Newbie Question

Wondering if I committed a massive faux pas?

Went xc schooling today and I usually just take a handwalk around the field before I tack up. Typically there is no one there so I guess no one noticed or didn’t care. There was one rider out there today so I went to the opposite end of the field and walked the perimeter. Horse was being perfect, just sauntering around grabbing a couple bites of grass (aka not making a scene). So I walked over to where the horse/trainer were to just say good morning. And got pretty sternly told handwalking was not allowed. Which is tottaly fine! But just wondering if this is something I should have known? Or unique to this facility?

Luckily my mare was an angel! So maybe we are past the need for handwalking!

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It’s hard to say. Are there posted rules? Honestly it would never occur to me to go say hello to a trainer/student pair I didn’t know. I would not expect a random rider to come up and talk to me when I’m with a coach either. A couple of my trailer out trail riding routes involve parking and sartung out near a cross country field and I certainly moderate my behavior depending on if the field is being used. You might have looked like you were just doing a grass walk or cool out walk. Especially if she wasn’t tacked up. I expect they saw didn’t see it as training work but just a grass walk. And they are right not to want someone grass walking in the space they are training in.


Based on your story, it sounds to me your biggest faux pas was being polite to some very rude folks! Near me we have a public XC schooling property and a private one where you pay a fee. I’ve seen people lunge horses over new-to-them questions, trainers in carts/motor bikes out there, or walking their dogs with students, etc. As long as everyone is mindful of riders schooling the jumps, not riding dangerously, safety gear, etc. are listed on the waiver and office. Did you double check for any rules you overlooked? Sorry that your attempt at politeness was wasted on a$$holes.

FYI: I was riding in a dressage arena at an event where you were allowed to do so the day before the show. There were 3 of us in one of the rings. 1 rider rode all over the place - not mindful of passing others left-to-left, was going through her test and warmup as if she was the only person there. Finally a trainer called over to her to follow arena etiquette as she almost caused a couple wrecks. She yelled back if she wanted any coaching she’d have brought her own. Yikes!! Good part is that she was disqualified the next day. Had a chuckle. There’s always one a$$hole around who wants to have the place to themselves, but it still stuns me when someone acts like this.


Sounds like they were being jerks. I can’t imagine any reason why hand walking wouldn’t be allowed. I have certainly seen people longe a fresh horse at a XC schooling field and hand walk a young horse it’s first time through a water jump.

I have been to two XC clinics in the last month - one auditing and one riding. In the first one, several people grazed their horses on the XC course after their own rides to watch the clinician working with others. At the second one, a rider walked and grazed her young horse around the field where others were riding in the clinic before she tacked up and rode. In neither case did the clinicians, other riders, or owners of the facility care.

I can see someone possibly being a little annoyed if you were walking your horse right near the jumps they were schooling, but sounds like you were well away from them and staying out of their way. We generally say hello from a distance to other folks schooling at the same time. I probably wouldn’t my horse right up to someone else schooling unless I knew them.

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My answer to somebody who gets mad about hand walking my horse on XC during schooling.


Sounds more like bad manners from them than you being the fool. I would add, however, that a horse walking around grazing is under less human control than one with a rider on its back so getting too close is generally a poor idea at any time.

I was once having a chill out time, well away from anyone one else, horse enjoying a graze and the sunshine, my mind miles away, and then THUMP!! I was kicked on my leg by someone else’s horse, aiming to kick my horse. “Oh dear,” says other horse handler, “he wanted to come over here and I didn’t like to stop him. Did it hurt?” Of course it !+7£&)! hurt and I had a mark for years after. That other handler was totally at fault for allowing the situation to happen. I was at fault for allowing my mind to wander.


Man…. @RAyers I bet you’re a pretty cool dude to have a beer with after a great ride. You make me smile. OP…. I think like others have said you’re dealing with rude A holes. Best wishes


This sport is supposed to be fun. Who wins and loses, even at the top levels doesn’t change the world. But learning what horses can teach us, having a shared experience with friends and strangers, all of that can change our world.Somebody wants to be self righteous and a jerk, man, just settle the fuck down and mellow out.

What is more significant? Hand walking on XC or being able to throw and blanket and halter on your horse without spilling a drop of whiskey from your tumbler before taking them out?


Someone should make this into a poster!


You’re my hero. Sorry to fan girl out but this sport could use people as genuine as you.


Handwalking your horse up to all the fences at a recognized show the night before you run XC would be against the rules.

Handwalking during a schooling day? I have never heard of a venue not allowing that. Sorry you were nice to some grump butts.

I once had a competitor cuss me out because I was spectating at a HT. You could hear her coming as she was very…colorful… the other times her horse stopped. She screamed at me and a friend, cussed us out, and said she was going to ensure the TD removed all spectators from the course as none were allowed.

We were so upset we had the flabbergasted JJ call that TD. Who ensured us we weren’t the problem.

It was the first time I’d ever seen eventing so I’m very glad we took the time to speak to someone about the rules and everyone else since then has been welcoming.


Most times I find the yellers/scolders are doing so out of fear. Someone who is scared of their horse or scared of a spook are the ones who don’t want anyone else around. They are more nervous and self-conscious something will happen and another person will see it. They are already blaming their horse’s behavior on something or someone else. Now…this doesn’t excuse the bad behavior, but scared people often lash out in anger - a displaced emotion. We had a rider on our team who did this, and then she’d always apologize after a group schooling. I finally told her my thoughts on why she was acting angry (actually being fearful), and she agreed. She was able to stop the behavior and progressed much better with her horse afterwards.


I actually think this is what happened. Heard through the grapevine the rider had a pretty serious fall that day (before I got out there). I think I caught the hot end of some displaced emotions. Bad timing on my part to be casual/friendly but I honestly had no idea what had happened.