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fadedoak 06-01-2009 01:05 PM

I need a challenge with the arena...
ah.. my first post here.
hopefully you guys will be a titch more helpful than yahoo answers.

Here is the situation. I lease a 20 year old Tennessee walking horse mare, Ebby. Prior to this lease i have been working with her teaching handicapped children to ride for the last 3 years, so we are well familiarized with each other. Ebby recently switched owners (to someone that also volunteered at the facility), eager not to break the bond between Ebby and I offererd to have a half lease on her. This half lease offers 2 riding days out of her 4.
My riding days are tuesday mornings, and all day wednesday.
she rests on monday, thursday, and friday, while doing trail rides and such on the weekend with the owner.
I would ideally like to dedicate tuesday mornings to working in the arena, and then wednesdays on the trails. Though it would be nice to be able to use the things in the arena, on the trail as well.

About my riding history, I have been riding for roughly 12 years, 8 of which have been lesons, though I have been without instruction for a while now. I would say that I am pretty well versed, but primarily in flatwork and dressage. I was trained in english, but can ride western and australian, would really like to work on bareback. I have my own english endurance saddle, as well as a bareback pad. The past year I have been working with 3 year olds that had been freshly trained and braving trail rides on them, earlier this year I lost control of one of the young ones, and ran into a tree. Just me, horse was fine. Now I have to rebuild my confidence with anything faster than a trot.

This is long, but I want to get things answered, sorry guys.
My primary problem is that I have things I know I need to work on, but just don't know how to achieve them. I get deathly bored in the arena, but so any tips for keeping things interesting, or on how to bring some things out on the trail is greatly appreciated.
Things to work on:
- better balence and position
- rebuild confidence for higher speeds
- things to do bareback
- getting horse to be supple
- anything that is fun, new, and rewarding.

I am up for trying new things. Jumping is not in the agenda, my knee is kaput and cannot hold two-point.

Oh, and a reward for sticking with me, here is a video of Ebby, with her old pasture mate.

dakotaa 06-01-2009 03:05 PM

now this is no immediate help, because there's tons and tons of answers to your questions, but i'd say read up! there are so many books devoted to these topics, and all it takes is a look through amazon or a trip to books-a-million.
for balance, position, and suppleness, i recommend centered riding by sally swift. she uses tons of imaginative analogies that will really get you to think when you ride and her methods have definitely developed more confidence in me personally.
another recommendation that will be very rewarding under the saddle is ground work and bomb-proofing work. this may sound like a slow fix, but challenging your horse to think always starts on the ground. (:

Ahsisi 06-02-2009 07:38 PM

Bummer about your knee. Two-point is GREAT for balance....another good one at the trot is to post a beat, then sit two and change your diagonal, then post a beat, then sit two again...and continue. You can also reverse it where you stand two beats, and sit one, then stand two, and sit one...continue. Really good for your legs and balance. Imagine a string stretching from your head up to the sky, then keep your shoulder above your hip and you hip above your heel. As far as confidence goes (I hope you are ok!!) work on some lengthening at the trot. That gives you just a hair more speed and a bigger step. Then you can do a collected canter, then lengthen the canter. All of these transitions will be great for your horse as well as a confidence builder for you! Work on bending/counter-bending, circles, serpentines, figure 8's to help your horse be supple (as well as the transitions) Another good exercise is to trot the long walls of the ring, then canter the short walls (and then switch to canter the long walls and trot the short walls). Good luck!

smrobs 06-02-2009 09:00 PM

You can take every bit of the dressage training onto the trail. When you are going down the trail, if it is wide enough, half pass back and forth from one side to the other. If there is a stick or small log anywhere laying down, sidepass with it underneath. You can do circles and serpentines around anything from trees to rocks to any weed of your choice. If the horse has been trained for it, try a trot in place thing (passage??) in a puddle of water or a creek. Work on collecting and extending all gaits and flying lead changes. All this can be done on the trail, not just in the arena.

As for changing things up in the arena, I can't help you there. :)

BTW, welcome to the forum. Glad to have you here. ;p

RiddlesDarkAngel5 06-02-2009 11:05 PM

lol i hear ya on the yahoo crowd. they have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. i asked a question about founder and got told i shouldnt own a horse because i didn't know the answer and so could obviously not take care of a horse.

as an answer to your questions, i love to set up an obstacle course using ground poles. set some up on the diagonals or one right after the other and zig zag around the arena. it helps you and your horse with balance and turning and its fun!!!

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