February 8, 2011

Dexter's New Dressage Arena

Ok, its not new, and its not even really an arena.  Its the same crappy painted cinder blocks placed out in a field.  But we moved it and used my new extra long metric tape measure I got for Christmas, so it is much more accurate.

Originally we used the long side of the pasture as the long sided of the arena.  This positioned the arena so that we would be going towards or away from the barn on the long side.  At the time I was not aware of how super scary that fence was to Dexter and how much he enjoyed trying to take off when pointed towards the barn.  So we used the arena for a while then realized he does much better in a different part of the pasture and it has been left un-used for the last several months.

So about 2 weeks ago my husband agreed to come out and help me re-measure and re-locate the "arena".  He mostly agreed because he's a dork and loves to put math and geometry to practical use, regardless of the reason, I was happy for the help.

We basically turned the whole arena 90 degrees so the short side was on the fence line and the long side was parallel to the barn.  No more barreling down the long side praying for a downward transition.  I didn't realize it at the time but the pasture is only about 65 meters wide so it just fit. 

Yesterday was the first time we were able to ride in it due to weather and mud.  And man what a difference it made.  Its a little silly that I accommodate my horse this way, and many may tell me I should have kept it the way it is and made him get used to it.  And I agree, but I'm a big chicken and don't like falling off, so we will do it this way and no one gets stressed out.

There is one spot in the middle of the arena where the horses like to poo, so its a little wet and slippery but I think we will be ok.  But all his canter work was calm and cool, we were finally able to work on actual movements instead of circling everywhere.   We did serpentines and diagonals and transitions and center line work.  Going straight is so much easier when you have something to guide you.  Well it may not be easier, but it is easier to tell when you are crooked.  I'm super excited to have an arena back, because while I don't practice tests and  movements much its great to have markers to aim for. 

Now if I can just get the pasture ponies to stop knocking over the letters everything would be dandy. 

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