10 Things Only True Horse People Undertstand
1. You love that barn smell (even if other people don’t!)
So other people think it stinks. To you, that particular mixture of scents – hay, leather, horse – reminds you that you’re in the place you want to be.
If you could bottle it and take it with you, you would.
2. Secret pleasure: Hearing new riders hurt after a ride.
I know it’s a little cruel – but it’s so satisfying to hear new riders feel sore muscles in places they had no idea existed.
A lot of people think horse riding is easy – actually getting on a horse is one way to find out that it’s not!
3. That particular response you had when you first learned how to clean the sheath.
Horses need maintenance of all kinds. Include that kind. It’s just how it is.
4. A brand new, completely fresh tack sponge.
It feels so good to get rid of the old one that is basically just a lump of dirt anyway.
For that perfect moment you have a fresh sponge, life is good.
5. When you finish cleaning your tack and hang it up.
Does anything quite compare to the feeling of seeing everything neat, clean tidy & hanging up? It’s a tiny little triumph and it feels great.
6. When your horse rubs itself in poop the moment you’ve finished cleaning him.
Come on. Work with me, here. Let’s agree not to rub ourselves in manure.
7. Owning perfectly worn-in boots.
A good pair of boots is like a favourite pair of jeans. They’re exactly what you need, not stiff anymore, but no holes.
Those worn-in boots are the best.
8. Horses can see into another dimension.
There’s only one explanation for what your horse sees when it gets spooked. It’s looking into a different dimension.
9. Fresh bedding in a stall.
No manure. Fresh shavings. All ready for your horse.
It’s a lovely gift for your horse, and always makes you feel kind of proud of your work.
10. Picking off chestnuts.
Weirdly satisfying. It’s a little like picking off a scab when you’re a kid, only bigger.
It’s only of those strange pleasures that non-horse people will absolutely, never understand.
Either that, or you have a face similar to number #3.
Indoor Arena Etiquette
Quick note: People ride because they love it. Intentions are always good, so try to be kind and understanding if errors are made.
Always wear a helmet
Even if you aren’t riding. If you step into the arena, you need to have a helmet on.
Mount outside the arena or in the very middle
Otherwise, you risk getting in everyone’s way – which is dangerous. This is the same for making adjustments to your stirrups etc.
Ride in the direction of the other horses
Don’t ride against the flow, it will make things more difficult for everyone.
Close the gate behind you
Don’t leave any gaps open through which horses could escape.
Let faster horses/riders travel on the outside of the track
Fast outside, slower inside. This helps things flow best.
Don’t leave horses unattended
Sharing an indoor requires everyone to be aware and cautious of their horses at all times.
Announce your intentions
If you’re about to pass someone from behind, say ‘passing on your left’. Do this for all actions that it would benefit others to know.
Maintain a horse length from the horse in front of you
This allows everyone time to react to anything unplanned.
Don’t talk over the rail
Doing this will put you in the way of other horses and riders. If you need to talk to your trainer, make sure you’re out of others’ path.
No dogs on the arena
This could spook other horses. Dogs can also get in the way of riders.
Give your commands quietly
Don’t shout or yell when commanding your horse. This makes the arena more difficult for everyone to enjoy.
Clean up afterwards
Make sure that any mess you’ve made is cleaned up when your session is over.
Warm of any loud noises
If you’re going to do something you know will cause a loud noise, let others know. A loud sliding door could spook other horses.
Read more: 16 equestrian tips and tricks
Download: Dressage arena dimension sheet