Hylofit Round Table: What's Your Best Warm-up Strategy?

Riding is often a collaborative sport. We ask for advice from our coaches, our peers, and our online friends. Particularly if you ride a lot on your own, sans trainer, sometimes it can feel like you're winging it or living on a prayer. We're here to help you feel a little less like you're flying solo.

Let's start with warming up your horse. As you know, in any exercise it's important to achieve a good warm-up in order to have the best performance either in the show ring, out on the trail, or in your regular riding. Some riders tend to breeze past the warm-up, especially at home, but this can be more of a detriment than you may think. 

Proper warm-up not only gets you and your horse moving and loosened up, but also primes the mind for doing quality work. Even on the most basic rides, going through a proper warm-up that works for you and your horse will help increase the overall quality of your training. 

How can your Hylofit System help you improve your warm-up? Here are some ways:

Since Hylofit enables riders to track heart rate in real time, you'll be able to see right away if your horse is feeling 100 percent or not. Remember: an unusually high heart rate during a given period can indicate pain, stress, anxiety, or something else that lies under the surface. 

Just as you wouldn't want to go into a run or a workout "cold", your horse shouldn't be doing this either. By slowly increasing your horse's heart rate throughout your warm-up and monitoring recovery during walk breaks, you can optimize your warm-up routine by ensuring your horse's heart rate is up and his muscles are properly primed to go into more intensive work.

Is your horse ready to work? Find out with Hylofit. Shop here.

So, what about warm-up strategies to try? We asked the Hylofit community for their tips, and here are some responses we received:

  • Yoga for the rider, transitions for the horse
  • Slowly building intensity and a different exercises for stretching
  • Lots of changes of direction and stride size (lengthening and shortening)
  • Long trotting and flexing while staying off of the rail
  • Slow work with plenty of breaks for the horse to recover
  • Active walk, trot circles, serpentines, and stretchy trot

Team Hylofit rider Laine Ashker, a CCI5* eventer and USDF gold medalist, expanded on the idea of proper warm-up, emphasizing the importance of transitions. 

"My strategy is always the same: always transitions. My horses that are more behind the leg do medium trot to a 10 meter circle, maybe a walk transition. For my horses that are forward thinking, I want them to pay attention to me and listen. So that would be some walk-trot-walk-trot transitions or shoulder-in and shoulder-fore. I want his ears are listening to me again and being with me instead of everywhere else. The strategy is the same, but the means may differ - what KIND of transitions vary by horse."

Have a topic you'd like us to cover in a future blog? Send us a message on social media (@hylofit) or email hello@hylonome.com.

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