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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have a small schooling show coming up, and I am absolutely terrified of the warm-up ring. Normally I am a very confident rider, but the warm-up ring really sets off my nerves:hide:. For starters, do instructors not teach people how to properly pass anymore!?! I was always taught to pass left shoulder to left shoulder. And don't even get me started on people not calling their jumps, or ignoring people who DO call their jumps. :evil: Then there are students who look to be completely on their own galloping aimlessly around the arena. I'm just wondering how every one else deals with getting nervous in the warm-up ring? :-?

I have shown before, and have been to this particular venue quite a few times, but the warm-up ring always gets to me. I know when I tense up, my horse will tense up too and be on the alert, so I try to remain as calm as possible, but it doesn't always work. To make matters worse, my horse doesn't do very well with other horses in the arena blazing around all over the place. For example, if we are cantering and another rider comes flying past us, he just absolutely looses it. I don't blame him either, I'm just looking for ways to avoid my horse having a bucking fit in the warm-up ring. Blazer, my horse, rarely bucks, but when he does they are HUGE. Easily the hardest bucks I've ever had to ride through, and I've ridden a lot of horses. He bucks up high AND can really twist his hind end to un-seat you (lucky me!). There IS another arena that I have warmed up in before, but technically you are not supposed to be riding in it, and I'm not sure how well that rule will be enforced this year. Honestly I just wish everybody could have manners and common sense in the warm up ring!

This will be our first show this year, and our first time showing together in 2 years. If I can survive the warm up arena I know our classes will go just fine.
 

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Can you talk to the director of the show and express your concerns? If this is a common occurrence, they should make an announcement regarding safety at the beginning of the show.

Generally in a crowded warmup pen I just try and go with the flow of traffic as much as possible, then maybe find myself an arena corner if I need to do something more than lope around and loosen up. If things get too crazy, I'd do that too, find a corner and just trot or lope a couple circles.

I have only been in a warmup pen with jumpers once (I grew up riding reiners and now ride barrel horses) and they drove me nuts. I'd call out my jump and every time somebody would ignore me. They go every which way, not looking up, etc. It happens at my barrel races too, some people (Like me) try to let their horses open up on the long side of the warmup and just kill it, not paying attention at all, run into everyone else, etc. I open my mare up but I always watch. I've never collided with somebody.

If your horse starts to get flustered bring him down to a corner and stay out of the way...He'll get used to the hustle and bustle eventually, but for now don't put yourself in that situation.
 

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The warm up ring is always known as organized chaos but there are riders who will deliberately ignore your call..have had it happen many times. As suggested, make a suggestion to the show steward to put up a sign or make a " friendly" reminder announcement about warm up ring etiquette. At our shows we have a warm up ring steward to keep an eye out and remind riders of ring manners.
 

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A lot of people ride like nutters to put you off your game.

If you can't warm your horse up, or psychologically feel down trodden because of all the people in the way, they have you.

Generally, when I have watched I haven't seen many ring stewards. I have seen 30 odd horses crammed in one space though.

If you trust your horse, and your horse trusts you, just ride. Take care of other horses, call out for direction changes (not sure if you guys do but generally when people are 'working' they go one direction and then someone will call out for a change). Call out left to left if you must. People will soon get the idea.
 

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Don't you have flags on the warm up jumps to say what direction they can be jumped?
At the jumping shows I've been to, there's usually an open warmup area where it fair game, fight for your spot but then there's usually a smaller area that's usually fenced off that the jumps are in and only 3-4 people are allowed in at one time, usually goes by the draw order.
 

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Warm up rings are definitely not my favorite... Years ago, I took a spill in the warm up ring, right in front of the small seating area. It was a similar situation to what you described, OP--I had jumped a line (after calling it), a person wasn't paying attention and sidled up right next to me on the landing. My horse (an older Appendix, at the time, and a very seasoned Hunter) let out a big buck and down I went. Blah.

Took reserve champ at the show, though. So, even if the ring gets a bit hectic, don't let it phase you. Your job is still the same.
 

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I'm not sure if this is possible at the shows you go to, but I usually warm up in the parking area, as the whole show is usually in a large field, with various rings constructed up out of ropes tied to posts.
I usually just park, make my entry, and warm up in the corner the field near the parking lot .
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all the advice! Glad to see I'm not the only one irritated by warm up rings.

The show is just a tiny schooling show....I don't think I've ever seen somebody actually keeping an eye on the warm up ring there. Unfortunately the jumps are not flagged, so anybody can take them any direction. I guess worst case scenario ill just use my first class as a "warm up" class!
 

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In the UK there are stewards who police the warm up areas and pull up anyone not behaving correctly.
See if you can get the show to put someone in charge at this show.
 

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Will your trainer be there? If so, pay her a schooling fee to be at the warm up with you and help you with this.
My daughter is a beautiful calm centered rider. A warm up will make her drop a class if its chaos.
Also, try to school early, so it's not insane.
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No matter what level show you are at the warm up rings are always the worst. I was hacking my boss' very expensive, very fancy hunter early one morning and a girl almost ran into me because she was texting and cantering. Yes. Texting and cantering. I have had to stop whatever exercise I am doing just to get around people that walk three-abroad chatting on the rail, doge kids on pony's, come to a screeching halt yelling at a girl on a horse I was taking the outside track and all she did was just stare at me and run her horse straight at me. Another time I was on the 5 year old stallion. I picked an end of the schooling area to stay at and keep to myself the best I could. He is fairly well behaved, all things considered but he was a little fresh that day and I was obviously working hard to keep him in line. A trainer came in with a pony herd to teach a lesson and chose not the nearly empt side of the schooling area, but the side with the young jumper stallion who was bucking and playing. I really, truly do not understand how inconsiderate and stupid people can be these days.
 

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I absolutely hate warm up rings for this reason. If at all possible try warming up your horse at home before you go to the show (don't make him sweat though, of course) if you get to the ring and it looks like it will be a mess, just walk your horse to keep him calm yet supple, and like you said, sometimes you just have to use your first ride as your warm up. If your horse is well trained and knows what to do they should be okay with that. Good luck!
 

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I've been showing for years and I still hate most warm up rings. Even when people are passing and calling jumps and being considerate I hate that so much of my attention is on watching out for everyone and not 100% on riding. I've even left a little early when I felt it was worse for my horse then actually staying in and warming up properly. But, it is what it is and truthfully it probably won't change so all you can do is accept it and learn to keep one eye on the ring and one eye on your jump!
 

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Warm up rings for me aren't such a big deal as I get daily practice with the students at our barn. At the time I ride there are a few beginner or advanced beginner classes going on and none of them know how to steer accurately as yet. What I have also found out is that many people, kids or adults, still don't understand the concept of left or right. Normal passing etiquette is left shoulder to left shoulder on a meeting situation (but people don't know which side is "left" and faster moving horse (ie canter etc) stays on the outside rail with lower gaits keeping off the track.

Simple enough but some people being some people prefer to make the assumption that what they are doing is more important and thus they have priority over what you need to do or are doing.
 

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Can you not find an out of the way place to get him up into a long trot? That is a good warm up pace without sweating him up. The chaos in the warm up rings, to me, is where riders go to show off, to intimidate other riders. But there is also the risk of your horse getting sidelined with a well place kick. Even gentle lunging will warm his muscles and it doesn't take up much space.
 
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