The warm up is the biggest question I get asked How do I warm up.
‘I’m nervous when I get to a competition’
‘I’m worried there a lot of better horses + riders in my class’.
Its easy to get intimidated at a competition which we all work towards and all the hours of hard work + training receives a mark on how well we are doing.
The warm up is the most important part, so have a plan.
Your horse may be different at competitions then at home, you need to learn your horses reactions when you get to a competitions.
This can mean taking them out a few times whether to hire an arena or to some local comes to gauge there reaction.
You need to plan your warm up, if your horse is a bit lively you may need to ride for longer, if your horse runs out of energy then you need to ride for a shorter warm up.
Remember you don’t need to practice all of the test movements before you go in unless you feel your horse will benefit from doing so.
My Top Tips
Have a warm up plan
- Plan what exercises your horse needs to unable him to listen to you and feel relaxed, (almost the same as learning your dressage test learn your plan) have a plan B if your horse takes you by surprise and you may need to do different exercises. This will also help you and your horse relax, practice your warm up routines at home, so you are confident that your warm up works and your horse will get into a routine of how they are warmed up.
Stretching in the Warm Up
- If your horse is unsettled and won’t stretch in the beginning don't worry, ride you horse into a contact and do lots of transitions to encourage your horse to relax, (you can always stretch later, when your horse is more relaxed.)
No Rights or Wrongs
- There are no rights and wrongs in the warm up, every horse is different, you need to work out what suits your horse.
- Remember your horse will sense your nerves so breathe, relax + focus on your plan.
Give yourself enough time
- Work backwards from the time of your test, how long does my horse need, when do I take his boots off, so you leave yourself enough time before your test and are not rushing.
It's Just you and your horse
- Everyone else will be concentrating on warming up there horses so you do the same, don't worry about the competition Its just you and your horse smile and enjoy!