Bananas and dirty boots: riders share some of their competition and hunting day superstitions

  • Some people say you make your own luck. Then there are the rest of us who have to salute to every single magpie seen throughout each day, thanks to our equestrian superstitions. Of course, when you have horses in your life and are superstitious, you can find yourself with some pretty odd habits to help ‘ensure’ good luck.

    Whether it’s putting your left boot on before the right one, wearing a ‘lucky’ scrunchy or living to a regimented and well-tested routine, here are just a few competition, hunting or race day equestrian superstitions, kindly shared with us by H&H readers…

    Equestrian superstitions

    “I have an annoying superstition, which has actually proved to be worth sticking with. If I clean my boots before a competition or outing, I do, without fail, fall off! I have to clean them immediately after I’ve taken them off or even while I’m still wearing them, as even a delay of an hour too invokes the curse! I ruptured my ACL/MCL and fractured my tibia because I cleaned my boots between sessions at a riding camp. It does mean more than once have had to compete in dirty boots rather than risk it!” — Elizabeth Willcox 

    “I am incredibly superstitious, especially when competing. A few years ago my horse Gonzo and I were due to compete at the Veteran Horse Society Scottish Championship and a couple of days before I came across some lucky white heather growing on the hill while riding him. I took this as a lucky sign and picked a piece, which I carried in my pocket in the show ring. Gonzo went on to become the first ever Scottish Veteran Horse of the Year! That was in 2014. This year, just before I was about to compete in my first ever BE80 to complete my Wobbleberry Challenge on my current horse Syd, I again came across some white heather on a different part of the same hill. Once again I dismounted and picked a piece to go in my pocket, and low and behold, I completed my Wobbleberry Challenge at the third attempt! I passed the piece of heather on to a fellow Wobbleberry and she too completed her challenge. Coincidence? I don’t think so!” — Marion Hutcheson

    “Don’t ask me why, but I have always done left before right for as long as I can remember — boots, socks, trouser legs, putting on coats, I’ll put the left arm in first, and I even pick out left hooves before right. I don’t know why I’ve persisted with such a superstition though, as I haven’t won a great deal!” — Sally Bryan

    “I don’t eat before I go hunting in case I fall off and the doctors need to operate!” — David Hartshorne

    Continued below…

    “I always shave my legs the night before a competition or a day’s hunting — just in case I end up having my jodphurs cut off in a fall!” — Sophie Jones

    “I have to eat a banana and a bacon sandwich every morning before hunting, with a black coffee to wash it down — I won’t go if I haven’t!” — James Smith

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