P’s & Q’s of the Riding Ring

Riding Level 2: Ring Etiquette

Just like the theatre, dining room and public road, the riding arena has its own, often unspoken, rules of conduct.  Unlike the question of which fork to use for salad, arena rules are there for safety.  In your level 2 riding test we want you to:

14. Demonstrate safety and good manners in group

Because a picture is worth a thousand words, Eleanor, Isabel and Kate have compiled this set of photos to illustrate ring manners.  Many of these rules are common sense, but when you are focussed on your own horse it’s easy to lose track of others in the ring.  Keep a peripheral awareness of other horses and people, and at least one horse-length between you and everyone else.  Politeness and safety go hand in hand, and make for a pleasant riding experience for everyone.

Don’t block the rail.
call circles
Call out your circles to let others know where you’re going.


Call out your jumps
Call out your jumps before you approach them
cutting off
Don’t cut other horses off – leave at least one horse length between you.
faster inside
Faster horses pass on the inside
Don’t open the gate when other horses are nearby – they may want to leave the ring as well!
left shoulder
Pass oncoming horses left shoulder to left shoulder
put jumps back
Reset jumps that your horse knocks down
standing in front of jumps
Don’t stand in the jumping path
wandering aimlessly
Ride with purpose! Don’t wander aimlessly in the ring.


Jennifer Landels Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.