There are as many different ways to warm up your horse for dressage as there are horse and human combinations. Above is how I start. It may seem like a waste of riding time but for us it is time well spent. Sharing territory is the first of the Waterhole Rituals it gives us time to be together wanting nothing, time for me to indulge in being present to the moment and all around me. To connect to myself and nature.
Next I see how our relationship feels, How does she feel today? At liberty she can give me a very clear answer.
We have a bond and continue to deepen it by sharing territory, she trusts me, I always say hello to her. She respects me and I respect her. She is normally the most willing horse eager to please and be with me. Noonoo also gives me her focus. If at some point one of these 5 things are not present she will not connect with me and companion walk with me. I can also test at liberty if she is feeling ‘ready to rock!’ as we call it. Do I have the impulsion I need for dressage and is she ready to switch on with the flick of an eye.
When I get on and ride it is with all these things in place, if they were not for some reason I would work on the part that is missing today even if it means not riding.
I always ask permission to get on if ever she didn’t want me to I would know there was something wrong. In the ridden work we are connected and I want her to feel proud and enjoy this part of our relationship, the feedback she gives me says she does, however she will let me know if I make a mistake but she forgives me and knows I will try to get it right.
The fastest way to get where you are going is to take your time. It’s also the route where you can enjoy the ride.