When I was in middle school and high school, I was part of a competitive hunter/jumper show team that traveled to horse shows nearly every single weekend of the summer. I was lucky to have parents (especially my mom) who willingly and enthusiastically came to all of these shows to support me, and put in long hours before each show helping me to prepare my horse and all my gear.
There are so many little odd-and-end supplies that come in handy at a show (bobby pins, safety pins, rubber-bands, sunblock, tissues, the list goes on...) that a kid of 14 would never think to pack. But my super-organized and on-top-of-it mom always had multiple bins packed full of all the random supplies that you could possibly need.
Some of the other kids on my team didn't always have their parents along, so my mom usually ended up braiding lots of girls' hair, wiping off everyone's boots right before they went into the show ring, and handing out bottles of water to dehydrated and red-faced teammates all day long.
All of this went on in my peripheral vision...my main focus on those hot, stressful show days was of course my pony and the task of memorizing my jumping patterns. I had my full attention for that, because my mom was taking care of everything else.
Well, now I'm a grown-up, and the glory-days of having my Mom Groom by my side at every show are past. Now that I am doing all the packing and prepping by myself, I sure do appreciate the work that she put in before and at all those shows...for example, I have a show in two days and I still haven't gotten my show coat dry cleaned. (Ashamed face)
So, it's time for me to buck up and do what grown-up people do: Make lists. Lists of things to bring to the show (coggins, extra halter, buckets, etc.), and lists of things to do before the show (cleaning tack, bathing horse, braiding, etc.) Grooming/prepping a horse for a show is a whooooole 'nother subject altogether that deserves its own detailed post, so I will just share my packing list for today. This list is pretty specific for my horse and me, but it will hopefully give you a general idea of the kinds of things you should not be without when you head to a show.
Body brushes – hard, soft, finishing brush
Mane and tail brush
Baby powder or corn starch (for horses with white socks)
Touch up clippers
Fly spray (lots and lots!)
Nozzle for hose
Tack Cleaning Supplies
Water spray bottle
Large needle and thread
Hair ties, bobby pins, hair net, hair spray
Boots (show boots and paddock boots)
Rain gear/warm jacket
Shorts/pants/shirt/comfy shoes to change into
Saddle pad(s)- show pad and schooling pad
Halters (bring two)
Lead ropes (two)
Longe-line, longe-whip, side-reins
Puffy wraps (for keeping legs clean in stall/trailer)
Boot shine kit
First aid kit
Show paperwork – coggins, health cert. all association membership cards
Paper towels/wet wipes
Phone numbers – emergency contact, show office, trainer, farrier, Veterinarian, etc.
Hay and hay nets
Grain meals, supplements and feed bucket
...PHEW! I am exhausted just writing all that out! :P You do yourself a HUGE favor by keeping most of this stuff packed and ready in bins/totes well ahead of time. For example, all my braiding and grooming supplies are kept stocked and organized in their own bins, and they are never used except for at shows, so all I have to do is open the bins and check that everything is there before I leave. Same thing for all my misc. items like bobby pins and sunscreen–I have all those things in a big bin that I keep packed and stored away for shows.
Next up: How to groom and prep your horse for a show! Stay tuned for a post about that in the near future.