Warming up in a show environment can be stressful, so here are some tips to help…
Allow yourself enough time – Warming up should never be rushed. It is recommended by Equine Sports and Rehabilitation Massage Therapist, Emma Beckham, to warm up for at least 20 minutes to prevent any injuries to your horse. You should be working long and low before including lateral movements and jumping.
Outside of the arena – Sometimes young or inexperienced horses can be overwhelmed in a busy warm up ring, one way around this is to hack around the grounds or find an alternative area to work your horse – if the grounds allow this.
Be aware of your surroundings – It is important to remember other people around you, passing left to left is a must in any warm up ring to prevent anyone colliding. You should also always consider where you are in relation to a warm up jump, this will prevent you getting in anyones way; people aren’t always as alert as we would hope!
Don’t wear your horse out – When warming up your horse, there isn’t a need to jump continuously, it is recommended to practise each jump 3 times before you go into the ring.
Don’t be afraid to ask – If you are at a show alone, it can be difficult to do a substantial warm up that you feel happy with, a way around this is to be polite, and ask others if they would be able to move a fence for you or walk the course with you – it is always good to get a second opinion when it comes to turns and striding.
Finally, make sure you’re warm up is specific – A young horse may need more time to warm up than an experienced horse. However, when eventing it can be a long, strenuous day for your horse, so it is important not to over-do it as this could cause fatigue when it comes to the cross country phase.