Most of us enjoy riding outside the arena. But, for many horses, this can be a scary thing. Many riders simply choose not to take their horse out of the arena for fear of their own safety and or their horse’s safety.
Here is a tip to help you know when your horse is ready to leave the arena.
Consistency is very important. When you leave the arena or even go to a new place (arena or not), the first several times out, you will most likely lose 30-50% of your horse’s consistency/training/focus. So, if your horse is only 60% consistent with his exercises in the arena and you lose 50% of their consistency, you are now sitting on a horse that is 30% trained. A horse that is only 30% trained is not a safe horse in a controlled environment, let alone out in an open space with the wind in their mane.
If you have a horse that is 80% consistent, you will lose around 30% rather than 50% leaving you with a horse that is 56% consistent which is much better than 30%. As your horse gains more exposure and experience, the percent they lose will be less.
Calm and Lazy horses can fool you into thinking that their temperament will keep you/them safe. This is only true if nothing ever spooks them or makes them excited. Which will eventually happen at some point with every horse. It is that moment you will be wishing you had more consistency and training with your horse, but at that moment it is too late for you.
I am not saying you have to have a highly trained horse before you can ride outside of the arena, but your horse needs to have a high level of consistency within the level he is at. Be patient with your timing of when to start riding out and start with short rides in areas where your horse will be more comfortable and with as few distractions as possible.
Stay safe, and have fun with your horse.