In a group riding lesson, you either ride together as a ride – one behind the other, following a lead file (lead rider) – or in open order, which means you’re riding independently from everyone else. Within reason, you can choose where you ride and what pace to be in. If everyone knows what to do in open order, it’s a great way to get your pony working independently and get the most out of your lesson.
Rules of the school
Always stick to the rules of the school. Here are the most important ones…
1. Pass left-to-left. This means that when you ride past another rider in the same pace, you should always pass with them on your left, so that your left hand is next to theirs. For example, if you’re on the left rein you’ll stay on the outside track. This is the general rule you should use when you’re riding on the outside track, turning, circling or changing the rein.
2. Faster paces take priority on the outside track. This is a glitch in the left-to-left rule – if you’re cantering towards another rider who’s trotting, they should move onto the inside track to allow you past, even if it means passing right-to-right. This is the same whether you’re riding on the same rein or not.
3. Avoid cutting up other riders up (riding across their path in front of them) because you might cause a crash. Plan the line you’re going to ride and try to keep away from everyone else in your group.
Find out more about riding in open order and how to warm-up well in January PONY magazine, on sale now!