Friday, November 13, 2015

$900FB Pony Blog Hop: Top 5 Horse Show Essentials

Yay blog hops!!! Content has been more difficult to find lately so this is perfect haha. Plus there's another hop I've been meaning to do for a while (but have lacked appropriate photographs) that will dovetail perfectly with this. Later tho.

Because for now, we're just going to talk about Amanda's question about our top 5 horse show essentials.

I may or may not be cheating by answering with 'categories'... but whatever, sue me haha. And I'm skipping the super obvious (and most critical) choices of: horse and transportation. Those are essential, yes. But also, well, yea you don't need me to tell you that!

Perhaps observant readers have noticed that, regardless of show venue, our trailer setup pretty much always looks exactly the same.

left: at olde hope in august
right: close up from a random lesson
Generally speaking, Brita and I have worked hard to establish a 'routine' for traveling with the horses. Isabel has been going to weekly lessons since Spring 2014, and Wick joined last January. Right from the start, we kept an eye toward efficiency and reproduce-ability.

Meaning, the packing process takes minimal thought. We both know exactly where everything is (including each other's gear) and what comes with us. The process is slightly more involved for shows, but barely. Show additions are both our sets of gear (instead of just jump or just dressage gear, depending on the lesson), extra grooming supplies, show clothes, and alcohol.

The purpose of this approach is to reduce stress and anxiety. I mean, who HASN'T gotten panicky from that nagging feeling like something is missing or forgotten? So we figure that by making travel routine and mundane, we can eliminate one more source of show day nerves. Win win, right?

OF in august
1. Open Air (Al Fresco?) Tack Room
  • Multi hook hanging bridle rack - Neeeeds MOAR hooks!!!!
  • Collapsible saddle racks - We have two, could probably use more haha
  • Mounting block - Over turned buckets or trailer fenders work fine... but really, an actual mounting block is so much better, esp when your horse is acting a fool.
*Note: there are racks and hooks inside the trailer, but having all our tack outside (weather permitting) is so much more convenient. Especially given the apparent danger of stepping in and out of trailers (or is that just me?!?)...

fair hill in june
2. General Horse Care Items
  • Portable water tank - We currently have a 6 gallon tank but will be upgrading (or adding additional tanks).
  • Soooo many buckets - Water buckets x2, 5 gal. bucket, smaller utility bucket. Some for sponging horses, some to drink from.
  • More hay nets / hay bags than you think you need - Inside the trailer, outside the trailer, hay goes errrrrywhere!
  • Fully equipped grooming tote

tranquility in june
3. General Rider Care Items
  • Camp chair(s) - Brita just added two more to the collection, yesss!
  • Fooooood / beverages (of the adult and other varieties) - Sandwiches, snacks, treats, etc. Ain't nobody wanna get hangry! My personal favorite non-alcoholic show day drinks are cans of soda water (visible in cup holders above). Soooo refreshing! 

mdht fall starter #3 in november
4. Tidying Tools
  • Muck bucket / fork - Visible just behind trailer. Might also consider investing in that rolling cart thingy Amanda wrote about.
  • Garbage bag / bucket - You can see in the above pic that an empty feed bag has been repurposed as a trash bag lining a 5gal bucket. We are always producing surprising amounts of trash at shows - much better to keep it all in one place for easier disposal. 

mdht fall starter #2 in october
5. Other small niceties 
  • Extra strands of baling twine - This has come in handy more often than you might expect, and we've even had folks approach us asking if we had any to spare. Always nice to be able to say "Yes" to a request like that!
  • Hand tools like a knife, scissors, hole punches (ideally part of the grooming tote but not always) - Same story as the baling twine. You don't need it until you do, and then you're glad to have it.
  • Extra crops - Always. Always extra crops. I have THREE in my trailer. You'll never regret it!
  • Bungees - I have so so so many bungees. All different sizes. So useful!
  • Extra hands!! - Especially extra horse people hands - friends like Austen (above) are invaluable to have around at a horse show! 

Other notes:

My trailer doesn't have a dressing room (next one definitely WILL!) but the cap on my truck has proven invaluable for packing, despite its grandfatherly appearance. There's a whole bunch of stuff (various buckets, water tank, saddle racks, mounting block, broom, pitch fork) that lives back there semi-permanently.

And of course it's safe to toss just about whatever we want back there - super useful! This has more or less negated the need for a true 'tack trunk' tho I think I'll invest in one of those eventually anyway.

Oooh, and we also have all kinds of hanging organizers inside the trailer, tho those have not actually come into play much for our actual show day routine.

What do you think - are we missing anything? Any life-changing suggestions for improving our setup for next season?!?


  1. I can't weigh in on this because I'm not showing yet, but this is an awesome resource. Hopefully I will be able to utilize it soonish.

  2. I like your setup. We also have a mounting block, but we use it as a step in and out of the trailer more often than as a mounting block.

    Also, buy the cart. You will not regret it!

    1. omg that's genius about using the mounting block as steps..... genius!!! and now i'm kicking myself wondering if that would have prevented said broken limb lol.... oh well tho, good to know for the future!

    2. oh no!!! We should have thought of that!! :(

  3. Loving the emphasis on food. It's a very important part of the day!

    1. omg so important!!! i'm so bad about food too - i usually just hit up whatever food vendor is on the grounds. but Brita is AMAZING at always having food around (even at our lessons!) and it honestly makes a huge difference

    2. no one wants anyone to get hangry!

  4. I agree, buy the cart. I can even give you a 15% off code for it!

    1. haha thanks! quite honestly there are so many things higher on the priority list that the cart will simply have to wait a while... maybe one day tho!

  5. I wish people baled with twine out here! Everything's baled with wire, which is useful in its own way, but not like twine is.

    You absolutely cannot go wrong with a zillion camp chairs and more food than you really need! I always have so many snacks (mostly for the 2 hour drives to and from shows)!

    1. oh what a bummer about baling with wire - i didn't even realize that was a thing! and yea, so many chairs. nobody ever minds having extra places to sit!! and food... all the food!

  6. If you have a horse that doesn't line to drink while away, bring a "juice box" of apple juice. Then just pop the little hole in the top & squirt it into your bucket of water. Boom. Horse drinks water. I prefer no added sugar apple juice. Super easy, portable, and cheap!

    1. nice! i've used gatorade for that in the past too. luckily we haven't had many problems in that regard, but definitely a good trick to have tucked away!!

  7. So much stuff!!! Thank goodness for our routine! Also, I like the picture of your chair with not one can but two cans of club soda.

    1. lol i can never have enough bubbly water!! :D

  8. I love your list of things!! I'm going to bookmark this for future reference!! Perhaps one day I'll have a rig and we can meet at some halfway point for a ride!!

  9. I'm thinking I need the rolling cart thingy also...baling twine is always a necessity as well!

    1. baling twine fixes almost everything. and when that fails, there's always duct tape :)


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