Your country show game plan
What to wear, how to prepare, sights to spot, and more
What do you love about country shows?
There is something very special about getting outside into the fresh air, joining your fellow countryside lovers and celebrating everything British. Whether you have the equestrian bug or you just like having a mooch around the shopping stands to get some outfit or home inspiration, country shows always have such a wonderful atmosphere! We were thrilled to join the Joules team at Badminton this Spring. The cross-country day is always my personal favourite… Laura Collett and London 52 produced an outstanding performance!
What are the staples of a head-turning country show outfit?
Simplicity is key! At a country show I think you can get slightly tempted into going head to toe tweed and it being too overdone. You don’t want to turn heads for the wrong reasons… Depending on the time of year I tend to stick to a couple of key pieces per outfit and keep the rest of it relatively simple. I would go for a standout handbag and some show stopping boots, teamed with a classic white linen or striped shirt and some well-fitting jeans. Pair with a tailored blazer and some statement sunnies and you are ready to go…
There is something very special about getting outside into the fresh air, joining your fellow countryside lovers and celebrating everything British.
How do you plan for a day at a country show and what do you bring with you?
The joy of a country show is in the walking, not to mention the shopping. Be sure to remember some kind of packable waterproof or a small umbrella as you never really know what the weather will be like.
Layers are most certainly key. Whilst the day could start out cold, our wonderful country likes to surprise us, so it could be summer in the afternoon and winter in the morning. Comfortable walking shoes are always a good idea too, but if the worst comes to the worst, you can pick up extra clothing at one of the many stalls.
What kind of activities, fun and games might you watch or get involved in at a country show?
When we went to Badminton Horse Trials, there was so much to see and do. We started out with some shopping and then headed to the main arena to see the children’s Shetland pony race.
If shopping isn’t for you, then you can walk the course and experience the riders tackle every jump, not to mention the enjoyment of a walk around lovely grounds. It’s such a great atmosphere and day out for adults and children alike, with a little something for everyone.
The joy of a country show is in the walking, not to mention the shopping.
What is there for children to do at a country show?
Make sure you grab a programme to check out the events in the main arena when you first arrive. There are often brilliant fun displays going on that aren’t to be missed! Shetland pony racing, falconry, hound parades, truck and side-saddle displays to name but a few.
A good place to start is to find the tractors! There will always be large machinery on display and small people are always encouraged to clamber into the cabs to have a play. The Joules tent is also not to be missed! They always have a brilliant activity that’s fun for any age.
What are your top tips to get the best out of a country show?
Wear comfortable footwear and take weather appropriate clothing. Send a pin of your car so you can find it later. Get there as early as possible and take a breakfast picnic for the car park. Bacon sarnies and bucks fizz always go down a treat. Sounds bonkers but it’s so worth it!
Print off the running order before you set off from home, they’re like gold dust! There are big running boards across the site but it’s so much easier being able to refer to your own one to make sure you don’t miss your favourite competitors.
Get there as early as possible and take a breakfast picnic for the car park.
If someone has never been to a country show before, what should they expect?
Don’t assume it’s all about the horses! Although the horses are the main events expect fashion contests, go carts for the kids, food stall crawls and a variety of events and activities going on throughout the day. There is more than enough entertainment for the whole family even if you are not a horse person.
With a similar atmosphere to a festival, it was a welcome surprise to see the large variety of food stalls and restaurants available at the show. Thai food, Spanish buffets, French deli’s there is so much choice to eat your way around the world.
What are your top tips for country show style?
If you are a first timer it can feel as if attending is as much about the fashion as it is about the horses. This is true for some people but after attending my advice now would be not to worry too much about what you are wearing but more so concentrate on your outfit being comfortable.
There is no official dress code, with some people choosing to really dress up and others going for a laid-back comfy look. The main rule of thumb is to wear comfortable shoes. There will be so much to explore so you want make sure your feet are not aching by the end of the day.