April 17, 2017

Heartland Warm Up

The whole point of going to Heartland was to 1. Show Dressage with my trainer there to warm us up for the first time ever, 2. Figure out a good warm-up plan and length, 3. Have a confidence building outing with our favorite test, 1-2.

Our warm-up ended being 25 minutes long, and looked like this:

1. Length: 5 minutes. Mount in stabling and walk over to warm-up ring.  Focus on my position and try to get Connor's attention.

Photos do not tell the entire story.  This pony was UP for this test.

2. Length: 5 minutes. Walk circles of varying sizes and directions while waiting on my trainer.  Try to get the pony to relax in an unusual warm-up ring.  Focus on my position and getting good bend.  Extra attention paid to sitting "up" and my hands being forward and following with short reins.

3. Length: 10 minutes. Trainer gets there and quickly OK's the walk, we didn't want to beat it to death.  Move on to lots of walk/trot transitions on circles of varying sizes, changing direction often.  Focus on getting good bend and good position.  We would only trot as long as the trot was good and then go back down to walk.  In the beginning, that was just a few strides.  Toward the end of the 10 minutes, we were trotting entire circles with good quality.

4. Length: 5 minutes. A couple of longer canters, both to release some energy and to work on getting him to stand up and me to be in the correct place in the saddle.

A sassy tail swish.

It went by so quickly, I felt like I time traveled when we pulled up from the last canter and my trainer told me it was time to go in.  He felt GOOD after that warm-up, and I knew the test would be good.

I think the focus on position and the transitions were the biggest differences from my normal non-trainer warm-up.  I'm looking forward to playing with (but not rigidly sticking to) this recipe both at home and at shows this year.


  1. Sounds like the perfect warm up to give you what you needed to rock your tests!

  2. Figuring out the right warmup for you and your horse, for the specific test you're riding... I swear it's half the battle of showing. Maybe more like 3/4. It's taken me a lot of trips down centerline to actually get it sort of right, and we're still constantly refining it! Glad to hear that you and Connor rocked it!

  3. Really great to read about what worked for you this time on this day. I'll be trying to figure this out this year and it's great to read one example.

  4. the warm up is critical and it sounds like you nailed it. well done.

  5. It is so important to figure out what the best warm up is! Sounds like you guys got it!

  6. Love the targeted focus on rider position & transitions. Way to make sure both brains are plugged in 👍

  7. Changing bend is my motto for life