How could becoming more intentional and creative with your warming up transform your riding? After all, it is something that you do every time you ride, right?!
If you were to do one thing this month that has the potential to ripple into all the months hereafter where your riding is concerned; becoming intentional about your warming up might just be the thing.
This episode of the Daily Strides Podcast has been plucked from a week of lessons from Daily Strides Premium called “Increasing Suppleness with Your Warm-Up & Cool Down”. The full week of lessons are available right now when you join Connection
Creating a Routine
One of the great things about becoming intentional with your warm-ups is how much you learn about yourself and your horse. You will begin to see patterns regarding what works and what does not.
You will also begin to instinctively know what to do when things are not going to plan in order to settle and refocus you and your horse.
This is particularly useful if you are traveling to a different barn, show grounds, an overnight trail, or competition. By knowing what works to produce a specific outcome, you can begin using your warm-ups to produce better results throughout the ride itself.
Your warming up routine can help you and your horse get into the ‘zone’ for where you want to go. It helps align your mindsets…
Decide on How Long it Will Be
Many riders are surprised when they realize that there are no ‘rules’ regarding how long they must warm up. I think that the idea of having a specific amount of minutes is reassuring and makes the ‘doing’ a little easier!
Being rigid with the amount of time you spend warming up tends to diminish the positive effects of the warm-up! When you’re focused on the clock, you’re not focused on the quality and relevance of what you are doing…
Instead, I recommend using the desired outcome for the schooling session as a whole to help you decide what will best help to prepare you and your horse. The more intentional you become about your warming up supporting the work, the better your warm-ups will become.
What Gait Will Help You Both
When we learn to ride, we do things in succession. The gaits in the warm-up are one of these things. Walk, then trot, and on the canter. No deviation from that path! However, as you become more experienced, I think that it’s okay to ‘stray’ a little…
There are no rules that say you must walk for a certain period of time. Followed by trotting for a similar time. And only then can you canter!
There are horses out there who do better if canter is introduced before the trot. Not a huge amount of canter. And after quite a bit of walking where different questions have been asked. It is a possibility. The important part is to be responsible and think of what’s best for your horse and his physical health and well-being.
When it comes to creating a warm-up that works for you and your horse, be open to trying new things. And doing things a little differently.
Tailoring It for Your Horse
Many riders will try to ‘force’ relaxation while riding the initial warm-up. Obviously, you cannot force relaxation! I mention this because, for many horses, stretching and suppleness are something they must work on throughout the ride.
For some horses, expecting ‘long and low’, or ‘stretching down’ in the first 20 minutes of the ride is asking too big of a question.
This can be due to past training, old habits, or conformation – a high head carriage. There, of course, are other reasons as well. What I want to encourage you to do is to find what works for your horse, and start there. Drop all other expectations.
Warming Up Yourself
Finally, it is important to consider yourself in the bigger picture. Horse riding is a team sport after all – you and your horse. Jumping on and then slouching around in the saddle for 15 minutes is not exactly a warm-up!
Begin seeing your grooming and tacking up as part of your warming up routine – for you and your horse.
Use this time to set the rhythm and tone for the upcoming conversation in the saddle. Get your blood pumping and flowing by really being intentional with your actions, your movement, and your breathwork.
Your team – you and your horse – must work together and what leads up to you mounting up can make all the difference.
Increasing Suppleness with Your Warm-Up & Cool Down
This episode is the first of 5 guided audio horse riding lessons that are available for you to use while riding with your horse. The other 4 lessons, the guided riding lessons, are available inside of the Connection Member’s Area.
Join Connection today to get these lessons and so many others to help you make the most of your riding.
Guided audio horse riding lessons, weekly bonus live training, personal accountability, monthly challenges, and so much more… And all of your training is available on a private podcast feed so you can listen while you are with your horse :)
Find out all the details and join today HERE