Don’t Lose that Lucky Penny! Competition Rituals


When Big Brown lost the Belmont Stakes, some folks speculated that it was because he was no longer receiving steroids. Another chimed in to say that no trainer changes anything — not even his underwear — if his horse is winning.

That got me thinking about some of the rituals and good luck charms that many of us use to help calm our nerves before a competition. I’ve compiled these from several bulletin boards and from my own experiences — so the “I” in these is not always me. Just as well, because I’d be just crippled by all these rituals if I had to do them all.

  • I have a favorite saddle that I ride in when I’m worried about certain jumps. It’s a Wintec with the equisuede seat and not the fanciest saddle that I own, but I’m pretty sure that it will keep me on over almost any jump.
  • Lots of people clean their tack and boots the night before a show, sometimes in a specific order.
  • I have lucky underwear and socks. And I always put my right tall boot on before my left.
  • I also have specific socks and underwear depending on the discipline of the show.
  • I have a lucky bracelet I like to wear.
  • I have a certain gold ring that I always wear for competitions, but I take off other jewelry.
  • I have a penny that got into one of my tall boots. I never take it out.
  • I have an Irish coin (with a horse on it) that I put into my jacket pocket.
  • I never put my gloves on until I’m on deck.
  • Aside from the lucky leopard print tall boot socks, I cannot wear anything new in a show or I’ll have a bad ride. If its something minor, like gloves or a hairnet, then I’ll crash a jump or have refusals. But if its something like new breeches, shirt, helmet, etc., I’ll fall, and the more major the item, the more major the fall.
  • My husband can’t watch. When he does, something bad always happens.
  • We have a friend we have gone to a lot of shows with that believes if she sees Magpie birds on the way to the show it means good luck and a good show.
  • I have a lucky pair of riding socks that I wear on Day One of a show – they have dancing Hawaiin ladies on them and they are like 10 years old now (the ladies are looking a bit stretched by now).
  • I make a song play list of “inspirational” music that I listen to on the way to a competition to get my confidence up.
  • I always use a dark blue hair elastic. I seem to ride better with that color than with any other.
  • I have leather spur straps and one side has leather that broke off. I always put that broken spur strap on my right foot, and the good strap on my left foot. If I dont do it that way, I have a bad ride.
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One thought on “Don’t Lose that Lucky Penny! Competition Rituals

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post, it made me smile! I can relate to you, especially the lucky socks! Cleaning your tack before a show is a must, it must be lucky!!

    Lisa x

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