Horse Play

6 Stages of Horse Show “Feels”

The cycle is vicious…and it’s real.


The horse show… it can be exciting, nerve-wracking, exhilarating—and completely and utterly exhausting. Equestrians feel a range of different emotions leading up to and during horse shows. Here are the six stages of horse show “feels” that all of us can relate to.

1. Anticipation

The first feeling for an equestrian in the lead-up to a horse show is anticipation. It’s a great feeling and begins right from the moment you submit your entry form. You can’t help but wonder what the day will bring, how it will go, and how you and your horse will perform.

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2. Excitement

Next comes excitement! The day of the show has FINALLY arrived. All of your checklists and pre-planning have paid off (come on, admit it… we all obsessively pre-plan!). Your gear is packed, you are up waaay earlier than you need to be, and you and your beautifully prepped show pony are ready to hit the road!

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3. Nervousness

You arrive at the show, unload your horse, settle in and wait for your name to be called… and cue the nerves! It is a common feeling for all equestrians and something we have all had to deal with when it comes to shows.

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4. Stress

You’ve just about got those nerves under control when you hear your name being called! Cue replacement of nerves with stress—but don’t worry, you got this!

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5. Relief

You just survived your show! You are feeling on top of the world and all those nerves and stress have been replaced by relief! Give your horse a hug for doing such an awesome job.

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6. Exhaustion

The day has been long and filled with so many different emotions. You’ve packed everything back into the trailer, loaded up your horse, and are ready to head home. You can guarantee that by the time you get home, you will be well and truly ready for bed!

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About the Author

Alyssa Knee is an Australia-based amateur rider and author. Brunette in Breeches is her equestrian lifestyle blog where Alyssa shares her passion for everything equine and provides a look at the life of her Lordotic horse, Spike.