No matter what discipline you ride warm up pens can be nightmares! That being said, it really ticks me off when people show a blatant lack of common sense and courtesy in them. This year's finals was a big case in point.
We had 1 warm up pen, 1 holding pen and the actual arena we were running in. For the last few years we also had 2 fairly large outdoor arenas, a second small indoor arena and a round pen. But that was all taken away this year due to building/reconstruction at the R.E.A. (although that 2nd small indoor was prepped and ready - and padlocked shut!)
For the last few years we have a mandatory meeting on the morning of the first day of competition. Stuff like: dress code (long sleeve western shirt w/cuffs & collar), hat fine (lose your hat in the arena you pay a $2 "fine" to get it back), time limit to get your horse through the in gate (2 min.), etc. One of the things mentioned was the warm up pen. Nope not etiquette (although some people really need a reminder of that!) but the fact that we only have the one. Being that there were over 400 entries (Open, Youth, BB, and PeeWee), space to warm up was at a premium. It was stated at the meeting that ONLY horses warming up were to be in the warm up pen. To cool off your horse walk them on the grounds or barn aisles. Only the 50 or so horses due up are allowed in the warm up pen.
Again, this was a mandatory meeting. There were maybe 100 people there. (remember, over 400 entries!)
The first day I was in the last 50 for the day (#186 of 232). Youth had already ran, PeeWee and BB didn't have their first run until the next day. We'd had a wicked storm earlier and it was getting kinda late. The warm up pen wasn't an issue.
The second day... oh boy. We run reverse of the first day. That meant I was now #48. It was earlier in the day. There were people riding bareback in the warm up pen. There were people dressed in shorts, tanks and flipflops leading horses.
I was very annoyed.
I talked to one lady that used to be a director, hoping she still was and that she could do something. She's not a director any longer and didn't feel it was her place to say anything.
Now this is something else that ticks me off in the warm up pen. People standing around chatting. If you want to stop and talk, go stand out of the way somewhere. Not in the middle of traffic. And then have flipflop friend come stand with you.
So I rode over to a few of these people and said "I'm really not trying to be out of line or anything. BUT it was said at the mandatory meeting, the warm up pen is only for those 50 or so warming up horses." I'd smile and ride away. Most people made the lame apology "Oh, sorry I didn't know" (Ummm, manda-frickin-tory meeting! Not to mention, fairly obvious that you are in the way!!)
Most people were good enough to go walk their horses in the barn aisles or outside. The people who didn't were fair game. ;)
I'm not always a bitch, but I can be when I want to be. RC has been quite responsive to leg lately, much better than he used to be. So this is what I did when people didn't leave after being filled in. I would kick RC into a nice lope and lope circles, then I'd get him going nice and hard and fast and blast right by them. (like I said, RC has been quite responsive so I wasn't worried about actually running someone down) Then, finally, they decided it would be a good idea to go elsewhere.
Not totally "necessary" behavior on my part, but in my defence... those hard, fast circles are part of our warm up when possible. :p
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