Show Ring Superstitions

Everyone that has been to a horse show knows that there is at least a tiny bit of luck involved. Luck that it doesn’t down pour right in the middle of your round, that the 2 dogs chasing each other don’t cause a raucous as you approach a tricky combo, that your typically foot perfect horse doesn’t trip the moment the judge looks your way in the under saddle. Even things such as how the sunlight hits a certain jump pole, or the placement of a wheelbarrow outside the ring can be your downfall on just the right day. Show ring superstitions are very real for competitors.

Show Ring Superstitions
photo by Jerry Mohme

These things often feel so random yet consequential that we wonder if a higher cosmic force is pulling the strings and we attribute it to luck (or lack there of!). I sometimes get asked if I believe in luck, and what my show day rituals are. Presumably people do these rituals to incur good luck in their minds.

Honestly, I wouldn’t know because I don’t have any! I’m not a believer in luck, or any such force that my actions (such as wearing a lucky clothing item or performing specific rituals) could alter the outcome. That being said,  I do think that if you really and truly believe in luck that your mental frame of mind surrounding that believe CAN effect the outcome, much like a placebo effect. If you are calm, relaxed, and confident because you dotted your superstitious i’s and crossed your lucky t’s, then you probably will ride better, which you will in turn attribute to luck.

Then again, I could be totally wrong, and inciting the wrath of the cosmic luck gods by writing this article!! So what about you, are you superstitious when it comes to showing? Do you have to wear your lucky boot socks or do a specific show day ritual? What are your show ring superstitions?

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  1. I am not superstitious, exactly … but in thinking about this, I realize that if I have a really bad round in a particular show shirt, I never wear that show shirt again. I think it’s more because I don’t want to be reminded of a bad round than superstition, but it amounts to the same thing.

  2. IDK if it’s luck as much as it my desire for a comfortable routine, but I do have a few things I always like to do. It usually requires a bunch of caffeine and a breakfast burrito hah!

  3. I have this weird thing where I don’t like to ride in new or different tack/attire at shows. So if I have something new, I always make sure to test it out before the show. In the case of things like my show field boots, I actually start wearing them a few times the week leading up to the show. I’m so strange, LOL

    1. Haha I totally get the boots things- because they absolutely feel different. I can’t think of a time that I’ve ever worn new breeches, shirt, coat ahead of time though. Too funny!

  4. I don’t really have anything either! Usually I just go as fast as possible before something goes wrong. Sometimes I have the best rounds when I only have like 5 minutes to warm up lol

  5. I usually designate a belt that’s just for showing. Not sure if I think of it as lucky or not though? That said, I left in Florida last year, so my couple of times in the show ring this fall meant a different belt. And no one died, so I guess the “show belt” isn’t any luckier than my Mane Jane?
    I definitely believe in luck. Some days the stars align and some days they don’t. But I’m not sure I need to have a specific item to bring the luck… Maybe it’s more Karma I believe in?

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