View Full Version : What is your riding routine?

electric stride
Apr. 27, 2010, 08:56 AM
What do you do to warm up, what special exercises, then what do you usually work on or what have you been working on lately ?


Walk both ways around the ring twice
Trot two laps both ways
15 minutes no stirrups
Serpentines and figure eight's at the canter
Then I begin jumping with a small line, course,

What do you do?

Apr. 27, 2010, 10:41 AM
I walktwice around, then spend 10 minutes trotting to get him soft, then 5 minutes no stirrups trotting, then a few more minutes of trotting (w/ stirrups) before short periods of cantering, followed by trotting to get him soft again, then moretrotting, etc. I then finish with some trotting. All this is mixed with changedof directions, loops, circles, etc. to keep him interested

Apr. 27, 2010, 10:49 AM
I start the older horse I'm riding with lots of working walk to loosen him up and then several laps at the trot, long and low on a loose rein, circling often. Once he's warmed up, we start working more at the trot, shoulders in and out, leg yields, smaller figure 8s (at one end of the ring) etc. I do a bit of collected sitting trot on the ends and an extended posting trot along the sides, back down to a collected sitting trot.

I am just starting back after a few years off so I don't do too much without stirrups (so bad I know), but I do a couple of times around without stirrups at the sitting trot with a little bit of posting.

He is a little weak at the canter so I just canter him around each way a few times, but don't do too much work with him at the canter yet. Oh and i always do a fair amount of canter to trot back to canter transitions as he tends to want to quit when downshifting from a canter.

I usually end with a long walk around the farm, maybe trotting up some small inclines to help get his hind end in shape.

Apr. 27, 2010, 11:17 AM
I walk for about 10 minutes - we make circles where I work especially on the inside bend, and moving her shoulders and butt over. I also halt and work on turns on the forehand and will make her move her shoulders over (not a turn on the hindquarters exactly). I have been working on having a following hand and maintaining even contact, so I focus on this for me while walking. Once I feel her shoulders coming up and she starts to round up then I will move on the trotting and again do circles focusing on bending and moving butt and shoulders over.

Sometimes I will begin cantering after about 10 minutes trotting and we do circles and transitions and I focus on having following hand with steady contact.

Other days I spend more time trotting and will do lots of leg yielding, trotting down the center line with an inside bend (not quite a shoulder in, but almost).

I like to finish with 10 minutes posting no stirrups.

If I am feeling lazy or in a rush, I like to hop on bareback and trot lots of circles and figure 8s, and canter around as well. I won't do as many transitions bareback (ouch!). It is important to be careful doing circles bareback - once we were falling in and I went to "step out" with my outside leg and almost stepped right off my horse!

Apr. 27, 2010, 11:38 AM
Walk around the ring twice each direction.
Trot around the ring twice each direction.
Trot serpentines, figure eights and circles.
Sitting trot in the corners, extend the trot on the sides and then switch.
Canter around the ring twice both directions.
Canter circles and figure eights.
Extend and collect the canter like at the trot.
*If going to use poles-one or two trot courses and then one to two canter courses.
No stirrups for five to ten minutes.
Loose rein trot around the ring twice.

Apr. 27, 2010, 11:57 AM
I've been working on going forward, so the first couple laps of my warmup is getting that instilled. After I know he's listening, we do some nice working trot on a loose rein, some bending/counter bending and circles, both directions. Then I'll do a couple laps working on collecting and extending, both sitting and posting. Then for me, do some two point and some no stirrup work (which I need to do more often. Barf). After that, pick up the canter, do some circles, again work on collecting and extending, maybe do some more two point and some large figure eights to do lead changes. We've also been working on transitions from canter to walk.

If I'm in a lesson, then we move onto small jumps to warm up, then the course du jour. When I'm hacking by myself, I'll try and do some ground poles or just call it a day.

Apr. 27, 2010, 01:14 PM
mayati02, my horse isn't older and i'm not just getting back into riding (so i have no excuses for not doing more no-stirrups work! haha) but minus the 'light on the canter,' part, your routine is very similar to ours.

- warm up with a walk around the farm on a mostly loose rein, walk up hills and down to stretch him out, i'll hold a two point for a good part of it to stretch my back, core and legs

- enter ring, take a feel, walk around once or twice in each direction, leg yields, get him in front of my leg and listening and realizing now we're down to business.

- trot, lengthen and collect on serpentines, diagonals, short ends/long ends, shoulders in, leg yields, circles, halts

- canter, lengthen, collect, working, flying changes, may counter canter, shoulders in, leg yields, circle with a counterbend, circle with a natural bend, transitions, work on making him soften and not lock his jaw/drop his shoulder, whatever the evasion is du jour. my boy is still a tiny bit green and still very creative!

- lately we've been working on: getting him to stay in front of the leg and really engaged behind without speeding up to accomplish this, as well as keeping him balanced on the outside rein in circles and not falling in. square corners, too.

drop my stirrups somewhere in here if i think of it get lazy without my trainer to push me, pick them back up again.

stretchy trot around on a loose rein, pat the boy, go walk the farm a few more times, up and down hills, say hi to friends, chat, lose track of time, panic and ride back to the barn.

untack and give a tart green apple to a very good boy. his favorite. :)

Apr. 27, 2010, 02:21 PM
I walk for a while, first on a loose rein and then asking for contact, and do a lot of circles, leg yields, halt transitions, etc., both directions... then trot and do the same. Lots of serpentines, spiraling in and out, collecting/extending, transitions, etc. Canter is mostly on the circle right now getting him to relax and slow down, and to get his right lead--we spend a lot of time just doing collected trot on the circle or leg yields to get him bent correctly to get the lead... he's a greenie. Once we get the lead correctly and canter a nice circle in both directions, we wrap up with that and go out for a walk down to the creek for a drink and maybe a ride around in the fields.

Apr. 27, 2010, 02:38 PM
A few times around each way on a long rein at the walk. Then I trot on long rein a few times, let him stretch out through his neck and back then I walk.

I do a working walk a few times around then go into a working trot, soft in the bridle, following from behind. I do lots of sit trot after the initital warming up trot.

No irons here and there, then post.

Canter long rein, canter working, circles, figure 8's, cavaletti work sometimes.

Apr. 27, 2010, 03:12 PM
My ride depends on how much of a spazz my horse is that day (green TB). I always start out with about 10 minutes of walk on a loose rein, changing direction frequently. After that it varies. Yesterday, for example, it was cold and rainy here so I don't think I did more than one lap of continuous trotting--horse felt a little like a stick of dynamite underneath me! There were two sets of cavaletti set up, so we went over one set and then leg yielded away from the other set. Or we'd walk one set and trot the next. Or trot one set, halt, trot second set....you get the idea. Never the same thing twice in a row. I cantered at the end, just a lap in each direction, and then walked (well, tried to walk) on a loose rein for about 10 minutes.

On a normal day we do lots of walk, then posting trot and two point for about 15-20 minutes with lots of circles and transitions to keep his little mind occupied and me from getting bored. Then canter work, possibly with a little hand gallop thrown in (horse needs to let go every once in a while), and back to calm trotting. If it's a jumping day we skip the last bit of trotting--horse is better if he's a little sparky, otherwise he's kind of lazy and just plows through his baby jumps (2'3 and under). Always ending up with lots of walk.

Apr. 27, 2010, 10:35 PM
I've enjoyed reading peoples responses. My horse is currently on stall rest due to a back issue. She is a 6 year old OTTB that I have had for about a year and a half. She normally lives in a big pasture. We usually do lots of trail rides and we walk, trot, and canter and go up and down hills- trail rides are usually at least an hour sometimes a few hours. In the arena I usually work her for 30 to 60 minutes depending. We do a fair amount of bareback work- often because I am too lazy to put a saddle on her. Nothing like a 2+ hour bareback trail ride to get my legs in shape.

She normally gets to romp around for about 10 minutes before I ride her so she can roll, race around, buck, rear, act goofy etc.

We do at least 10 minutes at a walk lots of circles, serpentines, just standing and having stretch her neck left and right, walk with head turned slightly left, and slightly right, lateral work, turns on forehand and haunches, rein back, side pass etc.

We do at least 10 minutes at a trot lots of circles and serpentines, lateral work, sitting and posting trot, practice two point, practice picking up and dropping stirrups, no stirrup work (in brief stints- I'm an old lady now). Walk/trot transitions. Trot poles.

We do 10-15 minutes of walk/trot/canter. Lots of transitions. Simple and flying changes. canter poles. Toward the end we do a few low gymnastics or a mini course of small fences. I jump her at both the trot and canter.

Sometimes we do weird things like back through an L or drag a pole with a rope or whatever I picked up from watching the extreme cowboy race. Sometimes we wind down with a ride around the property. She always gets to roll after the ride and this makes her very happy :)

Can't wait till she recovers and I can ride her again. Meanwhile I am riding a horse that needs work so I am doing the aforementioned with her. This horse is already looking better. She is half TB and half QH. The more I ride other horses, the more I like my girl!

Apr. 28, 2010, 01:11 AM
Depends a lot on what horse I'm riding.

With my old guy I work on getting him to go forward and not suck back behind my leg and tuck his nose to his chest. When we jump we work on going forward and not hanging up in the air. I also spend a few minutes doing lead changes back and forth. Sometimes from canter to counter canter and back again, sometimes across the ring or on a small figure eight. His lead changes are difficult mostly because he's so long over his back, so I work on them hard so that he'll do them better for his little lease girl.

With my younger guy I work on getting him to move off my leg, more so laterally than forward/back. I do this by working lateral work with a dressage whip. When we jump I work on being consistent and helping him jump across the jumps.

With the younger ones I work on carrying a consistent pace and not being tense or rushing over poles or small jumps.

With the little bay mare I work on her moving forward and not getting too bunched up in her step, both flat and fences.

My trainer gives us different things to work on in our lessons, and I use the exercises she gives us for each horse. Some I have to work hard on holding them straight, some on bending, some on focus... etc.

Apr. 28, 2010, 11:06 AM
I am so glad that this post came up, because just yesterday during my hack I was thinking about how I get so BORED when I am flatting by myself. It is especially tiresome if I am out at the barn by myself which is often the case when I get off work. Reading these posts really gave me some ideas on how to prevent boredom and get some work done during my ride! Thank you guys!

Apr. 28, 2010, 11:29 AM
What do you do to warm up, what special exercises, then what do you usually work on or what have you been working on lately

I get up at 4:50, dress, pack lunch and drive to the barn. At 5:40, I feed, bring the beasts in, measure out the next meal, check water, put out hay, pick the pony paddock, do morning check on all animals, turn the horses back out and go to work.

During the day, I coordinate with "My Rider" (tm) to ascertain what will be done that day, particularly in relationship to our weekly schedule, monthly obligations and eventual goal.

That would be hack if the footing isn't terrible, haul out for a lesson, make lesson/clinic/trail ride/show food for the freezer, and check the VHSA schedule for something fun that's not too far away (in miles) and likely to occur during nice weather.

"My Rider" is to perform the riding duties, I do the provisioning, the hauling and set up, I also beat her up re: the scheduling of what I'd like to see her do vs what she is likely to get to do what with pesky work and all. She does the riding, I do the critiquing. She calls it criticizing but whatever. :D

We have small goals, the main one of surviving whatever we select as our fun each week.

Apr. 28, 2010, 01:41 PM
It really depends. A lot of days with my horse I like walking and trotting him with a loose rein first or we go for a quick walk around the property. He likes looking around (in a non-spooky way) and i feel like it helps him relax and get his mind to work.

Then we work on walking with a purpose in a frame, then we do a working trot, walk, sitting trot, walk. We usually put some halting square and soft in there, moving off into the trot or walk, or taking 10 steps backwards (we used to do only 5 but then he stopped wanting to go any farther back then 5 steps lol)

We do that both directions, then we do canter both directions, sometimes from a trot, sometimes from a walk, sometimes from a halt. And then we usually do one or 2 flying changes, or practice a USEF Test if we aren't jumping. And then we go for another walk after riding :)

Apr. 28, 2010, 03:27 PM
My coming-5yo starts off with a walk on a long rein and then some big figures with many changes of direction at the trot. At this point in the ride I encourage him to lower and lengthen his neck into the contact, so it looks like we are doing a modified stretchy circle all around the arena.
After this he gets a canter both directions on a longer contact and then we come back to walk for a bit.

Next we go into some transition work: W-T and then WTC/WC on 20m circles, making sure to change direction frequently. Here I ask for a more elevated topline.

Then he gets a walk break where we work on our legyielding; he is still a little green at this so we use a "productive walk break" to work on it.

After that I start to sit the trot. We do a some "trot/almost walk/lengthen out" repetitions both directions to engage the topline and fluff up the gait. I am just starting to introduce shoulder in (trot) and haunches in (still walk) with him so we do a few laps where the longside goes 10m circle, 4 steps SI, 10m c, 4 steps SI, etc. He gets stretchy circles on the shortsides to keep the neck long and the energy unkinked.

He is confirming his lead changes so the order of the day is ridability in the canter. We canter again (asking for our most elevated topline yet), and do some STRAIGHT diagonals into a STRAIGHT trot at the end of the diagonal before the turn.
We add in some counter canter loops (coming out of the short turn and then "bending in" on the long side to have a little countercanter loop up the longside) and try to make those loops bigger and bigger without losing the lead, until eventually we can do a full serpentine and hold the counter lead around the short side.

IF the counter canter is easily held around the short side (still hard for him, and we don't get there every day), we will do that a time or two and then come up the longside in counter canter and ask for a lead change before the short turn.

That is pretty much the extent of a flat school for the young one.

I tend to separate my "jump days" from my "flat days." On jump days (once, maybe twice a week), they get a loose rein walk warmup, a couple of laps and big circles at trot and canter -long and flat and poking the nose- and then 15 minutes later we hit the sticks.

The overall program includes
-two or three "real" flat schools per week
-one or MAYBE two jump schools per week
-at least one hack day or trail ride
-one or two days off

tidy rabbit
Apr. 28, 2010, 05:19 PM
Depends on the level of horse....

With my 5 y.o. & my 13 y.o. I do pretty much the same thing.

Marching walk to warm up. Then stretching nose to stirrup both directions on a big circle.

Then at the walk shoulder in/ haunches in/leg yields.

Then at the trot lots of transitions from halt trot/trot halt. Then lengthening and shortening around the arena while keeping the same tempo. Throw in some shoulder in/haunches in, bending and counter bending on a big circle. Try for some long and low on the circle.

Move to canter work. Same big circle, couple times around and then work on quality trot canter/canter trot transitions. Then move on to canter halt/halt canter.

Then do some canter extension down the long side while keeping same tempo. Then work on counter canter exercises.

Then move on to canter and trot poles, cavaletti with lots of halts 5 or 6 strides after a pole or cavaletti.

tidy rabbit
Apr. 28, 2010, 05:23 PM
With my 4 y.o. We work on the quality of his gaits. Marching walk, forward trot, forward canter. Lots of good transitions between the gaits. And by lots, I mean A LOT. Since he's like a tourist most of the time this is a great way to keep his focus on me and help build his top line.

Lots and lots of big circle and transition work, very little work down the long sides.

Lots of poles, trot & canter.

Apr. 28, 2010, 06:05 PM
i hack out -
do everything out side - and horses are 99% traffic proof as there always that 1% that isnt lol
i also gallop my horses when i am out
i also have a jumping lane in the woods and plenty of opportunity
to ride in over 600 acres of anceint woodland and 3000acres of farm land plus a country park - plus use of a school if i want to ride in one
most of my work is done out hacking even if i had a 3yr oldit would be out and about and seeing life

Apr. 29, 2010, 09:49 PM
Walk ring 2-3 times each direction
Trot each direction on loose rein
Start to bring trot together (he gets reeeaaalllyyy long) and work on leg into hand
Trot-halt-trot transitions
Canter in each direction, half-seat and forward, full seat and collected
Canter-halt-canter and canter-trot-canter
Jumping if I'm in a jumping lesson (hasn't been going well as of late...)

Apr. 30, 2010, 12:56 PM
I have different routines depending on which horse I am riding.

Both start with 5 minutes of walk on a loose rein. Then it changes depending on the horse.

Kay - does mostly trot work with lots of figures to keep her attention. I sneak some lateral work in when she is calm and listening. We also work lots of W/T/W transistions. We canter in the middle of the work and then return to trot to calm her back down :) On jump days, I sometimes don't canter before starting to jump. I just warm her up throughly at the trot and when she's ready, trot the first jump and go from there.

Pepper - l might let the old man walk for some extra time. But if I actually want to do a productive work with him, I canter him on a loose rein for a couple laps both ways. At 25, he can be a bit stiff if I trot first. His back end loosens up quicker at the canter. Then after he is loose, we do trot work and lateral work. On the rare days that I let him jump, we do the same type of warm up and then I will let him trot a few for grins :) He's old but still enjoys the occasional jump or two. He actually loves when I take him cross country and let him pop over some of the super little green as grass jumps. I did try to retire him at one point but he stays sounder with work and happier too :D