How do you work out a horse during a training session? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 06-17-2010, 11:10 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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For us, I guess it's about 15 minutes of W/T/C warmup before we do anything I would consider work. I do at least a 5 minute loose rein walk warmup, incorporate shallow serpentines for flexion while we're walking, followed by trotting in half seat since he takes a long time to loosen up his back. We then canter both directions for another 5 minutes or so, take a loose rein walk break and then move onto the real work.

Our realy work usually lasts about 30 minutes. I'm working on getting him to use his back and hind end better, so we do lots of transition work. He loves to canter and finds trotting a lot of work, so I use his love of cantering to work on his trot. We play trot-canter-trot a lot. The game is only as many "good" steps of either gait before we transition to the other one. We always start with canter to get the forward going. As soon as he starts to fall onto his forhand, we switch to trot. He usually tries to jump back up into canter on his own a few times, but once he commits to the trot and keeps the forward going, it produces a fabulous trot and his reward is to transition back to canter. When we're really smokin', we transition every 8 strides or so. It's by far my favorite training game.

I actually like a good forward canter before the walking cool down step. I feel like it lets him stretch everything out. He's always so loosey-goosey after a good canter. I use the end walk part to incorporate some leg cue only bending and suppling work. I never mix up the warmup part, but I do use it to figure out what the work part will comprise of. I never go in with a set idea of what we're going to work on since he usually has a different idea than me anyway!

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post #12 of 20 Old 06-17-2010, 11:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Texas
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For the most part, right now, I'm just trying to get Willie back into shape. It's actually a perfect time to do it because I just moved into a new house with some property and there are little trails through the neighborhood next to us that go in between all the houses over relatively flat terrain, then it opens out into a field where people have made smaller bike trails over some little hills and inclines, which eventually leads down to the lake. I can easily spend 45 minutes trotting him around, which is exactly what he needs, especially over the varying terrain. While we're walking along the road I'll ask him to pick up some light contact and do leg yields, serpentines, and turn on the haunches. Generally he's a bit distracted when we first get out so those really help to get him focused and supple.

When it comes to cantering/trotting right away, I firmly believe in a good warm up before doing too much. Then again, the horses I've worked with have all needed that warm up to really get ready to do anything. I generally start off with the horse on a fairly loose rein, asking them to stretch down into the contact while maintaining a nice, forward working walk. When they're consistently stretching for me I'll pick up the contact and ask them to carry themselves in a long frame and pick up the trot. Depending on their behavior in the trot I'll begin to ask them for more. It really depends on when they've mentally warmed up. Throughout all of this I do a lot of circles and other figures that require them to stretch and bend accordingly, to help supple them up and get them paying attention.

For Willie, the longer he's worked the better he gets. My warm ups for lessons with him were generally 30-45 minutes, longer for my dressage lessons because, as I said, the longer he's worked the better he is, and I wanted my lessons to be productive instead of taking up half the time trying to get him ready for more advanced movements. Jumping lessons I didn't spend as much time mostly because it was far easier for him mentally and he didn't need to prepare as much for them. Whereas the Oldenburg, Donald, I rode for about a year needed a far longer warmup for jumping than he did for dressage.

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post #13 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 12:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Ontario
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I usually do a lot of my work on the trails. I have an outdoor arena to ride in but both Storm and I find it boring. Not to say we don't do arena work, it's just I do the majority of my training on the trails. I ride western so use a long loose rein but I do like to pick up the contact to make him frame up more like an english horse as well. We work at both so he knows the difference for when we move to english.

When I start I usually start walking for about 5ish minutes, then we jog for a bit. Once we pass the creek we go for a good long lope/canter. For a long time I had trouble keeping him slower as he loves to run but now that we are riding more he will pick up an easy lope 9 times out of 10. When we lope the first time we may do some leg yeilds both ways to get him listening to me a bit. Once we really get into the ride then I like to do a lot of simple lead changes on the straight. Storm is 3 so we aren't to the point where he is doing flying changes but that will come as he gets better with the simple changes. When we get into the one bush then we do a lot of bending work and hill work. We do these trails either at a trot or lope depending on how much we have loped and how hot it is. We also work on shoulder in, hip in (probably not the right terms), leg yeilds, turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand, roll backs, transitions walk-lope; walk-jog; jog-lope; lope-walk; lope-jog; lope-stop; jog-stop; stop-jog; stop-lope.

Basically everything you would do in the arena we do on the trails, including opening gates and going over bridges.
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post #14 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 02:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Well, right now I'm preparing for a hunter pleasure class so aside from out walk, trot, canter, canter from walk, stop from canter... I'm working on headset and flexing at the poll. Also, I'm bending her in circles, backing, and disengaging both the hind & forequarters just to get her soft and supple.

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post #15 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 02:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
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It depends on the horse I'm on.

Hugo's workout usually goes like this.
I always incorporate a lot of walk into every ride. I'll get on and just walk for 10-15 minutes. Starting on a long rein letting the horse stretch out, wide turns across the arena just from my seat, then take up my reins a little and start some leg yielding on both reins, and a little rein back.

Once he's reactive to my seat and leg, I'll pick up a big stretchy trot. I want his nose reaching towards the ground with a light, elastic contact always encouraging him to lengthen from the wither and come into the bridle. Same deal as in walk, keeping the tempo I'll start some big sweeping turns across the arena from my seat onto, some serpentines from my seat and then some leg yield onto and off of the track.

Then millions of trot-walk-trot transitions. I'll put them in every few strides, as soon as he reaches into he bridle for a few steps in either gait I'll change it until he is thinking sharp and his hind legs are starting to get moving.

I'll walk him out again on a fairly long rein for 5 minutes.

Then pick up trot on a 20m circle and ask him to come up a little shorter in his frame, leg yield in and out on the circle. I have recently started playing with him in shoulder fore so will throw some of that into the mix at this stage of the session. Transitions within the gaits are so important, so I will alternate between working trot and heading out towards a medium without losing the rhythm. He's still very green at this stage so only working on baby steps at the moment :)

When he's swinging and reactive on trot, I'll give him a little play in canter depending on how he's travelling. He's not very confident in canter at this stage, and panics a little into the transitions so I'm babying him into it at the moment to help his confidence. So put him on a smallish circle, leg yield out to get the bend I want, and them ask from the leg yield and he picks it up softly almost every time now.

Back to some loose stretchy trot on a long elastic rein around the outside of the arena for a few minutes, then walk him out on a loose rein for around 10 minutes.

Of course my rides vary depending on what I'm working on, but the basic structure is the same, in the middle section once he's mastered something I'll ramp it up to the next level and demand a little more from him. I don't want to overload his brain at this stage as he's such a kind, willing horse, I don't want to abuse that.
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post #16 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
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If i am going cross country my warm up consists of a trot down a 2minute lane then straight into canter gallop and jumoing its good and fast!

For dressage and jumping i start with a long walk on a loose rein for 5minutes. Then start asking for halt every few strides and do circles serpentines etc.

I then pick up the contact and move up into it continung to walk-halt-walk.

After about 10 mins if walking i begin into a nice working trot regularly walking ND HALTING DOING CIRCLES AND SERPINTINES.

I then start to work on my imaginary 3qurter line(i only have a field to ride in1) ANd just play around fixing what needs to be fixed.

After say half an hour i begin to canter doing all the same moves in cante as in trot.

I im jumping i will sart pole work and cross poles before doing one or two jumps then i will do another 10 ins dressage and finishe off with A course of poles on the ground doing lead changes tempo etc.

My horse can juump any height when she wants our problem is between fences hence why i rarely do them until we get our pole work down.

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post #17 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Howell, MI
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Right now my workout with my mare is way different than ever before. We are in training for western pleasure...
First i take her around the arena at a working walk, while fixing her headset. Once she has a rythme going for at least once around the arena and holds her headset i move her into a jog. At the jog its a bit more difficult for her to slow down so it starts as a trot then i bump her down to a jog. Then i get her to find her headset yet again, and contiune to bump her down into a jog waiting for her to find some rythme. If she makes it around the arena once with want i want her to do i move into the lope. Recently i have been working on getting her left lead so i have been working on a lot of bending. At the lope if she picks up her left lead twice then im done with our workout. It normally takes about 1-2 hours. She aint no fatty;D From winter to now we have had to change her girth 3 times from a 34 to a 30! its all muscle.

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Last edited by ToHotToTrot; 06-18-2010 at 11:23 AM.
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post #18 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Canada
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I find it depends entirely on which horse I'm working with, and how I'm feeling on a day.

I will generally incorporate ground work and riding work, how much time I spend on each will depend on the horse and how well we accomplish the goals.

There are days when I'd rather stay on the ground and just work on stuff from there - for whatever reason... there are also days when I don't do the groundwork at all and just saddle up and go... other days still where we head off to explore new places and do our work without the ring.

I guess you could say I don't really have a 'routine'... variety is the spice of life!
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post #19 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 12:27 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
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With my guy Nelson, since he's 21 I take the effort to ensure that our warmup's are effective for 20 minutes.

I do alot of walk work first, starting out on a loose rein asking Nelson to stretch down and track up and lift his back up. Even at a loose rein, my horse still works.

Then I start to shorten my reins and start doing 20 meter circles, serpentines, , shoulder in's, shoulder out's, half passes. When his muscles have warmed up, and stretched, we move into trot work and work on our transitions from walk to trot, trot to walk.

Keeping his back lifted and tracking up and getting him to stretch into contact.

I always work both ways, what you do on one side, you must do on the other.

Then Canter work is incorporated, primarily transition work. Upward and downward.

Then I leave it at that. I'll take him out on a hack aftarwards at the walk.

When we are out hacking, I do alot of sets for conditioning, ensuring that he is using himself properly - and me. When you are riding, you must be working just as much as your horse, you as the rider must be doing your part of the work load.

So I work on my position, ensuring that I am correct *try to at least, hard when you don't have eyes on the ground helping you* I work on my two point, my three point, and making sure my core is activated.

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post #20 of 20 Old 06-18-2010, 03:43 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
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^Exactly. My dresage instructor says that "if it's easy, it's wrong."

With Geof, he's on a strict schedual. Mondays and Thursadays we have lessons with my coach, which are usually HARD CORE dressage (like, no breaks, fixing EVERY issue until it's perfect), or jumping. So Basically I follow what she says then. Then every 4 days I do trot and gallop sets to keep his conditioning up. Every other day is dressage dressage dressage. No horse/rider combintaion is complete without dressage in my eyes. I get on and imediatly go into trot work. Then some canter work, then I pick him up and start doing things like collection, extension, leg yeilds, stretching, 20m, 15m, and 10m circles, flying and simple changes, shoulder fore, turns on the haunches, etc.

With Blue it's just getting the basics for dressage down right now.

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