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Horse Show Ribbon Colors: What Each Color Means

At the end of a horse show, it’s typical to see the best-performing horses (and their riders) awarded an array of colorful ribbons. For those new to these events, the colors can seem a little random, but each one has its own significance.

This guide will look what the various horse show ribbon colors mean.

Horse Show Ribbon Colors: What Each Color Means

Understanding Horse Show Ribbon Colors

Before we take a look at a full list of horse show ribbon colors, it’s important to mention one key thing: the meaning of each color varies from country to country. In other words, there’s no “universal standard” when it comes to horse show ribbon colors.

For example, if a horse finishes in first place at an event in the U.S., it’ll receive a blue ribbon. If it finishes first in the U.K., it’ll receive a red ribbon instead. In the Netherlands, first place horses get orange ribbons, while those in Sweden get two-tone blue and yellow ribbons, like the nation’s flag.

In short, every country has its own ideas about which horse show ribbon colors are more important than the others. Below, we’ll take a look at the horse show ribbon colors for the U.S., but it’s worth keeping in mind that the order may be different for other countries and regions.

Multicolored silk ribbons isolated on white

Ribbon Colors for 1st Place to 9th Place

First, we’ll look at the standard set of horse show ribbon colors for horses finishing between 1st and 9th in their respective events.


Blue is the horse ribbon color every rider is aiming for. It’s the 1st place ribbon, reserved only for the best of the best. Any horse wearing this ribbon has typically finished ahead of all of its rivals in an event like showjumping, vaulting, or dressage.


If a horse is seen sporting a red ribbon, that means it finished in 2nd place. This is still a highly-prized ribbon to receive, if not quite as good as the blue.


Yellow is the traditional horse show ribbon color for 3rd place finishes. It’s the equivalent of a bronze medal.


White ribbons are for horses that finish 4th, not quite able to break into the top three. However, for events with 10 or more horses, finishing 4th is still a solid achievement.

Lgbt flag symbol made of satin ribbons on a white background


The pink ribbon goes to horses in 5th place. The value of this ribbon (and the others below) really depends on how many horses were involved in the event. For example, if a horse finishes 5th out of just seven or eight, it’s not necessarily a fantastic achievement. But if a horse gets a pink ribbon at an event that has 20 or more competitors, it’s obviously more impressive.


Green is the standard color for 6th place finishers.


Purple is handed out for those in 7th place, but this ribbon (and those for 8th and 9th) only tend to be awarded at events with a large number of horses.


Brown ribbons are for 8th place.


Finally, 9th place at a big horse show should secure the rider and their horse a gray ribbon.

Multi-colored satin ribbons in a chaotic manner closeup

Additional Horse Show Ribbon Colors to Be Aware Of

As well as the horse show ribbon colors listed above, attendees may also spot certain other special ribbon colors handed out. Here are some examples, along with their meanings.

Blue, Red, and Gold

Ribbons that are multi-colored, with bits of blue, red, and gold, are usually handed out to championship winners. Many riders dream of winning a ribbon like this, but only a small number succeed.

Large Purple

As noted above, purple is typically the color for 7th place finishers. However, if you see a horse with a larger-than-average purple ribbon, it may be a sign that they’ve either won a championship or finished second in the rankings.

Light Blue

Light blue ribbons are often given out for participation, or for 10th place horses at big events.


Rainbow ribbons tend to be novelty ribbons, without any clear meaning. They might be handed out for participation, for example, at youth and children’s events, so everyone gets a ribbon.

Satin pink ribbon twisted on a table isolated on a white background

Make Your Own Custom Horse Ribbons with Custom Ribbons Now

Now you know what all the main horse show ribbon colors mean. But if you’re planning a horse show or similar event, you’ll also need to know how to make your own ribbons. That’s where Custom Ribbons Now comes in.

Custom Ribbons Now is a site where you can design your very own customized ribbons and have them made and delivered direct to your door. It’s the fastest, easiest, and most affordable option for custom horse show ribbons and any other kind of ribbon you need.

  • Easy Customization: Custom Ribbons Now makes it so simple to craft your own custom ribbons. Just pick from one of our many ribbon types to get started, choose your quantity and size, and customize however you like. You can even select any guaranteed delivery date you like.
  • Maximum Value: At Custom Ribbons Now, you’re guaranteed to get the very best prices on every order. We even offer big discounts when you buy in bulk, perfect for those planning big events, like horse shows.

Whether you’re gearing up for a big showjumping event or some other kind of horse show, Custom Ribbons Now is the No. 1 place to get the ribbons you need. Head over to the website now and start designing your dream ribbons.

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