Guys, I'm in need of some motivation, or advice. Things have been a little tough lately.
Basically, I have a now 9 year old TB gelding who is amazing. He's super sweet and will do anything I ask him to and loves to play around at liberty.
However, when it comes to riding, we have some trouble. Where I currently board him at, he's in a outdoor paddock so that he can still move and stretch his legs when I'm not around instead of a stall. However, the indoor arena is tiny. Like, it's the size of 3 or 4 standard roundpens put together in an oval instead of single roundpens. Or is about a quarter of the size of a regular arena.
Due to how small the arena is, I feel like it's both frustrating me and my boy. He's 16.1 hh so he has long legs and eats up the distance from one end of the arena to other in less than 10 strides. If cantering, I'd say it takes him maybe 3 - 5 strides to get from one end to the other. So while it works for liberty type work, ground work, and that kind of stuff, it doesn't work so well when it comes to riding.
He's also had a lot of time off this winter since a month and a half after I got him, he lost a lot of weight so I stopped riding him and worked on getting him to gain weight which also included a visit to the vet to get his teeth done and also got see chiro. All in all, it took 2 months for him to gain enough weight to be able to be brought back into work. I rode him for literally 4 days before I got incredibly sick where I couldn't even go to work. So he had another 2 weeks off before I was able to lunge him a bit and got about 2 rides on him before we got extremely cold temperatures of -50 C so again, he had 2 weeks off.
The weather had finally warmed up but I'm not even interested in going riding just because I know things aren't going to change. With him feeling a little fresh from the warmer weather and inconsistent work along with me being a bit of a beginner and a tiny arena just does not work. I can feel his displeasure at doing the same thing every time we go in and I also feel a little claustrophobic with it. I want to branch out and do more, but there's only enough space for a few ground poles and that's it. Maybe one jump. And there's no room to remotely attempt barrel racing or pole bending just for the fun of it.
Also, due to the fact we haven't done many rides, we haven't been able to properly connect in saddle either. What I feel needs to happen for us to get on the same page, is be in a big arena, and just work it out. I've worked with a horse in the past that the way for us to get along and make progress, was for me to canter him down the arena and for the first bit, he'd always buck when going into the canter (no health reasons, he just got so excited he didn't know how process it at first) so by going down the long end and letting him get out of his system, he soon settled and with each ride, there were fewer and fewer bucks and we became a great team. And this is what I feel my boy and I need to do. Go to a big arean, and get the bucks out so to speak.
It's not really about him throwing a fit or me trying to be the boss, but where we can lay everything on the table, say this is who I am, I want to be your partner, so lets just lay it all out there and start working together.
The tricky part is that I have 2 horses. And there are two places to board at in my town. However, to go to the other stable means that they would have to be in stalls, but could use a much larger arena. So basically, I stay where I am and have out door paddock for them to hang out in and tiny arena that restricts us, or go to a stall and a much larger arena where we have space.
And I do have a trainer I work with in case any of you are wondering about that.
So, what would you guys do in my situation? Move to the stable with larger arena, or stay where I am at? Or perhaps split the two horses and take my big guy to the larger arena, and keep my youngster where he's at since he doesn't need much work as he's young and is better off in a paddock where it's alright if I can't work both of them everyday? Or do you guys have other options I'm not seeing?
I just need to figure out something because riding is starting to become a chore at this point and I don't want that to continue.
Also, hauling Sam into the bigger arena won't work as I don't have a truck or trailer myself. So if I move him, it's a long term type of move.
Pic of my big guy, Sam.