Horse Riding Lessons Blog

Riding Etiquette: Part II

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Distance From Other Horses (continued)

My last post talked about how you should try to keep a distance of ten feet between you and the other horses in the arena.

This riding rule will be in books on horseback riding which cover dressage, but here’s some additional information about keeping your distance when with horses you don’t know on a trail ride, fun ride or hunt:

(i)  The rider in front of you places a fist behind his/her back

      This rider is warning you to keep a greater distance between yourself and his/her horse

(ii) A green ribbon on the tail of a horse

       Denotes a young and/or inexperienced horse -  therefore his behavior is unpredictable

(iii) A red ribbon in a horse’s tail

         Beware, this horse kicks!

Although you won’t come across these warnings in your lessons or in regular books on horseback riding, store them in your memory for future use.


One of the biggest annoyances when riding with others in an arena is their ignorance of this simple rule: if you’re walking your horse stay on the inside track! This a distance of approximately 6 feet from the outer perimeter, and leaves the outside track free for faster moving horses.

You cannot imagine how many Brownie points you will score with fellow riders if you remember this rule!

Riding Circles

If you ride in a circle you must give way to those ‘riding large’ i.e. round the outside track.

Passing Other Riders

Riders are moving in both directions pass left shoulder to left shoulder. The rider on the left rein (moving anti- clockwise) goes to the outside of the rider on the right rein.

If your horse is moving faster on the outside track than the one in front, you may pass, but give that horse a wide berth.

This seems like a lot to remember, but over time you’ll appreciate the logic of these rules. And if you go to a show, your considerate manners will earn you respect as a horse person.