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5 Types of People to Surround Yourself With at Horse Shows


The people you spend time with at shows play a significant role in the quality of your overall horse showing experience. The sport is built off trust between horse and equestrian, but there also needs to be trust between the riders and their support systems. The individuals in your circle have a direct impact on you, both in and out of the show pen.

It is crucial to choose those who inspire, encourage, and believe in you. Horse showing is composed of many highs and lows – a strong support system is a foundation of being able to thrive under pressure. If you need to find a new crowd, these are the five types of people to surround yourself with.

The positive

Positive people look for the good in each situation. They also encourage others not to dwell on the negative. This mentality can be extremely helpful in guiding an exhibitor through the ups and downs of horse showing. Having a friend who can lift your spirits after a severe loss or mistake can make all the difference in your show experience.

Positivity is contagious and needed for a rider to grow. You cannot reach your full potential if you look at an obstacle with a closed mind. A positive attitude leads an exhibitor to a more open-minded perspective.

Another important aspect of your attitude is how it communicates to the horse. Horse trainer, Pasley Puthoff comments, “The biggest reason for positivity on a horse to me is, the horse can feel your attitude. If you are nervous, if you’re scared, if you’re mad, or if you’re happy; that all translates to the horse whether you want it to or not. They can feel it.” Your energy translates directly to the horse, both negative and positive.

The determined

Determined individuals set goals and work hard until they achieve them. This type of motivation is mutually beneficial to the exhibitor and their support system. Dedicated exhibitors inspire those around them to work hard as well.

These types of people are also passionate about their work. Passion and determination go hand-in-hand. Puthoff adds, “Being passionate is contagious. When you’re constantly around people who love what they’re doing and are excited to go work every day, it pushes you to do the same.”

The critical takeaway from determined people is witnessing the power of motivation and passion. When these traits combine, a committed individual can blossom. This leads to success in and out of the show ring.

 The genuine

Authentic people can be challenging to find. When you do find genuine individuals, hold on to them tightly. This type of person treats others with respect, is trustworthy, and is not driven by ego. All of these qualities are what compose an authentic spirit. 

Genuine people have helpful intentions that are not driven by greed. They do not sugar-coat challenging conversations or leave during hard times. Authentic friends are what make horse showing fun and successful.

Allison Parker, owner and trainer at Allison Parker Performance Horses, reflects on her experience with genuine people, “ I am very blessed to have several amazing mentors in the horse industry. It’s wonderful to have someone to call that can help me get through an issue with a horse or guide me with financial decisions.”

 The funny

Laughter is always the best medicine. When times get tough, laughing can change the entire tone of a situation. Surrounding yourself with humorous people makes horse showing much more enjoyable. If you have a terrible ride, forget your pattern, etc, it is much easier to joke around than dwell on the errors.

Parker comments, “It is great to be around people who laugh, even at their own expense. Humor makes the day go faster.” Those who do not take life too seriously are worth their weight in gold. The horse show environment can be very stressful; that is why funny people are crucial to a support system. 

The grateful

Grateful people make the most of each opportunity and experience. They live in the present moment and are thankful for what they have. These individuals look at the glass half full rather than half empty. Surrounding yourself with those who actively express gratitude will make you feel similarly.

Horse showing can bring out the greed and jealousy in those who decide not to acknowledge gratitude. The equine industry is competitive and is filled with highs and lows. Being grateful for every experience can transform an excellent equestrian into a great horseman.

Overall, grateful individuals believe in their friends and encourage them to succeed. Puthoff concludes, “Having the right people around you is crucial. You have to have people that believe in you, that you look up to, that push you to be better.”


About the Author: Cat Guenther is a devout equestrian and a freshman at Michigan State University. She has been riding horses for almost ten years and has loved every minute of it. Cat started and runs her successful show clothing business, Behind the Bit Show Clothing. She loves to show the all-around classes with her beloved horse, Zippos Kat Man Do, aka Teddy. Her favorite classes are horsemanship, showmanship, and trail. She is currently on a Pre-Veterinary track and also hopes to study business.

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