When beginning my warm-up I want to make sure I give the horse time to get the synovial fluid in the joints flowing. To do that, I want to make sure we always begin at the walk, plus it helps them get tuned into me, and me into them: how do they feel? Where are their feet? Where is his mind? Is he thinking about something other than me?
Rarely will I just get on one and go pi-yaing around. Dressage riders will tell you a horse should have a minimum of 10 minutes of walking to warm-up before we ask them to trot or lope off.
A horse only has so many turns and circles in their body, so I don’t want to waste them with the warm-up — I want to save them for the run! #outsidtheturn #horsemanship #barrelracingTweet
Keep in mind, you only have about 10 minutes of quality time to train at the lope. Due to this, I do most of my softening work at the walk. Get it really good there, and it will carry up to the lope on more advanced horses. When I’m warming up a horse to make a run, I usually I only lope a circle or two. If I have a big place to warm up and we can go straight, I may lope a little more. Again, this is just what works for me.
The horse only has so many turns and circles in their body. I don’t want to waste them with the warm-up — I want to save them for the run! People often forget that a horse is designed to go from eating, to flat out run in a split second. For the performance horse, the warm up is more about getting them with us mentally and preventing injury.
I’d love to hear how you warm your horse up; what works for you, what you think is the most important in building the connection! Drop me a line below!