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Question regarding a Tradition

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  • Question regarding a Tradition


    by now I have "outed" myself more than once for "not being from around here". Back in Germany and Austria we have a whole plethora of traditions, unwritten laws and silent codes of conduct on how to behave in and around the horse world. Some of them make sense, some of them are... hrm.. amusing at best.

    I am always curious in figuring out which of those have made it across the ocean and are used here as well.

    Specifically, I am curious about one particular tradition.

    Following scenario:

    - Indoor/Outdoor/covered/etc. Riding Arena
    - 1+ Rider inside, riding, exercising their horse
    - 1 Rider about to join the arena

    In Germany/Austria:
    --> Before walking into the Arena, he calls out "Tor frei, bitte!" and waits until one of the riders (traditionally the most experienced rider answers, however practically the ones closest to the door answer) in the arena calls back "Tor frei!" Only then does he enter the Arena.

    "Tor frei, bitte" means "Is the door clear?" and "Tor frei" accordingly means "Door is clear".

    This is to prevent someone just strutting into the Arena and crashing into a horse cantering by.

    Is there an equivalent here in the United States?

  • #2
    Yes, but we Americans are ruder about it.

    If you want to enter, you yell "Door!" It's not a request, but a "Yo, heads up! I'm coming in."

    There's no "bitte" involved.
    Last edited by mvp; Jan. 31, 2013, 02:03 AM.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat


    • #3
      Yes we also just yell "door" at my barn.
      "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."


      • #4
        "Gate open!"


        • #5
          Like Natalie, I was taught the person entering needed to check first to see if they were going to open on someone and then yell 'gate' so the people riding aren't stunned by the commotion and know to change their plans if they are heading that way.


          • #6
            In arenas where the riders can be seen by the people entering: I've never been to one where anyone expects you to say a thing. Pick a good time to enter and enter.

            In arenas where the riders cannot be seen (solid doors to an indoor arena): Either yell "door!" and enter or yell "door!" and wait for the riders to yell back "okay door!" Depends on the place (and the persnickityness of the riders, I suppose!)


            • #7
              After reading the whole phrase expected in Germany, the fact that we just yell "Door" makes me laugh.

              I do like the assumption that most experienced/senior rider is the one to respond. If we had that, it would be easier. I never know who should answer.

              My friend's kids went to day horse camp & I was tickled that they all learned to yell door as they walked into the indoor


              • #8
                I also like the idea of the most experienced rider calling the response. Recently had 2 riders attempt to enter our arena from a door where you cannot see riders in the corners. They appropriately stopped and yelled 'Door!" The teenager at the far end of the arena immediately yelled back, "You're clear!" And she was well out of the way. I, however, was cantering through the corner and about 3 strides from the open door. Disaster was averted by my scream of "no you're not!"
                On the other hand, I can see lots of disagreement about who is the most experienced rider!
                Last edited by Snugglerug; Jan. 31, 2013, 08:39 AM. Reason: edited to correct the auto-correct.


                • #9
                  At my barn I always yell "Door!" while stopped at the entrance to the indoor if someone's in there. Funny, I don't see anyone else doing so. They might think I'm strange but I think it is common courtesy.
                  What's wrong with you?? Your cheese done slid off its cracker?!?!


                  • #10
                    I have always been at barns where calling "door" was standard for the indoor, where no one can see you.

                    Recently I moved to a new barn (exact same area where all the other barns I've been at are) where the standard is to wait for an "okay!" or "come in!" which I've never experienced before. Which is why I promptly got yelled at by the resident dressage queen for calling door, seeing/hearing no one about to go by, coming in, and "messing her up" across the ring.

                    Like mvp said, it's not a question or asking for permission, I'm just letting you know that I'm walking my ass into the ring!


                    • #11
                      I yell "door" before entering with my horse, but I also pause before actually entering, to make sure someone isn't cantering by it...

                      Now the ducks and chickens, on the other hand, do not yell "door" before entering the indoor and it makes for interesting moments.
                      Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


                      • #12
                        I was riding alone in the indoor one day when a small child (some relative of the BO) came into the arena to cut across it (the arena goes between two sides of stalls). Halfway across, she stopped, said, "Oops!", ran back to the gate, yelled "DOOR!" and then started across the arena again.
                        "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                        Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                        • #13
                          We called "heads up", paused, made eye contact with all in the ring, and then entered. The hen that kept chasing the cat through the ring was another story.
                          The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                          Winston Churchill


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                            I was riding alone in the indoor one day when a small child (some relative of the BO) came into the arena to cut across it (the arena goes between two sides of stalls). Halfway across, she stopped, said, "Oops!", ran back to the gate, yelled "DOOR!" and then started across the arena again.
                            That's awesome!


                            • #15
                              I like the tradition, it definitely saves some butts when the view is blind. Too bad I never told my visiting family member to yell "door." At least I was the only person impacted, as my horse had to leap away (dropping me) to avoid running her over (and probably killing her given the size differential!!).
                              Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                              • #16
                                Well all call out door in my barn, and wait for the reply OK, or wait a minute and go from there.


                                • #17
                                  yep, we holler "GATE!" and those of us who have bigger indoor voices will sometimes reiterate for those that squeak " gate! "

                                  but there's also an understanding that intermediate and higher riders are expected to navigate around less experienced riders, kids, parents leading ponies, and one of the dogs.

                                  we also call our jumps and lines. "heads up vertical ok maybe not!" as the leadline rider cuts across the ring.

                                  what made me laugh when i visited a very high level dressage barn once was the big long list of who had right of way in the arena: passage outranks half pass outranks shoulder in etc etc etc. it was more complicated than rules of the road.
                                  Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.


                                  • #18
                                    I've only boarded/ridden at one place that had a solid arena door. You were to yell "Door!" then wait for "Okay!" or "Clear!" That made sense to me.

                                    But I got myself in a wee bit o' trouble once at the OTHER end of the arena where there was a large door open to the outside. I had walked my horse through the arena, out the big open door, and out of sight of the horses in the arena to mount. I was going to hack out bareback and there was no mounting block so I just threw a leg over. Unfortunately, I didn't put enough "oomph" in my swing up so I had to monkey myself on and whilst doing so, Miss Mare started walking off....back in sight of horses in the indoor.

                                    "YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO YELL DOOR!" was what I heard from inside.


                                    I also boarded at a place where the rule was that whomever was in the arena first called the shots on whether or not you could enter, period. Had one boarder who liked to free longe her horse and God help you if she was there first because you had to wait...and wait...and wait....til she was done before you could enter and ride. That was always fun.
                                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                                    • #19
                                      At our place the person who wants to enter or pass through the indoor asks for permission to enter. Everyone knows that they have to ask if it is ok to come in and the person or people in the indoor say that they can either enter or ask them to wait for the moment. It is a firm rule you do not enter without permission as we don't want anyone getting hurt.


                                      • #20
                                        I am from temperate California – we do not have “indoor” arenas – only covered ones, or open ones, and honestly I have never ridden in one where you could not see clearly – so no need to yell door or gate or any of it. Interesting to hear the cultural differences though!
                                        APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman