How Much Do You Know About Equestrian Etiquette?


Gavin Thagard

6 Min Quiz

Image: CRKtraining

About This Quiz

"You're better off betting on a horse than betting on a man. A horse may not be able to hold you tight, but he doesn't wanna wander from the stable at night." - Betty Grable 

Being a horse owner or horse rider is quite the responsibility and should be seen as such, but if you're good to your horse, the horse will be good to you. Part of that means having the correct equestrian etiquette, which is as much about safety as it is about tradition. How well do you know your equestrian etiquette? Could you pass a quiz on it? Here's your chance to find out! 

For thousands of years, humans have been using horses for their own needs. Originally, they were used for traveling, labor and war. However, over time, equestrian sports came about, including polo, arena riding and trail riding. As these sports developed, so did ideas on how to treat a horse, the environment, and others around you. This is known as equestrian etiquette, and it should be an essential element of riding a horse. 

If you think you know all about equestrian etiquette, give this quiz a shot and see how much knowledge you really have! 

What are polo wraps?

Polo wraps are often used to support a horse's tendons and joints to prevent bruising and irritation.


Should you mount at the entrance of the arena?

Horses are coming in and out of the arena gate constantly. It's dangerous and bothersome to stand there while a rider is trying to exit.


If you are around horses, either as an audience member or rider, when are loud noises okay?

Horses are prey animals and spook easily. Therefore, you want to avoid loud clapping, noise making devices, or shouting at equestrian sporting events.


What is the school of riding associated with competitive events like cross country and dressage?

English riding originated from the historic needs and aesthetics of the British military and upper class.


Should you dress up for the Cartier Queen's Cup?

The Cartier Queen's Cup is a polo tournament held each year. It's held at the Guards Polo Club in England.


Is it a requirement to dress up for horse trials if you're a spectator?

Polo started as a military exercise. It was founded around 2,500 years ago.


If you're a crowd member, what should you do at the halftime break during a polo match?

Divot stomping is an important tradition for crowd members. It helps restore the field for the second half of the game.


What is the school of riding associated with the reining and cutting competitive events?

The Western school of riding is derived from North American ranching and settler traditions.


What is the most important thing a horse should have for trail riding?

Never take an unprepared horse trail riding. It can become a problem for the horse and others on the trail.


What piece of equipment improves the safety of all riders?

While not common in western riding, helmets greatly decrease the rate of injuries to riders following a fall.


How fast should you ride in a party?

Horses usually gallop around 27 mph. However, the fastest horse ever recorded was 55 mph.


On a trail, what should you call out to other riders?

Trail riding is full of hazards. Those hazards include low branches, divots in the ground and other animals.


How should your group align your horses if passing someone else?

Horses are one of the oldest domesticated animals. Humans have been using them for various purposes for over 5,000 years.


How should you let other riders know if you're going to increase your pace?

Communication is key to riding horses. A lack of communication can lead to serious injuries.


Do NOT do what when approaching your trailer with your horse?

You don't want your horse to get used to running on and off the trailer. One day, the horse might get too excited and run you over.


If you pass water, do what?

Horses get thirsty too. Don't force them to wait for a drink of water. However, be on the lookout for any obvious signs of contamination or any threats to your horse's safety.


If another rider in your group dismounts from their horse, what should you do?

Horse are strange sleepers. They do it both lying down and standing up.


What does a red ribbon on the tail of a horse mean?

Horses will let you know how they feel. They even have unique facial expressions to communicate their feelings.


What should you look for before starting a trail?

Even on a designated equestrian trail, you should be on the lookout for downed trees, low-lying branches, signs of wildlife, other equestrians, motorized vehicles, or anything else that might pose a challenge to the ride.


Does equestrian etiquette require you to greet people?

It's always nice to say hello, but it's also vital to greet others so riders know your location and pedestrians are aware that a horse is approaching. Some riders enjoy answering questions about their horse, but you are not obligated to.


Never approach a horse from where?

Horses have powerful kicks. It's one of the main ways they defend themselves.


What should you do before riding your horse in a new area?

Most horses are domesticated or feral horses. Only one species of wild horses still exists.


What should you check immediately before riding?

The girth helps secure the saddle to the horse's back. Before putting the girth on, you should check for anything that might cause irritation, and before riding, you should check the girth one last time to make sure it's secure.


Should slower riders ride inside or outside?

Horses are not colorblind, as was once believed. However, they do see certain colors better than others.


Does a horse have the right of way to a person on foot?

Whether in a car, riding a bike, or on horseback, it's important to remember that pedestrians have the right of way.


In arena riding, where's the inside?

Have you ever wondered how high a horse can jump? The record is 8 feet, 1 and 1/4 inches.


In arena riding, where's the outside?

The horse who set the record for the highest jump was named Huaso. Captain Alberto Larraguibel was his rider.


How should you pass another rider in an arena that's coming from another direction?

Horses are used to being approached from the left side.


What do you do if your horse needs to relieve itself on a trail?

Horses are measured by their own units known as hands. The tallest horse ever recorded was 21.2 hands.


Is it ever OK to clean your trailer out in the parking lot?

It's never a good idea to leave behind a mess that someone else might need to clean up.


What should you do if approaching someone?

It's important to let people know your location while on horseback.


In an arena, how much room should you leave between you and another rider?

Just like in driving, it's important to make sure there's enough room between you to react in case of trouble.


What does a yellow ribbon on a horse's tail mean?

Stallions are male horses. They typically have a more muscular body and are known to be more aggressive.


How much room should you leave between you and another horse when trail riding?

Young horses have specific names based on their gender. A young male horse is called a colt, while a young female horse is called a filly.


Where should you pass people?

An adult horse's brain is about half the size of a human's. The average weight is about 22 oz.


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