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This is a discussion on Warm-up within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Why horse walk around in a circle to warm up
  • Going from walk to canter in a warm up

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    09-05-2011, 01:24 PM

Hello everyone!

What do you guys do for warm up? Any dicipline is fine.

I was just wanting to try some new things to get my pony warmed up, and wanted to see what everyone else does.
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    09-05-2011, 02:44 PM
My warm-up is entirely dependent upon how the horse feels that day. For one horse, the general routine is walk about 5 minutes, pick up the canter and go around in a half-seat to loosen him up. He usually comes out a little stiff, though, and I've found that he warms up best at the canter. For another horse I ride, I'll usually walk around with figure-eights, half-circles, and switching up the bent a bit. Sometimes I'll work in halts, just to get him in a better frame of mind. If a horse comes out feeling stiff bending-wise, I might do some shoulder-in/haunches-in, or a shallow serpentine with a circle at x. I try to warm up their mind, as well as their body, so I try not to just walk, trot, and canter around the ring.
So honestly, it all depends on the horse for me. I also don't just have a set "warm-up time", it just kind of merges into something else, like a more challenging exercise, when I feel like the horse is ready for it.
Haha that probably didn't help much :P. But I use a lot of circles, figure eights, lateral work, serpentines, etc.
    09-05-2011, 03:03 PM
I usually walk around for a little bit, and do some should/haunches in, spirals, and leg yields, to get them loose and bendy.

I'll trot for at least ten to fifteen minutes. One lap each direction, then I'll do some serpentines, trot poles, leg yields, and lots of transitions.

Canter about four laps each lead, with some circles and single ground poles incorporated.

That's my normal warm up, on a regular day for flatting. I do that fir english and western both.
    09-05-2011, 06:20 PM
Walk in different directions around the ring for 5 minutes, then walk with some halt transitions, serpentine's, circles and some leg yielding for another 10 minutes to make sure he's responding to my cues. Then posting trot for 5 minutes, then sitting trot then back to posting trot and then the canter. Basically, I do about a 20 minute warm up. Better safe than sorry!
    09-05-2011, 09:42 PM
I do a LOT of warm up so bare with me ;D I start by hand walking one or two laps. This is more for me than her.. Then I stretch her legs and neck on the ground. (saddle/tack checks..) then when I'm on I walk one lap then incorporate transitions into the walk. I do stop>walk transitions, stop,back,walk transitions, fast to slow, etc. And I also do small circles, big circles, walk across the ring etc.
I basically do the same at the trot, only.. trotting! Haha the first lap I let her trot comfortably at whatever speed for a lap, then I add in transitions.. same as the walk, only I add in walking to the mix as well! (so walking, stopping, backing, trotting, fast & slow). Also, when I'm in an extra flatting mood, I do some intro dressage tests. After about 6-8 min of walking and trotting and doing a lot of circling, extending, collecting, etc etc I add canter and basically do the same things. I do a LOT of 20 meter circling and figure eights at the canter. I also do clock transitions, like trot at 3 o clock, canter at 6, trot at 9, canter at 12, etc.
Sometimes I add in ground poles and Xs to the warm up and do the same things only with ground poles in the way xD ahah
Hope that helps! :)
    09-10-2011, 07:52 AM
Circles, serpentines and moving sideways off the leg at walk, trot and canter. I'm a jumper but we do regular flat sessions. Transitions, and lots of them, both within the paces and between them. Monty gets REALLY hot and forward if we canter too much so with him it'll be halt, walk, halt, trot, halt, walk, canter, walk, trot, halt, trot, halt, walk, halt, walk, canter, walk, trot, walk, halt, trot, etc. My coach has us doing figure-eights at canter with simple changes in the middle but that heats Monty up so we can only do a couple of eights before it's back to the transitions.

Oh, also, there is a lot of backing up in there. Monty goes from back to canter with really subtle forward aids and it's awesome to ride, SO much fun. It also heats him up though so we can't do it too much. But halt, back, halt, walk, halt, back, trot, back... yeah, it's great for both of us. Good for my balance and coordination, and it keeps him listening.

When we're jumping, he gets even more forward/hot, so we'll do figure eights in front of a jump and then when he's listening and calm we go over it. He is a very eager jumper so I'm not going to teach him to refuse or run out, and circles/figure eights keep him listening and at a steady speed. He is very forward when we're jumping and has bolted with me twice because he was SO excited, got too forward, and then had an OMFG moment (we think he expects to be beaten when he knows he's done wrong - a few owners ago he was neglected and I wouldn't put it past people like that to abuse a horse).

Once we've warmed up and got going on the transitions, if I'm riding right, Monty gives me his back, and it's just amazing. If we don't do the transitions, he tends to get a little strung out and flat.

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