think this is the very reason we managed to get a perfect half pass by the end of the lesson!