If you get on your horse after you’re warmed up, you make the ride easier for yourself and the horse. Seat problems are also easier to solve if the rider can properly engage themselves during the ride. The only issue is… are riders actually doing a warm-up exercise pre-ride? It can be so quick and easy, so why not give it a try?
In this article, we’ll give you an exercise from Sibylle Wiemer‘s book “Lektionen für die Reitstunde: Mit praktischen Trainingsplänen” (“Lessons for Riding: Practical Training Plans”), which is full of riding resources that any rider can try.
Sibylle Wiemer’s go-to warm-up exercise
The hopping run, which is also popular in other sports, is ideal for a simple warm-up. The left knee is brought to the right elbow, then the right knee to the left elbow. With the respective leg, the human hops forward a bit.
Sibylle Wiemer’s pupils really don’t get on a horse without this exercise! “The hopping run is the minimum of warm-up exercises for my students,” says the trainer. In fact, it warms you up very quickly – anyone who has done a hop through the indoor riding arena has to take off the first layer of clothing if they’re wearing layers.
The exercise is simple but highly effective: “The rider works across the middle of the body, which links the right and left hemispheres of the brain,” explains Sibylle Wiemer. It makes you more alert and focused. At the same time, the body naturally warms up.
When to do a warm-up exercise
Sibylle Wiemer recommends that her students simply hop while leading their horse. The horse can also walk with them to warm up, and in between the student can prep their stirrups and make girth adjustments for the ride. There are rarely any difficulties: “The horses are very considerate, they almost all automatically slow down, that’s really nice to look at!” she says. “Some of them mirror their humans so much that they try to lift their front legs as well,” she says, laughing.
If this is easy for you, you can also let your horse trot along and hop faster. A lap around a riding arena covers quite a few meters, so that’s often enough.
Focus on really bringing the limbs together; opposite elbow to opposite knee. “Be careful not to just run with high elbows and knees, but to actually cross them,” says Sibylle Wiemer. Variations are possible, for example, crossing the limbs while walking backward or sideways.
If you’re interested in learning more about riding better with exercises in and out of the saddle, check out our course with Sibylle Wiemer called “Riding Better with Franklin Balls.” In this course, you’ll be inspired to think outside the box for exercises that will have a positive effect on your posture and riding position, your seat and leg aids, rein connection, upper body stability, head carriage, breathing, and more.