Duct tape is an indispensable tool in our barns, but it’s even more vital on the road when you’re showing and you don’t have access to your full array of repair tools, especially if you’ll be stabling right at a show.
We carry the duct tape into the show stall before we even dump out the first bag of shavings, while we check for anything that could poke out and hurt the horse. Most of the time we can cover small projections with the duct tape and quickly have one less thing to fret about. Duct tape is especially nice because you can tear it with your hands, rather than needing a pair of scissors to boot.
Duct tape also makes other quick fixes, such as replacing ripped Velcro strips, patching blanket tears or any torn fabric, and securing standing wraps or tail wraps. We use duct tape to put up a mirror outside the stall and to secure the card with emergency info, since humidity will cause many other tapes to peel away.
When stocking your show kit, you should go the extra mile to seek out black duct tape instead of the standard gray. It’s the perfect quick fix if you have any problem with your boot zippers. You can tape yourself right into your boots and get to the ring. If a little bit of tape residue sticks to the leather when you take off the tape, it can be removed when you get home with Goo Gone.
If you have black tack and lose a keeper, well you’ll be fine for the weekend until you can get to the tack shop for a replacement.
If you don’t want to carry a bulky roll of black duct tape with you to shows, it can be purchased in a dainty coil a couple inches across that holds 12 feet of two-inch-wide tape. Black duct tape can be found at most hardware stores and many discount department stores.
But, be sure to get duct tape (originally designed for Army ammunition cases and later used in the housing industry), not electrician’s tape or plain plastic tape, which won’t be sturdy enough.
When heading to an overnight show, we always carry a hammer, extra screw eyes and double-end snaps. And we stash a couple lengths of baling twine in the show box so we don’t have to fish them out of the trash when setting up the stall at a show. Many shows don’t allow anything to be nailed, stapled or screwed onto their stalls. You can tie a loop of baling twine onto the stall posts or bars, and you then quickly have places to hook stall guards, hang water and feed buckets on the inside of the stall, and to hang your tack hooks on the outside of the stall.
Other conveniences for show stalls: A hay bag can keep control of a lot of things besides broken bales and provides a clean surface for sitting. Hooking a rubber-covered chain across the stall opening (from those loops of baling twine mentioned above) lets you work in and out of the stall with an open door but without tying your horse and provides extra security at night.