Dressage horses out of arena?
I had posted something in the trail riding section about how I (as a newbie) was shocked to learn that some people don't ride their horses out on the trail. It started quite the ruckus, so I wanted to come over here to see how many of you take your horses out of the arena and onto the trail, whether it be for training purposes or just for fun.
I do, because it gives the horse a chance to be a horse! I do dressage and Western Pleasure so it's always nice to get out of the arena and decompress so to speak!
Yes, it is imperative to get our dressage horses cross trained! Riding on different terrain, reasonably uneven footing, pavement, grass, hills, etc. all helps to strengthen the tendons and joints against damage. I also jump my dressage horses, and take them out to big places so they can run.
My coach likes to take the horses outside to school the short work, or do other things and for young horses has a mandatory once a week hill session.
For reference, I am a CDI competitor. Yes, there are lots of people who have horses that do not see outside, but I think the horses are far healthier and more willing to work when they are let to go outside and be horses. This idea is gaining lots of popularity and with riders like Ingrid Klimke really promoting it and showing good results with her training program, the wheels are turning.
I'm hoping to trailer my horse out to some trails this summer but so far I've never ridden him off-property. Most of the horses in my barn never go anywhere but the arena, the outdoor ring, or the showgrounds. It's a shame, but most of us don't have our own trailers and would have to organize with other people and try to get together a group of horses that won't rile each other up.
I love to trail ride. And what is a better activity to do when it's 85 outside and your barn has no fans? Or when you try to work, but both of us are having a bad day. A trail is perfect way to calm down and always have a good ride.
Really though, Chevas is pretty out of shape and as and older horse (he's 18) he takes quite a bit of time to cool out after our hard lessons. I go on a long (15-30 minute) trail ride after our lessons to relax and talk to him. I also love to drop my stirrups which builds muscle (escpecially when you're riding such a bouncy horse) it's also nice because he has a weaker hindend and the deep hills do him justice. Anyway, yes, I love to take my horse out of the arena and go on trails. It's a wonderful break for the both of us.
I do when I am able to :)
When I got my horse he had never been outside of an arena to work. He loves the trails and I generally prefer schooling him in a field.
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I agree that it is an excellent training tool and creates a much healthier aspect of work for the horse.
All of our horses get taken out at least on little excursions to the pond or the loop trail out back. Sometimes it's a struggle, other times they take o it fine, but I find the end result is always a happier horse.
My mare Selena (Most of you might actually remember this) was an extremely dangerous horse on the trail for the longest time. Rearing, crow hopping, running backwards, spinning around, etc. It took a long, long time to get her to where she can now go through most any trail obstacle willingly. She still will look at things and has issues walking in the dreaded straight line, but there were so many times I almost got tossed and left behind I am happy with that. She is also happier. We breeze her on flat logging roads every now and then for barrel races, and she has the fastest large fast circles you'll ever see on a reining pattern because of it. Also, tougher feet, and a sounder mind.
There's no better way to decompress than a nice trail ride or baby xc school:) I took my veteran GP horse out exploring as often as I could, and moved to a barn near Gladstone NJ with no indoor simply because of the horse-friendly (gravel) roads, wonderful landowners (big hunt in the area), and endless trail system. We'd hack to the USET to gallop on the XC course all the time. But as my boy was a, shall we say, mellower WB, I'd trailer over to show;) Couldn't waste any HP on hacking:)
First horse? No hacking off stable grounds. He was an imported Dutch WB who was terrified of the outdoors-turnout in small paddock only. I tried but he never relaxed enough to enjoy it.
Absolutely, I go out whenever I am able.
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