Too Cool for School

Too Cool for School

It’s winter, the arena is flooded (again) or the road is too icy well there are always options.

Why not ride in the field, weather permitting of course, and work on your horse’s balance on grass for next season? Or you can you can use the road to school and try some local off-road hacking.

Even better why not hire a local indoor arena with a friend?

Whether you are in the arena or out hacking here are some useful exercises to get your horse listening and working well.


  1. Transitions are such an important exercise for creating balance and getting your horse off the forehand when stepping up a gear. A variety of transitions, half-halts and other dressage and schooling exercises will help get the horse to a position where its weight is more carried on his hindquarters. Transitions such as halt to trot, walk to canter and a variety of others will help the horse achieve this 50/50 balanced position.
  2. Interval training is a good way to maintain and assess you and your horse’s fitness. Why not begin in the arena with a 1:1 rest to work ratio. At trot of canter take up half seat and time your work period and the same for your rest. It will be a killer for your legs but just think of those muscles come Spring! Also, listen to your horse during the rest and see if they have broken sweat it’s important to know your horse’s fitness and you can gradually build on this as you approach Spring and competition season again. Then look to increase to a 2:1 work to rest ratio or increase the time working.
  3. Lengthening and shortening next time your riding why not try some lengthening and shortening work at both trot and canter. Use the long side of the school to lengthen and shorten along the other side. This is also a great exercise when out hacking off-road.
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