I take back everything I said about the backyard rider. I didn't know! I've been so ignorant. :) I remember an idealized childhood of riding everyday at my parents home. It's HARD to ride consistently without good footing or a covered arena. I much prefer both of those options. I've almost admitted defeat of my 3 month outdoor riding goal. We are 23 days into it and I'm dreaming of dry, covered arenas. I had hoped this trial would help Ava mentally, and help me overcome my fear of riding outdoors. I must admit, we've grown a lot as a pair. The first trail ride I took on Ava at the beginning of the month was a half hour of stress and tension (on my part, not Ava's). We've been gradually improving. Even taking the lead at times. And we venture out into the field out back with semi-confidence. The large, hidden, bird helped me. It flapped and squaked when we trotted past. Ava jumped five feet sideways and slammed the brakes on. I was jerked sideways, but I stayed on!! Not falling off really helps with the whole confidence/fear issues I have . ;) Anyway, riding outdoors without an area with good footing is not recommended for dressage training. I'm just hoping she doesn't lose every bit of muscle we worked so hard to develop the past 6 months. It's hard to ride when it's pouring rain, the grass is slick, and the flies are horrendous. Kudos to those who do it on a regular basis. You have my admiration.