We’ve all had it happen at least once – you get to a show and go to check in or tack up, and you cannot find that item you swear up and down that you put in the trailer last night! Don’t be caught unprepared on your next outing. Create a list and check items off as you (and only as) put them in the trailer. Make sure you have these necessities, or you might be left scrambling to borrow your barn buddy’s spare hairnet or running to find the tack booth for a pair of gloves!
Paperwork – Be sure to check what paperwork the show requires at least a week in advance of your show. Many farms require current Coggins, and health certs from a vet if you are shipping in from out of state. These can sometimes take several days to get, and require your vet coming to your farm – don’t leave this to the last minute! USEF-licensed competitions also require competitors to present documentation of Equine Influenza Virus and Equine Herpes Virus vaccination within six months prior to entering the stabling grounds. Please see GR845 in the General Rules of the USEF Rulebook for more information on this requirement.
Tack & Attire – Make a list of all your tack you need to take with you several days before your show – be sure you’ve got your saddle, bridle, saddle pad, and girth! If your horse warms up in boots or polos, be sure to pack those too. You can be extra prepared by having a spare set of reins and stirrup leathers with you in case they break.
Rider attire – there’s nothing worse than arriving to a show and realizing you forgot your gloves or spurs. Head off show brain by making a list and putting everything in your boot or garment bag several days ahead of time. You’ll need your helmet, show coat, show shirt, stock tie and pin, gloves, breeches, and boots, along with any other special items you use like hair nets, boot socks, or spurs. Don’t forget a pair of pants to wear over your breeches to keep them clean while getting ready.
First Aid Kit – Sometimes the best laid plans go awry, and someone nicks themselves on the trailer, or in a new stall. Make sure to carry a basic first aid kit for horses and humans with antibiotic ointment, bandages, and self-cooling ice packs. It’s also a good idea to have a thermometer, scissors, latex gloves, and a clean fly mask in case of an eye injury.
Water jug and hay net – Sometimes horses won’t drink water in a new place because it smells funny, so bringing a large jug of water from home for your horse for day shows will help keep him hydrated in the warmer months. A hay net will also make him less anxious in the trailer and between classes.
Snacks and water for yourself and your contingent – Many larger shows will have food vendors, but smaller ones might not. Bringing along a cooler with snacks and water will help stave off hunger attacks and keep you and your team hydrated! It can also add up quickly if you’re always running to the canteen for a snack, so save yourself a little cash by supplying your own.