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Show-Day Checklist

Use our list to build your own template that’ll keep you organized and prepared every time you haul your horse.

We're in the thick of summer show season, which means schedules get fuller and more hectic. And when life gets busier, it gets easier to forget necessities when you hit the road for a long-distance circuit or the local one-day show. This handy checklist will help ensure that you have what you need, where you need it, so you can focus on your horse and your riding rather than on that necessary item you left sitting at home on the counter.

Our advice: Use this list to inspire your own customized tally of what you need to pack for every road trip. Save two separate lists—one for longer shows and one for short weekend events. Make copies and use a fresh one for every trip, marking things off as you pack them. Then stick to the list, and you'll have everything you need.

Tip: When you get to a show and realize that you did miss something that wasn't on your list, set a reminder on your smart phone to add it to your template as soon as you get home. You'll never forget it again!

Paperwork

  • Original or photocopy of registration papers
  • Coggins certificate, if needed
  • Health certificate, if needed
  • Association membership and amateur/youth cards
  • Show bill
  • Rulebook
  • Paper and pens/pencils
  • Horse and personal insurance card
  • Map/directions to the show facility; phone number to call in case you get lost
  • Emergency equine roadside service phone number (try USRider Equestrian Motor Plan: [800] 844-1409, USRider.org)
  • Cash/checkbook/credit cards
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Binder Organization
Set up a binder for each of your horses, complete with a copy of the horse's registration, any health papers or certificates, and other necessary information about that horse.

Gear

  • Saddles
  • Saddle pads or blankets (schooling and show)
  • Cinch or girth
  • Bridles (schooling and show)
  • Bits
  • Tie down and/or martingale
  • Breast collar
  • Show halter/lead
  • Draw reins, if you use them
  • Extra pair of reins
  • Extra stirrup leathers
  • Spurs
  • Chain shank
  • Whip/crop
  • Protective legwear
  • Spare bridle screws and screwdriver
  • Leather hole punch
  • Tack trunk
  • Saddle covers

Horse Care Items

  • Feed
  • Feed bucket or tub
  • Supplements
  • Hay
  • Hay net
  • Water buckets (two per stall)
  • Bucket hooks and/or snaps
  • Stall fans
  • Extension cords
  • Duct tape and bungee cords
  • Tools
  • Molasses, cider vinegar, Jell-O, or Kool-Aid (to flavor water so your horse will drink)
  • Electrolyte paste or powder (if it's hot; consult your vet)
  • Manure fork and bucket or wheelbarrow
  • Broom
  • Bedding shavings or straw (if you're not required to buy on site)
  • Horse blanket and hood, if needed
  • Sheet or fly net/fly mask
  • Cooler, if needed
  • Shipping boots
  • Halter and lead rope (two of each)
  • Tail/leg wraps
  • Longe line
  • Treats

Be Prepared
Take at least one extra feeding's worth of hay and grain per horse. If you're delayed getting home for some reason, you'll still be able to keep the horses' feeding on schedule.

Tack Care

  • Old toothbrush for cleaning saddle stitching and tooling
  • Saddle oil
  • Sponges/cloths
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Silver polish
  • Small bucket
  • Bit wipes
  • Saddle soap/leather cleaner

Gone Fishing
Stock a tackle box with leather cleaner, small brushes, rags, Chicago screws, a screwdriver, and any other tack-care needs.

First Aid (for you and your horse)

  • Complete vet kit (consult with your vet for suggested items)
  • Equine first-aid book (such as Hands- On Horse Care, available at HorseBooksEtc.com)
  • Your vet's phone number/local vet's phone number
  • Iodine-based antiseptic solution (Betadine)
  • Triple antibiotic ointment
  • Nonstick gauze pads
  • Self-conforming gauze rolls
  • Stretch bandaging tape
  • Elastic adhesive tape
  • Scissors
  • Cotton/disposable diaper or sanitary pad (to use under wraps as an emergency bandage)
  • Chemical ice pack
  • Liniment
  • Sunscreen (for you and your horses)
  • Bute and Banamine (if needed and your show association permits)
  • Eye flush
  • Pain reliever (for you)
  • Human first-aid kit

Due Diligence
Always double-check your vet kit before every trip. This is one category you don't want to neglect to restock and then need an item in an emergency.

Grooming Supplies

  • Currycomb
  • Brushes
  • Towels
  • Sponges
  • Hoof pick
  • Sweat scraper
  • Bucket
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Spray-on coat conditioner
  • Mane/tail detangler
  • Fly spray/insect repellent
  • Hose, if needed, plus nozzle
  • Baby powder or corn starch (for brightening white markings)
  • Baby oil or commercial highlighter (to dress eyes and muzzle)
  • Hoof sealer or hoof black (if your association permits)
  • Electric and/or battery-operated clippers
  • Disposable razor (for last-minute whisker shaving)
  • Mane/tail comb
  • Hair brush
  • Rubber bands for banding
  • Yarn for braiding
  • Scissors
  • Tail wrap

Double Up
Buy two sets of grooming supplies; leave one set in the trailer and the other in your barn. Then your grooming checklist is fulfilled every time you drive away with the trailer.

Miscellaneous

  • Emergency cash
  • Jacks/spare tire/tools for vehicle and trailer
  • Jumper cables/spare fuses
  • Flashlight/batteries/emergency flares
  • Camera and/or video recorder
  • Folding chairs
  • Plastic bags
  • Extra clothes
  • Extra paper towels
  • Antibacterial wipes
  • Umbrella/sun shade
  • Trailer block
  • Insect repellent for you
  • Ice chest
  • Cold drinks/bottled water
  • Nutritious snacks: fruit, sandwiches, granola bars, energy bars, nuts
  • Paper cups
  • Reading material for downtime
  • Box for putting awards in (to protect them)
  • Cell phone

Pantry in a Box
Stock a bin with nonperishable foods and shelf-stable drinks, along with plates, napkins, and cups, and keep the bin in your trailer. Then you'll always have snacks, even if you get out of the drive without your cooler.

Rider Attire/Personal Grooming

  • Pants (jeans/show pants)
  • Chaps
  • Shirt (Western shirt/slinky)
  • Neck scarf
  • Tie, pin, or choker
  • Coat or vest
  • Boots (schooling and show)/socks
  • Boot pulls
  • Gloves
  • Belt and buckle
  • Sports bra
  • Hat/helmet
  • Baseball cap/sunglasses for sun protection
  • Hair nets (bring several that match your hair color)
  • Bobby pins
  • Safety pins
  • Grooming apron/coveralls
  • Schooling clothes
  • Hair comb/brush
  • Hairspray/gel
  • Mirror
  • Appropriate jewelry
  • Rain jacket
  • Rubber rain boots
  • Extra towels
  • Boot polish and rags
  • Hat brush
  • Stain remover
  • Sewing kit and scissors

Sample Sizes
When you buy makeup and skin products at the beauty counter, hold onto the samples and stow them in a cosmetics' bag in your trailer. If they give away small bags, repurpose those, too.

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