Outdoor Rings

At our old facility, which we moved from roughly 6 months ago, we rode outside as much as humanly possible (midwestern winters suck). The ring itself had a hill, banks to jump, and was easily twice as big as the indoor. O much preferred it, especially when she first got to the stable, and so did I! The new facility has two outdoors: a smaller dressage ring, and a larger arena side by side. A few weeks ago we got fabulous new footing and were all ready to start using them. I walked O around then, showed her all the scary stuff, and from the ground she was as chill as a cucumber about the new spaces.

Outdoor ringsexamination

Outdoor rings examination

However, in my recent experiences riding outside we’ve struggled. First I had zero steering (we actually bumped into the rail a few times) and the idea of breaks was pretty non-existent. It was just plain ‘ole UGLY. Then she was off for a bit.
Circling to slow the beast in the 2nd ring during our show.

Circling to slow the beast in the 2nd ring during our show.

And now guess what show is 100% outdoors…….oh yeah, the one we are signed up to do this weekend.

So last week we took to the outdoor ring again. I figured she had only reacted because it was still new to her last time or two we were in there. Plus I’m trying out this I-don’t-start-fights-way of riding my “new” more forward horse.

This time I let her zoom around me on the lunge line before I got on. And after being able to walk around mostly quiet, I asked for the trot….without picking up my reins. For about a quarter of a lap she trotted like a maniac. I still just sat there, determined to not fight with her. Within a few more strides, she stretched down her neck from it’s position imitating a llama and gave a big sigh….and trotted like a normal horse! I slowly picked up my reins, and we kept the peace.

Were we a little quick? Maybe, but the whole ride was soft and she wasn’t being naughty about it. Even our canter was nice. I was truly thankful for the brain between those big ears of hers. After a few lovely trips around, O got major pats and was done for the day!

Not counting my eggs before they hatch, but I hope this means a better experience at the show this weekend!

18 thoughts on “Outdoor Rings

  1. That was a nice thoughtful way to handle that πŸ™‚ glad it worked out for you. I like that saying “take the time it takes, and it’ll take less time” (one of the natural horse guys, can’t remember who). Instead of going in there and “forcing” her to behave and getting in a big fight, you gave her time to figure it out and she rewarded you for it πŸ™‚ good luck at the show!

    • I didn’t yank, but I was kind of thinking about which direction would be easier to fall off of. HA! I’m really glad she was responsive, and so yes, it felt good to figure out what she needed!

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