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View Full Version : Warm up ring? More like wind up ring!



paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 12:03 PM
I volunteered at my first PVDA show this weekend. Had a blast, learned alot, will do more. I have one concern though. I'm a high strung person by nature and while I was ring stewarding I imagined myself in the warm up ring just getting more and more wound up. Anyone else have this problem? Any solutions? Am I just getting ahead of myself?

Paula

Velvet
Apr. 30, 2012, 12:11 PM
What was winding you up? The thought of the competition following the warm up? Or the idiots not paying attention to normal ring rules when in the warm up ring? :lol:

quietann
Apr. 30, 2012, 12:11 PM
Oh BTDT! I find having someone with me -- preferably a trainer or coach, but even my cool-as-a-cucumber husband is good -- helps a lot. It can get a little frenetic so "eyes up!" is really important to avoid crashes... Try to identify "problem" horses/riders before you go in and keep away from them.

paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 12:16 PM
Velvet, the thing that would wind me up would definitely be the anticipation of competition. I'm going to do what quietann suggests and go in a group from my barn. Oh and take lots and lots of vitamin B.

I guess it's like my boy Carl Hester says; do lots and lots of shows to get the nerves under control.

Paula

lovey1121
Apr. 30, 2012, 12:52 PM
Definitely find a groom to help you, someone who who is willing to do everything you need help with. I'd suggest finding this person now, and start working on a list of what will need to be done from a few days before to loading for home and putting horsie to bed. Someone with show experience would be great-whether as rider or groom. Ive had my groom read my tests, and she kindly practiced this with me beforehand, so it was soothing to have a familiar voice reading.

I found it hard to be very social the hour before I mounted, so I made sure I found something solitary to do to avoid crowds and having to make small talk, whether it was sitting in the tack stall going over my test or listening to myusic or polishing tack or boots.

But no matter what you do, you WILL be nervous at first. How it affects tour ride will help you determine your protocol for the next show. Experienceis the best teacher, amen!

by the way, good for you for volunteering! Whether volunteering or simply spectating, you can get more of an idea of what its all about. Poking around in the trailer or stabling area is also fun and productive. I'm one who is calmer when all her ducks are in a row, so the more prepared I am, the better my tests went.

katarine
Apr. 30, 2012, 02:08 PM
What works for me:

I have a great coach who helps me stay on track with timing, are they running behind, etc. I showed a ton growing up so showing itself does not concern me. I have a very easy horse to warm up- we rode First one this weekend for the first time and 75% of my warm up was at a walk, stretching him laterally...then a little gaiting, then two canters in each direction, for a total of maybe one lap in a large arena. Done. She calls my tests and does it well, so I have nothing to worry about there. I prepare for the maneuver at hand, I ride it, then I ride the next one. If you try to think of the whole thing in a wad, it will be a wad. Anticipating too much what happens if- is pointless. If he hops out of the ring he hops out of the ring. He's much more alive and forward and tense in the arena, so my goal is deep breathing, helping him....I don't think about me at all, other than to check my breathing and position....I don't know, it just gets kinda zen out there for me ;)

The only dressage show I've fallen apart at is one I attended without her, where my DH and a friend came and sorta helped. It was bad! I would have been better off 100% alone, and finding a friend there to call the test. Bad help is worse than none ;)

Velvet
Apr. 30, 2012, 02:12 PM
Plan your ride, ride your plan. Just school. Take your time. Get on early and wander the grounds. Then warm up a little, then wander some more. No jacket on yet, etc. Just hang out. Then go back, do your warm up for real, with plenty of time to get in the ring, and then just ride off to the ring and start your test. If you make it a big deal in your head now, it will be an even bigger deal when you show.

Just think of it all as schooling. No pressure. Just something you need to teach your horse.

Oh, and avoid the DQs or get pissy with them and tell them off if they almost mow you down. ;) That will keep you from being nervous. You'll be to annoyed to be nervous. :lol:

lovey1121
Apr. 30, 2012, 02:27 PM
Hopefully your trainer can warm you up and read for you. But shizzle happens, so its good to have a backup reader who has done it before, preferably one you're familiar with.

And never never allow a friend to persuade you to take a pharmaceutical to calm you down. Especially if you've never taken that pharmaceutical. Especially when you're jumping.:cool:

paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 02:43 PM
You guys are awesome! I'm keeping everything you've said in mind. I can just see myself winding up poor Fella otherwise LOL!

Paula

Sandy M
Apr. 30, 2012, 03:10 PM
Well, Velvet knows that with my horse, I have reason to be "wound up" in my warmup, but it has more to do with my hot horse and dodging idiots who think passing within six inches at an extended trot or refusing to follow ring etiquette because their $$$$ horse is worth more than mine is perfectly acceptable. As to my nerves, unless one has an "explosive" horse, I find that my eventing background serves to make me pretty "non-wound up." To my mind, competition nerves are for bef. x-country. Dressage is the non-life-threatening (usually) phase of competition. I might embarass myself, but nervous....nah. Fortunately, if I survive warmup, we usually can get through a test okay. If he's tense,the score will reflect it, but we usually don't totally blow or leave the arena, etc. If he relaxes (which he usually, but not always does) then we're home free. *G* I still laugh at the comment I got on my test a the RAAC: "A big, talented horse who is not focused today." Yup, I noticed that! LOL

leilatigress
Apr. 30, 2012, 03:14 PM
Plan your ride, ride your plan. Just school. Take your time. Get on early and wander the grounds. Then warm up a little, then wander some more. No jacket on yet, etc. Just hang out. Then go back, do your warm up for real, with plenty of time to get in the ring, and then just ride off to the ring and start your test. If you make it a big deal in your head now, it will be an even bigger deal when you show.

Just think of it all as schooling. No pressure. Just something you need to teach your horse.

Oh, and avoid the DQs or get pissy with them and tell them off if they almost mow you down. ;) That will keep you from being nervous. You'll be to annoyed to be nervous. :lol:

However, if the DQ is trying to run you down on your pony feel free to throw your reins away, put your hands in the air and Yell I SURRENDER!!! It does work. ;)

paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 03:39 PM
Sandy,

Funny you should mention Eventer-cool. We had one eventer (that I knew of) competing in the dressage ring. You're right; she was so cool. It was very different because more than likely you see someone making their horse rein lame because he's so compressed in front for fear he'd take off or explode or something. She so didn't care so her horse was so relaxed and forward. I joked that she probably was thinking, "Eh, so he takes off; we can clear the barn half doors at the end easy"

I want dressage chops, but eventer courage please.

Paula

Gloria
Apr. 30, 2012, 03:39 PM
I'm always more nervous "imagining" myself in the warmup ring than me actually riding in the warmup ring.

You see, when you watch other people warm up and imagine yourself there, you have way too much time in your hand and brain and end up imagining all that might happen. When you are actually riding, you are too busy riding to worry about all those things.

amm2cd
Apr. 30, 2012, 03:47 PM
However, if the DQ is trying to run you down on your pony feel free to throw your reins away, put your hands in the air and Yell I SURRENDER!!! It does work. ;)

My Qh will just take the hit, and that really throws the Ring Warriors off! :D

For my sister's high strung horse's FEI debut, I used my QH as a warm up 'blocker' for the big guy. There was one other rider who kept passing too close, and the big guy would get upset.
Enter the QH Enforcer. Want to pass 6" from me? Fine. But I might practice my trot-halt right in your warpath.

In all seriousness, I find that a ring person (groom, SO, trainer, etc) to keep track of how the rings are running, who you follow, which test your doing, talking you down from the ledge, reminding you that this is fun, etc is the single most important thing.

paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 03:51 PM
Two very true posts;

1. I was watching them in the warm up ring imagining my fears. Quite right.

2. Fella is a big guy so I'm going to take a page from amm2cd and take refuge in his size. He looks like a line backer and I'm a big Black girl so I'll throw in my Sister Scowl grrrrr.

Paula

cnm161
Apr. 30, 2012, 03:59 PM
Well, my horse is 17.3 and he ain't petite, but still got run down several times because he's, um, reactive. And someone's daughter really wanted to win. On the plus side, it resulted in the now-famous Porpoise PSG, which is a good story and still scored decently. Plus, the Flipper-esque soundtrack was a nice break from the elevator music.

In all seriousness, LOOK UP when you ride in the warmup. Be conscious of your relative position in the warmup and of those around you. Ride predictable lines so people don't have to slam on the brakes when you make a turn. Call your lines if you foresee an issue (or, if you're me on The Galloping Seacow, your brakes are sometimes an issue once you hit the Extended Trot button).

Practice riding with other people in the ring. Focus on you and the warmup you need, but realize that other people are also in the ring.

And for the love of all that is holy, if you see a big bay gelding with a crooked stripe porpoising his way around the warmup somewhere in PA, do not cut him off or clip too close by. His rider's going through enough, thank you very much.

paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 04:04 PM
Okay, you just made me LOL in the teacher's lounge. Now I've got to see a picture of the galloping porpoise!

Paula

Burbank
Apr. 30, 2012, 04:07 PM
the warm up ring can be a bit nerve wracking at times

if you and Fella are both new to showing you might want to either borrow and been there done that for your first show or have someone relaxed show Fella for his first show if you are worried your nerves will get the best of you

also go to schooling shows to watch or even open shows to just go in classes and warm ups with out the worry of showing more of practice in your mind

paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 04:33 PM
I can have someone show Fella? How does that work?

Paula

leilatigress
Apr. 30, 2012, 04:36 PM
My Qh will just take the hit, and that really throws the Ring Warriors off! :D

For my sister's high strung horse's FEI debut, I used my QH as a warm up 'blocker' for the big guy. There was one other rider who kept passing too close, and the big guy would get upset.
Enter the QH Enforcer. Want to pass 6" from me? Fine. But I might practice my trot-halt right in your warpath.

In all seriousness, I find that a ring person (groom, SO, trainer, etc) to keep track of how the rings are running, who you follow, which test your doing, talking you down from the ledge, reminding you that this is fun, etc is the single most important thing.

Well the DQ that tried to run down the DD on the pony was having a bit of break issues combined with his rider humping his back like a monkey while trying desperately to rolker around the ring. Pony is all of 11 hands and is convinced he is 18 hands. If it had been a pasture setting my money would have been on the pony but he's not allowed to 'man up' with a kiddo aboard. When DD dropped her reins at the extended trot and threw up her hands yelling I SURRENDER she was frustrated and scared. DQ had chased poor pony across the ring and had ears back making all kinds of mean faces. Pony headed straight for trainer who made good use of the crop and dominatrix pose that stopped big boy in his tracks. (She didn't hit the horse or the rider though I likely would have.) Since then we usually warm him up on the lunge line with DD on a taller horse or if that's not possible we'll use other riders from our barn to create a buffer zone.

katarine
Apr. 30, 2012, 04:37 PM
Are you starting out with recognized shows or schooling shows? At schooling no one cares who rides what ;) ...better to tackle your nerves at that level and save the wear and tear on the wallet,too.

paulaedwina
Apr. 30, 2012, 04:39 PM
Starting off with schooling shows. You're right; I do need to put on my big girl panties and deal with it. One of the things I thought I could do is meander through the farm if there are trails, and then come to the warm up ring only a bit before I'm scheduled. Eh: I'm sure I'm just worrying ahead of time.

I'll volunteer more and get over myself.

Paula

Velvet
Apr. 30, 2012, 04:52 PM
If every afraid that the DQs are coming to close, I swear by having a dressage whip poking out the side like you don't know what you're doing. Freaks out the DQs horse and keeps her off you. Also freaks out the DQ a bit if it whacks her on the leg when she goes by. ;) Just be sure to practice this at home with your horse.

Maybe you can have a "relinquish your whip!" moment in a show warm up ring. That would make GREAT YouTube fodder. :lol:

cnm161
May. 1, 2012, 08:42 AM
Plenty o' ridiculous pics of the Bukasta can be found here (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=310094)

For some reason, nobody ever wants to ride my horse...

rebecca yount
May. 2, 2012, 10:20 PM
Learn your test but ALWAYS have a reader if you are allowed (i.e. below PSG)! Takes away a lot of the nerves.

NOMIOMI1
May. 2, 2012, 10:33 PM
What work best IMO is making yourself stick to something more or less and transition downward and work in walk for a bit in between.

SO like get warm like normal but then when schooling say I will trot two ciricles 20 meter (if capable) then I will shoulder in on the long side and walk the entire arena.

Next I will do a circle at trot in that empty corner and spiral in and out no more than 4 circles.

Walk the entire arena working on stretch with connection.

I will then canter 5 strides back to trot then canter 10 strides then walk.

Canter circles twice 20 meter down to walk and walk the entire arena.

Then the other way.

If you give yourself made up directives even while in the arena without just wtc dizzy and stressed out.

Always make sure shoulder in is in there. Always make sure that long walks on short reins long reins as well as stretching walk with connection is in there. Always make sure your horse will walk very slow if you ask and you are not running on nerves.

GO about 10 mph slower then you will show the horse if you know the horse to "wake up" during competition.

Superminion
May. 3, 2012, 08:03 AM
I've shown lots.

Lots and lots and lots and lots. On many a different horse in many a different class. The warm up can be the most nerve wracking part of everything. Showing a QH at Congress taught me to get over that, when there are a billion people schooling in a ring half the size of your standard dressage ring, and it's 3am. It was great fun. I say that honestly. I had a blast!

The most important part of everything is to remember to have FUN with it!

I usually stake out a circle, so everybody knows where I'm going, and ride accordingly. You're going to get those people that are obnoxious in the warm-up (my old horse forgot his brakes and steering so I've been on both sides of the fence there), but once you've delt with them, it gets eaiser (however no less obnoxious). Just remember ring rules and go with the flow the best you can.

Stuff is GOING to happen. You're GOING to screw up. EVERYBODY screws up. I've jumped entire courses backwards, been bucked off in the middle of flat classes, and had a horse who plowed right up to the judges booth, stuck his head in for a bit of a snuggle with the judge then stole the scribes water bottle. (Judges comment, "Enjoyed the snuggle and lovely braid job, however obedience could be worked on a bit more.") Nobody is expecting you to be perfect, and your sense of humor can go along way. No use in fighting it.

My husband keeps me laughing the entire time. Even if I have a miserable day, he has some absurd comment that makes me able to chalk it up to a good time and move onto the next. He has no clue what's going on, and if my horse is piaffing down the center line during the T-1 test, he'll bust out with "well that's something the lady did in upper level test, so don't you get bonus points or something?" He's dead serious.

Just have fun with it, and it'll be okay! Just think, if everything goes to mud it'll give you a wonderful excuse to indulge in the adult beverage of your choice at the end of the day!

paulaedwina
May. 3, 2012, 08:08 AM
How do you stake out a circle?

Paula

katarine
May. 3, 2012, 08:57 AM
You just keep riding it. And you don't mow others down, if you have to, do a trot/halt transition on the circle if someone walks through it unawares.

Keep in mind L shoulder to L shoulder. Look where you are going and work on taking care of your warm up, while realizing others are as mentally busy as you are.

No such thing as perfect, just go ride your horse. If you like, just go and ride in the warm up a few times. You won't die. It's just a horse show.

paulaedwina
May. 3, 2012, 09:00 AM
"You won't die. It's just a horse show".

I need to keep that somewhere visible because, as you can probably tell, I'm a weeee bit high strung.

Paula

Oberon13
May. 3, 2012, 09:36 AM
I'm an obsessive people-watcher (not creepy...I just love it), AND I'm a perfectionist and control freak. Now we know why I love dressage. ;)

In warm-up, I let both of these flags fly - I watch other people (helps keep my eyes up) and wonder who they are and what their lives have been like. I'll laugh at the overly snobby; I'll smile at the ones so nervous they look like they're going to hurl. But, I'll also ride my horse the way I know she needs to be warmed up. Some of it is just so much practice that you figure it out. I know she doesn't need a ton of warm-up, and if I go too long, I'll miss that optimal moment where she's really with me and not trying to figure out what the horses on the other side of the show grounds are doing.

I have a set of exercises I pull out for warm up to keep me focused on her and what she needs - a lot of lateral to keep her attention and to get her back soft; I end with forward NOW off my leg for lengthenings and because I want to walk from warm up to the show ring with a bit o' sparkle.

Anyway...it's FUN!!! Figure out what works for your horse (this is where schooling shows are worth their weight in gold...though I'm not sure how you'd weigh a show). Figure out what you love about it all...and keep that in the forefront of your mind at all times!

When you look around at the world....we're the lucky ones. :)

Burbank
May. 3, 2012, 09:47 AM
paula, I to am on the high strung side (and my horse is an arabxsaddlebred) but once you get out there and just have the mind set of this is a learning experience and you are there to have fun it will be easier, wait for the "bigger" shows to worry when you are going for high point or end of year awards etc, right now get out there and enjoy Fella

and yes we all have those days and moments at shows where we embarass ourselves or our horses, its okay no one cares they just think to themselves, yup been there

katarine
May. 3, 2012, 10:09 AM
Well....no one is nearly as interested in your ride as you are, so keep that to yourself ;) That sounds ugly but is meant just as a reality check with a touch of humor. I observed a gal all but hyperventilating in the warm up, verbalizing all the what ifs about her upcoming ride. Her poor coach was just about exhausted from repeating 'if that happens you will just handle it or he's never done that before, he's not likely to do that today. etc etc

Look, I'm never going to jump out of an airplane, or basejump, or or or. Those things are insanely scary to me. A warm up in a schooling show? Pffft. If the notion of showing scares you like skydiving does me, don't do it. You don't have to. Or get a therapist. Or a stiff drink. Something. But don't exhaust the good will of your coach and those around you twirling in anxiety land.

It's just a HORSE SHOW.

paulaedwina
May. 3, 2012, 10:16 AM
Oh, girl I am going to live by this;

"You won't die. It's just a horse show".

Because, honest to goodness I did run the scenario of letting someone else show Fella for me and then had to trout slap myself and ask, "Then why the heck would you have a horse?"

I do need to be reminded to get over myself. I have the right kind of trainer, fortunately; she doesn't cater to my neuroses.

Paula

Vesper Sparrow
May. 3, 2012, 10:29 AM
This is coming from someone who is often nervous. It has taken me a couple of years to learn to put that aside as best I can, and just ride. (Getting in the ring and forgetting to ride happens a lot; even though you think you're riding, you're just going through the motions.)

A lot is going to depend on you and your horse, the weather, how long you have between tests,, etc., on that particular day. That's why you have your coach there to help you warm up, especially for your first few shows. :) Once you know your horse better in a show situation, you can make plans yourself. There is no substitute for experience.

One thing I haven't regretted doing is taking the time first to wander around the show grounds letting the horse see the sights on a lead rope, or if you're really confident, mounted.

See to your horse's comfort first always but also see to your own. Have a good breakfast, drink lots of water, change into comfy clothes between tests if you have time, find shade if it is hot, take healthful food in a cooler, etc. Have a helper along to hold your horse if you need a Porta-Potty break, your jacket and bottle of water in the warm-up ring, etc.

Give yourself plenty of time and be well organized (I have a horse show list of things to bring and tick it off), and that will also help dispel any show nerves.

I always memorize my tests thoroughly but if I'm in a more difficult situation (first time at an away show on a new horse, young horse acting up, etc.), having your coach there to read them to you is priceless. Just hearing her reassuring voice has helped get me through some tough spots.

runNjump86
May. 3, 2012, 02:07 PM
I scribed at a schooling event on Sunday, and the riders who had their test read were more nervous, in my opinion. I do much better if I memorize my test; having to focus on what my dingbat horse is doing AND listen to someone read me movements would completely fry my brain.

I learned the hard way that we need to avoid the warm-up pen at all costs. My horse is NOT green and has been shown on the flat before, and ridden during college equestrian team practices (aka, lots of horses, small arena, not much steering) but he lost his damn mind in the warm-up pen on Sunday. It was all I could do to keep him from exploding out/over the dressage arena during our test. Judge's remarks? "Tense, needs to stretch over topline." Yep, sounds right!

Paula, Go. To. Schooling. Shows. first and foremost. Play around with warm-up timing. If your horse needs a lot of slow, steady warm-up just hop on and walk around the show grounds, pref. where the trailers are parked/away from the commotion of the W/U pen. If he doesn't need a lot, then if there is room, do a couple circles and transitions near the trailer (if it's a haul-in type show, anyway) or somewhere, once again, away from the W/U pen. Next schooling show, head to the W/U pen and gauge his (and your) reaction. I stay pretty even-keeled AFTER I tack up, but while I'm tacking up I'm all nerves. I get Horse ready and looking cute, then find something to polish...saddle, bridle, boots, helmet, truck windshield...etc. Sit down, have a bottle of water and some grapes, perhaps read a magazine or something, look over your test, then get on. That's what works for me, anyway. Get all the nerves out before you get on, that way when they come back you are hydrated :D

tabula rashah
May. 3, 2012, 02:29 PM
One of the best pieces of horse show advice I've ever had is to ride your own horse, ie if you know the best warm up for your horse is a lot of walk and some trot circles, don't watch somebody who has their horse on a lunge for an hour and think "is that the better way, should I be lunging too?" etc- you'll make yourself crazy doing that. Make your plan ahead of time and stick to it (within reasons of course).

nhwr
May. 4, 2012, 11:55 AM
1) Go to a few hunter/jumper shows and do a few flat classes. That makes the warm up in the dressage ring look like lawn bowling.

2) Look up and be assertive in the warmup. Announce what you'd like; when you are coming across the diagonal and want the rail say "Rail please!" or let the person behind you know you are about to do a 10 metter circle. People are purposefully rude, they are (like you) focused on their own warmup.

3) Have a plan and give your self twice as much time as you need for everything.

4) Lots of good breathing and remind yourself you do this for fun :yes: