11 Keys to Mastering Horse-Show Makeup

Hone your horse-show makeup skills with these tips and video tutorials.

For The American Quarter Horse Journal

Emma Koprowski demonstrates an eye makeup look popular in horsemanship classes. (Credit: Emma Koprowski)

The sentiments women have for makeup seem to fall into one of three categories. 

  1. The contingent who would like to see Sephora, Ulta and the Mac counter added as the eighth, ninth and 10th Wonders of the World.
  2. The group who would rather not touch makeup with a 10-foot pole. (I’d say this opinion will save you a lot of money in the long run!)
  3. The rest of us who recognize makeup as a necessary evil.

For the women in Groups 1 and 3, allow me to introduce Emma Koprowski.

As a youth, Emma competed in 4-H at the county, state and national levels, picking up titles along the way with Zippo Prime Time. Now a sophomore at the University of Arizona, Emma juggles her competing on the U of A Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team, studying equine science, producing videography projects, interning with Adamcin’s Performance Horses, working part-time at Sephora and training her 3-year-old, NIcantescapefabulous.

And then there’s vlogging. It’s through video blogging that Emma combines her love for horse showing, makeup and teaching.

On her YouTube channel Horse Show Beauty, Emma dishes out how-to’s, step-by-step tutorials, product reviews and helpful tips. What makes Emma’s makeup videos unique, as its name suggests, is their application to horse showing.

Emma has three tips for equestriennes aspiring to up their makeup game.  

  1. Research: “As silly as it may sound, it is important to research horse-show makeup. I always study riders’ makeup when I go to top shows. There are certain do's and don'ts for different classes. An example of this would be for a pleasure look, you can go crazy colorful and bold, while a showmanship look should stay on the more earthy, ‘natural’ side of things since you will be up close with a judge. (I just recently uploaded a Pleasure vs. Horsemanship look with more information).”
  2. Practice: “The one thing I see most in the comments of my videos is, ‘I'm horrible at doing makeup. Thank you for the help!’ or something along those lines. Find a makeup video online that you like and sit in front of a mirror and mimic the hand motions and techniques the artist is using. Practice makes perfect – or so they say!
  3. Hold your ground: “Lastly, don't feel pressured to go out and splurge on a ton of high-end makeup products just for a horse show. Sure there are a million and one high-end products that will last all day and make you look flawless. However, there are just as many great products at the drugstore. I often prefer drugstore items over high-end products and use them in my videos quite often. Especially when starting out, go pick a few more inexpensive items up and play around with them. See if the whole makeup thing is really for you before investing in luxury products.”

In some of her most popular videos, Emma provides her take on AQHYA world champion Deanna Green’s most popular looks, which were the work of makeup artist Devin Territo. 


In this video, Emma demonstrates how to get your makeup perfect for showmanship classes at the All American Quarter Horse Congress. 

She also tackles makeup palettes for various outfit colors: navy, red and purple.


In the “Drugstore Purple Outfit Horse Show Makeup Tutorial,” she proves you don’t need to break the bank to craft a winning look.

Here she demonstrates how to transition your horse-show makeup when the show day shifts from English to western classes. 

This is an especially fun one: Emma shows you the differences between makeup for western pleasure classes and horsemanship.

That’s just scratching the surface of what the Horse Show Beauty YouTube channel has to offer. If you have a passion for makeup or the desire to learn a little bit more about it, be sure to subscribe to Emma’s YouTube channel and follow her on Instagram at @horseshowbeauty.