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WesternJake 08-21-2012 09:13 PM

Those of you who game/do speed events...
Is it bad to practice gaming events (poles, figure 8, and all those other good events) in a grass/dirt (but not tilled) arena? I'm curious because the outdoor at my barn isn't tilled up, it's just flat surface with some grass here and there, but mainly dirt since the horses are allowed in it 24/7 unless we specifically close it off for riding.

It's not super big (60' by something like 90') but big enough for practicing most of the gaming events in, if you run out into the outdoor from the indoor, or set up super small patterns. I'm just worried that this is strenuous on my horses' legs/feet and that it's not okay to lope the patterns on that type of footing. Err, lack there of. I don't know if the BO could till it up or if she has the means too.

I don't know of any arenas in the area that I could haul to which would allow me to set up different patterns and let me run them. I've been meaning to find out.
The rodeo grounds doesn't have the best footing in the summer time - it's hard packed and even when they till it up, their till only tills the top 4 inches and they never till between runs. I think it's harder than the outdoor at my barn.

We don't practice gaming every time we ride. The covered arena does have footing, but it's uneven in a most places and since it's 60x60, it's not really feasible to practice in. I could set up something like keyhole, cal stake, and half 8 in the covered arena, and then run in from the outdoor, though. But for the rest of the events (barrels, pole bending) it's just not big enough.


Hoofprints on my heart 08-23-2012 12:21 PM

Ive done gameing and jumping in a grass/dirt arena, our barn has really been degrading so most of our arena is now grass instead of dirt, but we still practice. I dont see any promblem just run through it a couple of times and if your horse is slipping than i wouldn continue i can get a picture of our arena tomorrow.

DrumRunner 08-23-2012 12:26 PM

You can do slow work on a harder packed ground or on grass but I wouldn't go over a trot or very slow lope. The hard packed ground can sore the horse, especially at higher speeds, the hard ground doesn't give and shift under the horse so it's basically jamming their structure together, definitely not comfortable. Running on grass can be really dangerous, if there are holes, dips, wet grass..There are so many things to think about when running in an area like that. If you don't have any where else you can work at home I would at least dig up the areas around the barrels or props that you're working with. You can work up to a lope on grass but never ask your horse to really dig around a prop on hard ground AND wet grass.. That's asking for something to happen.. Slow work at home and then going to an arena for a little slow work and then faster work in the pattern is the best way to go.

beau159 08-27-2012 11:35 AM

^^Agree with Drumrunner

And also remember, just because you don't practice the games with speed, doesn't mean it isn't good practice. Slow practice is beneficial too!

WesternJake 08-27-2012 08:33 PM

^^Very true.
The outdoor arena is mostly dirt, with short grass in some areas that the horses grazed down. I'm sure it will grow out a bit in the fall/winter, but the horses have 27/7 access to it when turned out in their field.

I do want to work on the patterns mostly at walk/trot just to refine things, and then only run at events.

Thanks for the advice! :)

JackOfAllTrades 10-06-2012 08:48 PM

It's ok, but use your sport boots, don't gallop, and start off at a trot. If your horse is sore footed, don't continue :)
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wild_spot 10-06-2012 10:11 PM

Here in Australia we do most of our gaming (sporting as we call it) on grass. Only barrels at rodeos are in sand usually, at ang shows and sporting days even barrels are run on grass. I gamed on my Arab for about 8 year nearly exclusively running and training on grass with no injuries, so yes it can be done.
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