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Training Through the Winter w/o an Indoor?

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    Training Through the Winter w/o an Indoor?

    I am wondering how a trainer without and indoor arena runs a training program in the winter?

    I live in CA so the weather isn't even that bad here but I know if I wasn't able to get my rides in/lessons in that winter would be a lot of stagnant training with a crazy horse lol. He is young, fit and coming along amazing and I am SO thankful that I am able to keep riding 5-6 days a week.

    How do you all do it who don't have indoor arenas? Do you pay for training and then not get it?

    Henry (House of Fortuny) 7 yr old OTTB

    I'm in virginia and the farm where I am boarding does not have an indoor. We have had a few nights where temps went down to freezing and the water troughs froze, but not the ground so much. Biggest issue here has been too much rain. Since it is cold the ground can't soak up the water fast enough. In the last 2 weeks I've been lucky to ride 2x. Tough when you have a TB that needs exercise. He has been feeling his oats the last few rides and let me know it!


      In SW Pennsylvania? You don't ride. Winter temps can freeze the ground snow gets dumped over night. Anyone who is anyone around here has an indoor. You'd be riding only 6 months out of the year between the rain and snow if you didn't.


        I see our conversation last night prompted this! Next time I see one of the trainer's up here I will ask how they do their programs. I'm curious too. Like I said in my case my footing is perfect and after a couple days of that really big storm a couple weeks ago I could still easily use my arena except it was still raining. Only problem is that some of my footing has melted out of my arena because of the way it drains and the mass amount of water coming down the hill into/through it and then across the driveway and into my stalls. (which were empty, I believe you saw the photos of the upside down barn) My biggest problem right now is no lights. If I had those I could ride when I get home. There isn't much time in the morning to get Kirby and Coleman worked. And it's cold and I like my bed.


          I'm also in VA, and it's just super cold and muddy or the ground is frozen. We make sure they get plenty of turn out time to get their spazzes out. Except for that, we just ride when we can, and concentrate more on flat work rather than jumping. Lots of no stirrups, various canter and trotting pole exercises, that sort of thing.
          I like mares. They remind me of myself: stubborn know-it-alls who only acknowledge you if you have food.
          Titania: 50% horse, 50% hippo
          Unforgetable: torn between jumping and nap time, bad speller


            I think your horses could stay in a relatively consistent program in the Bay Area. You don't really have snow or super cold temps so your real issue is rain. All-weather footing and good drainage should keep missed days to a minimum. I'm thinking maybe 10 missed days all winter? Very rough guesstimate, obviously.

            Here in NY we have rain, snow, ice, and bitter cold. It wasn't much of an issue last winter. Spring was far worse, with heavy rains for weeks. Our BO had all-weather footing put down but for some reason it doesn't drain well.
            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


              What is all weather footing? It seems that most of the barns in Southern California with outdoor arenas do not handle the rain well. Even a 1/2" of rain will render an arena out of commission for sometimes three days. Freezing ground is not an issue, just rain. I guess the biggest frustration is when you get a rain event every three days and you can be not riding for over a week or so.


                I'm not sure about the "technicals" of all-weather footing, but it is footing which doesn't get muddy and drains moisture out very well. It's usually got a couple or more layers of different material, including a sub layer that helps with drainage. OK, I mucked that all up. But there are some barns around here that paid megabucks for all-weather, wax-based footing. When our ring is still drying out enough, they don't miss a day.

                Our barn has a couple layers that I've seen - I think blue stone and sand. But I don't think they dug the base enough to remove any unevenness and assist more with drainage.
                Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                  Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post
                  Anyone who is anyone around here has an indoor.
                  Or goes to Florida
                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"


                    I have a very nice "crushed shell" (similar to blue stone) over a gravel base and I hardly ever miss any riding. I'm about 30 minutes from Anmoro so our weather is about the same.

                    I actually have a local trainer that hauls in for lessons at my lil backyard ring when we've had a good amount of rain since my ring drains so helps having a SO whose job is sand and drainage! (yay for free sand!).

                    My biggest issue is more the lack of riding time (or motivation) since it gets dark so early and I find it hard to pry myself out of bed to ride before work.

                    My ring

                    Close up of sand (ignore boarders WP mare...LOL)


                      up in the great white north :P. We get so much snow and ice, temperatures below -25 (C) at night, sometimes even turnout is dangerous without studs in.

                      I know a few smaller/private barns who trailer over to barns with indoors over the winter months.

                      Here you'd have trouble finding a proper lesson barn without a heated arena, let alone a regular indoor


                        I think most barns in CA that say all weather probably don't really hold up.

                        Our outdoor only arena is generally rideable a day after a huge down pour. The trick seems to be more that the arena is raised (it sits about a 1/2 foot higher than the ground around it) is sand over DG base, and my trainer won't let anyone on it during heavy downpours and immediately after (beleive it or not the random boarder will try and squish out there in completely inapporpriate weather/conditions).

                        When the horses don't pock up the wet stuff, it dries more evenly and quickly.

                        That said, the hardest thing for me in winter is getting the energy to go ride in freezing temps in the semi-dark on a frisky horse when a nice fire place and hot chocolate sounds soooo much better! I let my trainer keep her tuned up, and I ride in fair weather


                          It used to snow here in Ohio a lot. Dec, Jan & Feb were totally frozen. Now, middle of December, we're still working horses outside 5 to 6 days a week. It has rained a bit nearly every day for the past week or two but we're still above freezing and still working the horses. We plan to go to "1/2 training" in January where we just keep the horses fit as best we can given the weather. But if it keeps up like this, it will just be a little hiccup in my training schedule.
                          Stoneybrook Farm Afton TN


                            Original Poster

                            Thanks Everyone for the replies.

                            Yes in the Bay Area we don't get to crazy of weather BUT our arenas take FOREVER to dry after rain so it makes it almost impossible to ride outside during the winter. We have an indoor (thank goodness) and I am determined to keep both Henry and myself in training and fit through the winter

                            I have boarded at a facility where they had awesome footing and all it took was a day or less then we were able to ride in it. They were really annal about staying off of it during the rain but it was SO worth it. The barn owners were also BIG riders so the footing being good, high quality and ride-able affected them too so I think that was the key to it there.

                            Henry (House of Fortuny) 7 yr old OTTB


                              I have 4" of DG. That's it. The only thing under it is the ground. I can ride in the middle of a 3 day long down pour and be perfectly fine. The only problem is there is a hill on one side that drains through my arena and melts some of my footing out the other end as there is no retaining wall or anything holding it up. Otherwise a couple weeks ago when we had the really bad storm I caught a brief respite in the rain and brought my horse over from the neighbor's -where they were living because of the aforementioned flipped barn- and longed him with no problems for a little while. I'm loving my DG so far! We have to keep it broken up other wise it turns to rock but you would be turning up footing anyway after the rain.


                                I have no indoor and I just do what I can. Of course most people in our area have an indoor since we get a lot of snow and very cold weather. My ponies get a lot of the winter off...The in between weather sucks, as its muddy, then freezes - with lovely ruts, then thaws, then freezes....As soon as we have some snow to cover up the ruts I get back on and we are good to go!!


                                  IME, All Weather Footing means something different (and more bad a$$) on the East Coast in comparison to the West Coast.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat


                                    CA girl. Rode in SoCal for 15 or so years before just moving up to the bay area. I have to say, I don't think I'll ever be at another facility without a covered arena ever again. SoCal "all weather" footing would dry out in a couple days after a rain - just hope that a storm wasn't right behind the last one. In 2005, my horses didn't get ridden for two months because of the weather and no property to ride around on. Ick. We did a lot of handwalking.

                                    In the bay, we have a covered, but too small to jump in most of the time. We do lots of flatwork and no-stirrup work. There are very few days that I cancel training or lessons (only cancel when the rain is coming in sideways or the wind is blowing things over). We work a lot on lateral work, transitions(!), light trail riding, etc. When we do get to jump, the horses are surprisingly good. A lot of work can even be done outside the arena. We lunge and turn out as often as we can.

                                    There's a lot to learn about horses that doesn't involve sitting on them. If you're creative, winter can be just as productive as summer.


                                      Originally posted by alternate_universe View Post
                                      In SW Pennsylvania? You don't ride. Winter temps can freeze the ground snow gets dumped over night. Anyone who is anyone around here has an indoor. You'd be riding only 6 months out of the year between the rain and snow if you didn't.
                                      I am in SW PA and ride year round without an indoor. I guess 2 years of winters in Iowa make this area look tame to me. Even with an indoor in Iowa, temps got horribly uncomfortable to ride in below 19 degrees. When it dropped more than that, it was easiest to just lightly lunge and ride for a short time before my fingers and toes got too cold to be useful.
                                      I take advantage of Dec through Feb being my back to basics schooling months.
                                      If it is really cold or bad outside, I will just bundle up and hack down the farm lane. My arena is newly excavated and still settling, so I don't want to tear up the base this winter.
                                      I am lucky to have the option of taking my pony to the stable in WV where I also ride, but for the most part, I just hack out here at the farm.
                                      Proud to have two Takaupa Gold line POAs!
                                      Takaupas Top Gold
                                      Gifts Black Gold Knight