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April 12, 2010

Gearing Up for Show Season: Pack the Trunk

Whether your tack trunk is vintage or plastic, it's an essential item to your showing experience. Photo by Kat Netzler.

Part 3 of 5

The kid is dressed, the beast has tack. What’s next? It’s time to pack the tack trunk. Whether your tack trunk is monogrammed and made from tri-colored-fiberglass to match the barn colors ($$$$) or is an extra large plastic container from Wal-Mart, ($) if you don’t have what you need in there when you get to the horse show, you’re busted.

We’re somewhere in the middle with a newly purchased Horseman’s Pride tack trunk, ($$) complete with white board and mirror. It is the requisite color for the girl—black (StoneHaven colors are black and white), it didn’t break the bank, which makes me happy, and it has wheels, which pleases the husband who has to carry and move it.

Let’s assume you’re going to a one-day show. What do you need to pack? Pull together all of the pieces and then decide how to fit everything into the trunk.

Since you’ve read the previous articles, you’ll already have most of the basics at hand: bridle and assorted bits, super-clean saddle pads and girth. Don’t forget polo wraps, bell boots or any type of leather boots your horse may wear—even if he or she only wore them once three years ago. If you don’t pack them, the trainer will demand that you absolutely must have them today. (This philosophy also applies to any bit your horse has ever laid his tongue upon.) A longe line and whip are essential to have “just in case.” Ditto for a crop or bat.

Bags And Bags And Bags

The saddle doesn’t go in the trunk. Usually it can be hung on a saddle rack in the trailer, or you can purchase a saddle bag for it to travel in. There are bags available for almost anything: boots, bridle, helmet, show clothes, pony—no, no just kidding. As of today, there is no zip-up custom bag for your pony or your kid. Unfortunate. It would be the only way to get them to the show clean.

Take a look at the selection of bags available. Let me know what vendors you’ve purchased from. What’s your favorite travel bag? What do you put in it? I am considering purchasing some bags, if for no other reason to help keep everything clean, and it makes you look organized, even if you are not!

Grooming Supplies

As we all know, looking fabulous is what horse shows are all about. (IT’S A JOKE PEOPLE!!!) But seriously, you and your horse have to look good and be clean. Excuse me, your kid and your kid’s horse. (What you look like is completely irrelevant as it has been since you became pregnant, as it shall remain until your child departs for college when you suddenly realize that some fat lady with gray hair has moved into your house, she’s hogging all the mirrors, and she put all of your clothes in the dryer.) It’s a good idea to set aside some brushes and grooming supplies that you use only for horse shows. They will be clean. End of story. Pack a hard brush, soft brush, curry comb, hoof pick, hoof polish, bug spray and a few clean cloths. One for the mouth, one for the body, one for your boots. Write “mouth,” “body” and “boots,” on each rag with a Sharpie. Threaten death upon anyone who does not abide by the Sharpie instructions.

Horse Clothing

Depending on the temperature, pack your horse some duds for potential cool weather. A cotton sheet may be all you need. Also pack an Irish knit cooler, or other type of sweat sheet and a rain sheet. If you go ahead and buy a nice expensive rain sheet and pack it in your tack trunk today, I guarantee that it will not rain at a single horse show all season. If you do not purchase and pack a rain sheet, you will drown this summer.

First Aid For Horses

Pack first aid supplies for the horse. I consulted with Brandi to come up with this list. She is horsewoman extraordinaire, fourth-year animal science student at the University of Vermont and a trusted vet assistant at the Vermont Large Animal Clinic. For a one-day show, she recommends carrying the following medical supplies: scissors, a few disposable diapers, duct tape, vetrap, Epsom salt, betadine, antibiotic ointment (Neosporin or the generic equivalent is fine), banamine (oral paste or injectable) and bute.  The most common medical mishap at a show is a pulled shoe (hence the diaper, duct tape and vetrap) or a small cut or scrape. Anything worse and you’re going to need vet attention. But this stash should get you through the day. Having a thermometer handy is a good idea too.

First Aid For Humans

Pack a similar kit for humans. Include variously sized adhesive bandages, baby wipes, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, antacids, bug spray, hydrocortisone cream, benadryl, gauze or cotton balls to clean a cut or scrape, a few tampons and pads. There are plenty of “off the shelf” first aid kits available for sale. You can purchase one and just keep it in your truck or trailer.

Now I’m sure there are lots of items that you take to a one-day show that you don’t see on this list, fear not! Next week, we’ll look at what else goes in the trailer. Remember, just like your suitcase, there’s only so much you can fit in a tack trunk, my friends.  

What’s the item you’ve wished for at a horse show that you never forgot to pack again? As always, please comment with your money-saving ideas or drop me an email Elizabeth@sheridesIpay.com

Elizabeth Howell grew up riding on the hunter/jumper circuit in Massachusetts. Now she is a horse show mom. She holds a day job at The Emily Post Institute and slings horse manure on the weekends.  Her web site is www.sheridesIpay.com

 

 

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