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Well i have a rodeo this weekend and I was just thinking about my 'warm up routine' that i do right before my run...And i was wondering what all you other barrels do? Like for me its when im warming Duke up, i listen to my good ol' country music playlist and get him ready. Then we go wait for our turn and when we're outside waiting, i start taking deep breaths and then BAM! I just go and make my run. I dont visualize or anything, as i tend to mess up when i do! :p
But anyways, what do YOU do?! (:
I run multiple horses - and my routine just depends on the time I have and the amount of space I tend to be able to warm up in.
I have one gelding that you massage - boot up - saddle - stretch (just a little bit) - warm up - stretch - then just hang out till our time to run.
My other gelding is pretty happy-go-lucky, just excited to be at the race type horse. We lope, a lot. And thats it! Nothin' fancy.
My little mare always has to keep moving. I tend to long trot her a fair amount - probably more than I lope her. And once we're done warming up we are always walking. She CANNOT sit still before her run.
Ahhhh! Nice! What kind of stretches do you do? Like front and hind or what? We don't stretch ours out we just walk, then trot, then lope so their muscles are nice and warmed up(:
And the mare... How soon before your run do you start warming up? Like do you have to sit and walk for an hour or what?(;
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Just typical front and back leg stretches.
With the mare I try to warm her up 30 - 45 min. before our run. I can saddle her at the begining of the day and she can stand at the trailer fine - she just knows when its her time to work.
I will just do JJs because I have 3 and their routines are all completely different and I don't want to this to go on forever lol.
With JJ I like to keep it low key and simple. When he is at a race he is no dummy he knows when their are lots of other people in the warmup arena, and announcer announcer he has a job to do. I get on him about 20-25 minutes out (depending on how many they are running through at a time). He isn't one you can get on an hour out, he gets pissy, anxious, and the longer your on him the more unsettled he gets. So I have experimented and that is the perfect time frame for us. I also warm him up with his Polos and Bellboots on, the SMBs come on later.
I like to keep the warmup itself simple and low key like I said. I do lots of long trotting to get him settled and relaxed. I like to keep him fluent and flowing so I lope a few smaller circles and keep him pushing forward. I want his shoulders free so I do a few loping counter arcs figure eights to loosen up the shoulders and keep him light and lifting. Then some more easy slower trotting figure eights. I do lots of stopping, backing, ect to keep him light and off the bit.
About 10 riders out I get off tighten my cinch, put his front SMBs on and walk him in a few circles in the corner away from the others and just relaxing. When they are on the drag before me (5 riders out usually unless I am in the drag earlier) I walk closer to the arena I put my bands on, push my hat down tight, say a short prayer, then give him a good rub along the neck and take a deep breath. At this point he is all game....he is calm, cool, and focused. When it is my turn he sometimes gets antsy but once we are facing the gate he is all about his job and will walk up and we go.
I don't pick at him when warming up, I don't do anything crazy, wild, or anything that will get him hot (he is a hotter horse naturally). So this is what I have come to establish as his perfect warm-up routine that has worked great for us.
I don't like to spend too much time in the warm up ring because people let their horses run around like maniacs without any control. I go in, do some long trotting and cantering. Then we go out and nap, yep...nap. My mare knows between classes (we do a lot of gaming, so we have to wait for different patterns) is her naptime.
I have to keep my gelding calm and thinking before his runs. I usually get on him just after we get there and warm him up for about 15 minutes or so (same thing we do at home.) Then I get off, offer him some water, check our tack (and if there is a lot of time, I untack), and then I go and watch a few runs. I like to see how the ground is, where the barrels are set, where horses seem to be having problems, etc. About 35 runners out (depending on how many are going an hour - usually it's around 50 per), I get back on (tack back up, put on his boots) and do some circles, and/or any particular thing that he seems to be having trouble with (moving his shoulders over, keeping his butt up underneath of himself, etc.) and then I head over to the alley. I don't get him sweaty, I just give him a brief reminder. When we get over to the alley, I get as close as I can - without getting in the way, that is one of my pet peeves - and let him stand there and fall asleep. This is when I visualize my run. I tend to get very anxious because of bad experiences I've had in the past. (I have a dent in my leg about 9 months old with no feeling on it or around it - which is also why I don't wear bands unless I have to.. not because of the accident, because of the horse) Basically, I just try to keep my nerves under control, because my horse is very tuned in to me. About 2 runners out, I'll walk circles, and get him thinking about getting ready to run. When it's our turn, I walk/trot/prance (:lol:) as far over to the left in the alley way that I have to, so that my horse can see the first barrel, and then I let him go. :-)
Sorry about the novel..
I am fortunate in the sense that most of my horses tend to need to the same routine. There's little adjustments as we go of course, but for the most part it's the same.
I really like to start with a big, long, elastic trot. Dressage-pony-is-us. :lol: Big strong posting trot for several laps, bumping them up into the bridle, softening to the bit and really asking for them to reach out and engage that hind end. Once I feel they get most of that initial energy out and get loosened up, we walk a lap.
After that I like to do a couple laps loping, doing a lot of speed transitions. Start off slow, loose, relaxed. I like to warm up kind of in a reiner position, especially on Selena who actually was a finished reiner before I got ahold of her. I'll do it in incriments. Bump-bump, little faster, give my rate command and slower again. Bump-bump, faster again, this time pushing a little more, then give my rate command and bring them back. Each time I push the speed a little faster and a little faster, just seeing if they are going to push on me and remind them about their rate. If I draw later and get to have a less crowded warmup, I like to really push on the long side of the arena and just let them fly then soften them more to the rate on the short end by sitting and just lightly bringing them back. I rarely get to really speed up but on occasion I'll get to a race and be able to.
After we've done that, I like to go reinforce my turns a little. Find some fence space, do two or three rollbacks into the fence. Both of these let me know I have my run, rate, and turn down.
To end the warmup I go to the middle of the arena and do some haunch/forehand turns, sidepassing, counter arc circles, essentially kind of a "cool down" moment while still making sure we're loosened up and ready to go.
I usually take at least 3 horses so i usually start warming up a hour before my first run. But here is my routine; stopped i flex my horses head to the left and right, than i walk in both directions once, i than trot both directions twice and lope it 3
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Nice! I love hearing about what other people do! :D Now heres another question...
How many of your barrel horses get 'hot' going through the alley/in the gate? And what do they do?
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