Friday, July 7, 2017

Warm Up Shit Show

Curious to see if anyone else feels like their warm up is a shit show? 
John Oliver anybody?

It's like... Gavin can be fast in the warm-up, but he isn't pushing forward.  And I don't know what the hell is going on with my body during the warm-up.  It's all over the place, but somehow still stiff as a board.  He looks like some sort of weird, top-heavy tinker toy, and I look like an old lady being jolted every which way.
Weird place for a puppy picture.  But damn my old dog is cute :)

I have tried many different warm-up techniques.

  1. The ole bumble around for 20 minutes
  2. The strict - you must be in front of my leg warm up
  3. Shoulder-in is a thing we should do a lot
  4. The one-hand on the reins, one-hand on the hip, I don't know what the fuck I'm doing technique
  5. Walk, trot, canter all on loose rein.  Pick up reins and still not know what the hell I'm doing.
The best warm-up I've found for Gavin and I is to be pretty upfront about what I'm looking for.  1) quick, accurate transitions (including stops, and back-up), 2) I'm in control of steering, 3) think about where my legs are and their stability, 4) think about my butt actually making full contact with the saddle in the posting trot (I have a tendency to post like a delicate flower). 

Horse and human bffs

All of this sounds so simple, but in reality, it looks like dog poo for the first 10 minutes.  Especially the trot, oh god help us at the trot.  But, It must be working out okay, because more often than not, it then melts into what I consider good work.  My body starts acting like a solid citizen and he starts actually being forward and dare I say?  Supple.  Okay, so the supple thing only seems to happen on full moons, but whatevs.

What is up with that?  Anyone else?

Maybe at some point I'll talk about the mobile Pony Palace :)


  1. My warmups are normally awful too. Thru trial and error, we use the same warmup as you, it seems to help a bit!

    1. I'm just glad I'm not alone on this front! :)

  2. YES. Connor warms up so badly, I joke that I want to find a dark arena to warm up in at shows. It's embarrassing. For me, now that he's balanced, I have to develop forward first, via a strong trot with occasional single-step-of-walk transitions. I can't ask for anything else until we have that, and sometimes it takes 20 minutes. I know I had it when he relaxes over his back and starts paying closer attention to my aids.

    1. I don't know why or how I got away from this, but I've only recently started incorporating downward transitions again in my warmups. For a long time it was basically: walk, trot, canter and we're done with warmup. He does so much better with more transitions thrown in there. Gets him thinking.

  3. Yea. It takes Charlie a while too. And like, our "good" stuff isn't even good yet so you can imagine where we start lol. He walks for ten minutes then we start trotting with much of the same focus as you write about above. For him, even tho he's a race horse, he really has to be told to go FORWARD first. It used to be that he had to canter before he could truly soften his top line but latey he's beginning to stretch himself surprisingly early in out rides. It's very much an evolving (if ugly!) process!!

    1. Yes! I have the same thing with the canter. For ever it's basically been, wait until after the canter and then we won't look like a total car wreck. It must really loosen them up and put them in a forward mindset.