Outdoor Arena Troubles

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Outdoor Arena Troubles

This is a discussion on Outdoor Arena Troubles within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • Homemade outdoor riding ring
  • Horse keeps spooking in outdoor arena but fine in field

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    05-31-2009, 07:11 PM
Outdoor Arena Troubles

At the barn I ride at, the outdoor arena has always been Rainy's nemesis. Now it's been enlarged and it's even worse. Before, she would be a bit spooky and start backing up really really fast plus bucking during cantering, but now that it's bigger, she's bucking no matter what were doing, breaking gait constantly, and now, rearing and throwing me of. I know she's not afraid of wind and birds and trees, because I've ridden her on trails and she's fine with it out there. But in the arena, she's a mess! At first I thought it was because she was riding alone, but now she's doing it when there are others riding with her too. The outdoor arena is connected to her pasture, and I'm starting to wonder if this has anything to do with it. Whenever she's thrown her little hissy fits there are all her mare pasture mates are out there, so is there anything I can do to make her knock it off? Taking the mares out is not an option, so is there something other than that that might work? =[ Thanks.
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    05-31-2009, 10:24 PM
I'd start with ground work out in the arena then move up to longing and eventually riding. The more she acts out, the more she has to be refocused on work! Good luck!
    06-01-2009, 12:48 AM
If possible and with everyone elses OK try turning her out in the arena for a short time each day.
If she spends half an hour a day in there on her own she should soon get to know it.
    06-01-2009, 10:02 PM
Thanks for the advice! I'll see what we can do! =]
    06-01-2009, 10:39 PM
I don't know, it doesn't sound like a scared thing to me. It sounds more like a sort of arena sour thing. When she misbehaves, do you continue your session or do you put her away?
    06-02-2009, 08:38 PM
We continue. =]
    06-02-2009, 08:39 PM
Every March I go through about 3 weeks of lunatic horse. The change of seasons seems to produce monsters in every corner of the arena. My normally calm boy snorts, stomps, bolts and refuses to go forward. What works for me is to engage his mind using ground poles. From the second I get in the saddle, we walk over ground poles in the forms of circle, serpentines, anything to keep him looking at the poles. It works wonders for getting him listening to me and not looking for the monsters. Once he seems like he's going to stay calm, we move up to trotting, still using the poles. From there it's all lateral work. Anything to keep him thinking. It's all I can offer. Good luck.
    06-03-2009, 10:14 AM
Do exercises to keep her brain busy when she is being like that. Do circles, serpentines, figure 8s, bending, counterbending. If you can keep her brain busy she won't have time to think about spooking at things. I agree with seeing if you can turn her out in there every day for a little while until she gets used to it. Good luck!
    06-03-2009, 10:23 AM
Is there anything that she might be afraid of? You say she is fine with wind, etc but are there any wild animals that she might smell? I agree with doing ground work in the arena and also turning her out in there for a little
    06-03-2009, 04:53 PM
Puck- unfortunately, Rainy has...issues with things on the ground. They actually seem to make her flip out even more. =P However, when she does flip out in the outdoor, there's nothing in there except the mounting block, which she's used to.

Ahsisi- Sounds like a plan, since two suggested it. Next time I ride out there, I'll try that out.

Ponies- I can't think of any wild animals, since the outdoor is pretty far from trails, the only spot where there would be animals; she's not afraid of dogs, either, since both of the B.O.'s have dogs that are almost always there. Umm, on side of the arena is the mares, one side is the manure pile/first barn, another is the other barn, and the last is a field. But her pasture is right next to the field, so she should be used to any sights/smells coming from there.

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