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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2006
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    2,398

    Default Winter Looms -- coping

    20 minutes after our 3-month heatwave broke, Maryland is getting a preview of winter.

    Daily forecast: mostly shitty with a chance of crappy weather late afternoon, changing to icy overnight. Rinse, repeat.

    Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first or last) but I consider riding an outdoorsy activity.

    Unless there's a tornado on the horizon or a hockey game in progress on the icy ring, I'm outside. Yesterday I kept riding Ms. B as the rain started and progressed because (a) she had happy ears and she'd just be running around in the adjacent field if I got off; and (b) I'll be damned if I'll end a freaking awesome flatwork session on a happy pony for a drizzle.

    Anyhoot, the fact is that we will be trapped in the Boringcircle Shed sometimes. Unavoidable. I've ridden my horse in the indoor exactly once. I want to make at least a couple of rides "fun rides" (like hacks) at this stage and I find it hard to resist doing real flatwork when I'm in the rectangular winter holding pen. I know we both need it.

    So in addition to empathy, I need the following from my courageous eventing smartypantses: what do you do to make indoor work fun and relaxed and not-so-much-work-as-time-together when riding outdoors is not an option? Or do you just use winter as the Guess What You're a Grownup Now moment for the greenies?
    Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
    Ms. Brazil



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2003
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
    Posts
    12,978

    Default

    I HATE WINTER. I would pack up my dog, horse, and cats and head for Aiken RIGHT now if I had my way (well, maybe post Fair Hill). I don't do winter. Yet I'm stuck.

    First, at least you have an indoor. Lots of people suffer through or miss out on riding over the winter because they are indoor-less...so be grateful.

    I do tend to give my horse(s) time off over the winter. Toby will go from 6 days a week of hard work to 3 or 4 days a week of hacking (on the roads if the footing is bad) and maybe some lungeing from sometime in November until after Christmas. This actually helps, because the long winter stuck in the indoor doesn't loom quite as long.

    As for keeping it interesting...well, that's tough but not undoable. I will play on the ground (*gasp* a la Natural Horsemanship type stuff), just for something different to do. Set poles on the ground or small jumps and practice "jumping" things on angles and turning lines, etc. I've set up some of the Lucinda Green type obstacles just for fun stuff to do when either stuck in the indoor or riding on less the great footing (they can be quite small, but still very challenging). Ride bareback (if you dare), stuff like that. Try not to drill. If I can't ride out, once we're back in "real" work, I'll make our hack days fun days instead.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,572

    Default

    Ya'll can just shut your mouths. Winter?! You don't know the meaning of the word!!

    Come to New England. Then you'll know. Last year we had 3' of snow on Halloween that shut the whole state down for days. I didn't have power for a week! It's hard to sleep when you've got the roar of a gas-powered generator going outside 24-7!




    But yes, I feel your indoor pain. It's boring in there! Nasty things live in the shadowy corners. It's too dusty if you have a delicate TB mare with a tie-back. You, on your said green TB mare, are always in the way of all the more advanced horses, even if you're standing stock still in the middle. Miserable.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2006
    Posts
    2,398

    Default

    Thanks, YB. I should have acknowledged-- I am grateful. Pretty ironic that I didn't. Waredaca has everything you could want including a nice indoor with mirrors. After the Best Gray Pony Ever, it's the thing I like raving about most. Volunteering the for entire recognized event to give something back.

    A fellow Waradacan (Waredacista?) / COTHer told me she loves Lucinda Green clinics. I am going to pick her brain about the exercises she likes best. Will blame you for the fact I'm bugging her.
    Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
    Ms. Brazil



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2006
    Posts
    2,398

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GoForAGallop View Post
    Ya'll can just shut your mouths. Winter?! You don't know the meaning of the word!!

    Come to New England. Then you'll know. Last year we had 3' of snow on Halloween that shut the whole state down for days. I didn't have power for a week! It's hard to sleep when you've got the roar of a gas-powered generator going outside 24-7!




    But yes, I feel your indoor pain. It's boring in there! Nasty things live in the shadowy corners. It's too dusty if you have a delicate TB mare with a tie-back. You, on your said green TB mare, are always in the way of all the more advanced horses, even if you're standing stock still in the middle. Miserable.
    Eek. I've just been busted as a double jerk. For what it's worth I did my 5 years teaching and training at a therapeutic riding barn in Rehoboth MA. Did I just dig myself deeper by saying it was only 5 years?

    Argh. Sorry.
    Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
    Ms. Brazil



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 12, 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,572

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by gr8fulrider View Post
    Eek. I've just been busted as a double jerk. For what it's worth I did my 5 years teaching and training at a therapeutic riding barn in Rehoboth MA. Did I just dig myself deeper by saying it was only 5 years?

    Argh. Sorry.
    Depends if they were five bad winters or not!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2008
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,470

    Default

    Winter?! I'm still in denial about it being fall. I see people posting pics from September labeling them "early fall 2012" and I keep thinking we aren't even into fall yet. But it is October, guess I am considering this early fall or late summer lol.

    I don't have an indoor. I consider riding an outdoor activity also. I went down the road to the boarding barn and asked something about their outdoor arena and their reply was that no one ever uses it. Really!? They spend all those beautiful days riding in the indoor arena all spring, summer and fall.

    I am left without riding for the winter. I might haul down to the indoor a few times, but it gets to be a pain in the but. My arena gets too muddy. I am considering adding a roof to my roundpen, and I think I can get away with that in my township. I will call it an oversized lean-to.

    When I have to ride indoors I set up fun little courses. Not necessarily all jumps, but trotting poles, and gymnastic exercises.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,715

    Default

    I'd give anything to have the luxury of being bored in an indoor. Or even in a sand ring. My "ring" is a mostly flat spot at the bottom of one of my hay fields. The only reason I know it is my ring is bc it has some cinder blocks and pvc pipes around it and the grass is mowed. When the weather has been rainy (ie this past week), the ring turns to tendon pulling, shoe sucking clay/grass soup. So we hack. Around the loop, a thousand times. One circuit takes 30 minutes at the walk. Not weather permitting but every day. Next time you're feeling bored and sorry for yourself that you can only ride indoors, think of me.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2011
    Posts
    1,149

    Default

    Take your eventer fox hunting. Fox hunts are going now and continue to the end of March. Its great for honing those XC skills.

    I don't have a ring or indoor,we just get used to riding in whatever conditions come along although I'll admit to taking advantage of indoors whenever I can.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2004
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    4,771

    Default

    I hear you and understand. Also learned to be happy to have an indoor - back when I boarded at a barn with an indoor. Often I was the only one there after 7:00 pm as all sensible persons had gotten in out of the cold and damp.

    Put out cones to make certain you actually go into the corners.
    Use the same cones to make certain you can make a true 15 or 10 meter circle
    or
    a 20 meter circle at E/B

    Place a rail to work on distances - meet it in 3-8 strides depending on where placed or approached.
    Set up tight 1-2' courses so you can work on approach and turns.

    Talk others into joining you and ride drills
    Create dressage rides with 2-4 individuals.

    Ground work - games, ground driving

    Just some of the things we use to do.
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2010
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
    1,095

    Default

    I started grabbing a polo mallet last year and whacked around some jumbo balls to break up the monotony of ring work.

    Neck reining, always a good tool to have when you need it!

    Introduce a hunt whip, even if you don't hunt. Practice your aim and your horse's desensitivity.

    Circle of death, really gets that nice springy canter.

    "Write" while you ride. Ride like you're writing cursive words in the arena, just so that you're not doing circle, straightaway, circle, cross diagonol, circle. Helps the anticipatory horse.

    I try to end my ring work rides with at least a short hack around the fields, weather permitting so my horse has something to look forward to!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    West Coast of Michigan
    Posts
    36,321

    Default

    Winter is down time for my horses. And for me--I still have to look after mine daily since many of them live here, but I try to winterize the place so that chores take a minimum amount of time outside and everything that needed fixing or doing was done before the snow flies.

    And I turn to other aspects of my life in winter--family time, vacations, do a little needlepoint, work extra days and weekends to "bank" days off for summer, and catch up on reading. I try to find something I don't hate to do for exercise, since riding and farm work takes its place during good weather.

    I usually have one horse boarded and "active" in the winter but to be honest with you I could just as easily do without. Riding is great, but not so great in the dark and dreary months. I am happy just feeding and mucking and grooming and looking after the critters.

    So winter is to be endured and filled with other things. Riding is not a priority because it sucks too much.
    Click here before you buy.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2003
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
    Posts
    12,978

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FitToBeTied View Post
    Take your eventer fox hunting. Fox hunts are going now and continue to the end of March. Its great for honing those XC skills.

    I don't have a ring or indoor,we just get used to riding in whatever conditions come along although I'll admit to taking advantage of indoors whenever I can.
    I just want to comment on this. I LOVE hunting, and am still kicking myself that I dragged my feet on getting Vernon out as long as I did (he sold two weeks before opening cub I should have been hunting him all along!). BUT, not every horse is suited for the hunt field. I will NOT take Toby hunting. I think he'll be manageable in the field, and probably enjoy it, but he will kick the hounds, I can guarantee it, and I just won't even bother with trying.

    I think people SHOULD investigate hunting their eventers and show horses, but I am, personally, not a big fan of just throwing them in and seeing what happens (I've done that once, and it sucked). I think people should PLAN on hunting, and take advantage of hunt trail rides during the summer and (hopefully) a little hound walking, before the first outing. Better to find out your horse is a complete blithering idiot in a mass of horses or is completely terrified of hounds in a quieter, more controlled setting...at least to me. My foxhunting friends may disagree!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 6, 2002
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    5,814

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    Quote Originally Posted by yellowbritches View Post
    I think people SHOULD investigate hunting their eventers and show horses, but I am, personally, not a big fan of just throwing them in and seeing what happens (I've done that once, and it sucked). I think people should PLAN on hunting, and take advantage of hunt trail rides during the summer and (hopefully) a little hound walking, before the first outing. Better to find out your horse is a complete blithering idiot in a mass of horses or is completely terrified of hounds in a quieter, more controlled setting...at least to me. My foxhunting friends may disagree!
    I would DIE to join a hunt. Sadly, the nearest hunt is about 200 miles away.

    I'm trying to figure out MY plan for winter. No arena, indoor or otherwise, pasture will be muddy and I'm leery of hacking on the roads in the dark (the only time I'm not at work). I could potentially stud up and ride around the pasture at a walk/trot a few days a week, but after a few weeks of that I fear the pasture will be an even bigger mess.
    What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
    lies with in us. - Emerson



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2012
    Posts
    71

    Default

    I despise indoor arenas. Well, maybe not when it's raining and it's freezing cold outside heh. I just don't understand why people choose to ride inside all year- to each their own. Whether it's blistering hot or chillingly cold, I ride outside.

    In the beginning of winter I pull my horse's shoes and give her a couple weeks off. Then it's back to work, though I do keep it lighter in the winter than the rest of the year and mostly only do flat work and lots of hacking. It is a pain dragging the ring before each ride to keep the footing from getting hard and I am grateful to have two rings that drain well so it doesn't get sloppy. I must admit though, I am in Virginia so we typically don't see anything crazy in the winter and if you ride midday, it's rare that the footing (at least on the property I keep my horse) gets too bad to ride on. And when it does, it's usually only for a day or two.

    I'm glad to see people supporting the fox hunts. I have wanted to go on a hunt for a long time, just haven't had the means. But I hear a lot of people saying they hate it, or that you either love it or hate it. I don't see what there would be to hate, though!

    As for doing indoorsy things, I too support the Natural Horsemanship type stuff. I taught my mare to bow, stand, come, smile and a bunch of other cute random things by ground training when the ground wasn't good enough to ride on. Under saddle, you can set up gymnastic courses- practice lateral work over and around poles, work on bending lines and the dreaded corners. A good thing about winter (and probably the only good thing) is you can work very slowly because there isn't anything to really be preparing for and you have no deadlines.

    Stay warm fellow riders!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 4, 2004
    Posts
    2,631

    Default

    I am in VA so on the plus side the winters aren't that bad (grew up in VT which was a different story . . . ) but I don't have arena (indoor or outdoor) which is no fun.

    I usually do a lighter schedule, mostly hacking, give some planned time off around xmas and accept that there will be other, unplannned time off when the conditions are bad. I trailer out when I can, for lessons or little shows, and try to appreciate the low pressure time. I don't have to ride if the conditions are awful, I don't have to get my horse really clean, no shows to freak out about.

    I think my horse would love foxhunting but I'm not sure if I would.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2011
    Posts
    457

    Default

    I'd love an indoor. While I was at college for a short time in the mid-west they had a huge indoor that was insulated. I distinctly remember riding in a t-shirt all winter that year.

    I have no arena. My riding area is part of the pasture and has a clay base which turns in to a foot sucking, slippery mire when it rains for more than ten minutes. There is an indoor about ten miles from me, but the footing is really deep so I don't go there unless I am really desparate. Trying to find other venues for this winter for when I just have to ride for my own sanity.

    Mainly my two get time off to be pasture puffs. I groom, give treats, love on them, and that's about it unless there is a good clinic, or I'm taking a lesson. Probably not even that this year with my mare. She is currently very off behind. But there is always the Spotted Beast, who does W/T/C and not much else. I could teach him to jump this winter...hmmmm. Maybe.
    "But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost

    Eventing at Midnight Blog
    http://eventingmidnight.blogspot.com/



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2010
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    1,500

    Default

    I am a transplanted northern living in the "south."

    You are all Wuuuses!

    Get some magnesium chloride, put it on your outdoor arena, drag it in really well and ride a way! I do lots of TTouch and ground work on my horses in the winter, get plenty of hacking done, even in the snow. In fact in deep snow I get really brave and ride BAREBACK on my OTTBs! Ask me how much conditioning work I have done on my horses in the SNOW!

    I can do an amazing amount of training at a walk. That is where I start the BRIDLELESS work. I can still do liberty training with one of my guys as long is the footing is soft.

    So while many of you are whimpering about bad weather, I am improving my horses so by spring we will be WAY ahead of you and your horses!!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2009
    Location
    Gray Court, SC
    Posts
    700

    Default

    Winter? What is this winter you talk about? Here in SC winter has become a fond memory of gentle snows, nurturing rains, and the occasional snap to provide humorous moments breaking ice from water buckets. Now, its just mild temps, dry air and hard pack

    This year, once the final show it done in Nov I plan to back off a little so I can catch up on all the farm/house projects I've put off in lue of riding. I like the ground work ideas and we'll still trailer down to a covered sand arena to play. I just got 101 dressage exercises for my Birthday so I may make it a goal to work through as many of them as I can over the winter. Most of my riding is after work so I've rigged lights in the pasture so I can still have some fun time during the week. I have barebacked Sterling and Mercedes in the snow along with hacks in the saddle. I think the first time it snows here I may leave work, run home saddle up and ride in such a rare event.

    Personally, I hope I'm lucky this year and we get a wet miserable damp winter filled with rain or snow so the lakes and ground waters can fill back up again.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 26, 2011
    Posts
    1,149

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    For those of you that would like to try fox hunting, I got an email the other day about Rappahannock Hunt about their First Time Hunters Hunt. The first day is a mounted clinic about the how, what and why's of hunting. The second day is actual hunting but don't expect to be out more than two hours.

    I think there is information on their web site about this.



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