I definitely appreciate that having an indoor arena to ride in all winter is a luxury. But I have to say, for some reason, this year the indoor rides have been uninspiring. I think it’s partly just personal malaise, and partly that Steen is so broke by this point, but riding in small circles is hard to keep interesting.
It’s not always bad. A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I arrived to find the arena freshly groomed. We celebrated by looping our reins around our horns and laying down a circle each, one on either side of the arena. Then we started mirroring each other and doing figure-eights with both halves. It was kind of ridiculously fun to be able to see the exact tracks we put down and challenge ourselves to be precise.
But the arena is not usually freshly groomed. It’s sometimes crowded. Pretty much always cold. Which was why it was so exciting when we got to ride outside, twice(!) within the last few days.
And I have to say, it was so nice. More space means more things to do. Steen is a bit out of shape, and when it’s really cold I don’t ask him for a really crisp, precise canter departure anyway because he has his old leg injuries that get tight sometimes. It can hurt him if I force him into a gait on my terms. So when we’re inside and a bit rusty, I let him pick his stride (within a small window) to get going.
Outside, though, with warmer temps, we got to dial back in some really crisp transitions, work on finding our balance again with big trots, delazify our stops, and supple up for more softness. The footing is better outside. We have more space. And these last two rides, the sun was out. We were mostly just getting ourselves and our horses a little less rusty, but it was glorious.
Makes me look forward to all the upcoming time in the sun.