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Warm-up Exercises to Improve your Riding Performance & Fitness

Lesson 3: Warm-up!

In Part 1 of the Equestrian Athlete series I asked how often you physically prepare when you are schooling or competing; if you warm-up or go through any flexibility or mobility exercises before you get on your horse; and if you perform a cool-down to prevent excessive muscular soreness and stiffness after a long day of showing? The typical response is no to all of the above. Generally, we tack up our horses, mount, and get on with our ride. I am going to challenge you to get out of your ‘typical’ routine and start to treat yourself with the same principles you would apply to your horse. Let’s start with warming up before you head out for your ride.

Why is a warm-up important?

  • Similar to achieving suppleness in your horse, a proper warm-up stimulates blood flow to our working muscles and increases the suppleness of our muscles & tendons.

  • Our tissue temperature increases which also helps with decreasing the viscosity or thickness of the fluid in our joints.

  • Allows us to focus on the muscles and movement patterns that are required for our sport. This can enhance reaction time, development of force, strength, and power.

  • Decreases the risk of injury. The increase in muscle tissue temperature aids in increasing the elasticity (or suppleness mentioned above) which decreases the risk of strains, tears