It’s cold and that sucks. But we’re all in this together.
For many of us, winter means we’re stuck riding in indoor arenas until springtime. While the indoor arena isn’t always ideal – especially when it’s packed full with your fellow barn mates – be thankful you have an option to ride at all!
Here are some classic ringside etiquette and tips to use in the indoor arena, which will make everything a little less stressful for you, the horses, and your riding friends.
This will be your Bible to survive the dreaded indoor riding season. When you’re sharing the arena with others, be mindful of their ride by only passing on your left, and theirs. It creates less havoc for everybody.
When In Doubt, Use Your Voice.
Just like the warm-up arena, call your fence, or your corner, or whatever you need to avoid collision. Communication is key for survival here. And when you make your path known, most people are generally happy to comply and get out of your way. Do them the same favor.
Don’t Create Spooky Stuff.
Leave your coolers and jackets outside the ring. The horses are fresh enough, given the weather and this switch to a more cooped-up routine. Nobody needs a jacket hanging in the corner to add more excitement to their ride. If you need your coat or cooler close by, hang them on a jump standard so people can still jump, and not have to move your stuff.
If you see someone is riding a horse who is acting particularly naughty, give them their space. That means don’t pin them against a wall or in a corner when the horse is having an issue. That’s not only dangerous, but it’ll likely just exasperate the situation.
Lessons Have The Right Of Way.
Sorry, but this is just the law of the land. If you’re paying for a ride with a trainer, you get priority in the ring. If you’re riding while a lesson is happening, try to ride in the same direction as that person. If there’s a group lesson with multiple riders, again, use your voice if you’re going to change direction.
Cool Out Off The Rail.
If you’re taking walking breaks in between the trot and canter, or if you’re cooling out after a jump school, please get off the rail. If your ride is over, try not to dilly-dally. Space is a hot commodity in the indoor arena and there usually isn’t enough room for a parked horse. Others could be waiting for a spot to open up to ride.