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Warming Up That Dressage Horse!
I was wondering how you guys warm up your horse before your shows/tests/competition and for how long. I have a small show coming up was looking for some tips. He is a fjord and not extremely fit.
Thanks in advance!
If he is not fit then keep your warm up mostly in the walk. Do a tiny bit of trot and canter to practice the transitions and then go in so about 20 minutes. Ideally the horse should be fit enough to school the level above what he is showing for about 30-45 minutes. In that case, this is what I do:
For me to warm up I do about 15 minutes of walk, do some stretchy trot and canter. Then I'll walk for a bit and pick up either the trot or canter, develop the collection and school some movements from my test. I tend to give myself about 45 minutes before my test to leave from the barn and 50 if the warmup is far from the competition ring.
ok thanks! BTW this horse is bieng used almost everyday for andicapped riders so he walks and trots about everyday for about 1-2 hours
Depends on the horse and the situation.
Stan for an outdoor, on grass test, he took about 20 mins of walk, trot and canter work as well as some lateral work and a good gallop to get him going forwards. for an indoors test it normaly took me an hour of transitions and latteral work before he would even begin to play nicely, before that he would be a total twit and decide his own shadow was going to eat him.
A Para Dressage horse that I regularly warm up at competitons has a set routine that lasts 45 mins. It starts with a good walk, trot and canter, then goes back and does lots of bending in the walk, latteral work in walk, turns on the quaters in walk. Then lots of trot to walk transitions and trot work focusing on makeing him bend and flex and use himself, then trot work to make him straight when needed. He got one good canter on each rein just before I got off him for his rider to get on and that was it.
Danny anouther horse I rode barely needed anything, I normaly had a good walk trot and canter and then let him settle in walk. 10 mins for the warm up and 10 mins of wandering around letting him see stuff.
So it completely depends on the horse.
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.
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