As the cold of wintertime starts to make riding outside unpleasant, having an indoor arena is a blessing. Riding inside keeps both you and your horses comfortable and allows you to keep riding, no matter what the weather is. Preparing your arena for your winter riding can make your training sessions even more enjoyable for both you and your horses.
Include Training Tools
While having an indoor arena allows you to continue riding in inclement weather, it can be hard to keep your training engaging. One way you can avoid just doing the same things every ride you take is by bringing in some of the regular activities you and your horse do outside. If you run a barrel pattern, bring in two training barrels and practice your turns. If you’re a jumper, grab some schooling horse jumps and work on your stride lengths. Winter is a great time to reinforce your horse’s training and work on any issues that they’ve had recently.
Another thing that you can work on in the winter months is flatwork. While this may not be the most enjoyable way to train, it will improve communication between you and your horse and reinforce your foundational training. When you’re training your flatwork, you can work with your horse at every gait and smooth out any temperament issues that have popped up. This is especially useful for performance riders, as you’ll need to maintain perfect control in the show ring. By continuing your training during the winter in your indoor arena, you’ll improve your summer rides.
Optimizing Your Facility
If you’re planning on training in your indoor arena fairly often, you should make sure it’s comfortable for both you and your horses. One of the biggest annoyances with any indoor arena is the dust that gets kicked up by consistent work. This dust can make breathing difficult, cause allergies for you and your horse, and even hurt your eyes. To keep this down, try to mist down your arena every couple of days. This will help to keep the dust minimal, allowing you to train more comfortably.
Another way you can increase comfort in your arena is with heat. While having a heated barn can make your insurance costs go through the roof, turning on a space heater while you work will not. Make sure you never leave them running while you’re gone to prevent fire risks, but enjoy the warmth while you’re training. By using small heaters and keeping doors closed, your arena will stay warm and comfortable for easier training. Making your indoor arena training-ready will keep you and your horse happy all winter long.