Warm Up Arena Etiquette and Safety
Question: I have been to a few shows this winter and I am unsure of the proper riding procedure in the warm up pen. Actually I have been run into by a couple of people that were going the wrong way and not paying attention, what can I do?
Answer: The warm up pen is a pretty dangerous place when every rider is concentrating on his or her own program and getting ready for their classes. I will give you some general rules to follow that will make navigating the warm up arena easier and safer for you and your horse.
- Always go with the flow of traffic. If the warm up arena is large enough to allow for two sets of circles, one circle should be loping to the left and one loping to the right, they should pass left hand to right hand in the center of the arena. If the warm up pen has only enough space to lope one circle, ask when you want to change direction, as most people will want to go both directions before they show.
- Stay to the inside of the circle if you want to go slow, and to the outside of the circle if you want to go fast.
- NEVER, NEVER, NEVER stop your horse in traffic. If you are at a reining event, there will be time to work on fencing and stopping your horse so that you will not have to avoid other riders that are circling.
- If you need to school your horse, work on spins, or adjust equipment, move to the middle of a circle so that you’re not in the flow of traffic.
- Do not pony horses in the warm up pen.
- Always look where you are going, and watch out for other riders. You don’t drive your car while looking at the hood ornament and you shouldn’t ride your horse looking at his head, eyes up.
- Don’t exercise young or green horses in the warm up pen while it is crowded; wait until later in the evening or early in the morning. Safety first.
- Yield to the tractor, and always listen to the arena announcer and ring steward. They are there for your safety and to keep the show running smoothly. Remember, every minute you waste when asked to leave the arena is just another minute longer that the show will last.
- Don’t tie your horses in the warm up arena. No one wants to dodge a kicking or loose horse while they are getting ready to show.
- If you have a question, ask. The only dumb questions are the ones that are never asked.
- Always try to maintain a good sense of humor. People may be tired and nervous. Be patient with newcomers and try to help them learn by referring them to these guidelines.
It is our job as riders to ensure the safety of ourselves, horses and others. Remember that some people don’t know that they don’t know, so take the time to explain to them the proper rules, I would rather them be mad at me for trying to keep them safe than to have them hurt one of my customers or family. RIDE SAFE!
As Always; Ride Hard, Be Safe, Have Fun - Steve Kutie