You probably spent the winter doing your flatwork on a wooly beast with your eye on the prize of rocking it this show season. That is unless, you and your horse traveled to somewhere warmer to get a few more miles in the ring. No matter which path you took if you're showing this summer you've got to get your check list together with all of the necessities to prepare you to preform. There's plenty of great lists out there that will remind you to bring your saddle, buckets, and carrots but I wanted to put together a list of items that you didn't realize you need but will be glad to have. Bonus, they're all very easy to pack.
1. Black duct or electrical tape - I hope this stuff is already in the trailer so you don't really have to put it on your check list but if it isn't, grab a roll. Duct tape and electrical tape are great for broken boot zippers, to secure xc horse boots, fix a ripped blanket, and hundreds of other uses. You'll be glad to have it when the need arises.
2. Sewing kit - Be prepared for wardrobe malfunctions. Buttons will leap off your coat or shirt, you'll catch your breeches on the in-gate and rip them, or the stitching on your bridle may start to unravel. Teach yourself how to thread a needle, tie a knot, and you're on your way to self preservation. If the sewing kit can't fix it, see Duct Tape.
3. Black sharpie type marker - Horse ate your show number? No problem, make another. Need to write the jump off course on your arm, this won't smudge. These will come in handy for filling in scratches on your boots, filling out show forms, writing your name on equipment, and leaving notes at the trailer or stall doors.
4. Garbage bags - Did you take a swim in the water jump? Wet clothes go in the bag for the trip home. Need to transport water back the the trailer? Line buckets with garbage bags, arrange buckets in wheel barrow, fill with water, tie closed and wheel it back with less splashing. Did the skies open up and start to pour before your round and you forgot your rain gear? Trash bag poncho it is. And just think of how grateful the show venue will be to see that your group cleaned up after yourselves when you left.
5. Waterproof medical tape - This is essential for preventing blisters and rubs from boots and clothing on sweaty skin. Bandaids lose their stick when wet but this stuff will go the distance. It's a great extra layer around your ring fingers to prevent blisters from reins. Pair it with gauze for a super tough adhesive bandage that is barn worthy. You can find it at drugstores like CVS and Walgreens.
6. Microfiber cloths - These take lint off of you and dust off your horse's coat. They're great for wiping off saddles and boots, and they soak up liquid very fast. You're going to need rags anyway so grab a few of these on your next trip to Target or Walmart.
8. Tide pen - Did you get boot polish on your breeches? Green snot on your show shirt? Dribble coffee on your pristine white saddle pad? I've used my Tide pen for each of the mentioned scenarios and had pretty great results. When I was showing as a kid there was a mom who would walk around with a blue gel laundry stick and a bottle of water trying to help kids scrub stains out of their clothes before heading into the ring. I wonder if her head would explode from the magic that is the Tide pen? Now that I know the cost of a nice pair of show breeches I'd like to thank that horse show mom for being ahead of the curve when it comes to keeping that stuff clean for next time.
9. Leather hole punch - Even those that take excellent care of their tack will have a piece fail on them. Sometimes that will happen at a horse show. That's why we bring a spare stirrup leather, halter, etc, right? Well sometimes that spare is too big or too small and needs to be adjusted. You could gouge out a hole with a pocket knife or pair of scissors and almost ruin your spare or just bring your hole punch and turn a crisis into a minor setback. It may be a unitasker, but it is the right tool for the job. Don't leave it at home.
10. Sunglasses - The sandy footing in outdoor show arenas can really do a number on your eyes. The reflection of the sun off of the ring surface will make you squint and squinting for hours on end can give you a pretty bad headache. Keep a pair of sunglasses near by to give your eyes a little protection in between rounds. I wouldn't recommend wearing them while showing if you're doing Dressage, Hunters, or Equitation, but if you're comfortable in them for Show Jumping or Cross Country, go for it.
11. Advil, Tylenol, or pain reliever of choice - Some days you just feel a little crummy. You forgot your sunglasses and now have a headache, you've been pushing too hard in your lessons at home and are a bit stiff and achy, or you had a great round until the tractor drove by and you parted ways with your horse. An aspirin or ibuprofen is always good to have on hand just in case. If you need more than an aspirin you probably should skip the show and go home. If you don't need it offer it up to your horse show mom or trainer because you're probably the one giving them the headache.
12. Complete change of show clothes and sweats & sneakers for the ride home - Yes, I mean undies, socks and everything else. Stuff happens at shows. The Tide Pen and Duct Tape might not get the job done in time so bring a backup show outfit or arrange with a barn mate to borrow or swap if the unthinkable happens. If your home or hotel is less than 30 minutes from the horse show I'll give you a pass on the sweats and sneakers. If you're going to be sitting in a car or truck for more than that you need to be in clean clothes. Thumbs up to Aztec Diamond for having you covered with their essential line of sweats and leggings.
Did I miss anything? Leave me a comment below.
Next week I'll tell you about the new Tredstep Summer Cool Gloves I just picked up. Until then, happy riding!