Top Ten Foods to Eat at Shows

I recently did a survey of competitive riders, grooms, and horse husbands. Most of my subjects are affiliated with Dressage but there were also representatives from Eventing and Hunter /Jumper. They ranged from lower level competitors up to International competitors. And, of course I also surveyed the grooms and the horse husbands who are not competing but are important assistants at shows! I surveyed 25 people and asked them to tell me their favourite foods that they bring from home and foods that they buy at the shows catering or café. Here are the Top Ten in both categories.


Made at home

  1. Peanut butter and  jam or honey sandwich
  2. Crackers and cheese
  3. Fruit
  4. Dates
  5. Nuts
  6. Egg salad sandwich
  7. Tuna salad sandwich
  8. Turkey sandwich
  9. Ham and cheese sandwich
  10. Protein bars


My horse show cooler: fruit, peanut butter and honey sandwich, ham and cheese sandwich, water and in the Penguin thermos….chocolate milk!


Bought at show catering café

  1. French fries and gravy or poutine ( a French Canadian delicacy of French fries, gravy and melted curd cheese. Don’t scoff! If it is well made it is delicious but best after you have ridden!)
  2. Burgers
  3. Breakfast (sausage, bacon, eggs and home fries)
  4. Egg on a bun or sausage on a bun
  5. Wraps
  6. Pasta salads
  7. Stir fry (if available)
  8. Smoothies
  9. Fruit
  10. Potato crisps/ Cheezies/ Tortilla chips etc.


POUTINE !  French fries, gravy and curd cheese. This one is a very good poutine!


I also got a consensus about what to drink. Water was in first place and then sports drinks.( Apparently there is a thermos made by S’Well that will keep your drinks cool for 12 hours even in the heat ).  I also found I am not the only person who likes the re-hydrating capabilities of Chocolate Milk. One person I surveyed is a sport psychologist and recommends it to all of the young athletes she works with.

Another interesting idea came from a person who ran a hunter jumper competition barn for young riders .She would open a running tab at the café so that all the kids would be able to get something to eat and not be going hungry because they had forgotten their money at the stall or at home. Empty stomachs don’t do well in the competition ring in any discipline. I thought this was a terrific idea.

Finally I should add that the international level competitors were very clear that they would not be eating anything spicy or heavy (i.e. fries and gravy) before they rode but would tuck in after they had finished competing for the day. Not ONE person at any level of competition mentioned the word diet.

So there you have it! Do let me know if you have any favourites that did not make it onto the list.





2 responses to “Top Ten Foods to Eat at Shows”

  1. Centered in the Saddle Avatar

    I love to make a big thing of pasta or grain-based salad with beans and veggies. Quinoa or barley-based salads are excellent; they’re filling but not heavy, and have a lot of protein and fiber! I particularly like this Southwestern-style quinoa, black bean and mango salad:

    I’m also a proponent of bringing water-heavy fruits such as watermelon or grapes.


    1. anne leueen Avatar

      Sounds good and healthy as well. I love to have grapes or oranges.


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