How to prevent an arena sour horse if I'm only comfortable in the arena - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 01:25 AM
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it depends on what the horse is used to. if he's only ever done arena riding, then he won't "miss" anything and he'll be fine with it . if he's used to going out, then you may have trouble if all you do is arena ride.

things that help a horse are:


grazing

all out gallops

competition, like races

obstacles like cavaletti or jumps

hand walking out to new places.


can you include some of those things into his life?
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post #22 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Sorry, never realized you had a wreak
Of, course, do what is in your comfort zone, and hope you find a reliable person to ride your horse out for you.
Has she been ridden out before ?
That's OK, it was a fair question, and I'm happy to answer!

Yup she has, been ridden out, and is supposed to be good, but the way she is in the indoor, well she is spooky. When the weather improves and we start riding in the outdoor, then I may get braver with her...we are a work in progress.

Still think the start point is going to be Gibbs, I'm hoping he can work his magic again, he got me back in the saddle, I think he will be the one to get me out and about.....

“Never attribute to malice that which can be attributed to stupidity”
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post #23 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
it depends on what the horse is used to. if he's only ever done arena riding, then he won't "miss" anything and he'll be fine with it . if he's used to going out, then you may have trouble if all you do is arena ride.

things that help a horse are:


grazing

all out gallops

competition, like races

obstacles like cavaletti or jumps

hand walking out to new places.


can you include some of those things into his life?
As far as I know he has not really been ridden much outside of an arena. He definitely has not been a trail horse. He is a hunter/jumper. He gets turned out every day.

Thanks for those ideas!
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post #24 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 06:51 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by horseluvr2524 View Post
Many top dressage riders/trainers actually do trail ride all of their horses (yes, even the Grand Prix horses). Uta Graf and Charlotte Dujardin to name a few. Often they trail ride these horses at least three times a week. The claim is that it helps keep the horse's mind fresh and relaxed, and in addition the various ground surfaces and terrain levels help to condition a horse in ways that would be impossible with flatwork in the arena.
This makes perfect sense to me, as I know how good trail running is for ME and how much it helps my road running. You build different muscles when you are on uneven terrain, and it keeps you mentally focused because you have to pay attention to each footstep. I'm sure horses are the same!
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post #25 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 07:35 AM
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Most of the arena sour horses we have seen have had a lot of pressure put on them in an arena -- like barrel horses and jumpers -- and then had the pressure taken off when they left the arena. The worst thing you can do is make the arena a bad place to be but I doubt you are putting that much pressure on him.

It would be equally as bad to ride him out to make him relax. You would then be making the arena a bad, boring place to come back to. Always end every ride by standing and resting in the far end of the arena (away from the gate or his stall), dismount there and lead him out. You stand a greater chance of him becoming gate sour.

I would just see how it plays out. I would not send him out on trails with someone else to ride him if you plan to keep riding him most of the time in the arena.
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post #26 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
Most of the arena sour horses we have seen have had a lot of pressure put on them in an arena -- like barrel horses and jumpers -- and then had the pressure taken off when they left the arena. The worst thing you can do is make the arena a bad place to be but I doubt you are putting that much pressure on him.

It would be equally as bad to ride him out to make him relax. You would then be making the arena a bad, boring place to come back to. Always end every ride by standing and resting in the far end of the arena (away from the gate or his stall), dismount there and lead him out. You stand a greater chance of him becoming gate sour.

I would just see how it plays out. I would not send him out on trails with someone else to ride him if you plan to keep riding him most of the time in the arena.
Very good points, thank you. And no, not a lot of pressure. Hiring someone else to do the "fun" stuff is definitely not what we'll do...I want the fun to be w/ me.
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post #27 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 08:01 AM
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I hate trail rides. There. Said it.

It's not that I don't enjoy the thought of going out for relaxing rides, chilling out with my horse and just exploring the country side.

I just can't relax. I used to be fearless, but ended up having a lot of accidents on horses that weren't mine and I was too young/ uneducated to see the signs and how to help myself and the horse.

My youngster was fab in the arena, but I wanted him to have it all. I hated that he was only worked in the school and outdoor because I was such a wuss.

So.. roll in experienced rider with ancient horse. This girl was such a calm rider. One Sunday we were in the arena together and she asked if I wanted to go out to cool off on a 30 minute ride. Colour left my face and I must have tensed as my horse stiffened up whilst we were stood chatting.

She rode him, I rode her "been there done that" horse. Still to this day I remember trying to calm myself down whilst this horse plodded one foot in front of the other.

My horse, aside from the initial WOAH I'M OUTSIDE having a giraffe moment was impeccable. Another couple of horses were cantering towards us and he jumped to the side and was fine. We did this a few times- I got my confidence on her horse, she put the miles on mine. I was very thankful to her for it. Is there some way you know an experienced rider you can trust to ride yours and swap?

I'd like to add that I had previously taken youngster out with a friend and he was superbly well behaved, even when a carriage passed us and was ponying a muppet- I had just gotten round to talking myself out of it. This horse is now with my trainer and they go out at least once a week when the weather is good. She's put him through his paces, letting others canter off when he walks, flat gallops and he comes back with a woah from her voice to being trailered out to somewhere new and not batting an eyelid- I did however do a lot of prep work with "scary things" and outdoor in the arena and he just wasn't phased.

99% of it was my own fear, 1% was him being a greenie.

Prepare the horse by riding him in the outdoor, and help prepare yourself so you don't make it a tense and stressful ride for you both by getting miles under your belt on a calm know it all horse and miles under his with a relaxed and experienced rider.
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post #28 of 82 Old 03-24-2016, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
Most of the arena sour horses we have seen have had a lot of pressure put on them in an arena -- like barrel horses and jumpers -- and then had the pressure taken off when they left the arena. The worst thing you can do is make the arena a bad place to be but I doubt you are putting that much pressure on him.

It would be equally as bad to ride him out to make him relax. You would then be making the arena a bad, boring place to come back to. Always end every ride by standing and resting in the far end of the arena (away from the gate or his stall), dismount there and lead him out. You stand a greater chance of him becoming gate sour.

I would just see how it plays out. I would not send him out on trails with someone else to ride him if you plan to keep riding him most of the time in the arena.
I'm with Cherie. My goal this year is to start riding my mare "out". We have no trails and I have to trailer. The BO has 80 acres of hay field that we are allowed to ride if we stay on the perimeter until hay is cut. Because of hills, I can et out of sight of the barn and the other horses. I am doing this because I want to feel my mare is well rounded.

I have used the arenas exclusively for 2 1/2 years and she has never acted sour or bored. I make every session different. Sometimes I don't put poles down at all and just concentrate on my equitation, riding no stirrups, practicing leg aids and beginning lateral movements, changing directions often, never round and round. Most of the time I use pole patterns from raised cavaletti poles in line to jump patterns for trotting and cantering. Before each ride I have a plan of what I will do that day. When I start to ride her out, I will take advantage of the hills to do some conditioning so riding outside for her won't be necessarily more relaxing than the arena, but a good mental change.

I also do "trail" type stuff, like taking a noisy coat off and putting on, bending down and reaching for things, tarps, etc.

I think having a ride plan will help prevent too much repetition and boredom.
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post #29 of 82 Old 03-25-2016, 12:51 AM
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That's OK, it was a fair question, and I'm happy to answer!

Yup she has, been ridden out, and is supposed to be good, but the way she is in the indoor, well she is spooky. When the weather improves and we start riding in the outdoor, then I may get braver with her...we are a work in progress.

Still think the start point is going to be Gibbs, I'm hoping he can work his magic again, he got me back in the saddle, I think he will be the one to get me out and about.....
I have a horse that I bought at 18 months old, by the time he was 5 he was a trail pro, darn near fearless and would go anywhere he was asked to. Anyway, he went into an arena for the first time since I bought him at that point. Every corner had a bear in it and fire breathing dragons where trying to rip the roof off to get into the arena for a snack. Talk about spooky! His fear of the arena completely took me by surprise. He now gets ridden quite a bit in an arena but it took him a while to learn that bears really are not hiding in the corners sharpening their claws for some horse steak.

What you might be riding is a horse more used to riding out in the open than an arena. Another point to consider is how long has the horse been at that stable? It takes horses up to a year (some longer) to fully adjust to a new environment after being moved. More so for horses that have only been moved a once or twice in their life.
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post #30 of 82 Old 03-25-2016, 11:26 AM
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I can't believe I missed this thread until now...
I'm sitting here with butterflies in my stomach - I've hired the trainer at our barn to ride with me into the neighbor's pasture ... I'm heading that way in about 2 hours.

Don't want to repeat what some of you know... but I'm 50+, just started riding a few years ago casually, and after selling one wrong horse, I bought what is seeming to be my perfect horse (got her about 2 months ago). She's 12 and has been on hundreds of miles of trails from casual to rigorous... but this will be my first time on her outside of the arenas (indoor and outdoor). I'm very nervous for some weird reason (I've ridden my friend's horse in her back pastures numerous times so I know I can do it). I don't think I'm so fearful of being hurt. I'm really more afraid of failing... finding out that she's barn sour or something and I can't handle it (that was the big issue with my previous horse, but this one is far better trained and has had much more experience - and there's no reason to expect a problem). She honestly seems bored in the indoor arena, but compliant. In the outdoor arena with other horses around, she seems much happier - no problem keeping her on task, but she seemed more engaged. I know I'm using human emotions, but I think everyone here knows what I mean. I just keep sitting here envisioning everything that could go wrong....

Anyway, I'm taking baby steps - and I decided a few days ago to schedule this as sort of a kindergarten 'graduation'. I think I'm ready. Hoping for an uneventful ride! Anyway, sorry to jump in - but riding off is very intimidating! I get it.

Last edited by Folly; 03-25-2016 at 11:31 AM.
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