Horse Showing Etiquette

Valley Ridge Farm
Basic Horse Show Etiquette

Beginners and veterans alike should periodically review the established standards of horse show etiquette. All rules and procedures should be followed, as well. If in doubt, be sure to ask. Remember that all rules and etiquette standards are designed to help everyone have a safe and successful show. Unfortunately, the more crowded a venue, the less etiquette we may see; however, it is perhaps more critical than ever to exhibit proper etiquette on our own behalf during these times.

1. Put things away when you are finished. Horse shows can be hectic. No one likes to search for show sheen one minute before the class.

2. Clean up after yourself. Throw away your food and drinking cups when you are done. Put uneaten food away.

3. Hang clothes up on hangers after you change. If they are on the floor they will get stepped on. It is best to bring a zip up garment bag to keep your clothes dust free.

4. Keep all stalls (horse and tack) cleaned up.

5. Keep all aisles clean. Horses will be coming through, and we do not want them to become hurt or tangled up in clutter.

6. Be aware when your classes begin.

7. Be courteous and respectful of other people, their things, and their horses in the barn, ring, and surrounding area. This means no swearing, yelling, leaving garbage laying around, acting oblivious in the schooling ring, etc. Ask questions. Don’t use things that aren’t yours. Put things back where they belong. Thank everyone, all the time, including your horse – with a smile on your face. Horse shows are a learning experience for you and your horse, but they are also about IMAGE!

8. It is customary to respect and tip your grooms well just as you would the wait staff at a restaurant. They work very hard long hours in order for you to have a great show experience.

9. If you are not doing anything and would like to help – ask the groom if they need anything done. You can always sweep the aisle. Please be courteous and help others.

10. Always remember that you are representing Valley Ridge Farm. The same rules apply at a show that we have in our barn. Let’s have great time and have fun.

Points to Remember

1. Do not come to the ring with dirty saddle pad or dirty tack!

2. Thoroughly groom your horse. This IS a beauty contest! The coat, mane, and tail must shine. There should be no visible dust on your horse. Hooves must be polished before entering the ring. Wipe your horse’s nose, eyes, and mouth clean.

3. The same goes for you! Do not get your show clothes dirty. Make sure your boots are gleaming before you enter the ring. Tuck all your hair up into a hairnet under your helmet.

4. After showing your horse, prove to him that he is appreciated. Rinse all the sweat off, rub your horse down with liniment, and take him to have a grassy snack or a pile of hay.

5. Do not leave the barn area a mess. Make sure all your belongings and any garbage are put in the proper place. Close your stall door even when the horse is not in the stall.

6. IMPORTANT: There are no martingales in the flat classes.

7. Make sure your number is on.

8. Tuck dangling pieces of stirrup leather under saddle flap.

9. Do not leave the barn area with bedding in your horse’s tail or mane.

Basic Spectator Etiquette

1. Watch what you say. A bad mouth, criticism, and/or jeering will not make you any friends or enhance your ability to influence people.

2. Curb your enthusiasm. Hold your emotion until the end of the test or round. If unsure, follow the trainer’s lead.

3. Do not bother the judge under any circumstance.

4. Remain seated until the end of the round.

5. Conversations should be no louder than a whisper.

6. Silence your cellphone.

7. Do not offer assistance to a rider unless he or she requests help or are clearly in danger. Unauthorized assistance may result in disqualification in some disciplines.

8. Be supportive regardless of how your rider does.

9. Do not coach from afar. Allow the rider to show what was learned.