Sunday was 68F, sunny and with a breeze. I walked out of my back door at 10:30 am and never walked back inside again until 6 pm. It was glorious. Not only the weather, but the fact that I live where I can always find something outside to entertain myself with for that long and never once get bored. Bliss.
Sunday also happened to be the day I finally started lessons again. It had been since the middle of November and it was long overdue.
But before I get into the actual lesson, trust me it isn’t that exciting anyway, I need to hash out something that I completely failed at not only in the execution, but also in discussing it with Trainer. Something about following my Gemmie lesson with a bareback lesson on Nash got me all distracted.
The last year of lessoning out at RB was great, but it was also a bit stressful getting home from work, loading up Gem and hitting the road in rush hour to drive through downtown with the trailer and make it there in time. Most of the time I got there with just enough time to tack and hurry into the arena. The few times I was lucky enough to have a bit of extra time, Trainer would start the lesson as soon as I got in the arena anyway. This all meant no warm up before a lesson. I’d hop on and we would get busy learning. Or flailing around. Which was more common.
Sunday though Trainer came to me and after I realized that I could in fact perform a proper warm up before the lesson. So I got Gem at 1 pm for a 2 pm lesson, took my time grooming her (mare is staring her spring shed) and tacked up at 1:30 pm. Gem was in no mood to work in a winter coat at 68F, so I planned to take it a bit easy on her and we began by walking.
After 10 minutes I was like…umm ok we walked. Are we warmed up now? I don’t know. Lets trot.
So I trotted for 10 minutes. She was loose, responsive and listening really ell although we didn’t actually do much except trot all around the arena. Was that a warm up? I wasn’t sure but I still had 10 minutes before Trainer was due and had no clue what to do to fill the gap.
You see Gem doesn’t do repetition. She also tends to lose her marbles one allowed to canter and I didn’t want to lose the wonderful horse I had under me before the lesson. I was clueless what all to do and chose to sit on her and wait for Trainer to ask her and then promptly forgot when she arrived.
Which brings me to my question for all of you..what constitutes a warm up? I know it is different for each horse, each ride depending on what you will be working on and likely the day but I’m sure there are some general rules to follow. Like, how long do you typically warm up for? What is the end goal? Waking Gem up and letting her get any wiggles out before the lesson started were my goals, but I’m not sure they were really sophisticated enough. Should I have worked on bend since that was going to be the focus of the lesson? I chose to let that slide and wait for the lesson so as not to hammer it home too much but then that meant we basically did nothing but walk around and trot a bit.
It felt like the 30 minutes I “rode” prior to the lesson were basically just me sitting on my horse. Not sure it really prepared her for anything. Or was very useful. It was enjoyable though so there is that.