Tailgating Dos and Don’ts from the Experts

Equestrian Tailgating Dos and Don’ts

creative equestrian tailgate dos and don’ts
Get creative with your tailgate and above all, remember to have fun!

Whether you’re planning your first tailgate, going as a guest, or hosting a crew of friends, being prepared and planning ahead definitely has its benefits! We’re here to help with some tips on tailgating dos and don’ts so that you can have the best tailgate ever at the Best Weekend All Year or anywhere you may be heading for your equestrian tailgate experience.


Plan Your Tailgate Ahead of Time

Will you be doing a themed tailgate or keeping it simple? Will guests be bringing any dishes to share or will this be all hosted? What about corporate tailgates? All of these are options and planning ahead goes a long way to ensuring you and your guests have a wonderful time. We recommend catching up on our last article, Equestrian Tailgating Tips and then get to planning!

A basic tailgate is the easiest way to go for newbies, large groups, or people traveling long distances to an event. For anyone new to tailgating, we recommend catching up on our last article, Equestrian Tailgating Tips so you have the basic information down. When you’re ready to plan your tailgate, whether you’re keeping it simple or going gourmet, or planning a themed tailgate, the key is to let your guests know the plan.


Themed Tailgates

Themed tailgates can be a ton of fun! If you choose to do a themed tailgate, you can really have a good time with everything from decorations to snacks and even themed cocktails. Some great theme ideas are equestrian styles such as foxhunting or old west themed. Foxhunting tailgates can include all sorts of fun stuff like leather flasks, hunt horns (just don’t blow them when a rider is approaching a jump, please!), old English hunt tack, and traditional British snacks such as tea and crumpets, finger sandwiches, and classic vodka & soda. We recommend this recipe from Tito’s Vodka for a smooth cocktail every time. Old west tailgates can feature salsa and dip, BBQ style snacks and if you’re getting fancy, bring a portable grill and grill up some authentic BBQ at your tailgate. Beers & bourbon are great with this style tailgate with Blade & Bow being our favorite.


Going as a Guest

fun equestrian tailgating with Blade & Bow bourbon

An old west themed tailgate complete with a saddle-bar and Blade & Bow bourbon cocktails can be a ton of fun!

If you are going as a guest, checking in with your host a few days to a few weeks prior to the event is always a good idea. Make sure you have tickets for grounds admission on the day of the tailgate, as not every host will provide tickets for all of their guests. If your host is providing you a ticket, be sure to make arrangements as to how to get them in case you are traveling to the event in separate vehicles. There’s nothing worse than having to leave your tailgate to bring tickets to guests after you’re started your setup – or have other guests that already arrived! 

Be considerate of your host, and their space. Offer to bring your own chair in case there isn’t enough seating. Bringing beverages (alcoholic or non) is almost always welcome, and you can bring snacks or hor d’oeuvres to share. If you have any specific dietary restrictions, bringing your own diet-friendly food or drink makes it easier on your hosts as unlike other sporting event tailgates, equestrian tailgates are usually an all-day-long occurrence and can be quite tiring!


Tailgating Dos and Don’ts

We know there’s a lot that goes into equestrian tailgating, so here’s a quick list of dos and don’ts to help simplify. So check the event rules and let those creative juices flow!

  • Do plan ahead – whether you’re hosting, or a guest, having tickets and a plan before you arrive is always a good idea
  • Don’t arrive late – especially if you’re hosting! Most equestrian tailgates will close the course for vehicle entry at a specific time, and if you arrive after that time you won’t be able to get your vehicle on course to set up your tailgate.
  • Do plan for the weather – weather changes all the time, so a pop-up tent out of the sun and rain can keep you comfortable as most equestrian events take place rain or shine.
  • Don’t go overboard with imbibing – we all love a good cocktail or beverage, but please, stay hydrated and safe. We want everyone to enjoy the event for the entire time and return home safely!
  • Do get creative (just stay within the guidelines of the event). Portable hammocks, cornhole, crazy decorations, and all sorts of other fun stuff can make your tailgate experience memorable. So check the event rules and let those creative juices flow.


We hope you have a great time at whatever equestrian tailgate you are planning and we hope the tailgating dos and don’ts help. Above all else, tailgating is about food, friends, and fun. So kick back and have fun, enjoy time with friends and of course the excitement of the event itself. Don’t forget to grab your tailgate tickets before they sell out!

Stay tuned for more information and tailgating tips in upcoming articles in the weeks ahead. Be sure to share your photos of great equestrian tailgates and share your equestrian tailgating tips on our social and tag us @KentuckyThreeDayEvent on Facebook and Instagram and use hashtags #LRK3DE and #tailgatetips so we can follow along and maybe you’ll even be featured in an upcoming article. Happy tailgating!


foxhunting themed equestrian tailgate

We loved this foxhunting tailgate from Eventing Nation circa 2018 all decked out complete with old show ribbons and an actual (stuffed) fox!