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Do you warm-up before you ride?

Who wants to know, you ask?

I do... I'm curious...

So ask me... go ahead... Q. Do you #warmup before you ride, #JoanAdler? A. Not always... but I certainly notice a difference when I do mount up with warm muscles and a clear mind.

Let's face it, time seems to be getting harder to come by these days and this makes it difficult to properly warm-up. After all, if we have only 1.5 hours to work with our horse, the .5 is for grooming before and after, and the 1 hour we want to spend in the saddle. No room for the proper 20-30 minute warm-up... am I right?

How about a solution for our problem:

I have devised a quick routine that can be done on the days when we can't find enough time for a complete warm-up routine.

Choose your space, where you can do your warm-up routine quietly and away from distractions. In this way, you can begin to put your life's 'baggage' (non-horse related thoughts) "on hold".

I like to tell riders to wear a scarf to the barn. As you are preparing, think of all of the non-essential thoughts you have, which I referred to as non-horse related. Imagine putting all of those thoughts into that scarf. Now remove the scarf and STUFF it into your grooming kit.

Voila! Now you begin your warm-up, being mindful and present in the moment. (Well done!)


Here's my go to exercises: L to R, top photos: Pelvic tilts to warm up my pelvis (here I'm using the Balimo chair), Hamstring stretch (using mounting block), and Quad/Hip flexor stretch (using mounting block)

L to R, bottom photos: Inner Thigh stretch, Piriformis stretch (Foam roller for balance) & Spine Stretch

(All photos are courtesy of our new book A LEG UP - Pilates for Riders)


My advice would be to warm up your core and pelvis first, then move to the leg stretches and finish with a nice feeling Roll Down spine stretch. And hopefully, it goes without saying, you need to stretch both legs so don't forget to switch sides. If you haven't groomed your horse yet, you should add some upper body pectoral stretches too!

Make your stretches about 30 - 60 seconds, mild 'feel good' stretches and NO bouncing!

By my reckoning, 6 stretches should take about 10 - 12 minutes.


There are as many benefits of warming-up as there are ways to go about it. For more information, and the full list of stretches (illustrated & in detail), check out A LEG UP - #Pilates for Riders.

Enjoy your ride!

oh and remember to document your warm-up in your Training Journal.


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