How do I make life more exciting for my boy? I want to do dressage. I have a stunning horse. We just came back from a outride. He was forward, soft in the hand, beautiful in the neck - any person's dream horse. Not spooky and absolutely alert and stunning. BUT (always a but) as soon as he puts a hoof in the dressage arena he turns into a ugly, nappy, leaning on the hand, lazy plonker! Perhaps I have been doing too much school work with him - 4 days, 2 days off and 1 day outride per week. And I do not mind making him a show horse instead of a dressage horse but we need to learn and I do not have another facility except for the arena and I dear not trot or canter him outside as the roads are either tar or very bad (stones, broken glass, holes)!

Any advice for making life in the 20 x 60 exciting for a horse?

Thanks he is such a supper boy - he deserves better!

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I should def add some pole in the arena. I did it soem time ago and he loved it.
Due to my MS I ride only in the ring right now. I ride an Arab mare. To keep her interested I work on the three speeds of the walk and trot (hopefully I'll get to the canter soon) both in straight lines and on curves and circles. We experiment with different strengths of contact. During the ride I usually do several stretches of a minute or so on loose reins, then I reestablish contact, and we may do some time with just loose rein--reestablishing contact, back and forth several times. Trotting or walking over poles adds some interesting moments for her. I guess my aim is to vary what I ask her for, speed, direction and contact. A circle at a really slow walk seems different to the horse than a circle at a regular walk, or an extended walk because they have to balance themselves a little differently, and when I change from full contact to a lighter contact she has to readjust herself even more..
I am always afraid the mare will get bored out of her skull!!!! So far (18 months) I've managed to keep her interest.
Interesting - very. I should try this!
I tend to ask the same questions to everyone with this type of issue, but do you have a coach? If so, what do they suggest? Also, what is your routine in the ring? How long are you in there and what exactly do you do from start to finish?
Please include what you do in your warm-up and maybe I can add some helpful ideas. :)
Just started with a briliant coach. She told me he is not forward. So we are ignoring the front end and just getting the engine working for now. It's been 2 weeks with the new coach and he is already more willing to go fw although now with the head in the air - but coach said ":ignore!" So i'm riding around trying not even to think about the front end for now.
I know i know.... do whatever exercises you need to do to get him to R e l a x... let out slow breaths on his own... start yawning, dropping, rolling........ get him to dig that arena, scratch him, treat him, get him to follow you... so ...... that there is no stress, no agenda, just him and mom hanging out....... then before you know it he will want to go in there with you.... I think when they turn into an ugly nappy they just want to tell you something... it's like a tantrum, no, I hate this place.... make him love that place...... ever since I learned about endorphine release on this board I don't have many attitude issues with my horses anymore... but I also had to learn how to be a fun and pleasant person to be around..... I think the solution, while others might not agree, is always to s l o w down..... so they don't stess 0ut.... he loves outrides because he can relax maybe..... good luck!! when we say what a horse needs it's more like we are feeling guilty and they aren't having fun so we try and figure out what they need.... they need to chill I think, have confidence,have fun, and have time to just enjoy.... I bet if you go slow and steady he will end up loving dressage.
We have a very good relationship outside - he is very playful and interested in what I am up to- to the point that he gets in my way - very sweet. We had a good lot of fun in the arena today so that's a start! No presure - just fun! I agree - I have been putting to much stess to perform int he arena on him. He had to be round and soft and attentive. So now we are backing off a bit. Thanks!


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