Warm up your pony on cool days

Whooee! Our ol’ ponies are going to be fresh today!

Yesterday it was high in the eighties, and it’s down to fifty nine now. Feels like Fall for sure.

It’s weather like this that will test your horse training program. It will test your riding IQ also, for it is the sudden drop in temperature and the wind that bring about personality traits in horses that can challenge your riding skills. In other words, if you don’t warm up your mount today, prepare to be entertained!

When I was a teenager, the adults would say, “untrack your horse.”  It took a few hiccups but I finally learned what that pithy little phrase meant. 

Here’s the recipe:

  1. When saddling up, cinch up “snug” but not too tight at first.
  2. Then walk your ol’ pony around on the halter
  3. and then snug the cinch up a little bit more.
  4. Now, move him around you in a small circle at the walk, being careful not to get him too excited.
  5. Turn around and go the other way, about three times on each side.
  6. Repeat this at the trot.
    1. At any time he should “hump up” pull on the lead rope to turn him around sharply. He needs to know that it’s not acceptable behavior.
  7. Now longe  him out a little bit farther and ask for a canter or lope ( cantaloupe?) using the same formula.
    1. At this point you can go ahead and tighten the cinch.
  8. But, now, longe him around a few more times,
  9. then mount while standing still.
  10. And, stay sitting still for a full minute.
  11. Finally, ask for head and neck flexions to each side, all the way to the stirrup, until they are feather soft.
  12. Then put one leg on him to make a tight circle each way,
  13. and then allow him to walk forward.

He’s not really warmed up at this point though. I’d keep him going in a large circle at a walk, trot, and finally a lope until his breathing is a little heavy, and if he takes a deep breath and blows it out,  THEN you’re ready to ride.

Taking time to warm up ol’ pokey will reduce considerably those moments that take your own breath away!

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