How To Look Good In The Show Ring

how to look good in the show ring

How you look not only impresses the judges, it can actually also make you perform better! So, follow these helpful tips and you'll be all set for a sparkling performance in the show ring!

Riding Hat

  • Check the condition of your riding hat.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean your hat.
  • Check the chin strap and fastener will actually fasten the hat securely to your head.

Show Jacket

  • Try on your show jacket and check that it still fits properly.  A good fitting show jacket should be comfortable and will make an impression on the judges.
  • Check all buttons match and replace as needed.
  • Pack and use a microfiber dusting cloth on your jacket between classes to remove show ring dust. It can also be used to dust off your helmet.
  • Spray Scotch Guard on your show coat to help keep it clean during the show.


Check your breeches to make sure:

  • they fit properly
  • the zip and the waist button or fastener actually closes
  • they’re not faded or discoloured
  • they’re in a reasonable condition.

If they don’t meet all the criteria above, replace them.  You’ll feel much better for it.

Washing Tips:

  • Turn your breech inside out before you wash them
  • Wash them in a non-biological detergent like Fairy
  • Add a stain remover to the wash, like Vanish, if you’re worried about stains not coming

Prior to a show, spray your breeches with Scotch Guard to help them stay clean and white. Do not spray your seat.

Show Shirts

Make certain your show shirt:

  • has all the buttons or zip
  • is not faded or discoloured
  • is in a reasonable condition in case you have to take your jacket off.

If your show shirt doesn’t meet these criteria, just like your breeches, replace it as you’ll feel better for it and you’ll ride better.

  • Pack enough show shirts for two per day. If you are riding in several classes a day, keep your look fresh by changing your show shirt.
  • In the hot summer months, make sure you pack a light, solid coloured show shirt in case jackets are waved.


  • Pack a minimum of two stocks. You may only need one but it’s always good idea to take at least one  spare in case you fancy a different one on the day.
  • Check that the Velcro on it still works if it has Velcro or that it still has all the buttons needed.
  • Ensure that it works with the show shirt you’re planning to wear.

 Stock Pin

  • It’s a nice touch to match your stock pin to the same colour as the stones in your horse’s browband.
  • Stock pins can be easily lost or forgotten, so pack an extra one for good measure.
  • Check the condition of your pin.  After every show, wash with mild soap and towel dry to keep the luster.

 Hairbun Holder

  • Wash by hand and air dry. Check clips.
  • Have a spare!
  • Unless you are very blonde the hairbun holder should match your jacket and show coat.
  • Always keep extra grips, hair spray, and hair woggles in your show bag for emergencies.

Overall Look

The overall look that you and your ride create is very important and will have a bearing on how the judge sees you.  So try a few of these tips to create a great look:

  • Beautiful earrings can match your stock pin and/or your horse’s brow band.
  • A little lip gloss before entering the ring not only polishes your look, but keeps your lips from getting dry during your ride.
  • Make sure that your gloves are in good condition.
  • Spur straps should match the colour of your boots and be clean.

What do you think of these tips?

Have you got any tips you'd like to share? Please post them in the comments below!


Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

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