10 Secrets To Winning Your Next Horse Show

Horse shows are a great way to spend time with your horse, show off all that hard work, and learn new things about riding, but it can also be stressful. 

There are so many different things to think about when preparing for a horse show that sometimes you forget what the most important part of the whole experience is: having fun!

10 Tips to Improve Your Scores at the Next Horse Show
Follow these tips to handle nervousness at horse shows and ensure that you perform your best
When competing in horse shows, be sure to follow proper etiquette to make a positive impression
Avoid common mistakes by learning from the experience of other horse show competitors
Proper training is essential for a successful horse show performance
Prioritize safety and learn proper techniques for riding to decrease the risk of accidents
Further reading can provide additional helpful tips and resources for a successful horse show experience
Don’t forget to properly prepare your horse, bring necessary items, and monitor their health during horse shows

1. Watch and Learn

The best way to learn is by watching others. Take a few minutes at each show and watch the riders you want to compete against. 

See what they do, how they ride and what their scores are. Then, when it’s your turn in the ring, try to mimic those same things that worked for them.

If a rider has a good score despite riding with an obvious lack of control or balance, for example, then don’t worry about trying something different–just copy them!

Another good idea is to pay attention when judges make decisions about who wins awards at horse shows. 

You can learn from these moments as well: if there’s something specific about your horse or riding style that makes him stand out from all of his competitors (or if there isn’t), then keep doing it!

Nervousness is a common experience for many competitors at horse shows. “To overcome your nerves, it’s important to be prepared and have a routine,” as mentioned in our guide on 15 Tips for Handling Nervousness at Horse Shows. Check out this guide to learn more about strategies that can help you handle nerves at your next horse show.

2. Take Notes

Taking notes is a great way to help you remember important information, and it can be especially helpful for future reference. When you’re at your next horse show, take notes on:

  • Your horse’s performance
  • The competitors’ horses and their riders
  • The judges’ comments (and any other feedback they give)
  • The weather conditions

You might not think that this is necessary at first glance, but there are countless things that go into winning an event–and even if one thing didn’t go your way during the competition itself, there are plenty more opportunities where it could help!

InformationWhy it’s important to take notes
Horse behaviorTrack any changes in your horse’s behavior to determine what works best for them
Training techniquesRecord effective training techniques to reproduce success in future events
Show resultsKeep track of your progress and areas to improve for future competitions
Judges’ commentsUnderstanding feedback from the judges can help you refine your riding skills
Equipment changesKeep track of any equipment changes you make to ensure consistent performance

Taking notes is a valuable tool when competing in horse shows. By tracking important information about your horse’s behavior, training techniques, and other details, you can optimize your performance and improve your chances of success in future competitions.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

Practicing is the most important thing you can do to be a successful rider. It’s not just about riding your horse around in circles, either; there are many different types of practice that will help improve your skills and performance at shows.

Here are some ideas:

Take turns being the leader (the person who has control over where they go) and follower (the person who follows wherever the leader goes). 

This will help both of you get used to following each other and communicating clearly about how fast or slow, straight or curved etc., each direction should be ridden in order for both riders’ comfort levels with speed/pace/turns etc., 

As well as teaching them how far apart from one another their horses naturally want to travel so that when other riders are present during competitions there won’t be any unexpected accidents due because either person wasn’t aware enough about what was going on around them while riding together outside of practice sessions beforehand! Plus it just looks cool 🙂

Did you know that following horse show etiquette can go a long way in making a positive impression? Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or new to the scene, it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of horse show etiquette. Our guide on The Do’s and Don’ts of Horse Show Etiquette can help you navigate the etiquette of horse shows and ensure that you make a good impression.

4. Be Prepared

You need to be prepared for anything. Have a plan and a backup plan, and be prepared for the unexpected. 

Bring all the things you think you will need, and then some more. Do a dry run before the show just to make sure that everything works as expected!

5. Get a Good Night’s Sleep the Night Before!

The night before a horse show is an important one. You want to get as much rest as possible, but it can be difficult if you’re anxious about the competition. The best thing you can do is try to relax and get some sleep!

Sleep is vital for both our bodies and minds–it helps us recover from injuries, strengthens our immune system and keeps us healthy overall (1). 

In addition, it’s been shown that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have problems with memory and concentration (2). 

Getting enough shut-eye allows us time away from external stresses so that we can focus on ourselves without distraction; this improves our ability to process information more easily when needed later on down the road (3).

Competing in a horse show requires preparation and execution. Avoiding common mistakes can be the difference between a good and bad experience. “Learning what mistakes other competitors have made and how to avoid them can be extremely beneficial,” as discussed in our guide on The Top Mistakes Horse Show Competitors Make and How to Avoid Them. Check out our guide to ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes and have a successful experience.

6. Stay Hydrated!

Drink water. Water is important for your body to function properly, and it can help you stay cool in the hot summer heat. It’s also free!

Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go, even if it’s just down the block to get mail from the mailbox or run an errand at the store. If all else fails, grab some bottled water from inside your car before heading into any event where there may be long lines (like when entering shows).

Drink lots of fluids before going to bed on show nights–a glass or two should do the trick! This will help prevent dehydration when waking up early in order to get ready for your big day ahead…and save money on overpriced beverages at events since hydration is always key!

7. Eat Healthy Meals During Your Horse Show

You’re at a horse show and you need to eat, but you don’t want to waste valuable time with your horse or in the ring. You have to make healthy choices quickly and easily.

Here are some tips for eating healthy meals during your next horse show:

  • Pack foods that are easy to carry around with you. Your options should be simple, portable and nutritious–think sandwiches, salads or trail mix (for those times when you can’t find any other food).
  • Keep an eye out for local vendors selling fresh produce like fruit cups or bananas; they may even have samples!

Healthy Meal Options for a Busy Horse Show Schedule

Meal OptionDescriptionNutritional Benefits
RXBARProtein bar made with whole food ingredientsProvides sustained energy with no added sugars
OatmealQuick and easy to prepare with hot waterHigh in fiber and complex carbohydrates to fuel your day
GoMacro BarsCertified organic vegan protein barsContains plant-based protein, antioxidants, and vitamins
Greek YogurtEasy to transport and a good source of proteinPacked with probiotics to support gut health
Fresh FruitConvenient and nutritious snackHigh in vitamins and antioxidants to boost energy and brain function

Whether you’re a competitor or a spectator, it can be challenging to find healthy meal options during a horse show. These meal options provide quick, easy, and nutritious choices to fuel your busy schedule without compromising your health.

8. Sunny Days at the Horse Show Aren’t Just For Riders!

Sunshine is good for horses. It’s true! Sunshine helps keep them happy and relaxed, which means they’re less likely to be stressed out by their surroundings or other horses in the show ring. 

It also helps them stay healthy by making it easier for their bodies to produce vitamin D, which plays an important role in keeping your horse strong and healthy.

Sunshine can also help keep you cool while you’re at the show: no matter how much sunscreen you apply, everyone knows that sitting out under the hot sun all day can make anyone miserable–and even make them sick! 

So if there’s any chance of sunshine during your next event, take advantage of it by bringing along an umbrella or canopy so that at least part of your body stays shaded from direct sunlight throughout each day (you know…if there isn’t any rain).

Proper training is an essential component of a successful horse show performance. “Maximizing your horse’s potential through appropriate training can increase your chances of winning,” as noted in our guide on Maximizing Your Horse’s Potential: Training Tips for Competitors. Our guide provides helpful tips on how to train your horse for a competition and achieve your goals.

9. Keep your Horse Happy, Stress Free and Relaxed at Shows!

Stress is a major issue with horses. It can cause them to be nervous and spooky, which can lead to poor performance or even injury. 

If you want your horse to perform well in competition, then it’s important that he or she is relaxed and happy when showing. This includes keeping the following things in mind:

Keep them well groomed – Your horse should always look his best before going into the ring because people judge a book by its cover (or at least their first impression). 

A clean coat will make him feel more confident about himself as well as improve his chances of winning over judges’ hearts (and wallets). 

Make sure that you wash him thoroughly after every practice session so there are no leftover sweat stains on his coat when it comes time for show day!

Feed them properly – Don’t just feed any old thing because there are plenty of options available out there now where even picky eaters can find something delicious enough for themselves without causing any stomach problems later down road either…

Horse Show Tips: Keeping Your Horse Happy, Stress-Free, and Relaxed

1.Bring Equioxx or other medication recommended by your vet to keep your horse comfortable
2.Use Absorbine or other horse cleaning products to keep your horse looking and feeling their best
3.Bring your horse’s favorite Standlee hay and feed to maintain their diet and reduce stress
4.Use Ramard calming supplements to help reduce stress and anxiety in your horse
5.Allow your horse to graze and relax in a quiet environment to reduce stress
6.Provide regular exercise and grooming to keep your horse happy and relaxed
7.Monitor your horse’s behavior and stress levels throughout the show
8.Provide ample shade and water to keep your horse comfortable and hydrated
9.Make sure your horse has a comfortable stall with adequate bedding and ventilation

Note: The products listed are just examples and not an endorsement. Please consult with your veterinarian about the best products for your horse.

10. Give Yourself a Break!

There’s no shame in taking a break when you need one. It’s easy to get carried away with the competition, but make sure that you don’t overdo it. 

Remember that horses are sensitive animals who can sense your moods and feelings. If they sense tension or stress from their rider, they may not perform as well as they could have done otherwise.

When competing at horse shows, don’t stress out! While winning is important and everyone likes winning prizes, there are many ways to enjoy yourself without having to win every single class–you could just be happy with participating in something new or learning more about horses (or whatever else).

Riding safety should always be a top priority when competing in a horse show. Knowing proper riding techniques can help mitigate the risk of accidents and potential harm to riders and horses. “It’s essential to understand the importance of proper riding techniques for your own safety and that of your horse,” as discussed in our guide on The Importance of Proper Riding Techniques for Safety. Check out our guide to learn more about the importance of proper riding techniques and safety measures.


We hope these tips will help you win your next horse show! It’s important to remember that there are no shortcuts and winning takes hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun. 

If you follow our advice and make sure that your horse is happy and healthy then there’s nothing stopping you from being the best rider in the world!

Further Reading

If you’re looking for more information on how to have a successful horse show, check out these additional resources:

10 Tips for Successful Showing: This guide provides helpful tips on how to prepare for and perform well at your next horse show.

10 Tips for Your First Horse Show: If you’re new to horse shows, this guide can help you prepare for your first show and make the most of the experience.

15 Show Day Secrets from a Judge: Learn insider tips from a judge on how to make the most of your horse show experience.


What are some common mistakes to avoid at horse shows?

Some common mistakes to avoid at horse shows include not properly grooming your horse, not arriving at the show on time, and wearing inappropriate attire.

How can I make sure my horse is prepared for a horse show?

To prepare your horse for a horse show, ensure that they are properly conditioned for the event, practice the specific events they will be competing in, and make sure their equipment is well-maintained.

How can I handle nerves while competing in a horse show?

To handle nerves while competing in a horse show, it can be helpful to prepare and practice in advance, develop a routine, and stay focused on your goals.

What should I bring to a horse show?

Some essential items to bring to a horse show include your horse’s equipment, grooming supplies, water and feed, and any necessary paperwork.

How can I ensure that my horse remains healthy while competing in horse shows?

To ensure that your horse stays healthy while competing in horse shows, be sure to provide them with adequate rest and hydration, monitor their health closely, and seek professional veterinary care if necessary.