How to Drag Your Significant Other to a Horse Show

Things your boyfriend/husband could do instead of accompanying you to a horse show: lay on couch in underpants, watch football, eat Cheetos, etc. Lila Gendal gives the hard sell.

Editor’s Note: We’re using boyfriend/husband as an example here (sorry about the wildly sexist intro, boys), but Lila’s tips can be applied to anyone, really, from significant others to family members and friends.

From Lila:

Unfortunately this post has to be written from a somewhat narrow perspective because I am who I am, and that’s an event rider who desperately tries to convince my boyfriend to come watch me compete. For a while he refused to accompany me to shows because I may have exhibited a less-than-perfect attitude, but since then I have learned some very important dos and don’ts:

No matter what, be positive and cheery!

This is easier said than done. When I am competing, I can become quiet, anxious or nervous and of course this only gets magnified when I don’t eat very much. I have a short window during the day to eat and that is usually right around dressage. I am the least concerned about this phase because I am more confident in my dressage–and of course, I am less likely to fall off and die in dressage–which might have something to do with me being calm! Anyways, if my times are very close together then I usually cannot eat a thing because I have serious knots in my stomach prior to jumping. With all these emotions, it can be challenging to remain calm and upbeat. However, the cheerier I can be, the more likely it is that the man will come back to an event.


Don’t treat him like your groom/slave.

I know better than to ask my boyfriend to hold my horse, cool down my horse, or put studs in during an event. I am the one competing, therefore I should take responsibility for myself and my horse. If he offers to help, of course, that’s just frosting on the cake. In other words, whether you have a significant other who knows horses or not, and in my case he does know horses, it’s best to not lean too much on them because that’s not entirely why they came. Some are more horse-savvy than others and some are more willing to help, but best to take things into your own hands.



I always want to make sure that anyone who comes and supports me at an event knows that they are appreciated. I always thank whoever comes and I usually offer to buy people breakfast or lunch–even though I am too anxious to eat, I know everyone else wants to. It’s important to make those who care about you feel important, like they didn’t just waste the better part of their day watching you sit by the trailer acting like a nervous wreck. We all have schedules and a lot of non-horsey people have things they would probably much rather be doing, so it’s important to be sincerely thankful when our boyfriends, husbands, siblings or parents come and support us.


About the Author

My name is Lila Gendal and I am 27 years old. I am from Vermont and have been riding horses since I was 6 years old. I have been eventing since I was 10. I have been riding and training with Denny Emerson for the last 7 years. My goal is to compete at the upper levels someday. I currently have a 2005 Holsteiner mare, “Valonia” (Contester X Parlona), who is currently going training level, and I am riding one of Denny Emerson’s horses, a 2005 Selle Luxemburg gelding, “Beaulieu’s Cool Skybreaker” (Beaulieu’s Coolman X Une Beaute by Heartbreaker) who will be moving up to training soon! When I am not on a horse or in the barn I am likely working in my office on what I like to call Equine Media… or social media for equestrians and equestrian websites.

V aug jump school!

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