Excerpt from the June issue of Heels Down Magazine.
Olympic gold medalist and USEF Eventing Developing Rider coach Leslie Law stresses the importance of a short but effective warm-up for show jumping when it falls on the final day of a three-day event.
The Challenge of a Tired Horse
“Very often when you warm up [for stadium jumping the day after cross-country] you have a totally different horse than the one you’re used to jumping. Usually they’re quick and powerful off the floor, but [the day after cross-country] they just want to get up and down as easily as possible.
So, on the last day of a three-day in the stadium, the riders have to use a lot more skill. They have to be very good about how much leg they use and how they balance that with their bodies. Too much leg, you can push a horse through the jump. Not enough, they’re weak off the floor. If you move your upper body too quick, you flatten the jump. You’re always trying to get the horse to jump up into you. It’s a lot of mental work going into this.”
Loosen the Shoulders
“We start off small and build up quickly because the horses are a little bit tired. I always think you’ve got to be careful you don’t leave the jump in the warm up.
A lot of the loosening up should be done in about 15 minutes of flatwork – getting the horse to leg yield a bit, doing some shoulder in, so that they start to get looser in their shoulders and start to engage the hind end. With the event horses, a lot of the time it’s about getting the shoulders loosened up after [cross-country the day before].