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Winter Blues - Small Indoor

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  • Winter Blues - Small Indoor

    I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. In my current situation, I am riding my trainer's horse, who is an incredible jumper and teacher. However, due to living in the North, I am now confined to the indoor arena. The only problem is, the area is extremely narrow (60x190). On a really good day, MAYBE a three-stride line would fit, but that's about it before you run into the wall or the round-pen occupying the one end of the arena.

    Last time I rode inside, I only went over one 2'3"/2'6" jump. I don't know if I'm overreacting, but I feel like I would be going backwards instead of progressing if I ride during the winter months. Outside, we have been jumping various 2'9"-3'6" courses, and I have shown at 3'. I know height isn't everything, but I don't feel challenged enough at the 2'3" level. {I have been jumping for about 10 years, and I always feel like I'm thwarted from progressing over 2'6" due to a height limit set for school horses or inadequate facilities.}

    Is this thinking justified/reasonable or am I totally off-base?

    Also, what are some exercises one could do in a narrow arena that would still provide a challenge?

  • #2
    You could ride a diagonal line. That gives more room perhaps?

    Though I understand the challenge, I would love an indoor!!
    Come to the dark side, we have cookies


    • #3
      You can still work on your form and fitness, strengthen the leg and get the hands more independant, don't need height for that, in fact lots of flatwork is great this time of year. Many people don't have an indoor and have to deal with actual weather.
      "The Desire to Win is worthless without the Desire to Prepare"

      It's a "KILT". If I wore something underneath, it would be a "SKIRT".


      • #4
        use the diagonal,and it's way better than no indoor at all.think gymnastic's.


        • #5
          That isn't very small! I rode at Galway Farms in IL, one of the bigger HJ barns in the area, and their arena is probably 60 wide. Possibly narrower, but not as long as yours. I would guess 120 long? And they put up courses of 6-7 jumps at normal heights (3'6, 3'9, etc) in the winter. It gets scary sometimes watching the big guys jump but they do it! It's tight but workable, and it sure makes them handy!


          • #6
            jumping in a small arena (though I wouldn't call that small) REALLY teaches you to use your space, ride the best lines, and THINK all the time. I have found it makes me ride so much better at shows because those rings look HUGE.


            • #7
              We also have a smaller indoor, but works. You can work on all sorts of turns, different approaches, etc. And you have to sit up after a jump because you're going to turn soon. lol

              FWIW, our arena is about the same size as yours and we even do jumps across the short dimension from time to time!
              A proud friend of bar.ka.


              • #8
                60 by 190? That's not small! Ours is 60 by 100, not ideal at all, but it's what we have and it works. Set up lots of grids! Also use the winter to improve flat work. There's plenty of time in the spring for longer-than-three-stride lines.


                • #9
                  Flatwork improvment time! Gymnastics, working without stirrups, courses of ground rails, innovative course building, ground work, perfecting the two and three strides, hitting the long single, possibilities can be endless! Many out there that would appreciate even a tiny indoor!


                  • #10
                    Ours is similar sized -- probably a bit shorter. We manage to get 4 stride lines on the outsides and often set up our diagonals so they can be ridden as singles or bending lines. Course design and courses are a bit more creative in the winter. We do a lot more gymnastics, bending lines, roll backs, etc. in the winter. We have maybe 5 or 6 jumps and most of them are set up so they can go both directions. We do work at height - up to 3'6"/3'9" in there.

                    It is a bit awkward, especially when you first move inside because the turns are tight. We usually do keep the courses a bit lower and simpler at first to give everyone a chance to get used to the smaller ring. After a few weeks the riders and horses get used to it and it is no big deal.

                    I was a bit nervous at first this winter because it is the first winter my greenie is really working inside doing more than 2'/ 2'6" singles. I wasn't sure how he would handle the tighter turns, particularly for the lines. Last night was my third lesson inside and we were jumping some pretty nice sized 3' oxers into and out of short turns. He handled it just fine. I find that it is a really good opportunity to work on pace, straightness and balance.


                    • #11
                      Our indoor is also small and we've had a lot of rain and wind this fall... it feels like we haven't jumped in forever! My horse is an OTTB, have had him a year, we do the jumpers in the 2'9" - 3' range (so far... hoping to keep moving up next year!)

                      We are using the winter to focus on flatwork... so far we have added turn on the haunches to our skill set, working on shoulder in/haunches in, etc. I ride without stirrups at least 20 minutes every ride. I have been amazed at how interesting and productive our flatwork-only rides have been since we've started to work on more dressage.

                      So while I am missing jumping (horse is, too, I think) we are having a really productive time and can't wait for spring to see how the work will improve our jumping. I'm kind of grateful for the small indoor!


                      • #12
                        Take your stirrups off for the winter. Do some no stirrups no hands grid work, that will make you work harder, even over cross rails. ;-)
                        Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                        • #13
                          I get depressed when I know I'm in for 6 months of indoor riding as well! 190 is plenty long though, but 60 is a tad narrow I agree.

                          We end up working on a LOT of gymnastics and dressage. So far I have used the time to do lots of remedial work and work on the technical stuff, not just galloping around a course - fill in some of the holes that I noticed with the horses over the outdoor show season. It needs to be done anyhow if I hope to ever get better at this game

                          As someone else said, work on turns, roll backs, strengthening your position. There are plenty of things you can do at the smaller heights that will make a big difference to your performance when you get back outside to the bigger stuff.


                          • #14
                            My barn's indoor is a lot smaller than that. I feel like winter time actually helps me progress because I am forced to do more flatwork than I would do in the summer. Lots of pole/cavaletti exercises, gymnastics, etc. are very good things to work on this time of year, as well as focusing on improving lateral work. You don't have to be doing 3' courses year round to get better at jumping.


                            • #15
                              The indoor at our farm is 66x180 and it is enormous! There is tons of space to do all sorts of jumping. Lines are never a problem in there, even a flowing five stride is possible if you ride through the corners.

                              However, the indoor at another farm I teach at is 66x125. That one is much more difficult, but it gets the kids really good at steering, planning ahead, and learning that collection with impulsion is necessary. We shorten everything to 10'-11' strides and work on adjustability. We do a lot of more fun exercises such as walking jumps, circle-of-death, scary fences, cavalettis, skinnies, etc. because the flow in the little arena is much more challenging. Mostly, though, winter and the indoor are for really sharpening up the dressage!


                              • #16
                                Another vote for working on your flatwork including lateral movements. Jumping courses in a small indoor requires lots of adjustability, good turns, etc., perfecting your flat work will be a big help in improving your jumping performances.


                                • #17
                                  My indoor is 80' x 150' and while I'd love it to be 150' x 250' it is plenty usable. I've jumped a course of 5 or 6 jumps at 3'9" in there getting ready for indoors. We usually keep three or four jumps in there at any given time and it's fine.

                                  190' is plenty long enough to put a four stride line in if you wanted to. Since your ring is so narrow, try putting any diagonal fences on a little steeper angle than you normally would--in other words set them so that you have to ride a little past the very corner of the ring (maybe two stride past it) before you turn toward the jump. That will make your ring seem wider than it actually is--I hope that makes sense It will also make your turn on the landing side a little wider because you'll actually canter a couple of strides on the other long side before you get to the opposite corner.
                                  Originally posted by EquineImagined
                                  My subconscious is a wretched insufferable beotch.


                                  • #18

                                    get used to end fences!

                                    set jumps, cavaletti height on a circle. the same number of strides apart

                                    Originally posted by myrna View Post
                                    use the diagonal,and it's way better than no indoor at all.think gymnastic's.
                                    breeder of Mercury!

                                    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                                    • #19
                                      Another trick for small-arenas is to use shorter poles and very basic standards. A 10' (or better yet 8') pole can make a low fence look much more significant, make you ride a bit more accurately to the center, as well as give you a little bit of extra room in the ring. Best of all, when you visit somewhere with 12' poles everything will look very wide and very low.


                                      • #20
                                        Try not even having an indoor. Or ring. I'm currently riding in a soy bean field, so lately I've been dealing with mud. Thanks mother nature. I do my best to keep my flat work going over the winter, pop over a few low jumps here and there. Then start back up in the spring. It gives the horse and myself a nice break (though sometimes frustrating). They are smart creatures and really don't take much to "get the hang of it" again.

                                        This winter I'm focusing on getting my mare more under herself. I've started lunging her in side reins and working her hard under saddle. As well as starting some groundwork with her. Never under estimate the power of solid flat work.