Warm Up Pen Etiquette

Make your warm up effective--and stay out of the way of your fellow competitors

Tips from Karen Davis

The safest, happiest warm-up pens are monitored. The schedule alternates 20 minutes of circling and 20 minutes of fencing.

In general, the unwritten rules of the pen are:

One side of the arena is for left circles; one side is for right circles. You want to circle as you would show, so when you come to the middle of the arena, you are going toward the judge.

Don't stop in the middle of the arena (where both circles meet and
everyone in the entire arena must pass through). When you are ready to stop, guide your horse to the center of one of the circles and stop there.

Spin in the center of one of the circles, not on the path of the circle. If you want to walk, jog or trot around the perimeter and everyone is fencing, stay ON the rail. Stay off the rail if folks are circling.

If you want to gallop or lope your horse and everyone is fencing, use the perimeter instead of a circle.

Circlers have the right of way.

Don’t stop and back your horse unless you are certain that no one is behind you or heading toward you.

Watch for traffic at all times.

Wait for a clear spot before changing leads and going to the other circle.

When folks line up against the short wall, it's fencing time.

When you start your rundown, yell "heads up" if there's any chance someone might be in your way or not paying attention.

If people are fencing, stay out of the middle, go to a corner to spin or rest.

Don't stay on the short wall to rest, go to the long wall (don't take
precious fencing space).

Accidents happen when people go against traffic while circling, back
their horses, stop abruptly, change directions abruptly, don't yell
"heads up" to warn people that they they will be thundering down the arena.

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