The Warmup:What have I got today?

I usually think of the warmup as being a physical warmup for me and for my horse. But this week I took a different view. Yes we are both “warming up” and getting our muscles and joints moving. But this past week I started to use my time in the warm up to ascertain what Biasini is like on the day. Is he willing to go forward easily? Is he light in the contact? How are the transitions? Is he sharp when asked to do an upward transition? How are the downward transitions?

I am sure most riders have always done this and to some extent I have done it too but now I have decided the warmup has real value as time to test where my horse is. I ask myself “what have I got today?”

The first day I did this I found Biasini was a bit lackadaisical. A bit ‘ho hum’ about the upward transitions. So I got after him about that and he responded well right away. Then I started some walk-trot-walk transitions. The upward were very good and he kept his frame well with a light contact. But the downward were not good. He dipped down with his head and neck and pulled.

When my coach Belinda Trussell came into the arena, to start our lesson, I told her what I felt I had that day. She had some exercises to help. Pick up the trot and then come back to a very small trot. Do not allow him to dive down. Stay in the small trot till he was light and then slowly, gradually move the trot out to a working trot. It is a simple exercise but it worked remarkably well.

We moved on to a collected trot and asking for more suspension. If he dived down or started to get heavy in my hands I went back to the very small trot. No matter what we were doing: shoulder in, travers , half pass, I would bring him back to the small trot if things did not go well.

It was not as easy as it might sound and there was a lot of back and forth but then Biasini began to get the idea and tried his best. I had to be very quick in recognizing when I needed that small trot; just in a blink of an eye. By the end of the lesson Belinda was very happy with our progress. We had a lovely trot. Here is a video of the end of our lesson.

From now on I am going to focus on “what have I got today?” in the warmup. I know that Belinda will always have exercises to help me.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Alli Farkas says:

    Never waste a good warmup! Lovely video, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Avery says:

    Bingo. The key to being present.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David says:

    On a big competition day, like Grand Prix Day, it’s that early morning, light workout that my daughters use to gauge on what kind of day the horses are having. It is important for the one who will be competing later in the day and not so much the other(s). The workout, mostly walking around a practice ring or slow canter, will determine what kind of practice they will have at mid-morning. If neither goes well, you can do a switch or a double switch. After a certain time before the event, switches are not allowed – either you ride or withdraw. At home, it’s the same routine. The only difference is which horse will have that longer practice session.

    PS – Like that you carry the treats so close. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      With my hips replaced I am slow to get up and sit down in the saddle. So a rreat rewards him for standing still and patiently. Also if we do some difficult work like the passage or piaffe he gets a treat after that and also at the end of the rode when I dismount. I hope the girls have enjoyed the show in Syracuse or was it Saugerties?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. David says:

        The other “S” place, Saratoga. 🙂

        The daughters had a good three weeks. While they wouldn’t mind another three weeks, here or elsewhere, it’s back to the everyday. A lot of hard work to get ready, but they had fun.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. dprastka says:

    It’s funny how we don’t give warm up more thought and with horses the question, what have I got today? Excellent post and I love you use treats, I do too!! Love your trotting video, so beautiful and not easy but you make it look easy. Love listening to Belinda too. Thank you for sharing!!

    On the what have I got today? I took Chloe out about a week ago and put on my bareback pad to ride in the arena. She was walking tall this day, and so I turned her out first and I could tell she was super up! So I removed the bareback pad and with her lose with Zack and Gracie in arena she suddenly went crazy running all around! She will run from one end to the other and whinny and snort! Hahaha, talk about feeling GOOD!! She had a wonderful run and Zack just stood on the sidelines watching her, so I ended up riding him instead in arena. I figured she exercised herself well and boy, what have I got today? A very energetic feeling good girl! Just wanted to share since it’s good to ask that question no matter what we want to do with them. LOVE our ponies! ❤️🐴

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That is a great story. Good thing you asked that question because she wanted to have a rip and a snort but she knew she couldn’t do that with you on her. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  5. aghisla says:

    Thanks for the insightful post. I was used to hear from drum teachers that warm-up was only for, well, warming up muscles: any pattern would do, and the real work was going to happen afterwards. Lately I was focusing on warm-up only in my drum practice, and your post found the right words to describe what I do, what maybe I overlooked in drumming and in a few other areas of my life. I guess I learned to get to the main workout phase with relatively good muscle warm-up, but basically no insight on how I am doing and what work would make more sense. Now I *get it*! Thanks again!
    I wish you insightful and satisfying rides, and the best health for you and Biasini. Hope the summer will be mild.
    Last curiosity: what is the plushie next to your hands, in the main picture of the post? Looks cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I am so happy to know that my warmup post can be translated to your drumming. My husband was a drummer. He played in a band as a teenager and then went back to it later in life and played in a jazz quintet and also a big jazz band. He was an amateur drummer and a location sound technician for tv and films his “real’ job. My pouch on the side of the saddle is for treats. With replaced hips I take a minute or two to get up onto the horse and to reward him for his patience in standing still for me I give him some little horse treats or sugar cubes. He also gets a treat after we finish our ride . The little Monster faced pouch is fun I think.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. aghisla says:

        Wow fascinating! I bet music has meant a lot for him. Nice story about the cute little monster pouch and Biasini’s patience 🙂 Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds an excellent idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      I’m sure you do a mental checklist when warming up at the gym. I know I do. So I realized I had to do it with Biasini as well.

      Like

      1. I stretch from the minute I wake up in bed. To swinging my legs to the side, and arrive in a standing position. Strench in the house, at the gym, and of course once in bed before sleeping. Only you and hubby know that.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          My lips are sealed.😁

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I like that idea of incorporating the shoulder blades in the half-halt. Dove tails nicely with another comment I heard in one of your other videos about lifting the chest for the upward transitions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes it does. I am always amazed that just bringing my shoulder blades together can produce such an effective half halt. You are right to point out that it incorporates other subtle changes in my upper body. Thanks for commenting .

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sri says:

    Warm up is very key before any sport, exercise, yoga etc..,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      Yes! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment Sri!

      Liked by 1 person

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