Surviving The Warm-up Arena
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   9th Apr 2011   •   15,851 views   •   47 comments
Have you ever taken a moment at a show, to pause before entering the warm up? Do you ever look into that deadly hornets’ nest of an arena and think, "Holy doughnuts, I’m going to get crushed in there!"? If you haven’t – good for you – but those of us with any sense of self preservation whatsoever will certainly have experienced just how threatening a place the warm-up arena can be.

In the dictionary of Polo’s strange brain, a warm-up arena is defined in the following way:

Warm. Up. A·re·na / Noun

1. An unhappy place, packed chock-a-block full with savage riders sporting raised hackles, unsheathed claws, and bared teeth.

2. A terrifying place made for the sole purpose of allowing riders to threaten and intimidate one another in the traditional pre-competition ‘psyche up’ that has become a necessity in all sports in this day and age – since winning alone is no longer enough. Everybody wants to crush those who dare oppose him or her.

3. An exclusive place, for the sole use of the lucky survivors who wish to warm their horses up for competition.

Now that we know what a warm up arena is, let’s have a look at the classic warm-up arena hierarchy:

Those who have complete disregard for the hierarchy. (Usually pony riders)
Higher grade adult riders.
Lower grade adult riders.
Higher grade junior riders.
Lower grade junior riders.
Higher grade pony riders.
Lower grade pony riders.
Those too placid or polite to fight with tooth and nail for their warm-up arena rights.

So, when it comes down to it, there is no hierarchy. The ruler of the ring is simply the one with the sharpest tongue or the pushiest attitude.

We now have appropriate knowledge of what a warm-up arena is, and how it works – so next let us look at the wide variety of species that populate this deadly place.

The Shouters

Those who BELLOW at the top of their lungs to friends, instructors, or fence posts at the opposite end of the arena, thus blasting the ear drums of anybody in the nearby vicinity.

Surviving The Warm-up Arena

The Hit-And-Runners

Those who knock the warm-up jump, then gallop off before anybody can ask them to put it back up – leaving everybody else to do their chore for them.

The Policemen

Those who are determined to make sure that everybody in the arena follows every single rule or guideline perfectly – even if they don’t know the rulebook properly themselves. They often feign deafness and stupidity whenever somebody objects to their unreasonable ‘commands’.



Polo: "It’s the warm-up...I’m taking my jumping crop into the ring..."


Polo: ... -_-

Example 2:


Polo: "Um, no, they changed it – there’s a notice on the gate."


Polo: ... -_- "It’s left-to-left…"

Policeman: "RIGHT SHOU-"

Polo: ... -______- *Rides off*

Example 3:



Numerous onlookers: *Gasp* "That rider jumped the wrong way..."


*Everybody grabs torches and pitchforks to chase after rule-breaker*

(Bottom line: Guys... We do NOT do the warm-up jumps backwards...)

Surviving The Warm-up Arena

The Rebels

Those who hold a complete disregard for the rules, and like to pull stunts like jumping warm-up jumps the wrong way (-_-), riding dangerously close to everybody else’s horses, cutting into jumps in front of other riders who have already presented their horses to the jumps, etc. etc.

The Ignorant Squirts

Riders new to competing – often pony riders – who come across as rebels due to an innocent lack of knowledge. Usually end up being tackled and handcuffed by angry policemen.

The Gossipers

Those who spread vicious rumours – both true and untrue – about their competitors. Notorious for plotting friends against one another, and destroying the self-confidence of the soft-hearted.

The Know-It-Alls

Those who always want to tell everybody else what to do, because they think they know best.

The Attackers

Those who intentionally try to intimidate everybody else by riding threateningly close, hogging the warm-up jumps, and tongue-lashing anybody who knocks down the warm-up jump before they’ve even had a chance to put it up.


Attacker: "HEY! You knocked down the jump! You can’t just ride off, get back here!"

Polo: *Is still landing from jump* ... -_- "Give me a chance, sheesh..."

(Bottom line: Don’t knock the warm-up jumps. Or have somebody close at hand to pick up the pole for you before it even hits the ground, otherwise you will be skinned alive.)

Surviving The Warm-up Arena

The I’m-More-Important-Than-You-So-I-Matter-And-You-Don’t-ers

Those who ignore others, and refuse to apologize if they did something wrong.

Example 1:

Polo: "You knocked down the jump, and the rest of us still need to warm up...Won’t you pick it up?"

I’m-More-Impor- (You know what? Let’s call them the ‘Imps’)

Imp: (To self) "Is that rider really talking to me...? Seriously? How uncool..." *Rides off with hand hiding face*

Example 2:

*Imp’s horse lashes out at Polo’s horse and catches Polo in the leg*

Polo: "Oh my doughnuts, I’m so sorry! Are you okay?!"

Imp: "..." *Rides off*

Polo: -_- (To self) "I’ve got to stop apologizing for things that aren’t my fault"

(Bottom line: I beat that rider in both classes despite a bruised leg. Justice was served, Little Miss Imp! MWAhahaha- *Coughs* ...)

The Nice’uns

The perfect ones. Those who don’t really exist, yet who we all consider ourselves to be.

Bottom line: If you think you can deal with all these terrifying creatures, then you have mastered the arcane art of surviving the warm-up arena.

Congratulations, and happy competing!

Note: If this insulted you in any way whatsoever, deal with it.

One of The Nice’uns, Polo the Weirdo.
Lil Booger  
i could not stop laughing!!! :D :D this is soo true!!! the hunter jumping shows are hectic and ther are alot of those 'snooty people' and their 'high class million dollar horses' i luv it when my "ghetto" horse beats them :) but then i feel bad for those that deserved better than the places they got :/ but the barrel racing world is no different! O.o ull get runover if ur not payin attention. literaly. its hard moving at all cause every one is going one direction and then u got the horses that wont let u come near them with a ten-foot pole. but i really enjoyed this. i shall remember this at my next event!!! :D
  Apr 14, 2011  •  5,293 views
Inactive Member  
*can't breathe due to laughing overload*
  Apr 20, 2011  •  5,406 views
Polomikins if you do not become The Worlds Most Greatest Rider Ever, you certainly must become a journalist (o^,^o) *Applauds*
  Apr 26, 2011  •  5,582 views
It's true and funny. I deal with it at all my shows. Jumping in the warm- up arena is the worst. It is disaster! Torturous! But you have to live through it. I could not have done such a nice job with this article. It is GOOD! I loved it! LOL!
  Apr 27, 2011  •  5,405 views
T E M P E S T  
LOL! I was bored so I decided to reread this article, just as funny the second time. Thanks for being a great Ponyboxer!
  Apr 28, 2011  •  5,414 views
Little Bitty Farm  
Absolutely Amazing!I loved it!
  57 days ago  •  5,424 views
i loved your definition of the warn up arena
  Jul 26, 2011  •  5,374 views
Loving the pictures xD xx
  Aug 20, 2011  •  5,400 views
T e a  
That's the best, Polo. Have to keep this in mind when I move to A shows. :)
  Oct 16, 2011  •  5,582 views
Your halhairious!!!![no spelled right, I know] LOL I have experianced all of these.thanks for the pointers!!!! PS you are so freaking funny!!!!!!!
  Jan 20, 2012  •  5,391 views
When I went to my first horse show, I remembered this article and was terrified. But the warm-up arena was great! It was during the flat class that the idiot riders cut in front of my pony and shoved it's rump in her face. And it was a kicker, too. -.- Perfect.
  Aug 27, 2012  •  5,379 views
I'd rather be in the show ring then the warm up ring. Id rather just do a quick walk trot canter and one jump each way rather than have a full out mini lesson slaloming through other riders just to try to get to the next jump. Not everyone abides by to rules of the ring I had some random trainer yell at me after their rider moved to the inside while I was going to the right (therefore was on the inside like I was suppose to be -.-'
  Nov 28, 2012  •  5,901 views
I love this
  Nov 29, 2012  •  5,666 views
Run Free  
I have not come across busy warm ups *phew* but I make sure I have at least one person to pick up the jumps (thankfully my good little one doesn't knock often) but I have been almost attacked for my pony refusing a jump *hides face* I think I am a nice'un ( when my pony helps me out )
  Nov 29, 2012  •  5,440 views
Beeswax Crusade  
So many comments on this article reminding me of warmup arena tales...

Busiest warm-up arena I was ever in, there were people on cell phones -_- One of 'em cut me off while I was cantering, just letting his horse walk around the crowded ring while he chatted away. That is a brand new and terrifying addition to the types of people in the warmup arena.

I also probably scared a small child to death. :D I was cantering in the general chaos, and suddenly there was a child on a pony in my way. My horse is a reiner, but I am not, so, to get him to do a reining stop I usually yell "Whoa" and then attempt a messy cue for a reining stop. Mostly I just yell "whoa". The little girl was like: "I'm sorry scary lady!" D:
  Nov 29, 2012  •  5,415 views
Starlight Farm  
What gets me is when the trainers actually do these things for the kids. I once had to circle to the same jump 3 or 4 times because even though I had already called it and was cantering to it, another trainer kept having her pony rider go over it again and again, almost running into me as I swerved to get out of the line (it was a vertical that could be jumped both directions). Of course, I then got in "trouble" with my trainer for taking too long to warm up over fences -_-
  Feb 11, 2013  •  5,635 views
We vaulters don't have this problem, as we are being lunged while doing crazy stunts, but we pretty much all have huge Belgians, Warmbloods and other draft breeds. I have almost gotten run over multiple times... -_- Then their is people trying to take MY warm up circle, and I say "um, I'm next" and that some Silver vaulter is just doing their routine and I am up next, or have to warm up a horse. Lots of fun.
  Mar 29, 2013  •  5,361 views
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