Horse Riding Arena Etiquette

Alexandra HeepStarred Page By Alexandra Heep, 2nd Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Horses

Essentials for the first time rider: you probably did not know there was such a thing as arena etiquette. While watching horses in an arena, everything seems to move along in a smooth and organized fashion. Here are some of the reasons why and what you need to do:

Entering the Ring

Etiquette starts as soon as a rider leaves the stable and leads the horse into the arena. People need to be aware that when a rider enters. Saying "heads up" or something similar works. Entering is to be done at the proper location. This means knowing up front where the gates to the ring are located. Some gates double for entry and exits, some could be either or.

Mounting the Horse

When mounting the horse, it should be done out of the way of other riders. Usually riders will warm their horses up going in circles close to the fence. The horse should be mounted away from traffic, somewhere in the center area. If other people are mounting at the same time, it is courteous to give them plenty of space also.

In the Ring

Once in the saddle, the rider should go with the direction everyone else is going. Usually that is clockwise, but if other exercises are going on already, this could be counterclockwise.

Common courtesy demands to not ride too close to other horses. There should always be enough space to fit one horse in between. Since horses are herd animals, their instinct is to be close to each other. This means it is each individual rider's job to give the correct commands to not let their horse crowd another rider.

This can be done by cutting diagonally across the ring to find a larger space, or by making a circle if the horse in front is too close. The latter option works only if there isn't another rider right behind.


Passing should be done on the outside of the rider in front (not between the fence and the rider), and an audible command should be given loud enough for the rider in front to hear.

Obey the Ring Master

If another rider falls, other riders should not panic. It is imperative for them to stay calm and to try to stay in one spot until the loose horse is re-captured. It also goes without saying, that all instructions of the ringmaster should be obeyed at all times.

Dismount and Exit

When dismounting and exiting, the same rules apply as for mounting and entering. Dismounting needs to be done out of everybody's way, and exiting should be done through the proper gate. When filing out, riders need to walk their horses out by leaving enough space for others.

Final Thought

In closing, riding a horse is just like bringing a car into traffic. Using proper signals at all times and leaving enough distance are the key components of horse riding arena etiquette.

Links for Horse Lovers

Gift Ideas for Horse Lovers

Good Breeds for the Beginning Rider

Miniature Horses


Horse, Horse Etiquette, Horseback, Horseback Rider, Horseback Riding, Horses, Rider, Riding, Riding Etiquette

Meet the author

author avatar Alexandra Heep
I am a freelancer and I can write about any subject. I have a professional background in administration, real estate, marketing, and mortgage post-closing. Other areas of expertise include health and beauty as well as spirituality and self help iss...(more)

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author avatar James Henry Abrina
3rd Sep 2010 (#)

I always wanted to try horse back riding but I'm afriad of whiplash... :-)

I remember Christopher Reeve.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
3rd Sep 2010 (#)

As an inexperienced rider it is very good to know these tips and to hope the more experienced riders know them too!

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author avatar Pinkchic18
3rd Sep 2010 (#)

Great write! I used to ride horses though I've never done professional (or anything close to it) racing. This is very good to know, I feel smarter :) Thanks!

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