Schooling out of the Arena.

Is your arena very wet? If so there is a lot of work that you can do without an arena. Firstly out hacking, however, always be mindful of the traffic around you, the conditions under foot and wear something bright to keep you and your horse safe and sound.

Hacking is a very good time to be focusing on your position in the saddle, improving and getting in the repetitions that are needed to make good habits become the norm, also working on the strength in your deep core muscles and body awareness for example how do you breathe when you are riding; Deep or shallow? In the transitions do you breathe in, out or hold your breath?

To improve your horses reactivity to your cues, transitions between walk, trot and halt are useful.
Be aware of how you maneuver at junctions, are your halts and turns balanced?
If you have traffic free bridleways lateral work can be done; I am lucky enough to have traffic free lanes going up hill with a good even, non slip surface, this is very useful for leg yielding, shoulder in and travers. I like to work the horse in shoulder in and then counter flex into renvers, as well as throwing in lots of transitions, this works my horses quite hard, building strength, fitness, straightness, suppleness and keeps them fresh and happy in their minds.
Remember to give your horse breaks to stretch just as you would in the school. If he is tense or worried when out hacking, I recommend schooling him in the areas of the hack that he feels more confident for example when he is on the way home. Some horses are a little too tense or distracted out hacking so perhaps some in hand work may be useful. Desensitizing your horse to various objects at home can increase their confidence when out.

I like to work the horses with slow controlled in hand exercises; I have a gravel drive way where the footing is secure. I find it useful to work in walk, with exercises to build strength and control, including rein back and sideways movements, the horses seem to enjoy the new challenges.

So despite water- logged arenas or muddy fields you can still continue your horses education; Remember every time that you are with your horse you are training him or her!