View Full Version : arena work for endurance riding?

Dec. 4, 2007, 02:50 PM
I was reading the "arena turned endurance riding" thread; I also take lessons in an arena but greatly enjoy being outdoors on trails; and have thought about how it would be fun it would be to train for an endurance ride in the long-term.

So I'm wondering in the short-term, what kinds of things can you work on in an arena that could benefit endurance riding?

(I'll also mention that I don't own my own horse so there are some limitations to the exact program designed and I'm charged by the hour :lol:)

Thanks in advance for any tips!

Dec. 4, 2007, 04:43 PM
I don't remember where or when, but I am from Spokane where its icy and nasty on the trails through much of the winter and spring. My first ride was in March and I probably trained on the trails once or twice before the ride, all my training was done in the arena. Long trotting in the arena is very boring (trust me) so we did stuff like jumping, transitions up and down, anything to get the heart rate up, the LSD is still very important and unfortunately I don't think I was able to get enough of it in, but my horse stilll did very well on the ride, pulsing down immediately and with lots of energy, and hes an appendix quarter horse. I also lunged him at a long trot on a hill right next to our barn, I felt that it helped a lot! It is also good to do long trotting in the arena if you can stand it, I tried to do 20 minutes each time, you can make it a bit more interesting though by switching directions often, circling, doing patterns, etc.

beth heffelfinger
Dec. 4, 2007, 05:40 PM
We are also forced inside. I would much rather be outside. We did the same lots of transitiond jumping. We also worked out a drill team pattern that was fun.
Don't forget to time yourself. Work the same on each side. Also time goes Slower in the ring... So don't be tempted to get off too soon. Does anyone know how far a hour in the ring would equal in miles ??

Dec. 5, 2007, 08:42 PM
oh geez, i have no idea about the mileage in the arena! depends on what gait at what speed. I suppose you could use a gps:lol: or you could use one of those measuring wheels and figure out the distance around the arena and add it up until you reached 3,500 ft (aprox a mile i think) and then figure it out at each gait i s'pose!

beth heffelfinger
Dec. 6, 2007, 07:05 AM
I tryed the gps byt it will not work inside. I just assume I trot the whole time and outside I can trot 7 miles a hour so I go from there that is a guess...

Just Wondering
Dec. 6, 2007, 10:19 AM
Take dressage lessons. Makes for a well balanced horse and rider!

Dec. 15, 2007, 06:54 PM
Thanks everyone for the great ideas! (I'm a little bit slow in doing my follow-up...):)

Dec. 17, 2007, 09:28 AM
Take dressage lessons. Makes for a well balanced horse and rider!

Yes!!! and you learn sooo much. I used to SS with ASB's and switched to Dressage a few years ago and am boggled by the upper level riders and horses, just boggled. Makes the SS seem a bit limited and, incorrect on many levels.

Diamond Jake
Dec. 17, 2007, 09:36 AM
I agree with the Dressage lessons!

Also, a few ideas from a MN rider:

-Work on ALL cues, over and over. Once my horse gets out on the trail in the spring for competition, I find it valuable to have some responsiveness to cues and control because he can get a little excited and distracted.

-I will ride outside in the arena, especially after a deep snow, to help with conditioning. I do not do it for very long (30 min or so) but it helps keep him legged up during the winter.

-I think you and your horse would get pretty bored if you tried to condition 10+ miles in the arena. Anything fun and different, which asks you both to work together, to think, and to have some fun is always a good idea. An hour of dressage lessons or any kind of more intense arena work equals at least an hour of trail conditioning!

Dec. 22, 2007, 08:18 AM
I rode in my first LD a couple of weeks ago. I did alot of research to prepare, it is suggested to do arena work. Dressage work is great and so is jumping. Lots of transitions for control.

Dec. 25, 2007, 08:17 AM
Dressage can help improve any horse and rider in any discipline. Several years ago, my little Morgan and I started to train for LD rides. I was lucky to have experienced folks to to do conditioning rides with but I quickly discovered that my mare did not know how to use her body properly, was out of control in groups and ended up with some front leg issues. I turned to dressage lessons with moderate trail riding and was amazed at how much better she uses herself. She now pushes off with her hindquarters, which reduces the concussion on her front legs. Even more importantly, I am much more aware of how to keep her balanced and forward and listening without getting tense and strong. We still have some issues but I am looking forward to starting conditioning rides again this spring. KarenRO

Dec. 29, 2007, 05:23 PM
Read the book 101 Dressage Exercises for some ideas, also Cross train your horse by Jane Savoie (books 1 and 2)...

-try free jumping
-cavaletti (under saddle)
-"games" similar to western trail classes that help de-spook the horse
-transitions, lots of circles, spiral in and out, legyield (both head to rail and quaterline to rail), free walk to (calmly) taking contact, stopping off seat aid alone, and going forward with out being reminded with the leg