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It is always extremely annoying to get into the warm-up ring for a show that you have prepared meticulously for, only to find that no one there knows how to behave properly!
Warm-up arena etiquette is something that should be taken seriously by everyone, not only to keep the ring running smoothly but also to ensure the safety of horses, riders and spectators.
We have put together our top things you need to know about warmup arena etiquette. Do you have a suggestion? Leave a comment below 😊
Always pass another horse that is coming towards you on a straight line so that their left shoulder is on the same side as your left shoulder. Adhering to this easy rule goes a long way to keeping chaos out of the warmup ring. Circling is an exception to this elementary rule. If you are on a circle, remain on the inside of oncoming horses.
If you are walking, then try to keep to the inside of horses that are going faster. This helps to keep some order and harmony in an environment that can quickly become chaotic if some basic protocols are not observed.
If your horse is likely to kick another horse that comes too close, tie a red ribbon in their tail. This lets other riders know that they need to be extra careful about keeping a safe distance between their mount and yours.
Any horse that is heading towards a jump has the right of way. It is imperative that other riders in the warm up ring pay close attention to what others are doing and avoid circling in front of or behind jumps when others are approaching. Being careless in the ring and getting in the way of a jump could lead to serious injury to both horse and rider.
People who are preparing for their class always have priority in the warm-up ring over those who are schooling their horses to get them used to the environment or trialling a horse to buy. If you want to use the warmup ring at a show for purposes other than competing, always check first to make sure that it is acceptable.
If you decide to take a break from your warmup, or to stop for a chat with a friend, don’t simply park your horse by the side of the ring. The warmup ring is for working your horse, so be courteous to everyone else and leave the ring when you are not doing just that.
Your warm up should be about getting your horses body and mind prepared for the competition. It is not the right time to review your dressage test last minute or school your naughty horse over jumps. Focus your warmup on things that your horse does really well, helping to get them and you into a confident frame of mind before you enter the ring.
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes and even the most well trained horse can play up. Respect those around you in the warm-up ring and try to be understanding of anyone that may be having trouble with their horse. Always stop and wait for a situation to calm down if another horse starts to buck or bolt.
The warm-up arena at a competition can be a stressful environment for horses and riders, but following these eight simple tips on warmup arena etiquette can help keep the stress to a minimum for everyone. A good warm-up is more likely to lead to a great competition result. Don’t forget to have a little fun while you are in there too!