Here are some productive tips to recover from a horse show and make jumping back into “real life” easier. Photo © Kelsey Keathly

Weekend Recovery: Six Tips to Help you Bounce Back After a Long Horse Show

After a weekend or longer at a horse show, it’s likely that all you’ll want to do is shower the arena dirt off your body, crawl into bed, and never leave. You may also want to do nothing on Monday but look at pictures from the show and reminisce about the weekend you just had. However, this is not productive. The show may end on Sunday, but work and/or school will still roll around on Monday. Here are some productive tips to recover from a horse show and make jumping back into “real life” easier, while redirecting your post-horse show feelings into useful habits.

1) Focus on your health during and after the show

Focusing on your health may seem simple, but during a long horse show day, it may sometimes be easy to forget some of the essentials of life – such as food and water. By making sure you take a second to eat a healthy meal and stay hydrated, you make the transition into everyday life post-horse show a little better. If Monday rolls around and you’re not only fighting against general post-horse show exhaustion but also dehydration, it will be challenging to be productive.

Eating well and staying hydrated after the show is important, too. While a Big Mac and large fries may be what you’re craving, eating a healthy meal and continuing to drink water will help your body to recover more efficiently.

2) Stay organized at the show

Having a well-organized tack stall not only makes life easier at the show but when packing to leave. If every item has its place, and stays in its place, loading the trailer to go home will be that much easier. As a bonus, if the trailer is well organized, moving everything into the barn and tack room will be a breeze. The less time you have to spend trying to find a place for your show gear, the more time you can spend catching up on sleep.

3) Plan the recovery before you even leave home

When we return home from horse shows, it can be challenging to get back in the swing of things at work or school. To combat this lack of motivation, it may be useful to leave yourself some notes, so you can pick up where you left off. Much like how television shows will start off a new episode with a “last time on…” recap, leaving yourself a list of tasks will allow you to get back in the groove – even if your mind is still in the show pen.

4) Get ahead of the game

It may be helpful to set aside time in the days after a horse show to clean, reorganize, and regroup. If you clean your tack, wash your fake tail, take inventory of grooming supplies, and replace any missing items when you return home from a show, you’ll be prepared to get on the road next time and have a lower chance of leaving something at home or having to rush to complete a task.

5) Set goals for next time

After a horse show weekend, it may help to look back at your classes to see what you can improve on for next time. Re-watch videos with a critical eye and check score sheets from classes that offer them. Let what you learn help you in forming goals for what you want to fix for the next show. If you had a placing you don’t entirely agree with, look up the rules for that class and compare it to your run. Continually learning and setting goals are two important keys to success. There is no better time to work on these than the days following a show when everything is still fresh in your mind.

6) Realize that your trainer needs a break, too

While they seem like superheroes most of the time, trainers are human, too. Just as we get exhausted after a horse show, they are likely even more drained. They probably pull longer hours than us at every show, and always need to be “on.” While we’re relaxing at the stalls between classes, our trainers are getting other clients ready. Be sure to show your trainer your appreciation for all they do. Ask them what you can do to help, even if it’s just checking on the horses the next day while they take a much needed day off.


While horse shows may take a lot out of us, they don’t need to deplete our productivity completely. By planning and staying organized, it can be easy to make the return to “real life” simple and pain-free. We can also take that post horse show excitement and turn it into motivation to make the next show a little easier. What do you do to recover from a horse show?

About the Author: GoHorseShow writer, Kelsey Keathly, is a graduate of Cazenovia College with a degree in equine business management. She spends her time running her graphic design business (Norfleet Marketing), writing, showing her gelding, Investers Norfleet, at APHA shows, and practicing her photography.