Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Do’s and Don’ts of Schooling Ring Etiquette

Riding at a show can be exciting! It can also be nerve-racking. So many people, so many unknown horses, so much chaos. But never fear, I can help you through the perils of the schooling ring.

Do: Listen to your coach.
Your coach is your number one. She'll know the specific ins-and-outs of each particular show. She also may have ideas that are special for your horse.
Photo from Horse Channel
Don't: Ride all over as if you own the ring.
It's not cool, results in cutting off other people, and generally will make your fellow riders not too happy with you. Keep to the "tracks," the inside track and the outside track. Generally the slower gaits are supposed to stay on the inside, but that is often reversed. See what others are doing and adjust.

Do: Left shoulder to left shoulder.
When passing in opposite directions, your left shoulder should be on the side of their left shoulder. So the person going left should be on the outside of the person going right. This is so important and avoids the much dreaded "chicken game."

Show Ring at Stone Gate Farm
Don't: Be inflexible.
Although you may plan on getting plenty of time to ride walk, trot, canter, and jump, you may find the arena is busy and you can only get a very small amount of time to ride beforehand. Be adaptable. Do what you can and try to relax!

Do: Call your jump.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves. Calling your jump tells the other riders what your path is and allows them to plan and stay out of your way. You should also respect other people's calls. Examples of calling jumps include "Blue oxer!" "Red Xrail!" or "White Vertical!"

Conquer the schooling ring, smile, and have fun!


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