Friday Video from SmartPak: Winning Warm-Up Techniques

One of my favourite spots to lurk when I’m out and about reporting for EN is the dressage collecting ring. You can learn more there than almost anywhere else, and if you pick your vantage point carefully, you can eavesdrop on some of the world’s best coaches putting the world’s best riders through their paces. Half my notebooks — and at least two-thirds of my brain — end up full of the tips and advice Ian Woodhead has given the likes of Piggy March, for example — but when it comes to navigating my own dressage warm-up, I have to confess that I’m about as useful as a soggy dishcloth. I tend to go in without much of a plan, find that nothing feels particularly nice, and quite immediately, switch to a ‘get it over and done with’ mindset that helps absolutely no one, least of all my long-suffering horse. So I’m making a mission of taking the first-phase warm-up as seriously as I take my cross-country warm-up, so that I can begin to get the scores I know my horse is capable of. Step one? Getting myself motivated with this super masterclass from Irish eventer Fred Scala, in which he demonstrates and explains some of his tried-and-tested techniques for preparing for a winning test.

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