Winter Riding: Indoors or Outdoors?

We just got back from a holiday in Maui.  Itching to get back on the horses and give them a workout, we decided to saddle up last Saturday, despite the heavy snowfall.  The snowflakes were dancing from the sky in thick, large wads and it wasn't going to let up. The temperature at +5 degrees C was mild. We rode the boys for a 40 minute ride down the road to the indoor arena at Serendipity Farm. This was such a treat to ride indoors!  The arena is large, well-lit, and low-dust. The footing is amazing! While getting there was a bit trying since cars and trucks splashed soggy slush our way, the ride there was well worth it. 

Once inside the arena, the horses had to get used to the new surroundings. Although not new to indoor arenas in general, the new smells, sounds, and other horses gave them pause to look and eye the situation. Soon, Link and Rollie got used to it more.  The funny part was when Rollie caught the sight of his reflection in the large mirrors on the wall. Dressage riders use these mirrors to see their posture and watch the horse's moves. Rollie had obviously never seen how handsome he looks in the mirror. He walked up to the mirror, stuck his nose so close he fogged up the glass, and then: Whinnied!! Hey, how're ya?  And, he did it several times after that, every time we passed the mirror he nickered to himself. What fun!

We stayed for an hour and a half, giving the horses a good workout riding, and even doing some pole bending exercises through cones. They seemed to have fun. Then we rode back home. With more snow falling on us, the roads were starting to freeze up a little and it was going to get dark soon. Both Link and Rollie handled the ride well, and seemed happily tired after the ride. I think we will do this again on a regular basis. Perhaps we might even dig out the horse trailer to get the horses to the arena. We should be well prepared for spring riding after that.

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