By Pat Barriage
The days are getting shorter and the nights are starting to cool off. In just a few short months many riders will be heading to their local indoor arena to stretch their riding season well into the winter months. As horse folks gather in these smaller spaces, extra consideration for the safety of horses and riders should be given. By following a few basic etiquette principles, confusion and accidents can be avoided. If you are new to riding, this list should help you feel more confident as you navigate riding in a group setting. If you are a more experienced rider, always take it upon yourself to stay safe and flow out of harm’s way. It’s a great opportunity for you to educate by setting a good example.
1. Posted Arena Rules - Several private and public arenas have rules posted and you should become familiar with them before entering the arena.
2. Stay Safe – Helmets are recommended for all types of riding and driving. Spectators should stand outside the rail.
3. Knock, Knock - If there is a doorway to the riding area, listen first, knock second or say “door” loudly enough to be heard inside and be extra careful when entering.
4. Lessons - If a lesson is in progress, ask the instructor for permission to enter. If permission is granted, the right of way must always be given to the students.
5. Entering - Enter the arena safely by waiting for a break in the flow of riders. Riders should be considerate of those waiting to enter by slowing down or moving out of the way. Head straight for the center of the arena to adjust tack and/or mount up.