Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Where to Ride Dilemna

Now that I am trying to ride Dickie I realize just how distracting the open arena walls are. On one side there are a pair of mares that like to run around on the other side are two geldings. One likes to come peek in the arena and the other likes to kick up his heels. In the long run I think it will be great to have him in an environment with lots going on. If he gets used to all of that going to a show will be no problem. However, right now he has ZERO idea what to do under saddle. I need all of his little baby brain focused on my so I can get the a basic GO and STOP on him. He has been so obsessed with Bre that I feel like I lose him the second I take him out of the field to take him up. Then I head over and have the added distractions of the arena.


Sniffing noses with a pretty mare

I have been thinking that getting on him outside in the round pen might not be a bad idea. Generally mounting outside would be more distracting than an arena but he can only see two horses from the round pen. There also aren't paddocks directly around the round pen. The round pen is in the parking lot so he has to work to look for the other horses. Since it is away from the barn he can't see the horses coming in for dinner or hear them being fed. People coming and going from the three barns are distracting but they aren't running around so it is much easier to keep him focused. The biggest con of the round pen is that getting smashed against the sides make me nervous. Then again he loves to go out to the arena walls  too so I might be just as likely to be smooshed there. And our round pen is solid wood so there is no risk of putting a limb through the rails. The other minor pit fall of the round pen is rain. I don't mind a little rain as long as it isn't so wet I can't see.

Super amazing hand crafted sand round pen. 


I am also considering hopping on him occasionally at his barn. He is so relaxed there because his girls are close by. I don't like the idea of getting dumped on the gravel but I would keep my rides there to mounting manners until he is a pro at "go" and "whoa" in a controlled setting. He isn't a bolter so I don't anticipate him taking off.

What do you think? Is risking being smashed on the round pen walls worth it? Does anyone else ride in a round pen? How soon was it before you rode your babies without any fences or walls to keep you in?

12 comments:

  1. That is a very nice round pen! Honestly it looks like a terrific training place. I have to agree with your thought that you'd be just as likely to get smooshed in the arena as the round pen if he decided that was a great course of action (my previous horse was pretty good at trying that stunt in any location). Just speaking from personal experience, I found my horses have always been just a bit more at ease in a round pen. Riding in a round pen was where I was finally able to let go with my thighs because I could finally stop micro managing my horse and really think about what I was doing with my body. I do like round pens. In fact I've often said to Husband that if we do finally bring my girl home one day, given the choice I would want a round pen before a riding ring. I believe they can be good for both the horse's and rider's state of mind. Just my opinion of course, I really don't want you losing a knee! Oh, and to answer your last question, a long time. Page had probably been under saddle for a year when we went out in the open.

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    1. Thanks so much for your input!! It really means a lot. I am already excited now that i have decided to round pen it. I don't knwo why in my mind the arena is so much safer. He is obsessed with looking out the windows and messing with stuff in the corners. Then he throws a fit when he can't go where he wants. At least in the round pen there isn't anythign cool to find so it reduces trantrums.

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  2. We always started our babies w/t in a round pen, and then moved on to w/t in our enclosed shedrow. I'd definitely give it a try!

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    1. It seems liek way more people start babies in the round pen than I thought!! I can't wait to try. We are past the part where he gets gold stars just for letting me get on. Now Mr Doofus needs to start learning a few things.

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  3. I was riding Chrome loose on thirty acres by his seventh ride.... but it was where he lived 24/7 so it was boring.

    Does Dickie know how to flex from side to side? You know like the lateral flexion that Clinton Anderson does.... if he does it will help with the round pen. If he starts to drag your leg against the wall just tip his nose in toward the fence. Trust me he will only bump his nose once.

    For riding in the open air arena could you turn him loose in there before you ride? Just let him explore and see the sights until it is boring. Once he's bored then when you ride he should be totally focused on you because you will be more interesting than the environment.

    As for Bre... can you let her hang with you in the arena? I ride in the pasture with my horses and they never cause a problem... I don't know if that would be possible for you or not.

    Anyway these are just suggestions. I'm not an expert so feel free to ignore them lol.

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    1. Dickie does knwo how to flex. It is funny that two of your mentioned that trick. I can't believe I never thought of that. I can't really let him loose in the arena. There are usually people riding in the arena. He also finds the arena endelessly entertaining. He would take all the jumps down, knock over the mounting block, and eat all the whips. I don't know how you manage to ride in the pasture!! THat would terrify me. You are so brave. When I even walk Dickie through the pasture all the horses start charging us and I wish I had a dart gun.

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    2. ROFLOL dart gun! I keep mine at home though. If I was in a boarding situation I would probably be the same way. :D Since you can't let him loose in the arena I definitely agree the round pen would be the best place to start!

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  4. I'd give it a go in the round pen and just see how it goes!

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  5. Just my opinion but I would ride in the round pen. If he starts drifting into the walls turn him into them (step one until you have full control) Much safer to be in an enclosed small space just in case something happened.

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    1. Love it!!! I will let you know how it goees next week. I won't be able to try until sunday or monday.

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  6. I agree above- ride in the round pen. I find it helpful to think about what could go wrong and then develop a plan for it. That way if it happens your plan will automatically fall into place.

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    1. Good point!! I am always thinking about plan A, B, C, D...... Just think before you it Steels is going to haev a rider!

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