Staying Safe in the Show Warm-Up Ring

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Staying Safe in the Show Warm-Up Ring The warm-up ring at horse shows can be a busy, crowded place. You’ll face horses and riders going every which way at varying speeds. It’s important to have an understanding of how warm-up rings work and how you can keep yourself and your horse safe before you have to navigate one.

Follow the Others

When entering a warm-up ring, you will want to travel in the same direction that the majority of the other horses are traveling. Ideally, every horse in the ring should be traveling in the same direction, though that’s not always the case. Wait at the in-gate until there is a break in the crowd, and then move your horse into the ring. Immediately start traveling with the other horses so as not to disrupt the flow of the other riders already in the ring.

Keep Your Distance

It’s very important for your horse’s safety that you stay a safe distance away from the other horses in the warm-up ring. Coming up too closely or too quickly behind a strange horse is never a good idea, and could result in that horse kicking your horse, or endangering his rider. Be on the watch for horses wearing red ribbons in their tails. Tying a red ribbon into a horse’s tail is a traditional way to indicate that the horse kicks. Give these horses extra space.

Know the Code

In addition to using red ribbons to indicate that a horse is a kicker, there are some other ribbon colors you should be familiar with. Green ribbons in a horse’s tail signify that the horse is “green” and inexperienced. It’s always a good idea to give a green horse space, even if your horse is a veteran to horse shows.

White or blue ribbons are sometimes used to indicate that a horse is a Stallion. This is especially important to be aware of if you are riding a mare; it’s best to stay away from stallions for your own safety.

Call Your Course

If the warm-up ring involves jumping, then be clear about your intentions to jump on your approach. Call out a brief description of the fence that you are approaching, and double-check that no other riders are heading towards that same fence to jump it.

When you’re jumping, don’t repeatedly jump the same fence, preventing other riders from accessing it. Jump it a few times until you’re satisfied with your horse’s performance, and then move on. You would want other riders to do the same for you.

Keep the Gate Clear

Horses and riders constantly enter and leave the warm-up ring via the gate, so never stop your horse just before or inside of the gate. Doing so can cause a traffic jam and hold up other horses and riders.

The warm-up ring at a horse show is a busy place, but if you stay alert and follow the general rules, you and your horse can navigate it safely.

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