Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back into the indoor arena!

I had a lesson with my trainer this morning at 10:00. I got there around 9:20 and turned Panama out with Voodoo (his owner was there too). We discovered the outdoor arena's normally soft sand footing was frozen solid — and not just solid, but rough and uneven, too.

So when my trainer arrived, we agreed to ride in the indoor arena. This was Panama's first time being ridden in many weeks — probably a week or two before his two-week rest was the last time I rode him inside.

He was definitely uptight about being ridden indoors again. We worked through a fear of the jump standards in the corner, the gate, and a beam along the wall that was seemingly just like all the others (though I think it might be the location where the snow fell of the roof and made lots of noise last time we rode in there). We've worked on all these issues before, but even though I don't think he forgot, per se, we clearly needed a refresher today. Once that was out of the way, we were able to add some trotting and circles into the mix.

Panama has an amazing ability to work up a sweat — and quickly, too — doing nothing but walking. It's because he's nervous or anxious at the time, I know, but it is still quite astounding. So by the time we finished 45 minutes or so of mostly walking, he was sweaty enough to need his wickster for the very first time.

As an aside here, I was very impressed with the wickster. It worked ridiculously quickly — I put it on and walked Panama inside for about 15 minutes, and he was almost completely dry!

Anyway, my trainer wants me to ride him indoors every day this week, even when the weather is nice, just to get him more used to it. I will probably try to get him in there bareback at some point, too. It's more dangerous because my seat isn't as good, but he also seems to be aware of that and knows we do less when we're bareback. Just as riding him bareback seems to help teach him leg yields, I'm hoping that it will also teach him that he can relax inside, that it's not a big deal every time we ride in there.



At December 29, 2009 at 7:16 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Bombay was trained in an indoor arena. I always worried that if they left the gate open, he might try to make a run for it. One day I was riding a school horse, and my trainer asked me to cool him down on the trails outside. I was like, "Outside? Is it safe? Is he going to run away with me?"

She just laughed at me and told me to trust him. That old school horse took me everywhere I asked and never once spooked, balked, or tried to run off with me. It was an amazing feeling being on a horse I knew I could ride anywhere. But eventually I had to return to riding Bombay and start worrying about keeping that gate closed again.

At December 29, 2009 at 8:25 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Oh, NM, I know just what you mean! I worry about it too. In the outdoor arena, I am one of the few people who chains the gate shut, rather than just moving it into the shut position. And when my trainer had me ride him in the open behind the outdoor arena a week or two ago, I looked at her like she was nuts! He was fine, of course, but I think it's easy to develop a fear of riding outside of the arena. The more you ride inside the arena, the more you worry about what could happen without the fence or walls to protect you.


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