Trail riding vs arena work

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Trail riding vs arena work

This is a discussion on Trail riding vs arena work within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    06-13-2014, 10:34 PM
Trail riding vs arena work

New to horses within the year.. Getting a horse in a few weeks.. I take a lot of lessons and hav gone on 5 trail rides.. to different places.. I prefer perfecting my cantering circles in a large arena with no cones.etc, over going on a trail ride where the threat of spook is always apparent.. any thoughts?
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    06-13-2014, 10:56 PM
I've seen horses spook just as bad as in an arena. I've seen just as bad of accidents in the arena as well. It doesn't matter where you are the risk is always there. To lower that risk you better your skills and the horse's. Riding in an arena doesn't lower those risks though. If that's where you are comfortable then so be it. Some people are just that way. Nothing wrong with it. But if trails make you nervous just on the off chance the horse might spook then you should reconsider owning at all since chances are the horse will spook at least once, probably more just because that's what horses do. You can improve their reactions and teach them to trust your leadership which lessens spooks. But its unavoidable considering they are flight animals.Get some lessons about handling and ground work to help build your confidence. Check out Clinton Anderson videos on his website, RFDTV, and YouTube.
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ZombieHorseChick likes this.
    06-13-2014, 11:49 PM
Once you know your horse better and have more time in the saddle you'll feel better out on the trails.
Foxhunter likes this.
    06-14-2014, 12:36 AM
I work on my riding in an arena because the trails have more cactus & rocks for me to land on if things go really bad. My little arena has dirt that feels like concrete, but at least it doesn't have spines!

Once my horse & are are doing it right - or at least how I want - in an arena, we can try it on a trail. I'd rather have the horse hit the fan over smooth dirt, no matter how hard, than on roads, near cars, surrounded by cactus, etc.
DraftyAiresMum likes this.
    06-14-2014, 01:17 AM
Originally Posted by luke4275    
New to horses within the year.. Getting a horse in a few weeks.. I take a lot of lessons and hav gone on 5 trail rides.. to different places.. I prefer perfecting my cantering circles in a large arena with no cones.etc, over going on a trail ride where the threat of spook is always apparent.. any thoughts?
A horse can spook inside an indoor area, or an outdoor arena, or a roundpen, or a stall, or cross-ties, or pretty much anywhere the horse happens to be at a given moment.
MyJumper and Chasin Ponies like this.
    06-14-2014, 01:34 AM
While you're still learning, ride where you're most comfortable & then once your riding skills are more perfected, go for rides in different places.
But as others have said spooks can happen anywhere.

I guess it also depends on the horse & what they're used to as well, some horses are right at home on the trails & freak out indoors, & some horses feel safe in an indoor/arena & freak out on the trail.
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    06-14-2014, 01:47 AM
As others have stated, horses can spook anywhere, anytime. Depending on the situation and the horse, it may be a quick jump sideways then they are fine, or they may panic and bolt or rear. Therefore, I think it's important to build your basic riding skills in a somewhat controlled environment like an arena and to have your instructor teach you what to do in a panic situation before you go out on the trail. Also, what tinyliny said is so true, the more miles you put on and the better you get to know your horse, the more confident you will be. Happy riding
Woodhaven likes this.
    06-14-2014, 02:37 AM
Ride where you are comfortable first but your horse will become bored and flat with constant drilling in an arena. That's the biggest draw to getting out and riding outside. It can be very cathartic to pick up a nice working trot or a brisk hand gallop for most horses when given the chance. Be mindful that when you are tense and waiting for your horse to spook when outside, you are setting your horse up to do just that.
DraftyAiresMum likes this.
    06-14-2014, 03:51 AM
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I rode the horses out more than in the arena. Nothing much you can do in the arena that you cannot do out on the trails!

Continuous arena riding gets boring for the horse,
Speed Racer and Chasin Ponies like this.
    06-14-2014, 04:59 AM
I don't trail ride. I don't enjoy it and my horse doesn't enjoy it. He has never become bored with the arena. Some horses need environmental variety to thrive but mine definitely does not. If you choose to only ride in the arena, make sure to challenge him and make his brain work - the work itself can be kept interesting regardless of where you are.

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