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How to ride the perfect warm up
Posted in Flatwork
Whatever fun activity you’re planning to do with your fave pony, it’s always super-important that you spend time warming him up first. Not only is a good warm-up routine essential for his health, as it’ll help prevent injury to his tendons and muscles, it’ll also prepare his body for work by making him feel loose and supple. We’ve got some tips to help you give your pony a thorough warm-up, so he can perform at his best in every schooling or jumping session!
Did you know?
The ideal warm-up routine should last 10-15 mins, starting with five minutes of walk.
Give him a brush off
Your warm-up routine begins before you even sit in the saddle! Time spent grooming your pony before you ride counts, too, because it’ll help get the blood pumping all the way round his body ready for exercise. Massaging him with a rubber curry comb or giving him a good groom with a body brush is a great way to help his circulation, too.
At full stretch
The main aim of your warm-up routine should be to stretch out your pony’s muscles and get his body moving. The best way to do this is to ride him in a long and low outline, so his neck is lowered and his nose stretches forward and out towards the ground. Riding him like this will stretch the muscles all the way from his hindquarters, across his back, to his neck. Start off in walk, then you can ask him to stretch in trot and even canter, too, if your pony’s experienced enough.
If it’s a chilly day, pop an exercise sheet on your pony’s back during the warm-up to help his muscles loosen up.
Once you’ve completed the walk section of your warm-up, it can help to have a quick trot, then wake your pony up with a canter round the arena. This isn’t for every type of pony as some can find it a bit too exciting at first, but if yours tends to start off a bit lazy or stuffy in his gaits, then cantering a few laps of the school on each rein can help to get his brain thinking forwards, and add a little more expression to his paces.
Switch it up
Make sure you ride lots and lots of transitions to get your pony listening to you. Moving through different gaits will also encourage him to work forwards with lots of energy, ready for when you start your main schooling session. Either make a change of pace at each marker, or count out 10 strides of walk, before riding 10 in trot, then back to walk and repeat.
Keep your warm-up routines interesting by doing something different each time you ride. If you find you run out of ideas, try writing down three warm-up plans and switch between them each session.
Round the bend
Bending exercises are a brilliant way to warm-up your pony’s muscles. Start by riding some large circles or figure-of-eights. Then, once he’s nice and relaxed, you can include some 15m shapes, or even 10m circles in the corners of the arena. A three-loop serpentine will also help get him feeling super-supple.
Why not mix things up by going for a short hack to warm-up your pony for schooling? Ponies tend to be more active when they’re out and about, so it’ll help encourage him to walk out freely and with purpose. It’ll also get his muscles working without the pressure of turning in a tight space, which means he’s sure to feel more free and relaxed before the harder work starts.
This will help my pony a lot he’s really lazy and doesn’t like warm ups