We are having a beautiful autumn this year in Poland. Clear skies mostly with an occasional shower. But this soon will be over, it is going to get colder and what's more important after the time change it will be dark just after 4PM. The season of indoor riding is about to start. I've never been a fan of riding in our indoor arena. Juliano used to spook there and with other people riding it was hard to ride bridle-less. One mistake and it is all on you, after all it may seem you have less control over your horse if you go bit-less. This is how we left things last year - indoor arena last place we wanted to ride in.
This year after first two rides there I'm pleasantly surprised. Juliano is calm, doesn't spook, is not bothered with other horses riding by. He is finally OK with riding inside even when the arena gets crowded. He follows the walls of the arena perfectly, last year it was impossible to keep him straight on the line and we would end up on a circle in the middle trying to regain control and a calm pace.
A thing that led to this breakthrough in Juliano's attitude towards the indoor school is the fact that our horses were allowed to go into the arena during the summer months. The arena was open at all times as we stored hay there. Our horses would graze in the filed just next to the arena and this gave them an opportunity to regularly jump out of the paddock and run into the arena. At first it was a mystery to us, why they wanted to go in there and eat hay instead of fresh grass. It was so hot underneath this big balloon, almost like in a sauna. Soon we realised there were no insects there and that's why our horses liked it so much. They chose heat over flies. I guess now they associate the indoor arena with a fun place. All these times they went into the school as a herd with no humans made them feel safe and comfortable.
During winter there will be no hay in the arena but I think our horses will still enjoy it. Soon, when the snow falls, it will be the only place where they can roll in sand.