Just moved stables... new ring is my issue :(
I just moved stables, literally today. I'm now at a place where I can see my girl every single day, versus the place where I could only get up there 4 days a week.
The ring here is totally different. I used to ride in a Euro-foot indoor (best thing evaaaaa) but now I will have the choice of riding in either an unevenly-sanded outdoor or a grass field that isn't completely even...
The trade-off is real. I get to see my horse more, and do more with her, but at the expense of not having the best place to ride. Which I admit, is a struggle for me.
My question is, is it dangerous to ride in a ring that is slightly too deeply sanded on one side and not so bad on the other? And is it bad to ride in a grass field or is that too hard?
Keep in mind, my horse is a 6 yr old with osteoarthritis and we do dressage, I would like to ride 5-6 days/week, so it needs to be safe and comfortable for both of us!
I'm not willing to take any risks to my horse's health or comfort.
I really like this stable other than the riding facility because the owner isn't quite fixing the issue as far as I know. The ring is absolutely wonderful but he needs to even it out, and it really isn't something I can do myself with a shovel and a rake.
Thanks so much :)
I would go for the sand ring, at least that's flat!
The outdoor ring, at my barn, is uneven and very rocky. I'm working on balance with my mare so I ride in out indoor. I used to ride in a sand ring that had accumulated more at one end than at the other. The only difference is that in the deeper sand they have to work a little harder. Let him get used to the feeling of the deep sand.
Riding on the uneven ground isn't really that bad. Horses are the original all-terrain vehicle, remember. See how it goes in both areas, and stay with whichever is working out for both of you guys!
watch for holes/lumps in the grass ring. Maybe walk around on foot for a little while and really look at it
Never saw anyone walking ahead of a wild horse to check out new footing yet they never miss a step even at the gallop.
Honestly, unless the sand is THAT deep I would ride in either one, depending on how I feel. I'm kind of in the same situation at my barn... there's a huge lovely indoor arena... that is almost never dragged and never watered. This leads to it being somewhat unlevel and deep in some places. Never seen any horse have problems with it. There is also an outdoor grass field with jumps set up that is mowed regularly. It isn't the single most level surface on earth, but I like it. The only issues there are that it's a bit more of a hike, it's not covered, and if it rains or hasn't been mowed in awhile then the footing isn't greatest. I'd suggest riding in both to see which you prefer.
As someone else said, horses are the original ATV's. They can handle a LOT more than you think. I don't have any options here at home - I either ride on the grass or I don't ride. There is a flat area and there is a small hill. I ride the hill to build muscle and balance, ride the flat for everything else. I ride on the hill more often than I'd like, just because it's actually very good for them. I get many comments and compliments on how well muscled up Cowboy and Diamond are.
The grass isn't going to be too hard unless you only ride in one circle the whole time. Once to can see a clear dirt track and hear their hooves, it's time to find a new field until that one grows back. Horses are literally made to be on grass field 24/7. I would honestly be more worried about a deep arena than a slightly stiff field.
That said, the deep part of your arena probably isn't deep enough to hurt anything. They do have to work harder in deeper conditions, but unless their hooves are just sinking to their fetlock a, I doubt they'll hurt themselves.
Take a look at both and judge for yourself, but the general idea is you have it pretty good :) enjoy it!
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In my nearly 4 years with my horse, we've only had the use of an arena for about 6 months total. Riding on grass can be a PITA - more risk of slipping while wet, can be mucky in places if you continue to follow the same track, divets in the ground ect.. but what did we all do before arenas?
I'm moving my horses in a week - the current yard has lovely big sand arenas, and I'm moving them somewhere with only a field to ride in, plus roads for hacking. Much like you, they will now be closer to home. I'd rather sacrifice the luxury of an arena so that I can see them during the week and they only live 5 min away - rather than the 45 min drive after work so that I'm rushing to get in a ride before the dark sets in.
I know I sound really ungrateful because yes I love having her nearby but I feel like it's dangerous to ride.
I just paid 150 dollars for a pair of new riding boots for my girl that are sports medicine boots and hopefully will give her support. I'm paranoid.
How deep are we talking? Anything over 3", yes I would be concerned about strain on the legs. If you can, try to avoid the areas where you know the sand to be deeper. I actually prefer the uneven grass assuming it's dry. It's those slight slopes that really help a horse develop muscle and balance. Just listen to your horse. In either case, she's going tire sooner with the new footing after having been on that nice equi-footing stuff. If she starts to feel like she's laboring, call it a day rather than risk injury. She will get used to it over time.
3 " is too deep?! so many arenas are as deep or deeper.
Personally, i'd much rather have a ring that is not deep enough to one that is too deep. But, you can always avoid riding on the rail, if that is what brings you into the bad area.
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