11-14-2010, 08:16 PM
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For me it depends on the horse. I find some need a good long walk for at least 20minutes on a long rein, just playing with steps of leg yield left and right to develop a little suppleness. Then I'll start to take up my reins , still asking for the stretch and a big overtracking walk, start some spirals, shoulder in, travers and walk - halt - walk transitions. Then I'll move up to a stretchy trot on a long rein, asking the horse to reach right down so it's nose is just about on the ground. Doing this over 3 loop serpentines and figure of 8's to keep changing the bend which again will increase suppleness. Then I'll throw in lots of walk - trot - walk transitions before starting some light canter work, again stretching right down.
I generally won't take up my reins and ask the horse to move into a competition frame until the last 5-10minutes of my warmup, where I'll ride a couple of the movements, then go back to a long rein walk for a couple of minutes to get them relaxed again.
I've also ridden horses that do better to go straight out and have a big canter around the whole warm up area. A nice long, stretching and biiiig canter, not a racing around, head in the air style canter! Then I'll go back and start my walk warm up.