Warming your horse up.....
Do you warm your horse up? Do you do it properly? I mean slowly supplying all parts of your horses body (and mind?) rather than getting on, trotting on stiff circle and breaking into a hard run lope?
Recently I've watched the young'uns at the barn, jump on, race a few laps of the arena and put their (sometimes expensive) horses away........now someones horse has a serious injury (torn ligament of sorts) that requires 12 months rest.......also don't ask me about the jumping Daddy's horse while he's wearing sliding plates either.....sorry, sounds like a rant.....but I'm wondering, honestly, does everyone take the time to warm up or is a 'young wanna have fun' thing to just jump on and go???
I suspect that many teenagers are never really taught the importance of a proper warmup, or disregard it entirely, just to have some fun and not having any concerns of the horse as of a living, feeling creature. Those are bad work ethics in my world.
After my horse has been groomed and tacked up (I also groom with massaging movements to help his circulation), I take him for a quick lunging or groundwork session - just to see how is he moving and to check for anything that might be off. If everything seems alright, I mount and at first do a lap on loose reins, at an active walk. Afterwards, I take my time to flex him, go some circles and figure-eights, first at walk, then at working trot. After 20 minutes or so, we are ready to work, however, I always keep in mind that he might be stiffer one day or another, so it might take more or less time, depending on the circumstances. Also, I always warm up longer if the weather is colder or if heavier work is planned.
i warm up a lot differently than others at my barn lol
i usually walk a lap or 2 on a loose rein, then pick up a trot on a loose rein for a few laps and just let her trot out. i dont correct her or change her at all as long as she is straight in her body and not heavy on her forehand.
then i come down to the walk and start some bending exercises, like very small serpentines and figure 8s, maybe some leg yield.
then i go to the trot and do some bending there, then work on stretching down at the trot, then work on shortening and lengthening the trot then canter.
thats pretty much my basic warm up/ride. it takes however long it takes depending on how shes going.
It depends, sometimes when I ride its just around the farm to do my chores, so all she's doing is walking and I don't worry about it.
But if we're going on a long ride or doing anything more than a walk than I do a warmup of sorts. Nothing fancy, I walk her for about a mile, I do a few small circles both ways, then I'll trot for a little while too make sure nothing is 'off', I can usually tell that right away, before we even begin warming up, though.
Oh and I do massages before and after a ride like Saranda.
If I plan to do any jumping, I take her at a slow canter about a lap around my pond which is a couple acres, and go over poles *which are actually used waterlines, haha, had to improvise when you've no money* And as they are about a foot tall it encourages her to pick her feet up and think about what she is doing. I don't lounge personally, so if we do any groundwork its on a normal lead line and I do some backing up, basic moving away from pressure to get her listening to me.
I warm up if I plan on doing more than walk trot. We do some bending and circles etc. Walking, then trotting, then we move on to whatever we're working on that day. I think warm ups are pretty standard if you were taught traditionally. I have a friend who's one of those "get on and go" riders, and we've been doing weekly lessons to try and help with that.
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It just happens that the way conditions are when we trail ride, it naturally has walk and trot areas, in fact it's mostly that. We do some cantering on the way home but then we're back down to walking the last half mile.
I warm my horses up firstly by stretching her on the ground before i even saddle her. Mainly because it helps the Chiro have less to do when he comes as my mare gets out of align VERY easily. Then when i ride her i walk her until she calms down. She's very high energy and likes to try to go a lot faster than i like. So when she slows down andgets mentally ready ill ask for a trot and let her do the same that way. Then ill go the other direction.
At my barn we have certain exercises we need to do in our warm up. Ususally we start with one or two laps around the arena making sure the horse is round and light on the bit. Then we walk down the long sides of the rail and push the horses' hip in while keeping the head,neck and shoulders in a straight line with the rail. After that we generally two-track across the arena to switch sides. After that we then get into bending and counter bending in a straight line, then we jog or trot and do the bending a counter bending on a straight line and then switch to bending in circles. We then do some small circles winding down without letting the horses spin and lastly turn on the forehands.
Thats pretty much it, it gets interesting with 6 horses and the coach all doing it in the indoor arena.
I always start with at least 10 minutes of walking, because I'm 54, my hips are tight, and I need to loosen up!
If we are going to stay in an arena, then we do big circles before doing any smaller circles, and work our way up in speed. Again, even if my horse doesn't need it, I do!
I used to do 15 min of walking and was told that wasn't enough so now I do 20 minute before anything else
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