Olivia Towers represented team GB as both a Junior and Young Rider before moving on to work for Matt Frost at the age of 16. After two years with Matt, Olivia returned to her family’s yard in Ledbury and trained for three years with Charlotte Dujardin. Olivia (now trained by David Pincus) is currently competing at Prix St George. She is strong believer of classical training and really enjoys bringing on her young horses in a methodical and patient way. Here Olivia shares her two favourite warm-up exercises.


Exercise 1: Leg yield Up the Wall


Useful for:

  • Suppleness
  • Improving straightness
  • Horses that fall out through their outside shoulder
  • Horses that fall in through the rider’s inside leg when riding corners
  • Focusing both horse and rider at shows


Tips for riding leg yield on the right rein

  • The aim is to achieve a forwards, sideways movement so it’s important to maintain a level seat
  • Start by bringing your horse’s quarters on to the insider track whilst keeping his front end on the outside track. Use your left leg to move your horse’s quarters over, maintaining contact with your right rein and right leg to prevent him falling out through his right shoulder
  • Keep the angle nice and shallow for less experienced horses/ riders
  • If you don’t get it right first time, straighten your horse up and try again


Exercise 2: ‘The Square’


Useful for:

  • Straightness
  • Suppleness
  • Teaching horse to step ‘around’ rather than ‘through’ the rider’s inside leg
  • Horses that over bend to the inside
  • Improving rider accuracy
  • Riders that struggle to maintain an outside rein contact


Tips for riding the perfect square

  • Use the letters around your school to help maintain accuracy. Depending on the size of your school you could ride ‘K to F to P to V’ or ‘K to F to E to B’
  • Keep your outside rein and inside leg on and use your outside leg to push the horse’s body around
  • Keep your horse between both reins and support with the outside rein - this will help to keep the horse in a straighter line


What’s your favourite warm-up exercise? Share your comments below