Bentley was chronically uptight under saddle. Becky had improved this by exercising him for about 20 mins, but was seeking a better solution because this seemed to be needed at the start of every session, no matter what she tried.
Somewhere along the line Bentley had learned to "stuff" his concerns inwardly. He was not prone to blowing up or other big drama, but had a very hard time reaching a true calm and relaxed state. He went along with a huge heart and try, while holding his breath and a rigid tightness through his whole body.
We used this simple exercise right at the start of the session that day, the first time we worked together.
The biggest takeaway from this is how finding a way to relax and breathe was in fact Bentley's absolute top priority in life. This makes sense actually, for any horse. Why? Horses are wired for flight (or contained flight in this case) when there is a perceived threat or concern, yes, but they are not wired to keep this energy output going for a long time. They want two main things. First, to "go back to grazing" as Linda Kohanov puts it, or live life in a relaxed, peaceful state after a concern has expired, so to speak. Second, they do not want to keep using flight energy unnecessarily - otherwise how would they run if a true threat popped up and they had to save themselves.
At the end (which unfortunately you can't hear on the video), Becky was commenting how she could feel the change throughout his entire body. She felt a deep inner release and his back lift her up under her saddle (a tight horse will generally move with a tight, hollow back). Watch closely for the visual clues to this deeper change Becky felt up close from the saddle.
The full video clip of this exercise from start to finish, including refining Becky's initial attempts and not getting everything perfect on the reins (the point being as I always say... you don't have to be perfect, you just have to come from the right place, do things well enough, enough of the time, for long enough, and your horse will take notice), was 2-3 minutes.