The Dressage Horse Warm Up!

The warm up is perhaps the most important part of your ride.   It is essential that the warm up gets the horse mentally focused and relaxed and physically supple and ready to work.  Every horse requires a different format for the warm updepending on their age, level of training, temperament,  and conformation.   It is important to follow a routine and warm your horse up with a similar format each time you ride and also at a competition or clinic.

Here are some tips for the warm up:

  • Spend at least 10 minutes walking – it can be on a long or loose rein depending on how focused and relaxed your horse is
  • Incorporate lost of bending lines, changes of directions, and serpentines to get the horse supple
  • Trot-canter-trot transitions are a great warm upexercises for green horses and for FEI horses!
  • Always start the canter on the easier lead to give you and the horse a chance to warm up.
  • Be sure to supple the stiff side of the horse in the warmup
  • The “warm up” time will vary depending on the day and the horse – so be flexible to allow as much time as needed for the warm up
  • The main purpose of the warm up is for stretching and relaxation
  • Follow a similar format everyday to give the horse confidence – they are creatures of habit!!
  • Remember that in order to get the horse to relax, you must also breathe and relax!

Today’s video is a real-life warm up that I did with my young horse Kensington.  I hope that you will find this useful and that it will help you to plan a more productive warm up for your horse!

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