This is my ring. I scoped out the perfect spot for it the day we bought our little farm. No, it’s not a big fancy sand ring. And yes, it’s a smidge short of 40 meters long (but a perfect 20 meters wide). It doesn’t have a fence (yet), and it’s not exactly perfectly flat (but it’s really, really close).
It reminds me a lot of the ring I had when I was growing up. It was about the same size, a rectangle of grass in the middle of a field, and every week, my dad would haul the lawn mower up there and mow it for me. It wasn’t a big, fancy ring either, but it saw more than its fair share of clinics and pony club weekends and jump schools and dressage lessons. And if memory serves me correctly, I had an awful lot of ribbons hanging in my tack room that were a direct result of training that happened in that less-than-perfect ring.
Grass rings can be tricky. First off, they’re weather-dependent. A big rain can mean that you’re limited to riding around the outside or it (or not on it at all) for a few days. The up-side of that, though, is that you then need to seek out other places to ride, like around the hay fields or through the woods, which is always nice for a little break.
The other potential problem with a riding ring filled with grass is that, of course, your horse will see it as an all-you-can-eat buffet. But to my mind, this is a great opportunity to work on laying some ground rules and teaching your horse some self-control.
The thing I always loved about having a grass ring at home (aside, of course, from how pretty they look) was how easy things then became at shows or clinics. A perfectly flat sand ring with fences all around it? Easy-peasy after riding at home in the middle of the field, using your outside leg and hand as your fence!
I love my little grass ring. My husband helped me mow it today, and the whole time we were mowing and raking (and waving at the local farmers driving by scratching their heads good-naturedly at the crazy city kids out mowing a rectangle in the middle of a hay field), all I could think about was how I just can’t wait for my first ride in this ring.
I’ve ridden in a lot of nice arenas in my time. Arenas with amazing footing or gleaming white fences or lights so you can ride at night. But there’s one thing about this one that none of those arenas had. This one’s mine.
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