Sometimes we get help from the most unusual places. Once, while waiting to go into the ring with a horse, a curious little man approached me and said that he liked the way I handled my horse, and would I like to come and ride his horse. He had a jumper that he was trying to get going again. Of course, was my reply.
Well my new elfish friend did have a pretty nice horse, but even more, he gave me a tip that has been very helpful over the years.
As I worked with his horse, he noticed that I seemed tense at times. It could in part have had to do with the fact that his horse, though a very good jumper, was extremely unorthodox. He consistently orbited himself into outerspace when jumping a fence.
"Terri," he said, "you need to get the soft eye." So here it is for your benefit!
We are taught all along when riding, 'look ahead', and 'look where you're going.' But sometimes our focus gets too narrow, creating tension through the forehead. This makes the rest of you tense too! When I'm concentrating really hard I know I get the laser beam gaze going, and my facial muscles just tense right up. When we get tense so does our horse! And that's not fun.
Try getting the soft eye for yourself. Look straight ahead like you normally would. Focus hard on something in front of you. Now relax the muscles in your forehead and allow your gaze to soften. You should become more aware of things in your peripheral vision. You can still see everything in front of you, but your range of seeing and awareness has grown.
Now try narrowing your focus again. Do you feel the tension in your forehead return? Now try relaxing that focus again. Do you feel the relaxation move down your neck and into your shoulders?
Doesn't that feel better? Try it anywhere. It works on the trail, riding a course, driving your car, at work or in your home. Whenever you feel a bit tense, take a deep breath and get that soft eye going.
I am glad I met the little old man by the gate. If you found this helpful, please vote! Pinning it, liking it, or sharing it is super sweet too.
If you have any other little relaxation techniques I'd love to hear from you too!
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