Warmup Ring Etiquette?

Help!

I went to a schooling show this weekend (the first one I have been to where everyone there actually rides dressage most of the time…a little more competitive than the previous ones I have been to where everyone pulls their backyard horse out of the pature, memorizes the test, and then saddles up their muddy horse the morning of the show for the first time in months and rides the test!).

The warmup ring was pure and utter chaos! To make matters worse, I have a smallish pony who gets very nervous and claustrophobic around other horses and riders, and this is not helped when they have big giant whips bouncing around as they trot straight at us or canter up right behind us. I don’t know if it is because I am on a pony, or what, but it seemed like I spent the entire time just trying to stay out of everyones way.

One lady told me “left shoulder to left shoulder,” so I assumed she meant that was the general way it should be, so I tried to do that, but that didn’t seem to work either as people were all over the place.

It wasn’t just me…two horses actually crashed and someone fell off because of it, which my horse saw, and I swear that made him more nervous. :eek:

Now, I know that he will get better and better the more we get out, but in the meantime…what is the proper warmup ring etiquette? Or do I just need to get used to getting run over because I have a little pony in a sea of warmbloods ridden by riders with their eyes on their horse’s necks? This warmup ring is scary business!!

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Normal ring etiquette is left shoulder to left shoulder and yield for higher level movements!
At a show everything seems to go out the window though. People are nervous, in their own world and even if they know the right procedure, they may not adhere to it! Some people on big horses are like certain other people in their big SUV’s. If you’re smaller, you get pushed out of the way! Try to follow the etiquette, be friendly, but if someone rudely cuts you off say something loud enough for the others to hear. The embarrassment factor might help and then the others will know you’re there as well! :wink:
Good luck!!!

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When I did my first show last year, all the higher level riders seemed to stay out of my way. Yet at the same time, I tried to be aware of what they were doing, so I wouldn’t get in their way either. It isn’t hard to tell who the greenies are, and most people seemed to practice really good arena etiquette. Also, at recognized shows, don’t they have a ring steward there to keep an eye on things? I seem to recall hearing that at a function I went to a couple of weeks ago. The reason for this is to have someone there to help prevent more experienced riders from running us intro and training level folks over. :lol:

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I wish they had a ring steward there! They might have, but not as far as I could tell. I felt like I was constantly staying out of everyone’s way, which means I was always coming back to a walk (sometimes even stopping so I didn’t get run into), changing direction, cutting my circle in half, etc…I just could not win! :lol:

Most warm up rings have always reminded me of a polo scrimmage. Few shows allow sufficient space for the number of rings they are running. W/U is sacrificed for more arenas.

Theoretically proper arena etiquette is expected. Riders passing L to L and walking horses yielding the rail, advanced movements taking precedence. Theoretically!! :lol: :lol:

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[QUOTE=merrygoround;3036232]
Theoretically proper arena etiquette is expected. Riders passing L to L and walking horses yielding the rail, advanced movements taking precedence. Theoretically!! :lol: :lol:[/QUOTE]

I’ve always been confused by this. If you are walking along the rail, and somebody is cantering up from behind, are you supposed to move to the inside so that they can have the rail? And if so, why? It seems to me like it would make a lot more sense for the person who can actually see the other person to move around them.

And I understand WHY advanced movements take precedence, but nobody announces that they are doing a leg-yield or half-pass into you! What’s wrong with an occasional “heads up!” ???

I think that was my problem for a long time in dressage schooling rings (I haven’t noticed having this problem recently) - people aren’t just coming at you from two directions, but from EVERY direction. They are going forward, backward, sideways, and in little circles. It’s hard to try to predict what they are doing!

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I won’t lie…I’d have been terrified. :eek: Good for you, though, in trying to do your best under the circumstances. :yes: With it being a schooling show, they probably didn’t have someone monitoring the ring. I remember standing at the entrance of the warm-up arena and just waiting for a break to pop inside because there were so many people! I was certainly the most novice rider in the arena and was thinking, “OK, mare, let’s just hustle through this and keep away from the big boys!” lol Though I’ll confess that the coolest thing was being in the same arena as GP rider Sahar Hirosh and watching him practice piaffe with his gorgeous stallion Coco Cavalli.

[quote=Rhiannonjk;3036307]
And I understand WHY advanced movements take precedence, but nobody announces that they are doing a leg-yield or half-pass into you! What’s wrong with an occasional “heads up!” ???

I think that was my problem for a long time in dressage schooling rings (I haven’t noticed having this problem recently) - people aren’t just coming at you from two directions, but from EVERY direction. They are going forward, backward, sideways, and in little circles. It’s hard to try to predict what they are doing![/quote]

I went to my first rated dressage show this past weekend and I found myself a bit nervous in the warm up ring. It was a bit small and there were riders from training up to PSG in there doing all sorts of stuff.

I come from h/j land, and sure people are all over the ring, but the tend to do a lot more calling out of where they are going. Not a single person called out any movements at the dressage show. There were people practicing half passes and counter canter loops which I found difficult to avoid. A few times I actually spoke up to say where I was going, but I felt weird doing it.

Do dressage riders not normally speak up in the ring or was it just the show I went to?

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[QUOTE=ika;3036472]
Do dressage riders not normally speak up in the ring or was it just the show I went to?[/QUOTE]

I’ve only really ever shown dressage - and whenever I’ve called out where I was going I’ve gotten almost dirty looks. At the schooling show this past weekend I got this almost shocked reaction that I was letting the person know what I was doing.

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It is supposed to be L to L but at one schooling show I had some crazy girl scream at me and say I was wrong it is R to R and that I shouldn’t be riding if I didn’t know that…I laughed:lol:

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[QUOTE=Rhiannonjk;3036307]I’ve always been confused by this. If you are walking along the rail, and somebody is cantering up from behind, are you supposed to move to the inside so that they can have the rail? And if so, why? It seems to me like it would make a lot more sense for the person who can actually see the other person to move around them.

And I understand WHY advanced movements take precedence, but nobody announces that they are doing a leg-yield or half-pass into you! What’s wrong with an occasional “heads up!” ???

I think that was my problem for a long time in dressage schooling rings (I haven’t noticed having this problem recently) - people aren’t just coming at you from two directions, but from EVERY direction. They are going forward, backward, sideways, and in little circles. It’s hard to try to predict what they are doing![/QUOTE]

It’s left shoulder to left shoulder if you are headed toward eachother and one person is not doing a movement.

In same direction, slower gaits on the rail, faster gaits on the inside always, and call out on your inside, on your right, on your left if you are coming up behind someone.

Just keep your eyes up (I find this is harder for people at dressage shows for some reason) and make eyecontact w/ oncoming traffic. Stare down a person if you want them to give you the rail or get out of your way and call inside, outside- if they aren’t paying attention.

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Generally speaking try to ride left to left. You watch out for the people who look like they know less than you do, the FEI riders can watch out for themselves. From there to do your own successful warmup, even on a pony, you must be aggressive and defensive…You can think of it almost as how you would drive if you were in fast moving bumper to bumper traffic and needing to get somewhere 5 lanes across from you in a hurry. You can in a crowded dressage ring get close to people, squeeze people, it happens, I might sound harsh but you have to worry about your ride and warm up - trust me so is everyone else. Oh and no one calls out movements in dressage ever in a warmup, the only thing you would ever call out is inside or outside if you weren’t going left to left or someone looked completely out of it.

But that is in direct contradiction to how I am reading Merrygoround’s post.

walking horses yielding the rail,

Yep, I’d like to hear that clarified! Any shows I’ve been in, the overtaking horse in any direction rides to the inside - the logic being that the overtaking (faster) rider can see in front of them the clear lines of escape/evasion where the person on the rail cannot. It’s like on a ski-hill in a way, the person coming downhill faster must avoid those in front of them.

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I am realllly glad to see I am not the only one with this problem. I will admit I was very nervous about the whole thing and really wished for a second place to warm up. The comment about show rings vs. warmup rings is spot on.

My poor pony. There was a big alleyway from the warmup to the show rings (all indoors), and he marched right out into the showring…but I had to have someone lead us back into the warmup ring BOTH times because he was afraid of all the horses and activity! He was spinning and trying to go back to the showring.

The whole thing about yielding to advanced movements brings up another question…what if, for me, the canter is an advanced movement? :lol::lol: Shouldn’t everyone clear out of our way when we start cantering? :lol:

I too come from a h/j background, and even with all the jumping it was easier to get around.

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I most definitely will holler DIAGONAL if there is much traffic.

It is tough having everyone warming up together.

Last summer there was an evidently inexperienced adult schooling in a busy ring. Hugged the rail both directions. I was cantering on the left lead. She was trotting on the right rein. She was coming straight at me. I hollered rail. More than once. She didn’t give. I didn’t want to pull off the rail at the last second because that can cause a wreck too if both pull off the rail simultaneously.

Her horse finally saw us coming at them and bolted to the inside. She screamed at ME “you did that on purpose”. I said yes, pass Left to left. 2 other people she tried to ram tried to correct her. I ended up riding over to her apparent ‘trainer’ and suggested she learn to pass left to left…

Try putting jumpers and dressage riders in a warm-up together :eek::eek::eek:

Well…then…merrygoround is wrong…haha JK.

In my experience, try to do some walking warmup outside the warmup area if possible, and then if you are walking in the ring, stick as close to the rail as possible and look around before you circle. But there are instances where people are working on walking/ trotting in the center while others are cantering on the rail.

But the main thing to remember is to give your horse a great warmup, and be as considerate as you can at the same time… but sometimes you will have to be aggressive and get your meaning across by calling something out, or staring down another rider, or even telling another person politely to adhere by the rules L to L.

When I was young, my trainer likened it to walking down a crowded hallway at junior high between classes. You need to be confident, assert yourself and go your own way.

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[QUOTE=Granada;3036705]
In my experience, try to do some walking warmup outside the warmup area if possible, and then if you are walking in the ring, stick as close to the rail as possible and look around before you circle. But there are instances where people are working on walking/ trotting in the center while others are cantering on the rail.[/QUOTE]

Hm, not how I learned it! If you’re warming up at the walk (not doing any movements, just walking for example on a long rein) you stay to the inside. That way you do not have to worry about people coming up behind you at a faster pace. They will simply pass to your outside (on the rail). Of course if one of them is doing some lateral work you still need to be aware and try to stay out of their way! :slight_smile:

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“walking in the ring, stick as close to the rail as possible and look around before you circle”

agree with reiter. The slower moving horses go further to the inside. instead of looking around to circle, work into the flow and circle to the inside of others.

If two people crashed into eachother and fell off, it might be a slightly unusual show, and you might consider going to a smaller show or a show with more experienced people riding, though rare crashes just happen even to the best people. If you stay focused your horse will probably not be upset for long.

It is left shoulder to left shoulder. Circles and diagonals finish to the inside, and lateral work and flying changes have the right of way. Walk to the inside, or in another area, if possible. If you try to follow people too much or get out of the way too much it can be counter productive.

If one has ridden alone alot it is very difficult to adjust quickly, though, so please try to not get upset.

Give yourself time, and just go to as many shows as possible for a while. You can try standing outside the ring for a while and watch how people work. People usually warm up right before their classes, so sometimes you can watch and get an idea of which group you might feel better with, and do most of your warm up with them. It varies from place to place but often the more experienced people are better to ride with.

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