Fit to Ride: Your pre-show warm-up
What do AC/DC, pink penguin pajama bottoms and power stretching have to do with show ring success? I’ll let HN hardbody Biz Stamm explain.
Pre-show jitters are in full force as I prepare to leave for my show this weekend. I’ve done all the mental and physical preparation that I can do. Now it all comes down to the day of the show.
We all know that a good warm-up for your horse can make or break a ride (though I have “won the warm-up” many times only to freeze in the show ring). Don’t you deserve a good warm-up as well? I don’t have to tell any of you that riding (Yes! Even dressage!) is a rigorous sport, and your muscles could really benefit from a little moving and stretching before you swing your leg over the saddle. Here is a pre-show warm up to leave you feeling lose, limber, and ready to rock your ride.
First off, you’ve got to get your muscles warm. Think of your muscles as saltwater taffy. When they’re cold, they’re stiff and brittle, but when they’re warm, they’re soft and pliable. So start off by doing a few jumping jacks, taking a little walk, or chasing down that “LOOSE HORSE!” that just untied itself from the trailer.
You’re probably not going to want to get down on the ground to stretch since you will be more than likely wearing some super fancy show clothes, perhaps under some fantastically ridiculous pajama pants? So all of today’s stretches will be done standing.
Toe touch: Pretty self-explanatory I think. This stretch is fantastic for lengthening the back of your leg and stretching the lower back.
Quad stretch: Stand on your left foot and pull your right heel directly towards your butt. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
Hamstring/Calf stretch: Stand with your left leg slightly bent and place your right foot out in front of you with your foot flexed. Lean forward, placing your hands on your left thigh and push your hips backwards. Hold for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with other leg.
To mentally prepare, I like to pick a pre-ride jam. My ideal pre-ride jam is equal parts inspiring and hilarious. Something that will pump me up and lighten my mood. So I leave you this, Horse Nation. The perfect pre-ride jam for a dressage rider.
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