People You Will Meet in The Dressage Warmup


Needs a sat nav

Rider with no concept of basic rules of the school usually riding along naval grazing while others have to swerve around them. Will have ‘left hand to left hand’ hissed at them at least ten times in the warm up but probably won’t even notice as they almost crush your knee against the wall.


Randomer getting a lesson

Will spend the entire time in the warm up arena riding a twenty metre circle while getting a lesson off someone. Shoots glaring looks at anyone who dares to enter said circle.


The Diva

To find them just follow the histrionic echoes of their tone of dissatisfaction that waft across the warm up. Will literally act as if their Olympic effort has been derailed if they realise a novice class is running ten minutes behind when they are ready to go in. Usually accompanied by a minion. Cannot possibly warm up at any level without the minion applying at least six white boots.


The Minion

Groom / partner / parent demoted to general dogsbody dominated to the point where they have no opinion of their own and just live to serve and hope they get out alive at the end of the event.

Nervous rider on young horse

How do you know a rider is nervous on a young horse? Don’t worry they will tell you in a very high pitched tone as they insist you stay at least fifteen metres away from them at all times.


Person who knows you but has their game face on

You know them, they know they know you but they are so engrossed in their warm up that you don’t dare risk more than an unacknowledged smile and a timid ‘hi’ as you ride past. These usually return to normal after riding their test…. Assuming it was a good day.


Warm up friend

The warm up equivalent of a friendly Labrador that you are always glad to see. Your warm up friend will bound over to you, reduce your nerves, wish you luck and help you when you can’t remember what letter to ride a movement to. Most warm up time is usually spent reminding each other not to forget a halt!


Rude Rider

Spends time in warm up being rude and ungrateful to trainer / parents / partner / groom / helpers and on very bad days, the stewards. Having witnessed a few of these in my time I honestly can’t understand how a parent / partner / groom hasn’t drop kicked them in the head by now! One spectacular example last year would have done really well to put as much effort into using her leg as she did in using her mouth to complain non stop to her groom and trainer.


Poor horse

So named because most people utter this phrase when they witness them. Will warm up for two hours, growl at the animal and generally be avoided by other riders


The one with the really long whip

Always rides in the warm up with a long long whip with a long flicky tassel which would be fine except it is held at such an angle that it accidentally flicks other horses as they pass them and sends them bananas.


Nervous Parent / Partner

Hasn’t a clue which end of the horse is which and is only there, terrified, because they were dragged by a horse addicted child or partner.


Helicopter parent.

Found hovering as close as possible to immaculately turned out child and pony. Parents usually have some knowledge gleaned from riding briefly as a child themselves and watching horse and country. Usually located pressed firmly against the warm up barrier only because they are not allowed in. Dangerous once they discover the microphone and headset technology as the child has to listen to a monologue of instructions.


Microphone Victim

Rider with headset getting a barrage of instructions looking confused and frustrated and trying not to mutter ‘feck off im trying’ back at trainer / parent


Multitasking trainer / coach

Usually manages to conduct the dressage equivalent of a three ring circus by having several riders in the warm up ring each connected by a headset.


Bored non horsey parent / spouse

Found by the side of the warm up ring on their phone while carrying or minding stuff – usually white matchy boots and a fancy warm up rug that serves as a second coat when its freezing cold.


The Glitter ball

These are easy to spot, on a bright day you might need sunglasses! Diamonte patent boots, diamonte stock pin, Swarovski browband, diamond dusted helmet, diamonte spur straps, diamonte trimmed saddle pad, diamonte and patent number holders, gloves with a sparkly accent, diamonte plaiting bands (Yes, I know I have these, I am not judging! ). These riders just about draw the line at glitter eyeliner.


Matchy Matchy

Everything from the jacket to the browband to the saddle pad to the boots matches so well even pantone experts couldn’t differentiate.


People who think they are out for a hack

Innocently stroll around the warm up in walk on the track on a long rein two abreast chatting away oblivious to other riders who want to ride over them in frustration


Overdramatic coach

Starts with verbal instructions but gradually introduces body language before ending in a crescendo of a performance where they are acting out the movements themselves.


The newcomer

Fresh to the dressage world and yet to spray their body in patent and diamonte the newcomer will warm up without boots from toe to knee while mainly trying to stay out of the way of the shiny riders heading toward them sideways at speed.


The steward

Praying for a cup of tea while giving up time voluntarily to try and keep the warm up free of helicopter parents,  placate the divas and generally keeping the body count to zero.


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