Will Louis I would always start at walk trying to get him long and low. Lots of circles, spirals, change of rein, halts etc. Then after about 5/10 minutes into trot, but still doing the same thing, circles, serpentines, transitions etc. Then a good burn round in canter to wake him up and then start work.
Ollie, walk him arount to loosen him off a bit do some lateral type work flextions in the poll and then get him a little more infront of the leg then get off his back and gallop about a bit otherwise you get nowhere at all with him
when im warming up bennetton i dont spend too long in walk otherwise he switches off.i do a lot of transitions from the walk and trot working on getting him to flex and accept a contact (he eithers leans or works behind the bit)so work him into a light contact.when i canter i tend to go into a light seat because that helps purk him up when we are in the school and gets him a bit more switched on.
Sorry just read throught what I've written - it's an essay!!
So on Basil I tack up then we march up to the arena. Basil loves schooling, I'm barely in the saddle as he's trying to head up to the school. We do a lap (30 x 60m) arena in walk on a loose rein on both reins. This is mainly for me as Basil can have days where he's so spooky so our walk laps are to see what he's going to find spooky today!?! Today nothing was scary. I then take the rein up a little and Basil drops straight away in to the contact and we pick up trot, couple of laps, diagonals, circles. Big three loop serpentines. Still on a very long contact I pick up canter letting him lope along doing a trot change on the diagonal. Then back to trot and take the contact a little shorter. Do a bit of leg yielding and shoulder in, getting him to cross and bend through his body. A few walk trot walk transitions, if he sticks his head up it shows me he's too much on his forehand and not carrying himself properly. Correct him. Then canter, do some mediums and pick him up a little more so he tucks him bum in properly. I'll do some canter trot canter transitions on a circle so he has to keep him own balance, keep his weight back and maintain the bend, I'll also throw him every so often to ask for the other lead just to make sure he's listening. Then back to trot, a couple of medium trots. Walk and stretch. That's his warm up. If I've got nothing specific to work on I'll then run through a dressage test (I make one up with relevant moves as Basil's very good at learning tests) and call it a day. If I have specific moves I want to work on/ practice we'll do those.
Prince. Before I can get on Prince I have to squeeze his tooth ! He's got an abscess/ ulcer and the antibiotics have cleared it up a bit but it's still producing gunk. So I give that a good squeeze and poke. Prince just stands with his lips floppy so I can get to his tooth. I think he quite likes it as it releases the pressure. He then has a Listerine mouth wash! Prince has the most terrible walk if he's allowed to walk how he wants to. So we amble up to the arena. Once in we pick up trot after about 20 metres. I don't like to chase horses and he's got a lovely forward trot. I let him trot with his head wherever he likes so he can have a good look about. A couple of laps on each rein then I'll take a loose contact. Prince takes the contact well but he is a little uncomfortable in the mouth and has his mouth wide open with his tongue wagging about. I ignore this as he's actually very still in the contact and takes a good outline, it's just his mouth is wide open making it look like his pulling. We do some circles, diagonals and walk trot walk transitions. Then have a canter on the loose contact. This is where you realise how long his tongue is. He could wrap it round his ears! Canter on both reins, in canter I have to make sure he keeps his quarters in line with his shoulders, he has a habit of swinging them. Then back to trot, pick the contact up, work him up into the bridle and the mouth closes, the tongue stays in and he concentrates. Once the mouth is shut we'll have a walk. Once he's working he walks really nicely. That's his warmup. From there with Prince we're working on him keeping his own balance and working more uphill and forwards, taking the contact forwards and not dropping behind the bridle. So lots of transitions and we're starting to introduce changes within the paces.
Oscar tries very hard to persuade me as we head up the drive that I want to go hacking, he'll hug the curb towards the exit and his manic walk steadies to a more sane walk once he realises he's lost the battle and he's going in the school. Oscar I spend a while in walk. He finds the left rein far harder than the right. Oscar start on a long low contact from the start. If he gets his head in the air it's all over! So long and low and lots of cirles, changes of bend, 1/2 10m circles. Leg yields annoy Oscar so the whole spiral in exercise leg yield out is a waste of time! Once he's taking the bend and listening to the leg we'll have a trot. Exactly the same thing again, circles, loops, 1/2 10m circles, 6 loop serpentines. Then a canter on a circle, a really steady lope with a couple of transitions on the circle. Then back to walk. This is where I can see how amenable Oscar is planning on being. If he actually walks sensibly he's having a good day. If he rushes off and tries to jog off I've got a battle on my hands if I want to achieve what I'd planned and I have to re plan. Today he was the latter! Speeding off. When he's like this I have to go back to the long and low and very gradually shorten the reins till he's in a Prelim sort of outline. Then we have to tackle straight lines, with Oscar I have to count, I'm the one who keeps the rhythm and tempo when he's in a mood. Riding Oscar when he'd sooner be hacking is a serious ab workout! On days like today if I can get a 20m circle, long sides and diagonals all nicely and soft in trot and canter we call it a day. Big pats for Oscar - I don't push for a more advanced outline and mediums. I has taken up to an hour to achieve this before when Oscars been in a particularly objectionable mood. Whereas if Oscar's having and amenable day he's by far my best dressage horse, he has wonderful mediums, brilliant self carriage and soft and light in the bridle. But he's a pain he'll be horrid once/ twice a week, good a couple of time and wonderful about once ever 2 weeks. He's the same at competitions, sometimes he's just having a bad day. Oscar you have to play by ear!