The horse show warm up area is a place where competitors can make or break the competition. Do you use your warm up time effectively?
Often, when judging, the horse show warm up area is within ear shot of the competition ring. This permits me (during the waiting between competitors) to listen in on the warm up of most of the competitors. Sometimes, this is a great tool and as I listen I keep my pen and paper handy to scribble down pearls of wisdom from coaches and trainers.
The corrections the coaches/trainers call out are very similar. Sometimes I think the show management should put on a recording of the top corrections and have it playing during the horse show warm up area.
Horse Show Warm up Top Correction
This comes in many different packages. “More leg”, “squeeze” and “you are going to slow” are different variations of the same theme. As are “hit him” – “harder”, “more” and my favorite “more canter”.
If you are a coach/trainer use your words wisely and correctly. when you say, “you are going too slowly”, you are putting focus on the slowly part. It would improve the situation if you would give a correction such as, “move him forward off your leg”.
By this time the horse is more than likely dead to the leg so “more leg” is just going to deaden the horse’s sides even further. Like most things when you are riding, your performance comes down to getting a good response when you put your legs on. Getting a good forward response is all about training your horse correctly and rewarding your horse for the correct response.
What To Do in the Warm Up
Three Simple Steps to get your horse off your leg.
Leg – Cluck – Whip
This was taught to me many years ago and is still the foundation of getting the horse off your leg.
- Step one – Leg – If your horse moves relax your leg and reward him. If he doesn’t then follow up with step two.
- Step Two – Cluck – if you horse moves stop clucking and reward him – if he doesn’t then move to step three.
- Step Three – Whip – Tap or smack your horse with the stick. If he moves, jumps or skedaddles, allow him to move. Do not punish him by pulling back on his mouth.
Take some time to re-school your horse off your leg. Continual kicking and squeezing will only deaden your horses sides. Take 2 minutes and school your rider/horse on what gettting off the leg means and this will improve your performance.
What are some other exercises do you use in the warm up area to help get your horse off your leg?