Most girls dream of weddings and major careers when the are growing up but I had a different goal. I wanted an indoor riding arena. I was obsessive and I was consistent. Every year I listed it first on my Christmas list. My theory behind this was that listing such an outrageous item would make the slightly less outrageous items below it on the list seem practically reasonable. Suffice it to say my parents never sprang for the arena.

Fast forward several years to a husband less skilled in saying no to outrageous demands than my parents. I now have an indoor arena. True, we can’t afford lights yet or proper drainage and footing but I’m not quibbling. It is fine with me. Other horsey people are impressed when they visit. But there is one hold-out who can’t stand the sight of it.


Yes, I have a wonderful indoor arena just begging to have me school my horse in. My horse throws a hissy fit just at the thought.

This morning she acted like such a heathen that I gave serious thought to beating her senseless. Then I figured that was redundant. I think that she would be much better if I took her outside and rode her around the neighborhood and slipped in some schooling while we are out there. I haven’t ridden her much outside except at shows. But day I was feeling brave. I had already cantered her for the first time in the english saddle. That went fairly well. (Anyone surprised that I had been avoiding that should know that her canter departures used to bear a striking resemblance to the “Hi-Ho, Silver! Away!” departures of the Lone Ranger. I’ve only done them in the trainer’s western saddle and almost been thrown backwards out of it.)

So I decided to take her outside. There was much fidgeting as I manuevered her sideways, forwards, and backwards to work the latches on the big arena doors without dismounting. I opened the door and then stood in the doorway. I was trying not to think about the last time I tried this. That ended quickly in a cloud of dust as I went skidding over the fence and Prize went to the neighbors’.

But she walked out and we rode briefly around just outside the barn. No fussing. Some of her brains started to leak back in from the ether where they had disappeared. We only rode for a few minutes because I had to go to work but she willingly rode back into the arena to be untacked. So I think this weekend we will try a longer ride. I think she just gets terribly bored with nothing to look at in the arena.