Best of JN: 10 Things Riders Think on Show Day

It happens to the best of us.

There is no better way to spend the weekend then at a show — at least that’s what we tell ourselves. Sometimes all that excitement turns into horse show nerves and next thing you know we’re spinning around on the emotional carousel. How many of these ten things do you ask yourself on show morning?

1) “Why is it so early?”

Seriously, we picked a sport that starts at the crack of dawn and doesn’t end until most decent restaurants have already packed up for the night. There is no worse feeling in the world than hearing the annoying clang of your alarm clock and coming to the sudden realization that it is so early that your hotel hasn’t even put out the complimentary breakfast yet.

2) “I put three new bags of shavings in here last night. How on earth is your stall this messy?”

I have this strange feeling that horses know how expensive this sport is and get a kick out of adding to our bills. Pony is naughty? More lessons or training rides. Pony is sound? Time for an emergency vet call. Ohhhh look at this nice fluffy stall full of new shavings… let me DESTROY IT.

3) “Oh crap, it’s time for the course walk and I haven’t even looked at my course.”

WHY DOES TIME GO BY SO FAST AT THE SHOW? So you take off running, all while ignoring glares from your grumpy coach and run down to the ring, ripping off your hoody as you go so you look semi decent.

4) “If I got cheese sauce on my breeches, do I really have to change?”

Horse show food is not healthy or easy to eat. Greasy pizza, cheesy nachos, all of it is one big disaster waiting to happen. Yet somebody thought it was a good idea to make our competition breeches light beige and white.

5) “When was the last time I washed my hands?”

…You think to yourself as you manhandle those greasy nachos with a hunger so wild it cannot be tamed.

6) “Annnnd I forgot my stick/hairnet/gloves/something else that seems minor but is actually major. Swell.”

And of course the stalls are always a minimum of a half mile hike from the arena so you pass your horse off onto someone else as you begin your second round of sprinting for the day.

7) “Inside line, to the red oxer, rollback to the sailboats, to the green jump….crap….there are two green jumps….which green jump is it?!”

Minor moment of panic, followed by a Hail Mary moment where you just pick one and go for it. As they say, “Jesus take the wheel.”

8) “OH MY GOD”

We jumped that sooooooo far back/sooooooo tight that it’s a wonder I am alive. Try to avoid looking at your coach because they are probably shaking their head or walking away in shame.


Yes, you just ate a few hours ago, but that comfort food never seems to fill you up and now you are starving again and paying $4 for a hot dog.

10) “I am too tired to even shower.”

You smell like a combination of horse manure, sweat, and Showsheen but you don’t care. That hotel bed is calling your name. You will just shower in the morning…. or douse yourself in body spray and start all over again tomorrow.

We do it because we love it, not because it’s easy. What other thoughts do you have on horse show morning?

Go Jumping!

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