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We Ask The Industry: What Are Some of Your Favorite Horse Show Prizes?

As show season kicks into high gear, show managers are facing the daunting task of trying to make everyone happy with their awards. What are some of your favorites?

Vests, hat cans, and horse clothes, oh my! Vests, hat cans, and horse clothes, oh my! This saying is usually associated with The Wizard of Oz and lions, tigers, and bears. However, in the horse industry, it can be used to perfectly describe the excitement of winning a great prize at a horse show.

From awards like cash to saddles and jackets to iPads, exhibitors told us about their favorite prizes. Many mentioned that they liked awards that were functional and could be used in their everyday lives. Let’s find out what they had to say.

Jenna Tolson – I’m forever a dreamer, and I still think world show trophies and neck ribbons are the coolest things ever because of what they represent. The “regular” horse show couldn’t replicate that, however. I think jackets used to be neat, but now we all have so many jackets, we can’t wear them all.  Gift certificates are a great way to provide a prize, but still allow individuals to put it towards something they want or could use.  I love getting gift certificates for ads. Clothes, pictures, boots….anything.


Bailey Anderson – As much as I love my World Show globes, NSBA cups, and Congress trophies, I love the things that I have won that I can use. Probably my favorite is my Harris work saddle from the Big A Circuit in Georgia. Not only was it a huge goal of mine to win, I ride in it every single day. I also love the Weatherbeeta blankets from AQHA (currently being put to good use), show saddle pads, Harris headstalls, etc. And you just can’t beat MONEY!


Joetta Bell – My favorite award was the Mary Carol Heckaman buckle in the Amateur Pleasure at the Texas Classic. I won it on Harley D Zip, and I cherished that award because I always admired Mary Carol. I think special awards in memory of great fellow horsemen and horsewomen are unique ways to remember and honor them.



Katie Grossnickle – The best prize I received would be a scooter. It was won at the Gulf Coast several years ago, and it goes to every show with me. I think jackets are always a good circuit award.


Julie Hoefling
– I tend to like prizes that can be functional, but also can be displayed. One of my favorite awards is a beautiful silver trophy that is also a wine chiller. This was the circuit award at the Celebration Circuit in Las Vegas, and it also came with a bottle of wine, which was a nice bonus. Also, the Silver Dollar Circuit awarded these beautiful platters that were engraved. I love that they are dual-purpose. You can display these items or use them in your daily life.


Jamie Radebaugh – I love the prize patrol at Sun Circuit. Just Peachy donated a saddle pad that I got to go and pick out last year, which was great because I could match my colors. Money is always nice too. The best is when you get money taken off of your entry fees at the end of the show for something that you’ve won. Any prize is appreciated. It’s just nice when you’re able to use it.


Lauren Stanley – The sport of horses is unlike many others. It is a labor of love that usually has high input with minimal returns. We do it for the love of the horse, not for prizes generally. But when there are great prizes present, it makes it so exciting. I love when shows offer a saddle or cash. If I have the opportunity to pay for part of my trip, I appreciate that. Polo wraps and bell boots are something I’ve won in the past and wish we saw more of. They used to give out warm winter horse blankets at the world show, and this year, when the temps dropped, we missed having those.

Joe Whitt – I won a Blue Ribbon saddle for the all-around at the MQHA Corporate Challenge several years back, which was a great prize. I also loved the program and the national championship jackets at the Sun Circuit I won last year.



Katy Jo Zuidema
– A golf cart. I won it when I won the Masters Western Pleasure at the Congress. I still have it. I am very proud of it.



Johnna Letchworth Clark
– I can remember growing up and the Apple products started to come out. As a youth kid winning iPods and Apple Watches was a huge deal. Saddles are always great, but it takes a great sponsor to make those awards feasible. I also love to win things that you use for your horse daily. Sheets and coolers are great, but I have always thought polo wraps and things like Back-On-Track wraps would make great prizes. Sometimes, it’s also nice to win something as simple as a gift card to places like SmartPak. That way you can buy what you need or help pay for all those supplements.

Taylor Deppen – The best prize I’ve ever won was a Harris work saddle. I love my Harris saddles and use them every time I ride. But, I love winning useful items like sheets and sleezies. I wish more shows still did these. I have embroidered sheets I won years ago that I still use every year.


Shannon Walker – I feel like NSBA World does the best job giving out prizes. Everyone loves getting a trophy when they win, but they also give out sheets, hay bags, clothes bags, leg wraps…all of the kind of things you need. It’s an expensive hobby and getting payback and something you can use, helps us all keep going.


Ellexxah Maxwell
– The best prizes I ever received were a computer, a Golden West pad, and Rod Patrick boots. Ultimately, things you can use, not only for horses, but for everyday use. The fact is, horses are expensive, as we all know. So, getting prizes that you can utilize to feel like your money is being spent to get something back, apart from fun and points. As show management decides on circuits and all around, think about what you would like to receive. There are so many options.


Scott Reinartz – My best prize has been a Blue Ribbon saddle, for apparent reasons.  On a lower scale, I always like jackets, vests, hat cans, horse clothes. I like the useable items, so they don’t just sit around and collect dust. Make them earn their keep, LOL. I also always love artwork.



Lindsey LaPlante – I always like it when there are a couple of options to choose from as prizes. You choose between a physical item or some gift card or credit. I don’t remember what show it was, but we could use the award to reduce the show bill. Showing horses is expensive, and I always try to save money whenever possible, so winning a small credit towards the entry fee was nice.


What have been some of your favorite horse show prizes? Let us know in our social media comments.

Portions of this article originally posed March 2021.
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