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I'm very excited to say that I do have the opportunity to have my gelding at home from here on out!! I have a good facility with a barn, round pen, and adequate pasture. However, I have no where to ride.. being that I show my gelding I want to have some way to work with him in the most efficient way possible with good footing so he can move how he is cued to. I show western Pleasure, trail, horsemanship, and sometimes western riding. So there is a good deal of technicality. Do any of you ride at home or without an arena? Do you just ride in your pasture? I'm not sure if I could do that because the ground here is very mushy at times.. asking because an arena is not in my budget. Thank you!
 

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I used to ride at my place without an arena (for schooling purposes otherwise I trail rode). I just picked a fairly level spot (which happened to be up by the garage), did some basic measurements and calculations, put a few peg poles in (like the ones you use for electric fencing) then ran a rope around the area to provide definition. This worked out well for me -- the rope and the poles are very inexpensive to buy; it's super easy to coil up the rope and pull the pegs if you need to take it down in a hurry. Currently, having saved up my pennies, I purchased portable corral panels and have set up a round pen (this time nearer the barn) that will probably stay where it is permanently. In both of these, btw, the 'footing' was just the grass that was already growing there when I set up; also I never did anything that required power turns or excessively fast gaits so had no problems with slipping, etc.
 

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For a number of years, I had only a field so I marked out the size of a school, placing cones at the corners etc until a path was created due to regular use; any other schooling was done out on rides when the ground was really soft.
 

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As the others I used to just pick a spot in the pasture that was fairly smooth and use that, I had one horse that when I spied a nice flat place and I wanted to do a bit of schooling, I would walk the perimeter and sort of mark out my area and he picked up on that and was just as good as if I had a fence there.

Now in my "golden years" I have to admit that a nice area with good footing is more important, don't really need it fenced though,
 

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Arenas are nice for sure, but any level spot will work. If there is a will, there is a way.
 
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If your horse can ride well on uneven ground, then he shouldlook even better on groomed footing at the show ;)

I desperately miss my boarding arena L My own property has clay that is eithersoaked for days after a rain or dry as concrete during the summer. 2017 has been super rainy, so I’ve ridden a whopping 7 times thisyear, either in the pasture or the bridle path surrounding our neighborhood. If I can pull my trailer out ofthe mud, I plan on hauling to a local arena once a week this month, but I’vewritten off the spring show season since I have no way to get my boy in shape.
 

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Back when I was a traveling trainer, I'd go to a lot of family farms where there was no arena or a clearly defined place to work the horses.


What I would have the owner do is pick a flat, dry spot and mark the center. Then make a habit of lunging the horse exactly at the that spot every time. I'd also have them take a marker and put a black line on the lunge line so the circle would always be the same size. As the horse wore down a perfect circle (and it didn't take very many times), I'd have them add another lunging circle that touched the existing worn down area making a figure 8. Then we would lightly dig up 2 straight lines joining the 2 circles. This results in a perfect oval and regular riding in and around the perimeters the oval sets up a defined space to set and work on your riding goals.
 

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I trained a lot of horses, before I ever had an outdoor arena
I used to ride down the gravel road, to teach flying lead changes, and to have even footing.
I also used a lot of pasture area, finding like others, the best even footing possible.
However, there are some limitations, as when you are dodging gopher holes, ect, there is a tendency to hang on the reins at times, a bit more, then ride with those reins completely loose at all times, as is needed, to show in western pl
When I was showing in reining, I could get all the elements on my horse, except I never had the ground for sliding stops, so had to haul to an arena for that
Can you occasionally haul to an arena, and just fine tune that cadence on aloose rein?
Just riding ahorse out,that is pretty solid, as to his 'job' in an arena, is good for keeping them in condition, and you can just check occasionally, if all buttons are still in place
 

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I ride in a flat area next to the barn. I use a "gate" set up (2 posts in 5 gallon buckets with a rope between) and trotting poles, cavaletties, and cones. I also go up and down the driveway on occasion. It works out ok. The hardest part is when it rains and the grass is slick you can't always get everything you want to done.
 
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My rope \gate', is a rope between two trees, tied on one tree, and with a hook nailed into the second tree.
Lope overs are just square garden rails, in the pasture. I still have lots of cones, left from when I showed in western riding, that work well for both trail and equitation
I often just use natural obstacles to back around, like trees and round bales, but do have some barrels
 

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I do not have an arena at home. With my 1/2 Arab, I would train out on the trail. I have to laugh at an acquaintance who says "arena" work is "boring", LOL, since I did "arena work" on the trail. Like Smilie, train lead changes out on the trail, back around natural obstacles, I do stops in the dry creekbed (some portions the footing is perfect!) etc.; would use what ever is out there to train with. As I do cowhorse, I do need access to cows which necessitates going somewhere for that. And I get to work on reining in an actual arena. Heck, I went to a cowhorse clinic years ago with some of the big name guys and they had a regular arena, a cutting pen then cut a HUGE flat area out of the field for the reining station. Some people were uncomfortable to be out there without a fence around it. Me and Star ... it was just another day at the offer, LOL. So I am of the opinion you do not need an arena to train. You do need to work in one, of course, occasionally, but you can accomplish almost everything outside of a fenced area. :)
 
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