so i've been sitting here reading through all the posts and there have been a lot of good thoughts, and some lovely pictures :)
With my horse I try to give him a cover all education. He goes on trail, he does arena work, he lunges, drives, jumps and does a bit of basic dressage. I find with Phoenix that if we don't mix it up and keep his routine varied he tends to get more spazzy and harder to deal with. He enjoys doing lots of different things.
Like last year we did mostly trail during the spring, summer and fall. He started out a bit shaky because he didn't have a tonne of trail experience and the more we went out the better he got, the more relaxed and confident he became. However, towards the end of october he went downhill trail wise, I think he got burned out going out on the same trails, he got bored and started to act up and act out. He got spooky and would pitch a fit about anything and everything. So this year I decided to keep his routine varied and so far he's been awesome on trail, I even got him out by himself although we didn't go far before he had a slight panic and we turned around and headed home.
There are people where I board who never ride int eh arena, they actually look down on me for doing arena work, claiming it's boring and a waste of time. That's up to them to think that I suppose but I enjoy it and my horse enjoys it so i'm glad we have an arena where I am.