How long do you school for? Doing what?


Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
Lunging I have so many ideas and not enough days! I can easily do half hour.
However ridden I struggle to do twenty minutes.
Not done any ridden schooling since my lesson in July. I wonder if I need to make Mondays schooling or school pattern day? Get into a routine.
New saddle encouraged me onboard instead of lunging today though. :rolleyes:

Had four poles out, two spaced like so | | and one like /\. Getting her to go past and not over was included in the schooling. I think she lent and managed to get a hoof over :D
Did the clover leaf my favourite, odd oval shape. Transitions, walking tiny figure of eight in and out of the poles. Some weird walking around one pole as close as possible. Bet that's called something I won't have discovered it. ;)?
I pretty much must have poles, vet and physio have both said it's good for her and we love it. Win win.


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
When I had a school I used to ride in it most days. Storm was never a hacking horse. But my definition of schooling and someone elses would most likely be very different. I used to ride shapes and make shapes like fruit etc - of course she knew she was meant to be making a banana or an apple:p
Another thing was I used to set up all my water containers (the stocky square ones) and set things inside them to walk over and weave in and out of. I did more of this than lunging towards her "working" life as vet said lunging was too much for her joints ( and she did not understand at all the concept of gentle lunging, she had over the years been used to pretty much sharp and fast sessions).
I didn't often get bored really. I used to get the cut out and keep schooling cards from horse mags and adapt them to suit too.


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2011
I will do anything from 20 mins to just over an hour, depending on how I am feeling and how he is going :rolleyes: I usually just concentrate on transitions and trying to get a decent forward going walk as that is his worst pace, he also likes to stop dead when he fancies , usually cause he needs to pee, or he needs to poop or maybe he has an itchy leg lol so we try and push through those moments, although I do let him stop to poop. We also do shapes, serpentines, figure eights etc.Leg yeilds, turn on the forehand and haunches. I haven't had my poles out as its just too mucky. No sand school, all done in the field. We don't lunge..


Well-Known Member
Apr 23, 2009
I don't school much but try to go in the arena once (or occasionally twice :eek: ) a week to practise what I have been doing in my lesson. My session always starts off with transitions and over-flexing Raf both ways, eg bend to left on right rein, then over-bend to right, then straight, on both straight lines and circles and obviously on both reins. I have to practise canter to trot transitions because I am rubbish at them and don't seem to be improving - Raf always goes hollow - and latest exercise to practise is come round the school in trot, up the 3/4 line, leg yield towards the fence (but don't go right up to it), strike off in canter near corner, as soon as leg yield is finished, canter a circle at A or C, downward transition to trot on the 2nd lap of the circle, go large, immediately change rein across the diagonal and repeat exercise on opposite rein - this apparently is to get everything more fluid and maybe one day it will work, you never know :rolleyes: It's just an awful lot of instructions and legs (mine) this way and that, especially as Raf needs different aids on each side because his quarters tend to swing out to the left, so left leg has to work harder at keeping them in. To be honest when I'm on my own I don't keep it up for long because I think it's not going well and I need someone to tell me where I'm going wrong. I do enjoy my lessons though.

Sometimes we get poles out in the lesson and if I ever feel I've made any progress in these damn downward transitions I might get them out to practise with, but at the moment I've enough to do lol.
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Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2008
France, South
I usually school for 25-30mins. not much warm up at walk, maybe one or two tours of the school max as she lives out 24/7, then into a forward trot trying to work in a permanent outline. Last week we were drilling a dressage test, this week we're working on going straight in diagonals..........for some reason she can go straight everywhere except on a diagonal:rolleyes::confused:o_O!!
Other times we may do some low jumps working on direction and impulsion.
I'm never as demanding schooling on my own though as when I have a lesson:oops:!
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Well-Known Member
Mar 15, 2008
I thought about learning a dressage test once a month. I can ride that in walk and again in trot.
Then go on and do something with polework depending on what's set up.
Job done.
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lifelong sufferer of restless brain syndrome
Oct 28, 2004
New Zealand
For the competition horses I like to keep schooling sessions fairly short because I don't think they need (or particularly benefit from) long sessions. During the competition season when they have a good level of fitness, my preference is a 20-30 minute session of intensive work with the focus on quality over quantity. You won't catch me in the school for more than 40 minutes unless I have run into big problems or if the horse is full of beans and needs to canter lots of laps before they can settle and concentrate. I don't think a fit horse needs lots of "breaks" during a schooling session, and once they're concentrating on their work I don't like to stop and let them lose that focus - instead I intersperse trot and canter work with periods of walk when they need a breather, but that will still be specific schooling exercises, I don't stop "working" them until the session's over. It's different in the winter when they're not competing - they tend to do mostly hacking to keep them ticking over, so schooling sessions usually focus on stretching, suppleness, straightness etc rather than anything strenuous.

I don't have a set schooling routine, content depends on the horse and the day. I do usually try to start a session with my aims/goals already in mind, but sometimes those will change if I identify something during the warmup that needs attention (for example stiffness on one rein that isn't normally there, or being heavier in the hand than usual.). Sometimes I end up dedicating more of the session to one thing than I expected, but I don't have a problem with dropping certain goals to concentrate on others because I think aiming to achieve a small number of things to a good standard is more productive than doing little bits of work on lots of different exercises. I'm not much of a jumper so tend to stick to flatwork, though I am occasionally tempted to pop over a crosspole if there's one already set up. I do like to do a lot of pole work - not only can it be an exercise in itself but it can also be used to enhance other schooling exercises (improve accuracy, add difficulty etc) and it's an easy way to add variety.

I have a different view when it comes to schooling with Annie! We don't do it much as she doesn't really enjoy arena work, and as happy hackers we don't have a great need for it, so when we do school our sessions never involve anything particularly intensive. We do basic flatwork and pole exercises, obstacle courses, "bridleless" stuff (I don't take her bridle off, I just stop using it!), jumping grids and small courses. Our sessions are usually around 20 minutes - I have to keep them short even though she's not working hard, because she gets bored easily and when she's had enough she just switches off and nothing will bring her back! She gets very "shouty" when she's tired or bored, so if she starts shouting I have no choice but to end the session because I know I've lost her :rolleyes::p


Well-Known Member
Dec 20, 2004
Suffolk, UK
For as long as it takes to achieve what I have gone in there to do, I like to have an appropriate (to the horses level) plan beforehand so if for example I want to W, T & C with clean transitions, good bend and no silliness and the horse goes in there and gives it straight off the bat, I get off and untack, sometimes that can be under 15 mins. If we don't get what I wanted I will keep going until I get it, or something reasonable enough to call it good and there has been days that has taken an hour and a half.

For my plans I like to pick one thing to work on at a time, when Jess was competing a lot and the basics were in place I would run through basics as a warm up, W, T & C, both reins with clean transitions, good bend and no silliness, a little lateral work, then I would get into asking her for a few things that she was still learning or improving on, flying changes, spins, sliding stops...often there was pre work to asking for a finished product so when working on stops we would do about 9 millions transitions from increasing speeds before actually asking for that 1 big stop. Then a cool down, which was often the very slow start of another thing she would be learning plus some more basics and stretching. A normal session was about 45 minutes total.

I find schooling without a goal pointless and very difficult to get in the mindset for. When I was competing it was easy, I needed to perform XXX maneuver and I would train up to that goal. Even before Jess' injury I wasn't schooling much as I had no reason to, I am getting a little more focused now as she had really dropped her topline and was all upside down so when hacking I am asking her to frame up and doing more lateral work to get her really using herself, strong and flexible as I think this will help maintain her soundness long term :)
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Well-Known Member
Jan 18, 2016
I don't :rolleyes:

Agree with @Jessey when you have a goal or something to aim for it's easier. When I had my connie I'd school 3/4 times a week and always went in with a plan and worked on what I'd been doing in lessons. I found 30 minutes was enough if working properly. Longer and he'd get cranky and less willing.


Gracie's mum
Jul 31, 2005
I don't school as much as I should but now that I have a new RI I am doing my homework, which is just basic stuff like asking Gracie to soften and hold her frame for upward and downward transitions rather than flinging her head up and doing them hollow and on the forehand. I feel like a sponge soaking up so much new info and advice.

Yesterday, a planned hack with said RI - in the guise of a fellow-livery mate - actually became jumping schooling over poles in the school, with her on her excitable 17hh ShireX, calling out coaching tips for me and G. Having never had more than "Look up, sit up and kick on" from Jill on the rare occasion I attempted a cross-pole on Albs, it was great to get a bit more technical advice.

When I get stuck for inspiration in the school, I chuck in the Intro B test :p


With out my boys life would be bland
Apr 16, 2009
Anywhere between 30 mins and an hour sometimes more. I do have to set my watch as I can carried away when he is being dressage ginger or when shorter if I think its just not working today.

I try and have a plan and I never just bimble along. Even in the warm up the walk is marching forward. Much like @joosie once we have finished the warm up we don't stop. His breather is the transition work halt/trot/halt/walk etc etc followed by a long rein practice collect reins up and off again.

I have areas that I know we need to work on which I cover every session plus the normal shoulder in etc then I add in the moves we are working towards before going back to what he finds easy. I always finish on the halts again as his halts at the back ends are awful he just can't stand square from behind. We always end in a good halt no matter how long it takes and I get off at that point.

I love schooling and that feeling when we get it right I am never bored or at a loss what to do.

I miss riding :( damn ribs


Super Moderator
Staff member
Jan 6, 2006
As long as it takes. The last one was barely 10 minutes but to have carried on would have been counterproductive - he'd finally got something he struggles with & for him the best reward is finishing. However if something really isn't coming together I would keep on at it & end up with a sour or frustrated horse, instead I'll change to something that can be done well & come back to the problem another day with a relaxed & receptive horse.

I will very rarely exceed 30 minutes with Little Un, he doesn't have a long attention span & once his head's full up carrying on has no positive outcome. Jim could & would do longer, school work was something he enjoyed & was good at & he thrived on the mental stimulation.
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