Hi, Luke here. Last weekend I tried arena eventing for the first time. I had a lesson with local international event rider, Harry Dzenis, on my share pony Bleu (pronounced Blue, not Bleeurgh as most announcers seem to think!). Arena eventing is basically cross country style jumping but in a school. We thought it would be the best way to try Bleu out over cross country jumps, without things getting too exciting. At Harry’s yard he has 2 schools, 1 with jumps and the other for flatwork. In the jump school he had lots of jumps set up, and some were like the kind of thing you would find on a cross country course, such a brushes and gates.
Bleu had never done arena eventing before and was quite excited to begin with. After we had warmed up and Harry gave us some easy things to start us off, he settled down and concentrated much better. We started off with some trot and canter circles and then we worked over some cross poles on a bit of a circle, before moving on to the trickier jumps.
Harry is a great teacher and helped us do things that at the start I didn’t think we would be able to do. One of the things he said which really helped was that sometimes you need to slow down and even trot to a jump. This helped Bleu with his confidence over the brush and the corner jump which he thought were a bit scary at first.
Overall Bleu and I had a great time doing this and I thought it was a great mix between show jumping and cross country. It was really cool to be taught by such a good rider and by a man, as most of my pony club instructors (who are great) are ladies. If you are thinking about trying out arena eventing – you definitely should.