If you remember a few weeks ago, I started working at a neighbor's down the road helping exercise their horses (mostly a paint mare named Splash), and cleaning stalls. Its a nice way to get a little extra "horse" money, but its helped make a friendship between myself and some horsey neighbors, and more of the horse community because these neighbors are in the "rodeo scene" - a group of people I am familiar with but mostly never really met.
Aside from making a new friendship now and being able to work their horses, they invited me to use their arena whenever I please. It's an outdoor sand arena with nice footing and holds well against the weather. It's really quite convenient at only a mile and a half or so down the road with easy access. I park at their place, then ride Milo down the road to their arena, which is located at their rental house. That's maybe the only downside: the renters are classic redneck trash with lots of barking dogs (who nipped at Milo's heels today), and typical redneck horse sense. But usually they stay in their house when we come down so its not too terrible. And the accessibility to the arena far outweighs them - how can I say no to unlimited FREE arena access only minutes from my house?
So today was the second time I took Milo to the arena. My plan is to make it down there once a week for a ride (probably on weekends, but we will see if I can sneak an evening ride but its getting darker earlier now), since there is only so much hard work I can do at my house. I am able to work on body control and trotting to keep him somewhat fit, but using an actual arena really is a big deal.
I forgot to get a picture at the arena, but I'll try and remember next time.
I got about thirty minutes of work in the arean, with ten minutes of walking to the arena each way. Milo sure says its hard to work in sand again! He feels like he's swimming in there, but it only further shows the necessity for us to come out and use the arena to keep those muscles strong for work in the sand.
I worked more on the body control I was reminded of at the clinic - which I didnt give enough credit for. One of the best things it gave me was more things to work on! It has helped give me some goals again during my rides and things to focus on instead of aimlessly going around. I also worked on riding squares again, and with the use of proper footing, some speed work again. With Milo being so slow and lazy (especially in there), I used the long straight of ways to ask for speed, then hum him down in the corners. He remembered the cue well, by the second corner he was stepping under himself to slow down.
All in all, a great workout and I am SO thankful to have a good arena so close by I can haul to anytime I like!