letters around the menage
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When you first start riding lessons you will have that, as in any sport, riding has its own language. 

Riding  School Etiquette - or How to Ride in Lessons

Left rein:
This means going round the menage with your left hand to the inside.

Right rein:
Going round the menage with your right hand to the inside.  This is the preferred direction for many horses and ponies!

Changing the rein:
When you are told to change the rein this means you are being asked to change the direction in which you are going.  The menage is marked out with letters around the outside which is very helpful for this as well as exercises.  The instructor will normally tell you which letter to start and end at (for example, you may be asked to change the rein from the letter F to the letter H.  See the Horse Facts page on Dressage Letters to find out more about where these letters came from.

This is the track around the outside of the menage.

Inside track:
You may be asked to pass another horse on the inside track - this is an imaginery path about 3 metres in from the outside track.

Centre line:
  This is the line across the middle of the menage from the letters A to C. 

Go large:
  When you have finished an exercise you will be told to 'go large'.  This means to ride round the track.

Pass left to left:
When you have to pass another horse always pass left shoulder to left shoulder.  This means that everyone knows where they should be, and avoid a head on collision!
School (Menage) Riding Terms

Ride:  This is the name that describes the group of riders and horses.  The ride will go forwards in single file.  For example, if you are told to keep up with the 'ride' this means to catch up with the other horses.

Letters around the menage:

If you have difficulty remembering the order of the letters, remember the phrase:  'All King Edward's Horses Can Manage Big Fences'.

Other Pages you might like:

School Exercises
Figures of Eight

It is important to learn the commands the instructor will give you, as in a group lesson it will mean that all riders understand what they are supposed to do, and won't crash! 

Don't worry, you will soon pick it up, and in your early lessons your instructor will not expect you to know everything.  The most commons terms you will come across are shown below.  Riding in a group lesson is great practice for you and your horse when you start showing and need to share the warm up ring with other riders!

You'll also find group lessons useful if you want to take your riding further and take part in shows. 
Open order: This means you can ride wherever you like in the menage - but you will be expected to be going in the same direction as all the other horses! 

Lead file: The rider at the front of the ride is said to be in 'lead file'.  As each member of the ride takes their turn, for example, to canter round the menage, the next in line will become 'lead file'.  Some horses prefer to follow, rather than lead, and may be harder work when they are in front.  (If you go out on a group hack one of the horses will be 'lead file'.  You should never overtake the lead horse!)
School Etiquette

When you ride in a group lesson, apart from concentrating on your horse, you should also be aware of all the other riders.  When riding as a ride try to keep a horse's distance between your horse and the one in front.  Don't get too close to the one in front - it may not like another horse right on its tail!  And if you fall behind and leave too big a gap you will reduce the amount of space available for other riders to complete their exercises.

When another rider is completing an exercise, for example, a circle, and you are approaching the point at which they will rejoin the track, it is polite to stop and wait for them.  This enables them to complete the exercise. 

If you are working in open order, and your horse is faster than the one in front, it is normally fine if you want to pass them by taking the inside track - the instructor will normally have told the ride if they can do this.  But listen out for those times when you are told NOT to pass - if other horses are jumping, for example, they may need all the available room, and won't expect another horse to be in the way.