You warm up to stretch your horse’s muscles so he doesn’t pull something the minute you get to work. It also sets the standard for the rest of the session.
Use the same routine every time. Your horse will settle quickly when he knows what’s coming. You’ll be more focused because you have a clear idea of what you want to do.
Try this simple warm up. Use it every time you ride in the ménage. You’ll soon notice the difference.
1. Walk two circuits of the school on a long rein then change the rein and do the same the other way.
2. Take up your reins. Walk two figures of eight.
3. Trot a 20m circle at A, B, C and E. Change the rein. Do the same the other way.
4. Canter a 20m circle at A, B, C and E. Change the rein and establish a steady trot before you ask for canter the other way. Repeat circles at A, B, C and E.
5. Make a good transition into trot and when it’s settled, walk. When you’re ready, not when he decides, halt. The halt tells him he can relax. Pat him and allow him to walk on the buckle while you decide what to do next.
This warm up uses all three paces evenly. Follow it and you’ll probably find you’ve already increased the time you spend in the ménage.