indoor riding idea's

When my indoor winter riding motivation was fading, my blogger friends shared excellent thought's and idea's! Read them in their words, here.

I Googled "arena patterns and exercises" and found a link to an old Horse & Rider magazine article that I liked & saved for reference, called

Additional reminders to keep indoor rides interesting came up, as I sifted through online info:

• Desensitizing stuff (ex. hula hoop/dragging things/carrying things)
• Practicing Reining/Equitation/Dressage tests (some can be found online)
• Riding stirrup-less
• Lengthening strides
• Riding bareback 

I also liked some of the arena patterns the Icelandic riders do: http://iceryder.net/arena.html

An additional search of "equine cone patterns" led me to some Gymkhana images. I liked these a lot! I found ton's of idea's, and general riding skills to work on. Scroll down to see the pattern images:

This is where I stopped looking. With this plethora of new idea's & reminders, we'll never be bored riding indoors again!!


indoor riding motivation

Our indoor riding motivation is wearing thin. We skipped our typical Sunday - and even our Wednesday ride this week...not sure if I feel guilty, or relieved.

I deleted all most of my whine. It had words like frigid cold, sick of circles, constantly asking, and frustration in it. Leaving me with little to no equine fun to blog about. To be true to myself, this is what is going on in my horse world: I am bored. There, I said it. 

The small indoor arena has cones and three poles that can be added. We usually ride with a few cones, unless we have the arena to ourselves and more can be added. Random cone placement made things interesting for a while, but even those become mundane. We have an equine ball we haul, and occasionally add to the mix. 

I think Koda & Nemo are both tired of the whole indoor thing too. We can't expect them to look forward to riding, if we don't. They are starting to act up, and that leads to frustration. It probably doesn't help they are back to being turned out half days, because outdoor water is frozen. Nemo cannot get over the arena service door weirdness. Brad has to work on it with him every single ride, even Koda is buying into it. So much for deleting my whine!! 

I miss riding outside. It isn't really a winter option where we board, for several reasons. Altho if it ever warms up and isn't icy, I just might find a way to at least do a little outside riding on the ranch. 

I like winter, but this year the weather is making it harder to enjoy in general. It's the first winter we've had constant access to an indoor arena, and ridden regularly. I know we are lucky to have this opportunity, it won't last forever. I want to make the best of it. I'm planning on doing some Googling on indoor patterns/riding idea's. I'll let you know if I come up with anything interesting. 

What do you do to stay motivated when you are stuck riding indoors for endless months?



two weeks into the blue

How did two weeks go by without us even seeing our horses? This is how: Holidays. Vacation. Unbearable Cold Weather. Life. Freezing Rain. 

Regardless of the remnants from freezing rain, we headed out this weekend to see our horses. I was really happy to find them safe & sound in their stalls, munching away on lunch instead of walking across perilous ice. Especially after trying to walk myself from the truck to the barn. Every time I tried to shuffle my feet forward on the ice, I slidddd further back!

We shared the arena on Saturday with two other horses & riders, Cierra & Trainer Patty and a pretty black mare in training & her owner. Koda was forward, and listening. Near the end of our ride I cued him to collect in preparation for a lope - and he hunched while thinking about, well you know. It caught the attention of our trainer. I was able to get his mind back, and end with the lope I originally had asked for.

Koda wants to rush, and lope off before I've even asked. It is after all, the quickest way back to leisure. Nothing new. He always appears to be thinking something along the lines of "hurry up, let's get this over with". Koda knows what comes next, but needs to wait for me to ask. Consequently we've had some premature starts, stops and re-do's. I've tried to mix things up somewhat, so I am not asking the same thing at the same spot. I try adding in different circles, or transitions etc but the sequence of cues to lope off are the same.

Sunday we spent the lions share of the day at the barn, riding and helping out. With the warmer weather, the barn was busier then usual. By the time we rode, we had the arena to ourselves for the most part. Both Koda & Nemo were acting goofy on the far end of the arena. The combination of sun peeking through creating cast shadows, and freshly raked sand where no horse has ever gone, made the boys suspicious. 

I kept Koda's mind busy warming up and weaving around the random cones, each time riding closer & eventually through the end of the arena. Our ride was going fine, although somewhat distracting. We tried to focus on our ride, and not what was going on elsewhere. A boarder had just finished trying out a new saddle, and the group headed out of the arena. We started another lope-off, and Koda gave me an even bigger hunched up response then the day before!! It caught our trainer's eye, and she promptly asked me to get off before I even had time to do anything but stop him. 

I always feel defeated when this happens.

She said two days in a row is a huge warning sign, and wanted to ride him. Koda loped a lot, more and harder then I ever do, with stops and turns. He gave her some pushback in the beginning as well, but that didn't last long - she means business.

I asked if I was doing anything wrong, or if there was something I could do different on my lope offs. She said no, and I quote "I don't care if you want to stand on your head before you lope off, if you ask him to lope off - he better do it". Point taken.

When I got back on Koda I was asked to do exactly what I was doing before, cue & lope off the same way. I did both directions, but not long - once around was enough for me on a sweaty nervous boy. Just enough to see if Koda would respond appropriately to me. He did, but I felt the thought was perhaps still there - somewhere in that naughty head of his. 

I cooled Koda down. He was pretty glad to be done, me too. I don't like rides like this.

I should just be happy our trainer was around, and is willing to jump in (or better said on) when a problem arises. Just wish I could solve bigger challenges on my own, or better yet - not have them at all. Our rides had been going so well...I need to get stronger. I don't think my horse will ever entirely keep his attitude in balance. Guess that makes him a horse. 

To end on a brighter note, the new blue coolers I ordered for Koda & Nemo arrived just in time for the "winter coat in warmer weather, sweat". Koda has already put his to good use!

Checking out his new cooler


time warp

I do not know how people travel all the time. Traveling messes me up. We left last year for a get-a-way, and came back today in a whole different year. I feel like I've been gone for weeks!!

We started our get-a-way by relaxing the end of the year away, and also welcoming the beginning of a New Year. It was absolutely wonderful! 

View from our window, where we swam outside (below freezing)

Then we headed further north, because apparently we were not cold enough! The NorthWoods welcomed us, in all it's beauty, kindness and simplicity... 

So unpresumptuous, we love it!! We stayed in the same cabin as we do when we bring our horses during warmer seasons...

Our cabin, with empty horse paddocks to the left

We even ride a couple of the same trails. This trip we saw turkey flocks and grouse.  The woods evoke similar feelings of awe, as when we ride our horses through the same areas in the forrest. Like earlier in the year here, or here

Where permitted, snowmobiles get to ride on private land not seen otherwise. Horses, skiers, hikers, bikers etc are not allowed - only snowmobilers. It may very well be the one thing I love most about snowmobiling (beside enjoying it with my hubby) seeing what I cannot see otherwise - the land & views are simply breathtaking!!

The non-judgmental kindness of the NorthWoods, complete with people who live in the moment. Faced by reality, yet surrounded by beauty. Sometimes I wonder if they know? I do realize the hurdles. After treasured conversations, I know they do. 

We are thankful to experience the beauty of the NorthWoods in more ways then one....

Wishing everyone the beauty, kindness, and simplicity of the woods - that go on forever!!

Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!!