Arena Work and Gaiting - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By mmshiro
  • 1 Post By greentree
  • 2 Post By tinyliny
  • 2 Post By carshon
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-24-2018, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: NoVa, USA.
Posts: 258
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Arena Work and Gaiting

Hello. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.

With 2018 coming to an end and 2019 (Wow!) just around the corner, I thought I'd start a little (not by much) early with the old cliché/New Year resolutions.

This year I have really been working in arena. It has been going... okayish.... There is still a lot we could improve on, so I'd like to continue into 2019. However, my horse an I aren't really... "arena-ers." We'd much rather be on the trail or something.... I was wondering what are some things we could do to "spice it up?" Unfortunately, we only have one (singular) pole - not really enough to do some cavaletti (cavalletti). (Did you know that the singular form of cavaletti (cavalletti) is cavaletto?) We did some "jumping", but the highest was maybe about a foot (0.30 m) high, and, uh... she is not a "jumper." lel

What are some exercises we could do at a gait (TWH. I don't know the gait, as I haven't really looked.)?
She can walk "circles" (*cough* ovals), do lateral work, straightness, shorten and extend, whatever.... When I gait her, she goes really well straight, shortening and lengthening, and sort-of can do some lateral. However, when I try and do anything on a curve, her head, neck, body, and hindquarters goes in four different directions, gets stiff, and sometimes kind-of pacey, or her gait gets messed up completely. (She can kind-of do it on a lunge-line, though she does it better free-lunging....) The only curve that I kind-of like and she does kind-of well is her figure 8's and baby serpentines. It's a decent sized arena, so it's not like I'm asking her in a really small space. Is that more of a gaited thing or her thing? (It's not a health thing.) If it is more of her thing, what are some things I could do to help her? If not, then I can just transition back down to a walk, but, you know, it'd be nice.... I'm not really looking to do endless circles or anything, but I would kind-of like to be able to go around a curve without... all *that*....

When asking for her to canter, I usually ask it from a walk. Is that right? I've heard it is "easier"/"better" for them than to ask when they are gaiting.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by α CMa; 12-24-2018 at 11:47 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-25-2018, 08:13 AM
Join Date: May 2017
Location: NW Connecticut
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Lengthening and shortening: Set up two markers at some distance at the long side of the arena. Count how many strides she needs from one to the other when it's her choice. (4 or 5 is good). Then see if you can make her do it in one more and/or one less.

Set up 8 markers of 3 or 4 colors at random spot. Visit them one by one, one color at the time. Increase the speed when she catches on what the game is.

There is nothing wrong with "skipping a gear" (halt to trot, walk to canter), but it's nice for her to be able to do both. Actually, trot-canter-trot-canter transitions are very strenuous exercise.

My favorite, if you have the equipment: Bring two minis to the arena that know each other and keep them separated as long as you can. :)
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-25-2018, 10:32 AM
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Kentucky
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Curves are quite difficult for gaited horses, so don’t feel bad about that! Think about leaning over to the right with a tall back pack on, and lifting your right leg. The balance is tricky.....

When I ride Sissy in the arena, I concentrate on the footfalls. Keeping them a consistent 1-2-3-4 in the speed I am going, and turning her with my body, instead of the reins. She was a big lick horse as a 3 year old, so she was never worked like this until I got her. She was a trailhorse, then a broodmare in the interim.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-25-2018, 05:04 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Seattle, WA
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My favorite, if you have the equipment: Bring two minis to the arena that know each other and keep them separated as long as you can. :)[/QUOTE]

this could be the new 'cutting' competition; Mini minding. sort of up there with herding cats.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-26-2018, 10:28 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2015
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I am going to second what @greentree has said. The constant circles in the arena are hard for a gaited horse. It took well over a year for my husbands mare to really be able to hold her gait when rounding the corners and his trainer has a HUGE arena. Some of the exercises they work on is body control, shoulder in- shoulder out, they do a mean turn on the haunches and on the forehand and they have started some trail work. They do canter but not much of it because it will become easier for his mare to canter in the arena and not gait and they do not want to discourage her gait.

I am not sure of your riding area but if you really want to work on gaiting I would suggest riding in the pasture or the trail. That is what has really solidified my husbands horses gait (she had been foundered by her previous owner and never allowed to gait so she had to be conditioned and trained to gait again) The larger area lets them hit their rhythm and get them conditioned to gait.

When in the arena DH's trainer does many of the same exercises and pole work with hubby and his TWH that she does with non-gaited horses - they do pole work and serpentines etc. BUT only after she learned to gait in the arena comfortably.
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-18-2019, 06:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2019
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I love horses so much that I decided building a horse arena on my farm. I have 2 little kids who love horses and riding also and for not letting them riding around the farm, I thought it's better to have an arena. Plus, this might turn out into a profitable business, as my kids and I have a friend who loves riding also and they come often to us for that. You don't find a horse arena often, so owning one is certainly a big benefit. often

Last edited by horselovinguy; 10-18-2019 at 07:06 PM. Reason: free advertising is not permitted...
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