It's been a few years since I haven't had an indoor arena to ride in. For the first few years that I rode Phantom she went back to her previous owner's place in the summer (she still owned her at that point) and I rode at her acreage from July through September. That meant that riding was somewhat at the whims of the weather - when it rained it took at least a couple of days for the footing to dry out, and when it was hot I had to ride early or late to stay out of the sun and the ground got hard. Not to mention trying to stay away from the mosquitos.
I still try to get outside quite a bit in the summer, but sometimes when it's hot I like to stay inside, under cover, and keep the sun from scorching my pale Irish skin. The arena I've been at for the last five years is a big Cover-All and the temperature stays pretty moderate in summer.
But this summer, the arena is coming down. And until the new one that is going to be built is completed, I'm going to have to ride out in the elements.
Luckily, we're going to be able to ride in the neighbours outdoor arena, which is just on the other side of a row of paddocks from our indoor, so we won't have to travel to do so. And they just put in new sand footing a few weeks ago. That could be good or bad - it shouldn't bake as hard as it used to in the hot sun, but, since it's new footing that hasn't had time to really settle yet, when it rains, it might not drain very well. And it's been raining a lot.
|Let's hope we got all the rain in June and that July is much drier (it usually isn't).
The bad thing is that there will be riders from two locations trying to share the space. Last year there were many evenings where there were a whole bunch of riders in that ring at the same time, and they always seemed to working on western gymkhana events. It might turn into a bit of a gong show, especially if the weather isn't going to co-operate and everyone tries to get rides in when things dry out.
I'm planning to purchase a couple more sunshirts to prepare for this summer. And stock up on mosquito spray. Because of all the rain we've had, we're expecting to start seeing swarms of them in about two weeks. I should probably stock up on After Bite too - I get big, itchy welts when I get bit these days.
|I must dig this out again, and yes, it does fit over a helmet.
Things should start happening in the next couple of weeks. The old arena comes down and the steel frame is being sold, and then the metal-framed pole barn style arena will be going up. I don't know if the barn owner already has a company hired to start the construction or not, and who knows how long things will take with the delays that seem inevitable these days. I don't think these types of arenas take long to put up though.
It won't be as big as the current arena either, which I will mourn. It's going to be hard to go back to a smaller arena. Especially on lesson nights, which seem to be almost every night these days. Because of the current arena's size it's not uncommon for two different instructors to be teaching at the same time. In the smaller ring, it'll be a little tougher, so maybe we'll have to do a better job of scheduling, so as to avoid nights like the one this week when three lessons were going on at the same time (which was apparently a zoo and thankfully I arrived after it was all done).
The new arena is also going to be heated and insulated. I will happily put up with a couple of months of annoyances if I get to be warm this winter!
I'm kind of looking forward to spending more time outside this summer, I'm just hoping I can find pockets of either time or locations that will allow me to have some decent rides. I'm also very much hoping that we have an indoor location to ride in by mid-September - it gets too dark after work to be able to ride outside by that point. There are so many delays on seemingly everything these days, I don't know if anyone guarantees completion dates anymore.
Hopefully, Cisco will find the new arena not as scary as the old one. Here's hoping there are fewer hiding spots for the horse murderers.