nothing better than going for a ride on a cold clear day.
During fall and winter, it’s a nice break to be able
to catch up our horse and sneak in one more ride before
the really bad weather. In early spring, we can't wait to get started on our summer riding. On these colder days though, a thorough
warm up for both horse and rider can mean the difference
between a memorable ride, or remembering the ride the next
day with sore muscles.
you horse has been in a stall or small corral, try to turn
them loose for a while before riding. Horses appreciate
the chance to move around, roll and play before going to
work. While the horse is out, the rider can do some stretches
to limber up. Focus on legs and back, lunges and squats
work well for this. A vigorous grooming session is a great
way to get circulation going for both horse and rider.
under saddle, keep the pace at a walk for a while, encouraging
the horse to move forward in long swinging strides. Ask
for some large circles and make sure your horse is bending
correctly, with his head tipped slightly to the inside of
the turn while he moves forward. As the horse warms up,
move on to a trot, again looking for forward motion and
a relaxed carriage. Horses often snort or blow softly as
they warm up and take deeper breaths – this is a good
sign. Some older horses may cough once or twice at this
stage. It is usually nothing to worry about, as long as
it does not persist.
trotting the horse, the rider can continue her warm up too.
Posting the trot, or riding two-point (standing in the stirrups
with heels relaxed and down, knees slightly bent but seat
out of the saddle) is a great way to stretch and strengthen
the legs. If the rider’s legs are not correctly underneath
the body, it will be hard to balance in two-point. The rider
can also roll their shoulders, and twist slightly at the
waist to stretch the upper body. Be conscious of your hands
– keep them still and your arms relaxed so as not
to bump the bit without meaning.
chilly weather, expect to spend 15 or 20 minutes on a physical
warm up before going on to harder work. The extra time is
well spent, and will decrease the chance of muscle and tendon
injuries for both rider and horse.