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Horse Show Ribbons: What do they mean?

Horse Show Ribbons: What do they mean?

Horse show ribbons play a significant role in equestrian competitions, serving as tangible symbols of achievement and recognition for both riders and their horses. These ribbons come in various colors, each representing a different level of accomplishment.

While the specific meanings can vary slightly depending on the region and discipline, the following is a general guide to the most commonly used colors:

  1. Blue Ribbon: The blue ribbon is typically awarded to the first-place winner. It signifies the highest level of performance in a particular class or event.

  2. Red Ribbon: A red ribbon usually indicates second place. While not the top spot, earning a red ribbon still reflects a commendable performance.

In Canada and parts of Europe, first and second are flipped and First place is awarded a red ribbon and second place is awarded a blue ribbon.

  1. Yellow (or Amber) Ribbon: The yellow ribbon is often associated with third place. It signifies a respectable performance but falls just short of the top two positions.

  2. White Ribbon: In some competitions, a white ribbon is used for fourth place. Like the other ribbons, it recognizes a commendable effort but falls outside the podium.

  3. Pink Ribbon: Pink ribbons denote fifth place.

  4. Green Ribbon: In certain regions or disciplines, a green ribbon may be used to represent fifth place. This, again, acknowledges a good performance but is outside the top contenders.
  5. Purple Ribbon: Purple ribbons are handed out for seventh place at horse show. Some show will 'pin' ribbons only through 6th, leaving out 7th and 8th.

  6. Brown Ribbon: In some shows, a brown ribbon might be used for eighth place. However, eighth place is not always recognized with a ribbon in all competitions.

Special Ribbons

Rainbow Ribbons

Rainbow ribbons are a favorite choice for lead line classes where small kids can participate in the horse show fun.

Tricolor Ribbons

What is a tricolor ribbon? In the United States: Tri-Color ribbons are larger ribbons that dispay three colors. Champion tricolor ribbons will have Blue, Red and Yellow. Reserve champion Tri-Color Ribbons will have Red, Yellow and White.

What is the difference between champion and reserve champion at a horse show?

Champion denotes the rider that accumulated the most point across the division. Reserve Champion is the rider that collected the second most points across the division classes. In rare cases, riders tie in points and you might have a coin flip for the ribbon. 


It's important to note that the specific color-coding and their meanings can vary between different horse shows, disciplines, and regions. Some competitions may use additional colors or have variations in the order of placement. Additionally, certain shows may have special ribbons for championships or overall high point awards.

Understanding the significance of horse show ribbons adds an extra layer of appreciation to the competitive equestrian experience, as riders strive to achieve and display their skills in various events and classes.