By: Dr. Mike Guerini (www.dunmovinranch.com)
Over the past year as I have coached people at horse shows and watched many riders as they warm up their horses I have wondered — what are they doing. In some cases people lope for an hour to get the horse “warmed up AND worn down” as they say. Others do only discipline specific activities like practicing a sliding stop or a roll back or a lead change. Some wander around and do some walk, trot and lope (canter) work and then sit watching everyone else. Have you ever watched professional athletes prepare for a game. They have a plan, a routine, a focus…I consider that horse riders competing are athletes and so I offer these 8 questions (there may be more) that you should be asking yourself and answering to improve your success.
1) Do you have a plan for your warm-up? (Answer — YES)
2) Does your warm-up plan have contingencies based on the surface or weather? (Answer — YES)
3) Are you warming up the horse and rider or only the horse? (Answer — Both Horse and Rider, separately and together)
4) Similarly, are you practicing good sports psychology to prepare yourself for the warm-up and competition? (Answer — YES)
5) Is the social aspect of the show getting in the way of your warm-up routine? (Answer — NO — NEVER 🙂 )
6) What do you do between the warm-up and actual class or your personal run? (Answer — keep the horse limber and supple and ready to go, never letting the horse stand and wait)
7) Does your warm up get you and your horse relaxed, in a rhythm ,and working on the connection needed to win? (Answer — YES)
8) Does your trainer warm up your horse and allow you to skip that part of the day? (Answer — I always ride my horse as part of the warm up)
If you have answered differently than the suggested answer for each question then it is important that you sit down with your trainer/coach/mentor and make sure you improve your warm up plant to better prepare for competition.
As always I look forward to your comments and please share this post.
Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at www.dunmovinranch.com. Dr. Mike is also part of Coach’s Corral (www.coachscorral.com), an online Horsemanship Coaching program that specializes in video coaching and the 5 Ride Program. Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (www.hydrot.com).