Traffic in a smallish arena - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-12-2013, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Question Traffic in a smallish arena

So hi guys I have been struggling with the issue that I literally hate/freak out in the heavy traffic of my group lesson every week. I'm claustrophobic to begin with and I just hate the feeling of horses coming in every direction!! To add to that Laddy is always needing constant direction from slow down to speed up to circle to a correction and in all the traffic it's hard to throw a circle in or correct him as I need to sometimes. So the long and the short of it is every week it seems like all lesson I walk and deal with keeping Laddy under me and looking okay at the trot not progressing in the canter. With his big canter and so many horses I can't get brave enough to canter. I feel like I'm getting points on what to do at the lesson but mainly getting freaked out like it's a training ring. Any suggestions on what to do to become more confident in traffic?

"In training we must be encouraged to first establish the principles and only then to tackle the details." Dr. Reiner Klimke
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-12-2013, 08:54 PM
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What I did was ask my instructor if I could canter by myself. She'd have everyone else canter, then stop and wait in the middle and let me canter. This way, I could work on my issues with traffic only at the slower gaits, yet still get some practice in at the canter. As for dealing with the traffic, when I'd start to get overwhelmed, I would break down to walk or halt in the middle of the arena, so I could take a few breaths and re-center myself. Lessons are supposed to be fun and still be a learning experience! It defeats the purpose a little to get overwhelmed by the number of people in the arena.

Adrianne
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-13-2013, 09:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary Liz View Post
I feel like I'm getting points on what to do at the lesson but mainly getting freaked out like it's a training ring. Any suggestions on what to do to become more confident in traffic?
The only way to ride safely in a group, is if every single person follows the rules of passing (and can steer). Otherwise, you'll end up abruptly pulling your horse around to avoid getting smashed into, or you have to slam the breaks on several times, or you end up just walking the entire time. The few things that marginally help are to keep your eyes up, and try to see the entire arena all at once. You have to be able to gauge how fast the other horses are going, where your lines of travel will intersect, and be able to stop/turn/go quickly in order to get your horse out of bad situations. It doesn't work on a horse that you're having fear issues on, and doesn't work well with a horse that you don't have full control of at all times.

Just curious, but why are you taking group lessons? I'm not seeing how this situation is benefiting you or your horse.

This to me, this isn't a "how to cope with it" type situation. This is a situation that needs to be changed. I would rather pay for one high priced individual lesson twice a year, than pay less on a weekly basis to get shoddy instruction in a crowded arena where I don't feel safe.
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-14-2013, 01:52 AM
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Out of curiosity, how many students are in your lesson? I just had my first group lesson last month with 3 students (including myself) and also found it difficult to keep enough space to really focus on what the instructor was asking of us once up in the canter.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-14-2013, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by verona1016 View Post
Out of curiosity, how many students are in your lesson? I just had my first group lesson last month with 3 students (including myself) and also found it difficult to keep enough space to really focus on what the instructor was asking of us once up in the canter.
There are six people including myself so it is quite hectic. The arena we ride in is the width of a small dressage ring just longer in length. There are horses everywhere to say the least!!

"In training we must be encouraged to first establish the principles and only then to tackle the details." Dr. Reiner Klimke
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-15-2013, 12:27 PM
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Wow that's a huge group. Maybe you could talk to the instructor & other students about splitting it up into 2 groups of 3?
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