Stress-Free to the Horse Show: Tips and Tricks

Did you name a tournament with your horse? This is a great and exciting thing that you will want to prepare well for! So that the day is really fun and not stressful, we have collected a few tips here.

What Do I Have to Do With?

A checklist has proven its worth so that you don’t forget anything while packing on the day of the tournament or the evening before. You can then always check that you haven’t forgotten anything. On the checklist, you can write down what you will take with you for your horse and what you need for yourself.

The following things definitely belong on the horse list:

  • Holster
  • Rope
  • Equine passport
  • Saddle
  • Snaffle
  • Sweat blanket
  • Possibly flysheet
  • A saddlecloth to change
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Water rhymes
  • Hay net
  • Your tournament numbers

If you want to set up a paddock at the tournament location, as is customary with western riders or endurance riders, you still need ten-twelve paddock poles, wire, and a power supply with a battery (make sure to check beforehand whether the battery is still full). Your horse may then need a turnout rug.

You probably know best yourself what you need for yourself. If you put on your competition clothing right away, you don’t need to take it with you. But most of the tournament riders take their jacket with them and wear a normal jacket over their blouse or shirt. Jogging or rain pants have also proven their worth: You can wear them over white breeches so that they stay clean. If you only want to put on the competition clothing on-site, make sure to write it down on your list. I know a rider who actually showed up at a competition without riding breeches and instead wore his summery shorts. Fortunately, another participant had a look and was able to lend him a pair of pants and his old boots, which of course did not fit properly …

Do you need something to eat or drink too? Then write it down on your list, otherwise, your coffee mug might end up on the breakfast table in the hustle and bustle of the departure.
I would take my time to think about what I need and then create a list on the computer that I can print out again for each competition.


So that the departure to the tournament is not stressful, you can do a lot the day before. You can clean your horse thoroughly, possibly wash the tail and braid the mane. The saddlery is also cleaned and greased the day before so that it looks tidy. You can also prepare the hanger. Check that everything is OK: are the brakes free? With some trailers, the brakes seize after a long period of non-use. Are all lights working (turn signals and brake lights)? Is the tire pressure okay? Then fill your horse with a hay net and hang it in the trailer so that it is completely relaxed on the way. You have probably already practiced loading sufficiently beforehand.

On the day before your tournament exam, you can confirm your entry for most tournaments. This saves you stress on the day of the competition and clears up uncertainties about the exact start time, which can be postponed depending on the number of entries.

Now all you have to do is iron your blouse or shirt, hang out your white breeches and jacket and sleep well!

The Tournament Day

On the day of the tournament you need two things so that everything goes well: A good “tournament idiot”, also known as “TT” or, among the endurance riders, “baggage” and enough time. So get up in time, load in time, leave early enough, and arrive at the venue early, then nothing stands in the way of a successful start to the tournament! So always take into account that your horse may feel your excitement and will not get into the trailer immediately today, or that there will be a traffic jam on the way to the tournament location and the journey will take longer than planned. If you allow a buffer for these things, it will not be tight and stressful in the first place.

By the way, you no longer need riding tips on this day. Warm-up yourself and your horse as relaxed as possible. You don’t have to practice anymore today – what you can do will work anyway and it’s too late for anything new in training or any corrections. Save yourself and your horse the stress and just keep it warm and relaxed – ideally as always. So you can start relaxed and hopefully successfully.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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