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Horse shows are incredibly exciting but you need to go prepared if you don’t want to make a fool out of yourself- as it would be with any other sport. Being organized and prepared for the show is the key to success and would definitely help calm the nerves of both you and your horse. Here are some tips you can use for the big day:

The Rulebook

Of course, it all begins with the rulebook. To have a thorough understanding of what you’re up for, you’ll need to have a look at this before your show. Usually the entry form or prize list would have these rules, but if not, you could always contact the show manager. These shows are mostly run by equestrian associations, so you can trust that association rules will be taken seriously.


If you really want to get an idea about how shows work and understand the showing styles and current trends, attending a show as a spectator is a brilliant idea. By observing the winning horses in the classes, you wish to compete in, you’ll also get an idea of what styles the judges prefer. You’ll definitely be able to pick up some valuable information by going and mingling.

ariat boots
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Plaiting, Banding or Braiding Requirements

Plaiting/braiding definitely ups your look and gives your horse a more refined edge. But it isn’t necessarily a must for smaller shows. While it is a general requirement for hunter classes in larger shows, you’ll want to check with the show manager for your obligations on this front. We recommend going with the look in either case, however! Simply because it makes you look like a force to be reckoned with.

Clipping Requirements

Your clipping style will usually depend on the type of breed and the requirements of the horse show classes you’re entering for as well. But generally clipping the muzzle and ears is standard routine. Length of the mane and the size of the bridle path gives way to different styles when it comes to different breeds. Work with your trainer on this front to find out which way works best for your horse.

The Checklist

You should make it standard practice to pack all your equipment and get prepared for the show according to a checklist. It’ll make sure that nothing gets left behind in the rush. While the extremely obvious things like those ariat boots or your saddle and bridlewon’t be forgotten as you get ready and pack up, don’t forget to list out all the other grooming supplies, an extra jacket, pins etc.

Early Arrival

Most of the time it’s the stress of attempting to get places on time that severely ups our anxiety and it’s no different when it comes to these shows. Arrive early- don’t stress yourself more than necessary. By arriving early, you also give you and your horse the opportunity to warm up and get ready to perform. Your horse will definitely be a little antsy in a new environment so this additional time will help.

With these tips, you’ll definitely feel more prepared when heading for that next show!

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