Someone posted about warm up rules and it made me think. There are so many unspoken rules! Most are common courtesy. However, I decided to let y’all in on the warm up of my horses and how we “tackle” the warm up pen!
First of all, I don’t tighten my saddle AT the trailer. It can cause a lot of issues. I will saddle then walk them up to some dirt then tighten! Lynx and Goose both have a certain hole I set them for riding vs barrel racing.
Once we get to dirt, I start to clean their feet. I do front left first and stretch that leg! I will do videos of my stretches soon! Then I do right front and stretch it. For hind legs, I clean them out and pull them forward. While I have the leg forward, I ask my horse (with a cookie) to touch his toe! Yes he can do it! Same for the left hind. I do these things “out of the way” so that I’m not taking up warm up space!
Next, I recheck my saddle and get on. Most places at least have a 60′ circle to warm up in at the walk, trot and lope. Normally everyone is going one direction. Sometimes you have your opposite direction people to the outside with majority on the inside. This is a huge issue. People need to respect that we all need to warm up both sides of our horse. If everyone is going clockwise, I will start off clockwise. After we have trotted 5 laps and loped 5 laps, I simply ask if anyone wants to change direction. Nine times out of ten, the entire group is ready to switch. If not, I will go find another spot. It’s very important to have a set regimen for warming up your horse. Mine is 5/5 each direction. Then when it’s close to our turn, we only go left (counter clockwise) so I find a place I can do that.
Sticky situations always occur in the warm up. Many have been hurt. Sometimes it’s the five horses tied in the tiny warm up area that are kicking, setting back, etc. Sometimes it’s the person doing straight line roll backs in the circle. Then you have the determined person who wants to go against the flow and is bobbing and weaving.
Here is my advice. If you need to tie your horse, don’t do it in the warm up. If you need to do roll backs, do them at home or some where else. If you wish to turn the tide of the masses, ASK! We all want to warm up safely!!!!
I, myself, have a dominant horse whom shall kick at times. I warn folks all the time. He also wants to run in from the back forty. Literally! So I do my best to let them know! I also tend to call out and say “anyone want to change direction?” Normally that works. I try to avoid the folks that are ponying one horse off the other. If I need to train on a horse, I will move away from the masses to tend to business.
I hope this helps you when you are trying to navigate the warm up pen!
One last thing…. don’t be shocked if I ask you to pray with me. I ALWAYS pray before my run! Let God be your guide. Be courteous. Be kind. Be thankful. Be Blessed!