Why 5 minutes box to ring, isn't a brag

We touched on warming up and cooling down protocol in our earlier article on Muscle Development Considerations for your horse and in this segment, we're going to explore a little more about why "five minutes from box to ring" is not something we should aim our horse team mates for.

While the sentiment behind the phrase generally lies within the actual meaning "look how easy my horse is to manage", the reality of what usually happens is the phrase rings true. Riders think that a quick walk up to the warm up arena is sufficient before trotting in for their class, where they expect their horse to perform at their best.

Imagine you've been sleeping all night, and you are woken up at 5am, pulled out of your comfortable bed and position and dressed for the day. Then you're requested to pick up a heavy object and go running, within about half an hour of waking up.

While your horse may not have been on the ground sleeping, you can bet they were resting and locking their stay apparatus in place while doing so. This means their bodies are in a rest state. You've pulled them out of their confined 4 x 4 stable, popped a saddle on, jumped on their backs and off you go! The horse has been totally immobilised for a period of time before you jumped on board.

Synovial fluid takes at least ten minutes just to be lubricating the joint capsules appropriately to protect them from damage (never mind if you actually have existing bony changes or arthritis issues). 

A good warm-up before asking your horse to workout widens their blood vessels, ensuring that muscles are well supplied with oxygen. It also raises your horses' muscles’ temperature for the best flexibility and efficiency. By slowly raising their heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on their heart.

Warming up is critical for preventing injury and prepping their body and yours!

Key considerations - we are not suggesting that the other end of this spectrum, with excessive work down, is appropriate either. Lactic acid development from strenuous exercise can play a critical role in your equines level of stress, tying up or general performance - more on this next time!


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