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.
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.
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!