Not everyone knows exactly how to behave at a horse show, especially if they’re just there to support a young equestrian competitor in the family. However, it’s crucial to learn essential horse show etiquette rules for spectators for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.
Make No Loud Noises or Sudden Moves
Horses are sensitive creatures, and loud noises and sudden movements can scare them. When attending a horse show, it’s essential to remain calm and quiet to prevent any accidents or discomfort for the horses and riders. Be mindful of your actions and keep your excitement contained to avoid startling the animals.
Grandstands and bleachers can make quite a bit of noise, which might also frighten the horses. It’s best to stay seated during a competition to minimize excessive noise and movement, ensuring a safe and pleasant environment for both horses and riders. If you must move around, do so between rounds.
Hold Your Applause
Riders appreciate your enthusiasm, but it’s important to remember that you should reserve applause for until after a round, not during it. Excessive noise during a round can distract the horse and rider, interrupt the judge’s concentration, and cause mistakes that potentially affect the competition results. Wait until the rider completes their round before showing your support.
Turn Off Your Phone
Silence your phone before entering the venue, as unexpected rings or notifications can distract or startle the horses. It’s also polite to keep your phone usage to a minimum, showing respect for the competitors and their hard work.
Keep Criticism to Yourself
Horseback riding is a demanding and challenging sport, and every rider puts in a considerable amount of effort, from physical training and practice to packing and preparation for shows. Seasonal shows, such as fall horse shows, require unique and demanding forms of preparation. Be respectful of their hard work and struggles by keeping any critical comments or opinions to yourself. Instead, offer encouragement and praise, regardless of the outcome.
Don’t Bother Judges or Trainers
If you’re in the habit of berating umpires at a ball game, you’ll need to exert substantial self-control at a horse show. Respect the concentration and focus of the professionals involved in equestrian events. Avoid approaching judges or trainers with questions or comments during the competition. Remember that they are there to perform a job and need space to concentrate.
Horses and riders are constantly moving around the venue, and it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings. For your safety and the safety of others, stay alert, stay out of the way, and stay calm and quiet when horses pass.
Essential horse show etiquette rules for spectators contribute to a safer and more enjoyable event for all participants—riders, horses, and fellow attendees alike. So, next time you’re at a horse show, remember these guidelines and ensure a pleasant experience for everyone involved.