Arena Manners

Don’t you just hate it when you are riding in the arena, calmly and smoothly, and then someone randomly passes you right to right without saying a word?

You may be doing that to someone else?

So you might want to know some general arena rules that most people use.  They will be helpful!

1. Left shoulder to Left Shoulder

This one is important.  When you are passing someone and you are riding in the opposite direction, make sure you are passing them on their left (and your left)! (Some European countries may do right shoulder to right)  If this is not possible and it’s too late…read the next section!

2. Stating your movements

Not every one of your movements, but if you are passing someone from the wrong side because it is too late, call out, “Inside.” or “Outside.”

3. Spacing

Keep your spacing at least a horse length away from other horses whether it’s in front of, behind, or next to. If you know a horse really likes it’s spacing, be sure to give that horse extra space.

4. Follow any posted rules

If the stable has any particular posted rules, be sure to follow them and don’t break any rules

5. Mount/Dismount out of the way

Try not to mount/dismount inside the arena.  Try mounting/dismounting out side of the arena.  If you really need to dismount/mount inside the arena, do it in the center of the arena.

6. Keep horse in control

Don’t let your horse randomly wander around and pick it’s own path.  It may do something crazy!  So keep your horse under your control!

7. Cue Quietly

Horses have sensitive ears and you don’t need to cue so loudly that the rider at the other side of the arena can hear!  This may effect other horse’s movement, especially high-strung horses.

8. Slower on the inside faster on the outside

Faster horses or riders at a faster gait take the outside while the slower riders take the inside. (Note: I’ve heard of this, but during my lesson, most of the time, horses at a faster rate just pass the slower horses)

9. Ride Safely!

Ride safely!  Follow all riding procedures (helmet on, check tack before entering arena).  Inexperienced riders should not ride without instruction/alone in the arena.  Be careful if you hold a crop or a long dressage whip because you might accidentally touch another horse.

10. Be prepared for an emergency

If something bad happens like if a horse spooks or a horse starts bolting, be prepared.  Pull your horse to a halt until the solution is resolved.  But even better, dismount or emergency dismount your horse.

Following these etiquette rules will not only make riding safer but will make the experience better for you, your horse, and for other riders.  Careless riding can cause dangers and injuries and make other rider’s experiences worse.  So have fun and ride safely at the same time!

This information is just an opinion and basic knowledge of the author.  It contains general information and may contain inaccuracies.  Always seek advice of a professional horse instructor/trainer when in doubt of your situation and circumstance.

Some info from here and here.

7 thoughts on “Arena Manners

  1. Interesting–our college arena works the other way around with slower on the outside and faster on the inside. That way, passing is done to the inside where the passing horse has “escape room” to the middle. If a faster horse passes on the outside and the inside horse feels threatened and moves to the outside, the faster horse is then in a dangerous situation having to slam on the brakes or dodge quickly to the inside. Just goes to show that different arenas work differently!

    • A lot of arenas do different things…I searched it up because that’s not what we really do in the lesson where the faster horses pass, circle, or cross the arena to find space. I found that thats what they said.

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