The items that go on your list will depend on the type of showing you do, and the sort of classes you enter. For example, if you event, you'll need to remember to pack your gear for all three phases of the competition, while a halter exhibitor will concentrate on grooming supplies.
Below you'll find lists, arranged in categories--grooming supplies, first aid kit, equipment for the horse, equipment for the rider, etc.
Depending on where you live, you'll need to provide various bits of paper to the show management to be eligible to enter in the show. Check with show management before leaving home, to make sure you're prepared.
First Aid Kit
- Proof of Negative Coggins -- In the US, all show entries are required to show proof of negative coggins. In most cases it must be sent in with your entry, but take it along with you in case they need to see it again.
- Health papers and permits -- Check before you go to see what other health papers and permits are required and be prepared to present them to show management when asked.
- Registration papers -- If you're entering a breed show, you'll need to show your horse's registration papers to be eligible to enter.
- Membership papers -- Depending on what sort of show you're entering, you may need to provide proof of membership in an association in order to be able to enter a show sponsored by that organization.
While we all hope that our horse won't be injured at a show, it's prudent to keep a first aid kit on the trailer at all times, to deal with everything from a minor cut to an overheated horse. Check my Essential First Aid Kit
for a full list of items.
- Gauze pads
- Vetwrap, or other non-stick bandage
- Blunt-ended scissors
- Bute or other anti-inflammatory
Throughout the course of the show, where first impressions are very important, you'll be sprucing up your horse each time you enter the ring. Check my Grooming for Health article for a full list of grooming items. Pack the items in a tote or container that can be easily loaded in the trailer and taken with you.
- Brushes and combs
- Hoof pick
- Kitchen towel or rags to remove dust on the coat in between classes.
- Hoof polish -- use black on black hooves, and clear on white hooves, or multi-colored hooves.
- Cornstarch for making white socks sparkling white. Put this on before the hoof polish and remove any excess or you'll end up with white powder everywhere.
- Baby oil -- can be used around muzzle and, with care, around the eyes to add definition.
- Braiding kit -- For a one day show, most people will braid before leaving home, rather than try to braid under the stressful conditions of the show ground. However, there's always the chance that one or more braids will come undone and have to be repaired.
- Show Sheen or other coat conditioner.
- Template and brush for quarter marking -- If you like to present your horses with those elegent quarter marks on their hind quarters, don't forget to pack your template, if you use one.
- Baby wipes -- can be used to remove specks of dust, clean your own hands etc.
- Fly repellent spray
- Studs and stud removal kit if used.
There are several items that should be packed in the trailer every time you transport your horse.
- Spare halter and lead in case something breaks.
- Trailer ties
- Hay net and hay
- Feed for horse
- Treats and/or carrots -- HINT: Do not feed until after your classes, or you may end up with orange froth and slobber over your clean breeches.
- Buckets -- Take more than one as theses can be used for giving feed and water, bathing and cooling down.
- Travelling wraps or boots for the horse.
- Head bumper to protect horse's head when travelling.
- Show sheet and tail protector if you use them.
What you take in terms of tack will depend on what classes you're entering. If you're entering halter (or in-hand) classes, you'll need to take less than someone entering a horse trial or combined training event.
- Halter and lead rope (take a spare in case something breaks)
- Show halter and lead
- Bridle -- Make sure that the bit you take with you is legal for the classes you are entering
- Spare reins -- in case the worst happens
- Saddle, pad and girth. If you use different saddles for the dressage and jumping phases of an event, don't forget to pack both saddles and a girth and pad for each.
- Spare stirrup leathers
- Protective boots if needed
- Hole punch and awl for making repairs if necessary
- Cooler or anti-sweat sheet
What you take in terms of kit for yourself will depend on whether you're a rider, or a handler. Your list should include each individual item, instead of "riding clothes" to ensure that no little thing gets left behind. Check with show management for any required items. For example, on hot days, show management may consider coats to be optional, but only if you have a sleeved shirt, rather than a sleeveless one, underneath.
- Boots - don't take a brand new pair to a show. Wear them in first, or you could be in a great deal of pain at the end of the day.
- Pants or breeches. If you've got spares, take them. If you come off in the cross country, it's nice not to have to wear the breeches with the muddy patch on the back when you enter the arena for the stadium jumping!
- Shirt or slinky, depending on what type of classes you're entering. Slinkies or bodysuits are popular in western classes, under a decorative jacket.
- Stock or ratcatcher (choker) if required.
- Stock pin.
- Riding jacket
- Hat or approved helmet(s).
- If you're entering a combined training event, you'll also need to pack a top in your cross country colors and body protector.
- Hair accessories -- A hairnet or barette with hairnet attached is essential for keeping long hair looking neat and tidy in English classes. Children can wear braids. Western riders may wear their hair loose under their hat.
- Small sewing kit and spare buttons for making repairs if necessary.
- Safety pins for attaching numbers etc.
There are various items you can take along to make the day more comfortable.
- Folding chair(s) will make time in between classes more comfortable.
- Snacks for yourself -- Packing a picnic in a cooler will enable you to eat when time and your nerves permit.
- Aspirin -- in case your show nerves give you a headache.
- Toilet paper (don't ever get stuck without this!)
- Sunscreen and sun hat if necessary
- Spare cash -- for last minute entry fees or buying a cooling drink.
I hope this ideas will help you prepare your ultimate list of essential items to take with you to horse shows and events.