Continuing my series, started HERE, of little things that we do when riding which can really make a difference.
This one came from a sports psychologist:
A relaxed jaw (in the rider, not the horse!) has a really positive effect on the upper body. If you tighten the jaw, your front, your shoulders (and as a consequence, your arms) become really tense. If you ride with a smile (even a fake one!) you can feel the shoulders immediately relax. Or, if that’s too much, just slightly your open mouth so your jaw isn’t tense, like the rider in the picture, shown riding an exemplary uphill canter at Badminton 2014.
It’s worth experimenting with, as it’s a good way to help settle a tense horse by subtly managing your own tension well.