Rider Insider: Equestrian Traditions


Traditions are a way for certain practices to live on from one generation to the next. Every culture has traditions and many families do, too. There are certainly traditions that live within equestrian cultures, and maybe your barn family has a few that persist year after year.

The idea of traditions is often affiliated with holidays. Some barns hold a costume party where riders come up with creative disguises for themselves and their horses (and if this describes your barn, maybe our annual online costume contest will interest you!) Other barns enjoy secret Santas or stall decorating around Christmas, or riding in the town’s annual Memorial Day parade.

Other traditions aren’t always affiliated with annual landmarks in the outside world. A barbecue to mark the last show of the season or a trip to a nearby horse-friendly beach every summer keep life at the barn interesting and fun.

Noble EquineDoes your barn or equestrian family have any traditions—holiday or otherwise? Click “Submit a Comment” below and tell us about them. Some responses may be selected to be published in a future issue of Horse Illustrated!

Throughout 2013, Noble Equine will be sponsoring the Rider Insider column in Horse Illustrated with a prize for the selected featured response. This month’s prize is a Pinnacle Jacket, available in antique bronze or black. If you’d like to be considered for a prize, make sure to include your contact info in the email field of the contact form (emails will not be publicly displayed.)

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  1. Tradition around my barn is pretty simple. I remember and celebrate days that mean something to us, for example birthdays of course. But also, the day I brought them home. I spend a few minutes reliving that special day. Sadly I also remember and celebrate my best friends that have passed over the rainbow bridge.

  2. Every year at the annual farm tour we do skits and stuff. One that is always done no matter what is a simple but funny cowboys and Indians skit. It’s always fun to participate in!

  3. I am always sure to celebrate my horse’s birthday, and especially our “anniversary” – the day I brought him home. He gets a stocking at Christmas, and we’re always dressing up for Halloween. One of my favorite traditions that doesn’t include my horse is when my two horsey-friends and I get together and have a “Triple Crown” party – each of us takes a turn hosting a party for one of the races.

  4. Equestrian tradition? I never give my horse breakfast before giving him a kiss on the nose. He greets me every morning with a nicker and pokes his nose through the fence waiting for a kiss!

  5. During the fall, I take at least one day out from schooling to take my horse(s) out on a long trail ride. The invigorating smell of freshly fallen leaves makes me want to praise God for the life I have with my horses!

  6. Every year my trainer gets ALL of her lesson kids out to the barn on one weekend and we all…..paint! Every year we paint the jumps, the standards, the barn, everything! It’s a great tradition, because you get to make friends, have fun, get dirty, and later in the evening we usually have a bon-fire with s’mores and all! I look forward to it every year!!!

  7. My barn every year for Halloween and Christmas has barn fun days! We set up our usually professional Dressage/Jumper ring with decorations and horsey challenges such obstacle courses including themed items. Everyone from 5 to 75 has a great time!!

  8. Our Pony Club chapter used to host a “Dirty Santa” every year for the Christmas holidays. All Pony Clubbers would bring a wrapped, unlabeled gift. Everyone would sit in a circle, pick a gift, then the next person in the circle had the option to steal the gift from the person to their right, or pick one of their own. It was fun, and occasionally a bit competitive!

  9. Our barn has a lot of traditions, but one of my favorites is our last-horse-show-of-the-year party. We all sit back, eat great food, and tell war stories and laugh about the past show season beside a bonfire. It’s a great way to look back on a great season!

  10. On Christmas Eve when I was younger, I always gave my horses a really good grooming when I went out to feed in the evening. And on Christmas morning, I’d go out to them and give them the treats/toys/presents from their stockings that I would fill for them. And that night they’d all get a big, warm mash for Christmas dinner. A lot of people thought it was silly but over the years of doing it, I realized how much it did for me too. It kept the spirit of Christmas alive for me and it continues to do so, to this day.

  11. On Halloween, we dress up our horses and have them coordinate with their humans! This year, I’m dressing up my horse as a unicorn. I’m going to be a princess! We’ve also had Paul Revere and his mount, an angel and a devil, or a cat and dog! Also, we’ve decided to host a chili contest in honor of fall!

  12. Horse Riders in my community, Hiawatha, KS and the surrounding towns in the county gather on the third Sunday of November every year to put on a Jingle Bell Ride. Approximately 40 riders parade down Oregon Street (our main street through downtown) with our horses decorated in holiday fashion. The riders split into groups to go to houses who have pledged to donate gifts to our Jingle Bell Ride Store. A farm that breeds and raises miniature horses in town also comes to give cart rides around the courthouse square while pictures are taken with Santa. After the ride other members of our community help run the store so that families in need can still provide gifts during the holiday season. Its a wonderful way for all of us horse people to give back with the wonderful gifts that have been given to us, our horses.

  13. I recently just got my very first horse, so I haven’t been ab;e to celebrate with her yet. But I am definatly looking forward to celebrating Christmas, her birthday, Haloween, every kind of special event with the horse of my dreams. She deserves to be celebrated every day to me!

  14. My horsey family has had a tradition of riding in our home town’s annual Hoisington Labor Day Parade. Our parents got us horses when we were young, even though they knew nothing about them. It has grown into a family tradition, my sister and I continue to have horses and share them with our children and someday will pass the love onto our grandchildren. We started riding in the parade when we were little children, there are pictures running around in my mom’s treasures of us on shetland ponies (Apache Poco was mine’s name) in the Labor Day Parade. Then as we progressed to large horses, there are plenty of them with us on our favorite mounts (Wildfire and Promise). Now there are pictures of us and our husbands and now our children. It is a nice tradition to be able to pass down. The love of horses is great and definitely has been a tie that binds this family together!

  15. I haven’t been able to do a lot with my horse as he was injured for a long time but now he is better and we are starting all new kinds of traditions! When it gets warm, our tradition is a long ride, a nice trail ride and a full out spa day! But my overall favorite tradition that I get to do every day is giving my horse a peppermint after we ride!

  16. I haven’t been able to do a lot with my horse as he was injured for a long time but now he is better and we are starting all new kinds of traditions! When it gets warm, our tradition is a long ride, a nice trail ride and a full out spa day! But my overall favorite tradition that I get to do every day is giving my horse a peppermint after we ride!

  17. One tradition my barn has is we preform as a drill team every September with just the kids. When we get back to the barn, we have a bonfire and we kids run around in the arena. It is so great to be with my barn family every September!

  18. I saw this and couldn’t help myself – – – Growing up in Santa Barbara, my Pony Club held an annual “Santa Lucia” performance, which consisted of each of us kids riding horses in the dark with fake candles to this ridiculous Swedish song… choreographed, obviously…! I sure hope that there is more history to the story of Santa Lucia, but my memories consist of the panic that preceded the performance, the anxiety of riding a horse in the dark whilst trying to keep it from kicking another in “thread the needle,” and being jealous of the girl that got to wear the flashlight crown on her head. It was a blast and one of my favorite memories – I honestly wish that it still happened to this day, complete with silent auction and refreshments to follow. Actually, we’re all about 20-35 years old now, and plan on having a reunion this year… less horses, more peppermint schnapps.

  19. One vary important horsey tradition that I have is during the holidays my horse owner friends and I have a holiday parade ,we dress our horses up in different decorations depending in the holiday and we ride our horses around in front of our family’s and other friends .the horses seem to really enjoy this and it is a lot of fun .Every year I start to get excited and I start planning our costume even my horse starts picking up on my excitement

  20. I haven’t been able to do a lot with my horse as he was injured for a long time but now he is better and we are starting all new kinds of traditions! When it gets warm, our tradition is a long ride, a nice trail ride and a full out spa day! But my overall favorite tradition that I get to do every day is giving my horse a peppermint after we ride!

  21. A tradition at my barn is reverse trick-or-treating on horseback! We all dress up and go through a neighborhood near the barn and hand out candy along with discounted lesson coupons. It’s a fun way to celebrate Halloween!

  22. ALWAYS brush and groom your horse before you ride, even if it’s just a 2 minute up the road and back kind of ride. It lets your horse know he’s loved, gives some time to do some last minute bonding, and you can learn a lot about how the horse is feeling in that time. It also lets any guest that’s there just to ride learn that it’s not just get on and go.

  23. I would always give my horse a good rub down after a ride along with a treat and a kiss on the nose. These are my “everyday” traditions!

  24. A fun tradition at my barn is on Halloween. All the boarders and some lesson students get themselves and their horse all dressed up in fun costumes. Then we go into the subdivision behind the barn to pass out candy to all the trick-or-treaters!


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