For the competitive equestrian, the horse show is your grand stage. All eyes on you. Show us what you got. Month upon month of tedious preparation, dodging setbacks and pouring your time, energy and money into the ultimate payoff. Feel the rush, channel the nerves and give it everything you’ve got…it’s showtime!


Of course, the horse show life can take its toll. All the blood, sweat and tears you shed to get here sometimes leads to more blood, sweat and tears. Eventually, this life in the fast lane catches up when the real world comes a-callin’. Horse show hangovers are real, fierce, and easy to diagnose…

Here are 10 signs you might be in the throes of a massive horse show hangover.


1. You can’t get out of bed in the morning.


When the harsh reality that you won’t be horse showing sets in, it is nearly impossible to drag yourself out of bed. Your body feels like it is made of cement and your limbs ache. All you want to do is curl up under your covers and go back to dreaming about pony glory. Eventually (or hopefully), your responsibilities nag you enough to stop snoozing your alarm and get on with your day.


2. You have shavings in your hair.

After finally heaving yourself out of the heavenly bliss that is your bed, you must get ready for the day. This is usually when you discover the shavings and hay stuck in your hairbrush. How does it even get there? Picking the show grounds from your hair is an all day exercise. Thankfully, you’re no longer embarrassed about having your horse’s entire stall stuck to you.


3. You can’t stop watching videos of the class you showed in yesterday.

Your weekend of bliss seems so far away that you must relive it in every way possible. As soon as the photos and videos are available you watch them on repeat until you find every possible thing you can improve upon the next time. Also, your horse is just so cute and you are having separation anxiety so it is impossible to stop staring at him.


4. All you want is horse show food but also never want to look at horse show food again.

The greasy goodness of a horse show breakfast sandwich is unmatched in real life. Maybe it’s the atmosphere or maybe it’s the magical horse show chefs, but cravings for horse show food set in almost immediately. At the same time, thinking about eating more fried food makes you feel a little queasy. It’s a gluttonous paradox.


5. Counting strides between cracks in the sidewalk seems normal.

All you can think about on your walk to work or school is your trainer yelling at you to “Get up the first line!” Consequently, you try and fit the same number of steps between cracks in the sidewalk, and getting to close turns into a “chip.” Some people might call this crazy, but it seems like a pretty typical habit to me.


6. You are inundated with work and obligations.

While you were off frolicking in happy horse show land, you neglected to do all the things you said you would do while you were away. This often results in extreme stress upon your return to real life. When all you want to do is catch up on sleep, you’re stuck writing papers or completing reports to meet quickly approaching deadlines. Laundry is piled up almost to the ceiling, but it’s okay—even when feeling completely overwhelmed, you know it was so worth it.


7. You wake up in a cold sweat from a nightmare that you forgot something.

Did I bring my hairnet? Where did I put my horse’s show cooler?! I LEFT THE SADDLE IN THE TACK ROOM! NOT THE SADDLE! Oh right. I’m not showing today. This is usually the first sign of the horse show hangover and also the first cruel reminder that all you have to worry about is all the work that is waiting for you. How boring.


8. Texting your friends about everything that happened at the show takes up your whole day.


What better way to keep great memories alive than to text about them? By messaging your friends all day long you don’t have to leave all the great things that happened behind. “Remember how funny it was when I almost fell off on Saturday?! Check out the video!!” Texting your friends could keep you laughing for hours and offers a nice alternative to doing all that work you’re supposed to be doing. This allows you to keep one foot in the real world and the other in the world of horse show bliss.


9. You need at least three cups of coffee to face reality.

Your eyes feel so heavy when you wake up that you consider calling in sick to work or school. It takes an incredibly unhealthy amount of caffeine to keep you going through your day. You might get a little twitchy and it will probably be impossible to sit still, but at least you will be semi-productive when the smallest task is like pulling teeth.


10. You can’t wait for the next show.


Even in a state of delirium and exhaustion, you’re so excited about the next time you get to go to a horse show. Whether it be in a few days or a few months, horse showing is always fun. Sometimes, things don’t go exactly as planned, and you’re exceedingly tired when it’s over, but spending time with your horse and doing what you love is always worthwhile.