Warm-up of 267 competitors at British Dressage affiliated competitions was observed, including competitors at novice (N) (n = 104), medium (M) (n = 65), Prix St Georges (PSG) (n = 60) and Grand Prix (GP) (n = 38) levels. Competitions were classified as local (n = 103), regional (n = 57) and national championship (n = 107) events. Overall, the mean warm-up duration for competitors at dressage competitions was 29 min 53 s. Total warm-up duration was 25 min 23 s ± 10 min 2 s (mean ± SD) at N level; 31 min 32 s ± 11 min 32 s at M level; 32 min 53 s ± 11 min 19 s at PSG and 34 min 34 s ± 10 min 10 s at GP. Mean proportion of walk, trot and canter at each level was N: walk = 39.26%, trot = 40.31%, canter = 20.43%; M: walk = 43.77%, trot = 32.54%, canter = 23.69%; PSG: walk = 38.53%, trot = 31.03%, canter = 30.43% and GP: walk = 38.79%, trot = 33.26%, canter = 27.95%. There was no effect of rider experience, but level and type of competition affected the proportion of time spent in different paces and total time of warm-up, which was increased at higher levels and championships. Increased warm-up time and specific warm-up design were positively associated with final score at novice and Prix St Georges levels.