I have a Percheron cross mare that I do Musical Freestyles with. She has had a continual issue with warming up well, then running out of “gas” upon starting a test. I used to think it was lack of fitness/deeper footing than what I have a home- a bunch of things. But in the past year she’s gotten fitter, schools at home & elsewhere fine, and I thought I’d solved this problem. I haven’t! At a big show yesterday she warmed up amazingly- forward, round, soft, lovely. I carry a Dressage whip but because this was a Championship show I couldn’t carry one for the test. I’ve been practicing without one & it’s been OK- the spurs seemed to be all I needed, and not too much of those. She knew I dropped it before starting the test & it was horrible, yet when we went back to the warm up ring she was great again. I was so frustrated! Any suggestions??
Are you as a rider doing anything differently in the show ring from what you do/did in the warm up? If you are relaxed in the warm-up but tense up in the ring, & have a horse that is very sensitive to your invisible body language cues, even if the change is as subtle as as changing the amount of tension in your fingers, arms, shoulders and/or back from what you were doing in the warm up could be enough to unintentionally send her the message that you are not comfortable with what she is doing. Long term, having a horse this sensitive will be a huge advantage, but you may have to learn to wide in the show ring with a lot less tension if you have a horse with a hair trigger response to even a miniscule change in your body tension. If this is the problem, you have a horse you can ride in your finger tips, with cues that will be invisible to the naked eye.
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