Plan your riding session

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You can of course ride for fun, but if you want to develop your riding skills it can be a good idea to plan your riding session.

It is a good idea to go through the riding session in your head before you begin, thinking about what your plans for the day are and what you want to achieve. Make sure that you have the time needed to warm up properly, perform the exercise and cool down.

If your horse is young or not really in condition, it is important to add several short walking sessions.

During the colder months you can, for example, use a quarter sheet, at least when warming up and when the horse is cooling down following the riding session. 

A riding session can be structured as follows:

  • 10 min. Walk, first on a long rein and then on a short rein.
  • 10 min. Trot, easy riding switching between straight and bent track; check that the horse is responsive to instructions and driving aids. Then do the same at a canter. Now that your horse is warmed up, walk on a half-long rein and allow it to take a short breather before you begin the exercise itself.
  • 20–25 min. Practice the proposed exercise, cool down using short walking breaks as required.
  • 5–10 min. Stretch the horse in a slightly lower and rounder form in trot and then possibly a canter.
  • 5–10 min. Cool down the horse, if possible by walking it around dismounted, so that both you and the horse have an opportunity to take a breather and stretch. If you lead your horse you can also loosen the girth slightly, making it easier for the horse to relax.

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