Gearing up for The Hampton Classic?

Sharing tools and tricks to help you through a long show day.


Horse show pro, mom, NYC interior designer, Gillian Dubin with daughter Lila.

by Dana Krysynski-Christos

So, you are new to the horse show world, gearing up to qualify for the big shows like The Hampton Classic. Not being a helicopter mom, you’re not sure what you will need when your child’s trainer gives you a 7:00 a.m. arrival time at the show. Little do you know, 7:00 a.m. turns into 12 noon very quickly. You need to be prepared with the right tools and tricks to make through what could be an exceedingly long day. From lead line through pony division— we’ve got you covered.


The evening before the horse show your trainer will most likely have an idea of when your child will be showing. Remember, said pony kid will need to arrive early to have a bit of warm up time, entering the ring officially is far from the first thing that happens on a show day. Here are helpful hints to make it through your first show or even become better at what you are doing already.

Start with checking the show schedule for approximate times for your child’s classes. Lay the show clothes out the night before and prep your child’s show backpack if you have one. You will need your child’s jodhpurs, show shirt, show coat, garters, socks, hair bows, and belt set out neatly for the morning grind. Preparing the night before is a practical way to avoid a meltdown. Remember: There is no compromising on changing colors of the outfit or bows on show morning. Set a reasonable time for bed and have your child set your alarm so they understand it really is an early start. Of course, if they are feeling independent and think they can get up when their alarm goes off, that’s great. This mom prefers to get up extra early and have a little time for myself to anticipate and plan before the day gets hectic. Reminding your child to have fun is key. If you worry too much about the competition, it will set a sour tone. Show day is competitive, true, but it’s also about having fun!

Sag Harbor’s Gillian Dubin and daughters, Lila and Mia Dubin who both ride at First Blue LLC in Bridgehampton,
a family-friendly stable with an excellent pony camp for young riders as well as professional options for more advanced riders.


Check your child’s show bag! Make sure you have an extra brush and hair ties, sunscreen, spurs, small boot polish sponge, lip balm, show gloves, helmet, and crop. No bag would be complete without a pony treat from Snaks 5th Avenchew ( Long Island native and owner, Carrie, designs amazing pony treats and she is sure to be there with her glam (and tasty!) snacks for dogs and ponies.

Don’t forget Mom essentials: Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. Apply when you are dressing in the morning and keep re-applying throughout the day. I always take a small sewing kit, (you never know if a jodhpur strap will snap off) Advil, gum, starburst or other favorite candy and an insulated bottle with ice for water refills. Style for the day is dressy casual. I love an oxford or boyfriend shirt with jeggings and comfortable, but dressy shoes (think Birdies), paired with a beautiful belt make the outfit. Look around a show ring out East, it’s likely there will be many decked out with Hermes accessories. Find such luxe equestrian accessories for both rider and mom on Ellany (, Ruespari ( and Gucci (GUCCI® US Official Site | Redefining Luxury Fashion). The most important items for mom are sun hats and sunglasses. But if you do forget them, often there are small boutique shops and vendors at the show where you may find them. Last tip: Don’t forget your wallet, from a quick snack or a Gatorade to stay hydrated, you may need cash or just your digital wallet!

I always keep a few folding chairs with cup holders in my trunk just in case the day ends up being exceptionally long, it’s good to have extras for friends.


Keep an open mind, take plenty of photos. You might want to opt for a mini-private gallery of photos, it’s a helpful distraction before the competition heats up. Most show photographers will be open to shooting a reasonably priced “private” gallery with candid and beautiful shots of your child during their round. You will be surprised when the link is sent to you!

Smile, clap, and cheer—You made it through the day and it just may be that you are heading home with your tired but feeling accomplished young person holding their first blue ribbon!