Horse shows are the heart and soul of the equestrian world. They offer a chance for riders and horses to test their skills, practice against like-minded competitors, see old friends (and make new acquaintances), and travel to some of the most prestigious horse venues in the country. From backyard one-days to the elite international competitions, successful horse show venues have one thing in common: a great schooling ring.
There is nothing worse than going to a horse show only to find yourself in an over crowded warm-up ring that doesn't provide you with the space needed to properly prepare for an over-fences or flat class. In order to help improve horse show arenas, we have come up with a few helpful criteria for building the perfect horse show schooling ring.
In order to construct a good schooling ring, dimensions must first be considered. When thinking about dimensions, try and approximate the maximum number of horses that will be schooling in the ring at any given time during the show. Next think about the type of rider. If, for example, you are constructing a Grand Prix schooling ring, you will most likely find professional riders in the ring. As such, these riders have the most control over their horses and even in crowded circumstances are less likely to collide. The final factor for determining schooling ring dimensions is workable space.
- Ring Example:
- Approximate maximum number of horses: 20
- Type of rider: amateur jumper and professional
- Available dimensions: next to one show ring, maximum length: 120 ft, maximum width: 210 ft
- Best ring dimensions: 100 ft x 200 ft (these ring dimensions will result in the least crowded riding space and provides for a safety corridor around the edge of the arena).
Warm-up Ring Layout
Another important factor to consider when building the perfect horse show schooling arena is the actual layout of the ring. In order to determine the optimal ring layout, you must first answer the following types of questions.
- Will the ring be designated for flat work only?
- Are ponies allowed?
- Can anyone ride in it or only people warming up for the current class?
- How many jumps will be present and will there be a limitation on jumping direction?
- What direction will the jumps be approached (across the short or long side)?
- How many exits will the ring have?
As you go about constructing your horse show warm-up rings, be sure to keep the above factors in mind. Ring dimension and ring layout are critical details that must be considered when constructing a schooling ring, which is safe, effective, and meets the needs of equine and human horse show participants.