Sharing a 10-by-10 space isn?t just for college freshmen. It's a way of life for those on the horse-show road, whether you show with a trainer who has several clients sharing tack stalls, or you show on your own and team up with a friend to share space and cut expenses.
Here are five tips to help make sharing life in a small space easier ? for weekend or a week.
1. Organization is key.
Your mother was right: If everything has a place and is put away in its place, you will be able to find it when you need it. There are several companies that offer saddle and bridle rack systems designed to organize your tack. Items hung neatly are easy to identify and find.
Saddle racks, bridle racks, hat can racks, saddle pad racks, blanket bars and shelving units all help create space in your tack stall. The systems are designed to break down easily for packing, yet have the durability and strength to hold large western show saddles or multiple saddle pads.
2. When sharing space, color-coordinating your garment and saddle bags will obviously help keep your things organized.
If your garment, chap, saddle and bridle bags, pad carrier and hat can all match, it's easy to keep them together. An added bonus: You look totally professional and very put together. Personalizing your bags with embroidery helps differentiate yours from others the same color and makes them less likely to be stolen.
3. Many exhibitors use four-prong hooks outside each horse's stall door to hang their sheet, slinky hood, halter and lead and even that horse's tail extension on show day. Since most training barns color-coordinate blankets and halters, hanging them at each horse's stall keeps the items together for easy access.
4. Patrick and Sara Heeley of Van Meter, Iowa, find stall bags very useful.
Patrick trains western pleasure and all-around horses, and Sara shows western pleasure and is venturing into the all-around events. Each horse, whether a customer of Pat?s or one of Sara?s, has his own bag that hangs on the stall door at the show. The bag holds the sheet, slinky hood and anything else specific for that horse.
Sara says it saves time at the end of the day searching through several color-matched sheets looking for each horse's size. On the tack stall door hangs a bag that holds all polo wraps and bell boots used when longeing horses.
5. ?Honestly, our favorite thing is a large two-piece toolbox on wheels that goes everywhere with us,? Sara says.?It contains all of our meds, supplies, scissors, tools, brushes, bands, numbers, safety pins, grooming products, hoof black, etc. It's about 5 feet high, and each drawer is labeled with what's in it. The top part lifts off, so it's very easy to transport.
?Several toolbox companies offer models that work well for grooming products at horse shows. You can find these boxes at your local home improvement or hardware store. Plastic drawer units, found in every discount store these days, are easily portable ways to keep your smaller items, like medications, small grooming supplies, extra safety pins, etc. together and clean. Clear drawers let you see what's in the drawer at a glance.?