Just like a human, a horse has to be warmed up to perform at his best. Photo © The American Quarter Horse Journal

Best Ways to Warm Up Before You Show

No matter what horse-showing discipline you compete in, these warm-up exercises will get your horse soft and supple before your class.

When I ride a horse, I want him supple from his nose through his hips. I want to be able to move my foot or lightly lift my hand and have my horse instantly move his hip, rib cage or shoulder.

I teach these two warm-up exercises to my horses and use them every day so that they’re part of the routine. They serve a lot of purposes: They help my horse become more supple, they stretch his body and, since they’re part of his routine, they help me get him in the mindset where he’s ready to listen to me and work hard.

In speed events, we’re going really fast, and I need a fast response from my horse to my lightest cue. When I’m going into a barrel, if it looks like I’m too close to a barrel and might hit it, I can pick up my horse and move him away without a lot of excessive motion. I don’t have to jerk; I can just touch. These exercises make it a lot easier for me to communicate with my horse.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article by AQHA Professional Horsewoman, Traci Johnting in The American Quarter Horse Journal.