March 19, 2012

 

 

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I got out today for a ride. The temps are still quite high and the horses are very affected by this. Neither has shed out enough winter coat to be taking temps up in the mid 70’s in stride. So I decided it would be a good morning to begin doing something in the ring.

Our riding ring has always been a “hot spot” with every horse we’ve ever owned. Thinking back, I’ve come to believe this is true because not one horse has ever been comfortable doing anything down in our ring. How hard can it be just to do a few simple exercises in a moderately sized arena? I dunno, I’m not a horse, but based on our history apparently it’s a big deal.

To be honest, our arena was built into the side of a sloping bank. *shrug* We don’t own any flat land and if we wanted a riding ring we were going to have to make due with the land we have. Needless to say, we spent a small fortune on bulldozing and fill. We tried to build the biggest arena the site could hold. It’s not huge, but it’s not piddly either.

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The next project was to plant some seedling white pines along the perimeter of the arena. We did this mostly for erosion control, but also because the arena was going to be in full sun most of the time if we didn’t make a few plans for some shade. So we put bunch of seedlings the size of your pinkie in the ground and hoped for the best.

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You can see the results above. The trees are at the point where I had to hack them back a bit. I was getting smacked in the face when going down the rail. Speaking of rails, they’re made of old salvaged pipe. Not the easiest thing to work with, but it was free for the taking and so we took them and built a fence around the ring with them. Again, it’s not winning any beauty contests, but it’s holding up well and it does the job.

Here’s a view where you can see how the lower pasture drops down the hill below the arena. It kind of gives you an idea of how we more or less just built this thing into the side of a hill.

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And there’s a pretty steep ridge on the opposite side of the arena.

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Why the horses don’t like this spot I don’t know. It’s actually pretty nice. It’s usually very quiet and secluded and we get some nice shade from about 3 PM on. Mornings part of the ring is also shaded. But for some odd reason they all act like it’s the arena from hell. Dharla has never been very comfortable working in it and none of our other horses liked it very much either. For years it sat unused and a ton of wheat grew up through the sand. I finally got tired of it being overgrown and asked my husband to move some composted topsoil down there and spread it around. I figured we may as well plant grass on it and I could at least use it for some agility and herding practice. Then I lost Tia and bought a young, green horse. Oops! Now it could stand to have a load of sand spread around the outside edges, but I’m afraid to ask. My husband already thinks I’m certifiably nuts.

I don’t plan on doing a ton of ring work, but I do think it’s a good idea to work on some stuff from time to time. Today, we just walked around and did lots of leg yielding, stops and backs. I could tell Dharla was gearing up to be full of herself if I asked for any speed, so I didn’t. Perhaps next time we’ll work on walk-trot transitions. I’ll have to see how she feels. I might want to do some ground work with her first and today it was just too hot too soon.

After we putzed around in the arena for awhile we took a meander down the dirt road, up through the woods and down the AL trail a ways. She has a slightly swollen knee from what looks like a minor scrape or bump, so I didn’t want to push her. Besides, the heat was just too much.

Time: 1.5 hr.

Distance: 2 mi. plus ring.

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