There is no doubt that the flashy, showy coat and dramatic color combinations of the gold coat and the flaxen mane and tail make the palomino coloration a popular addition to shows and parades. Since the horse does have a dramatic coat presentation they are eye catching in the ring and are also one of the most recognized coat colorations, even for people that are not really familiar with horses.
Palominos, since they are a color registry rather than a specific breed registry, can be shown in many different types of events. The most stereotypical type of show for a palomino is the western pleasure class where the beautiful and ornate tack as well as the fancy western dress of the riders can really contrast and highlight the rich golden color of the palomino. Palominos also make great stock horses and many are seen in reining, cutting and even rodeo events. There are a large number of the stock type palominos used in gymkhana and agility competitions, with the color showing up even in endurance and trail riding events and competitions.
The color is not exclusively shown in western type shows, however. Many horses compete in English pleasure, hunter seat, and dressage type classes. Since the palomino color can be registered in many different breed registries, it is not uncommon to even see palomino colorations at the Thoroughbred race track and the color is recognized by the Jockey Club. Racing Thoroughbreds that are palomino in color are not common but they do really create a stir in the crowd when they come out on the track.
For the gaited horses in shows the palomino is a wonderful color choice because it really does set the horse apart from the competition. The color of the palomino combined with the extended movement of the rack and slow gaits really draws the eye to the horse's movement. The horses are typically shown with both the mane and tail full and long, providing a great deal of contrast and brightness to the overall presentation of the horse.
Since most palominos have the natural metallic shine to their coat a good shining spray or finishing spray after a bath and conditioning treatment is usually all that is needed. Some handlers will choose to use a red based shampoo on a darker palomino color to really accentuate the color and get as possible to the breed standard of a "newly minted coin", while those with lighter colors may use a shampoo that will add a lightness to the mane and tail, thereby contributing to more of a contrast between the mane and tail and the body. Typically those showing horses will use a natural or clear hoof coat to add shine to the hooves, while still preserving the natural colors of the hoof.