Tails From Provence answered my question about French horse show ribbons with the post Loot. She ended with, “Would any of my friends from other countries like to weigh in with their stories for comparison?” Talk about ribbons? Sure!
In the US, the ribbon colors are consistent: blue, red, yellow, white, pink, green, purple, brown, gray, baby blue. The average show awards through six places. Bigger shows &/or bigger classes go deeper into the colors.
After 10th, the colors are up to the organizer. Rolex gives ribbons to 20th. The ribbons for 11th through 20th are the same baby blue as 10th. One assumes the prize money checks are different. When Big Ben won the World Cup in Tampa, the ribbons went down to 20th, each one a distinct color. I remember seeing orange.
The standard horse show ribbon is a rosette with three 8″ streamers. Different levels of effort go into the ruffles at the top, the style of button, and amount of show personalization on streamer and button.
Eventing gives fancier ribbons as they only buy one set per division. Saddle seat is off the charts on both quality and size of ribbon for the simplest of classes. Championship ribbons are proportionally larger and longer.
(Ego compels me to add that I do have the blue version of this ribbon, see inset. It was unavailable at the time. [Confidence])
At shows where the riders are expected to ride in many classes (hunters), generally no prizes are given for winning a single class. The division champion might get a trinket. At shows where the classes entered are fewer, the trinkets are more prevalent (saddle seat, sidesaddle, Intercollegiate). The bigger the show, the bigger the trinket.
Year-end or series prizes run to coolers, halters, saddlepads, frames, and silverplate.
Jumpers are more likely to give money than hunters, dressage, eventing, and so on. Usually the last class of a division is a classic or stake of some sort. The amount is small but pleasant. Money increases as the fences get higher. OTOH, the shows that give big money also cost big. Does anyone really make a profit on horse show prize money?
My biggest checks have come two years in a row from National Academy. Woot!
Over to You
US readers: Does your experience differ? Aside from saddle seat, this is all from back in the day. Has it changed? How about other disciplines: Western, breed shows, Endurance?
International readers: What ya got?