I took the chance on Wednesday, during a brief respite from awful weather, to take Coriander out for a short jaunt on the trail. I thought it was important for him to know that not every ride ends up in the indoor next door. You see, Coriander HATES the indoor with the burning fire of a thousand suns. Lately, with all this snow, it's been the only safe place to ride so most of time we've ended up in there. Knowing this, he's started ducking away from the bridle and pitching mini-fits at the turn in the trail that leads to it. This is not ideal.
The thing is, I totally understand why he hates it. It's a nice facility, they maintain it very well so the footing is nice and the air isn't polluted, but it has no windows- just a transparent band around the roof to allow light in. This means that there are lots of sounds coming from outside the building that Coriander can't distinguish the source of, and he's not too keen on that. Also, something bad seems to happen every time we're in there.
Consider the last three times we were in there:
On the first it was a nice-ish day and the snow on the roof was melting. This meant that every once in a while there'd be a big "whump" coming from outside the building, freaking him out. To his credit he never did anything more than startle, but it's incredibly difficult to get him to listen to me when he's constantly on edge waiting for the next bit of snow to drop.
Then there was the second experience. On the way over we passed two riders who were being brave enough to tackle the deep snow and go on a trail ride. I had just got him in the building, mounted and started walking around when we heard a horse frantically galloping around the outside of the building. Coriander freaked out. A few minutes later the two people we had passed came into the indoor, one of them had been bucked off and it was her horse we heard bolting back to the barn. She gave up rather quickly and took her horse back in, but the other rider stayed. Now this person is very nice, but she has an uncanny ability to amp up every horse she rides and create a nervous, jiggy mess. I'll jump out on a limb and guess it has something to do with her hanging on their faces while applying strong leg, but I don't know for sure. Anyway, poor Coriander was already nervous and the addition of another nervous horse to the mix didn't help any.
The last time I rode in the indoor was last Friday. Normally Friday is a free day to just toodle around and chat, so I popped the bareback pad on him and headed over hoping that it would be low-key enough to soothe his fears. Nope, comes out the local equestrian team had a show the next day and they were cramming. My trainer very nicely said we could come in anyway and ride in the back of the ring after they finished their flatwork. I got him inside (he wasn't real pleased about that) and waited in the middle until they finished up. Wouldn't you know, one of the horses (Elvis, I might do a post about him someday) bucked his rider off and bolted across the ring towards the door. Poor Coriander freaked out again, fortunately not enough to get me off, but he was so upset that no amount of circling I tried could get him to calm down. Since all I was sitting on was a bareback pad, I decided to abort the ride before he threw me and wrecked their practice.
You see why I don't blame him for hating it? This leaves me not so patiently waiting for the outdoor to thaw. We need to do a lot of work on bending and circles, but since I want quality I think I'll pass on the indoor for now. Poor boy.