Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Warm Up Ring Etiquette

Yeah. It's a thing. A real thing. After running into another situation Monday where I was riding with people completely unaware of spacial awareness ("Oh, ha ha. I never ride with other people, so I didn't even think to call out anything!"), I was feeling so frustrated that I went off on a long winded, expletive filled rant to Hubby who promptly suggested I do a blog post about manners.

Well.

Challenge accepted Hubby, though don't think I'm not housing my suspicions you only said that to shut me up.

Here are a few things that I feel should be implemented into every warm up ring--no matter the discipline--and should you not follow them, you get kicked the fuck out.


First of all, there's one golden standard that holds true to every warm up everywhere on the entire fucking planet. Ever heard of it? It's a little mantra that goes "Left shoulder to left shoulder." That means that when you pass someone, your left shoulder should pass their left shoulder.

This is not rocket science.

I can't think of a single instructor that hasn't told me this at some point in my riding career. Is this not being taught anymore? Are you people that aren't following the rule just ignoring it, or are you just out to get me?

And on that note, if you're not going to follow left to left for whatever reason (and I'll allow that there are certain times it's not possible), here's another generally accepted rule when you're trying to be polite: Call out where you're going. By the way, "Heads up!" does not count as a direction.

Heads up? Heads up to the left or to the right? Are you just going to continue on your path without blinking and inevitably run into me when I fail to swerve the direction you telepathically told me?


"Outside."

"Inside."

Those are words that make my heart sing.

Let's jump off the directional difficulties for a second. Being an eventer that also does dressage shows, I run into a lot of people carrying long whips. Please know how to hold them. Please don't flail about with them. Don't let them poke out three feet to the side. Don't wait to crack your horse a good one the second I go by you. And most importantly, don't ever let your whip touch my horse. Ever.


One more rule that centers mostly on flat warm up. You know that 20 meter circle we all love? We all love it. So you're not the only one that wants to go on that track. Is there enough room for you to never leave your circle? Probably not. Therefore MOVE, especially if you're stuck on a circle right where everyone else needs to pass you. Having to constantly dodge your dizzying ass makes no one happy.

Are you a jumper? Hunter? Eventer? Basically, do you need to go over stacked poles as part of your warm up? Call out your jump, and do it well before you're one stride away and you're about to do an unintended team jump with another rider.

Has someone else called out the same jump you wanted? Don't cut in line. Circle, trot to give them some space and then pick your canter back up, come back around again, or detour to another jump. Crashing or yanking your horse up abruptly does not make for a well structured, confidence building warm up.

Be polite. Follow rules. Don't make me go crazy rage bitch pissed on you in warm up.


23 comments:

  1. OMG yes about the whips. I can't tell you how many times Carlos or Ramone has been whacked by someone elses whip.

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  2. #preach.

    it's been a while since i've been in a warm up ring (tho the countdown is on!!!), but i spend a lot of time dodging lesson kids. common courtesy and communication can go a lonnnnng way (tho it doesn't really help when people mix up {how???} inside & outside...)

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  3. And don't tailgate too close. And know what tail ribbons mean (green = green horse, yellow = stallion, red = horse kicks). Pass wide. And when you call your jump, be sure to call out color and/or type so people can differentiate it from the other jumps.

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  4. Love the gigs in this post!!!
    Also people need to respect distances and if you are riding on the inside track leave enough space for a horse to ride on the outside track - as you say not rocket science people. Gargh!

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  5. One of the other trainers at my barn tells her kids "don't worry about everyone else". That's the extent of anything I've heard her say about how they should ride in traffic. It's no wonder why the rest of us (normal people) can't stand being in the ring with them at the same time.

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  6. I've never been taught the left to left rule, but I do call inside and outside when coming up to someone. I figured that out on my own haha - it's seriously common sense.

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  7. I ran into this over the weekend at Woodstock. B handled being whipped in the ass very well... Luckily I was not on him but he flipped out and bolted forward. Then a little girl came over and was like "That was my fault, my horse wouldn't walk by him..." If she wasn't like 12 I would've had words but I let it go. Then while on him, people were literally like, "My horse is better than yours" and cut us off or ran up our back end over and over. Stooopid. No one ever said anything. Or they would just... STOP.

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  8. Oh my god I was teaching a lesson the other day and was sitting on the rail of a BIG arena and this lady rode past me with her whip pointing at me and SMACKED me in the knees not once, not twice, but three separate times.

    You know who are the worst in warm up? FEI riders. They're always doing weird shit. I acknowledge the irony here but still.

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  9. I hire you to be warmup ring steward at all the shows I'm ever going to go to in the future. K? K!

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  10. I vote that you run all warmup rings. With a mic. Because let's face it, that would be awesome!

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  11. Haha, that last pic. My main issue is when people cut me off. I tend to have well mannered horses that can stand to slam on the brakes or perform an unplanned dodge, but sometimes I don't have that great of steering and cutting others off is just plain RUDE!

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  12. UGH, I could vent for days about warm-up ring etiquette! When I showed in Texas, the warm-up rings were pure chaos: aside from the fact that they were WAY TOO GODD*MN SMALL, the 20,000 riders in there had no regard for anyone else's space...they were all doing their own thing and it was their warm-up ring.

    Grrrrrrrrrrrr. People.

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  13. My other favorite is when people use the warm-up ring to just STAND THERE. When I ride with my BO, I will purposely pass close/run into her young horse so she gets used to the warm-up ring chaos. Our training methods seem to be working.

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  14. The warm up at Carousel was a fucking death match and all it did was frazzle the hell out of Riley and I. When I got down there it was insane and then I waited until 50 trainers and their out of control ponies left to warm up with out Emily. By the time she got down there, somehow 200 haflinger ponies zooming around showed up and one TB that wanted to only walk on his hind legs. It was not the best warm up and the near head on collisions were all over the place! Love this post!

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  15. I hate warming up at shows because of warm up ring chaos. And I, too, wonder whether riders are taught left shoulder to left shoulder passing, or what it means when another rider calls inside or outside when passing. Because when I call it I just get a lot of dumbfounded looks. And some of the people that don't seem to know call themselves professionals!

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  16. I honestly don't understand how people can be so selfish in the warmup ring. I get that we all need to warm up our horses - but that's "WE ALL" and holy crap, DO NOT HOG the 20m circle!!
    Also - not every patch of sand is a warmup ring. Last mini-trials a lady on a giant TB was schooling her horse in the 10m patch of sand, RIGHT in front of the entrance to the dressage ring (short ring was set up inside larger permanent dressage arena) - WHILE dressage tests were going on!! So yes, if anyone wanted to enter OR exit the dressage ring for their test, they had to go AROUND her. *smacks forehead.
    Also - Slower people in the middle, faster people on the outside!

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  17. I get really nervous when warm-up rings are crazy, and I freeze up and just walk around, trying to stay out of the way. I'm such a weenie, LOL

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  18. Most of the shows I go to have more than one ring...and the ring that is farther away people tend to avoid like the plague because they are a few minutes longer of a walk. Hello....more warm up space for you!

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  19. Amen sister! I can vouch that the pass left to left thing is true in Britain and New Zealand too, so not rocket science! Though you would think it is,

    Oh yeah, do NOT hit my horse with your whip is so much yes.

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  20. Dressage show warm-ups around here are such a cluster-fu... that it becomes much more challenging than the actual tests. Everybody wants to practice their test at the shows it seems like, which means a million people going in a million directions and not watching anybody else. Practicing tests is for at home! Doing some walk/trot/canter and maybe a few circles and a few halts is for at shows!

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  21. Can I add another? No one in our current barn announces themselves before entering the indoor arena...except me! My horse loves to use this for an excuse to bolt forward, jump sideways, drop and launch, etc. Maybe my barn mates think this is entertaining!

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  22. Yes. Yes, yes, yes.

    I feel like I spend all my warmup teaching other people about etiquette. And I will not hesitate to shout at you if you try to cut in line when I've already called out a fence. Rude.

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If you can't say anything nice, fuck off.