If riding alone in an arena, OK.
If riding with others in an arena, perhaps not, if you can't hear if others need to talk to you or get your attention. (safety/courtesy issue)
If riding out alone, OK, as long as you remain aware of your surroundings. (safety issue)
Headphones are a degree closer than music played softly on a PA system while riding. One is easily tuned out, the other is hard to ignore.
The safety issue is one, but as we are generally safe in our arenas, I would be more concerned with the ongoing difficult to ignore auditory stimulus interfering with your ability to monitor and correct all your kinesthetics while maintaining effective communication with your horse.
In short, I find headphones distracting. The exception is when a trainer has given me an earpiece during a lesson. I find that helpful.
ETA- don't you want your horse to hear what you're hearing? They like music too!
"The Threat of Internet Ignorance: ... we are witnessing the rise of an age of equestrian disinformation, one where a trusting public can graze on nonsense packaged to look like fact."-LRG-AF
I ride by myself at home and I love listening to my Ipod when I ride. It really helps me get into a rhythm and I have it just loud enough that I can still hear outside noises, so if my husband is trying to get my attention I can still hear him.
The arena at my neighbour's that I use doesn't have a radio so I use my IPod there. I am by myself in there so don;t have to worry about others but it is low enough that I can hear someone in the barn calling me. I ride outdoors at home and use it there too and same thing, can still hear everything around me. Music helps me focus. Nothing like good ol' country music while trying to learn a dressage test.
I ride in headphones often... and I know others who do too. I really only ride with headphones if I'm the only one in the arena, sometimes I'll use them if there's one other rider... if there's more than one other rider, I don't use my headphones... I also have them fairly quiet, I just like the background noise... They're quiet enough that I can hear everything going on around me (somebody trying to get my attention, a horse coming up behind me, lose horse, etc, etc).
I almost always ride with my iPod. And usually fairly loud. Traffic isn't much of a problem. Two of the horses I ride regularly do not spook. One horse, though... absolutely will not use my headphones with him. I have a little speaker that hooks up to the iPod, so I use that with him. Sometimes it's nice to have the speaker rather than the headphones so my horse can hear the music, too.
I love it. If the arena is super busy though, I will forgo the headphones so that I can be more aware of those zooming around me. When I had a hot horse last year, the music helped me concentrate and stay calm, which in turn helped the horse.
Originally Posted by barka.lounger
u get big old crop and bust that nags ass the next time it even slow down.
I don't have any problems with other people doing it, but I can't do it myself. I don't know why, but I feel a little unco-ordinated when I have my MP3 player in. I think a lot of my balance comes from my hearing and maybe it affects that. I also feel like that when it is blowing a gale while I am riding as well.... I'm weird
I do however happily ride with the stereo on next to the arena or whatever, in fact I love riding with ambient music. I think it is both good for me and the horse. My older FEI horse gets "in the groove" with the music and will often change his tempo to match the beat. A very handy trait to have for MFS! It gets me into a rhythm as well, and it is really good for the young horses getting used to PA systems and the like.
If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy.
I like to listen to my IPod while cleaning stalls/tack/working around the barn. I always just use one of the earphones though so that I can hear what is going on around me. I haven't ridden with it, but that's only because I've only had the thing since christmas, so I'm sure I will eventually. As a teen I would listen to a walkman with both earphones until the day my friend's horse fell on her, I was around the corner of the barn and missed it, so since then I always leave one ear open.
At my old barn we had a radio/CD player at the arena that was hooked up to speakers so we could listen to music when we rode. It was nice and really helped with developing tempo.