View Full Version : Grooms - What can't you live without?

Apr. 26, 2009, 01:55 AM
I'm actually not talking grooming supplies this here, but rather the personal effects of those of you employed as grooms. :winkgrin:

I am going to be working as a show groom for the first time, and am trying to think about what I need to pack. I will be living in an apartment on farm when at home (and the very nearby show grounds), and in hotels otherwise. Now of course my Mommy taught me to always pack lots of clean socks and undies :yes: so I'm ok there. It's not the obvious stuff I'm looking for, so much as the silly little stuff I won't think of. What were the things you would never have survived without? What did you not have with you and always wish you did? What was hard to come by if you didn't bring it beforehand? Or alternatively, what did you think you really needed, and never used (no need to drag extra stuff there)?

Apr. 26, 2009, 02:13 AM
REALLY comfy shoes - I love my Blundstones and would be completely crocked without them, always do a lot of walking horses in hand when I groom. Also, depending on where you will be staying (do you know? hotel, horse trailer??) make sure you have a mirror! Darn handy those little things, wouldn't know it until you don't have one! I also personally like to have an Ipod or something similar, if you have to room with other grooms they may not be quiet when you really need to sleep and at least then you can put your headphones on and rest in peace!
I think that's it... HAVE FUN! I always do, especially internationally. :yes:

Apr. 26, 2009, 02:21 AM
Hat/Sunglasses - if you go the sunglasses root, croakies (the sunglass things that can go around your neck) are helpful.
Rain coat/boots.
Gloves for lunging.
iPods are nice for stalls in the mornings.
Cash. Daily.
Snacks. I like cereal or granola bars to snack on. Easy to eat a granola bar when you're walking something to the ring.
If you have time, a cooler is always nice, but not always practical.
I like to have a camera to take pictures when I get a chance, but that's just me.

I always pack way too much stuff for the evenings that I never use. Like nice-ish clothes for dinner. I know I have to go before I get back to the hotel, because once I'm there, I'm DONE! But I guess that's me personally.

Another thing, bring extra shirts to the showgrounds with you everyday. They are handy either for impromptu rain showers when you are caught without your rain coat or trips to dinner before a show.

Apr. 26, 2009, 02:33 AM
Ah, yes. Ibuprofen (for those unexpected broken bones... or maybe that's just me) and rain boots are always needed when you least suspect it!
Also, especially in the summer, keep lots of drinks on hand! It's a lot harder to get away to the food stand than you might think - even just to grab something quick!
A small notebook and pen always helped me out, too. If you've got a lot of things to keep track of it never hurts to write some of it down so that you can be absolutely sure of what the plan is when the pressure is on!

Apr. 26, 2009, 02:40 AM
2+ Rain coats. I don't groom, but our grooms are always told to bring 2 rain coats, and they always seem to need them!!!

Oh and grab a few extra number strings at the show office, they fix EVERYTHING!

Apr. 26, 2009, 06:39 AM
Ya know what would always happen when I would forget aunt flo would come to visit. so female products... And those personal/ handy whips seem like a good idea when flo knocks and your not handy to running water etc.
Ace bandages for thsose twisted ankles wrists etc. Bee sting kit if needed
Diffrent weights of clothings. as you never know you may wake up to 40 deg morning and it be 90 by noon.. At least where I live it can do that not many places you an get frost bits and heat stroke with in hrs of eachother...
Those ice pack thingies that you can just toss into your cooler /fridge etc and reuse.
But I think female products is probably the thing that is forgotten the most...

Apr. 26, 2009, 11:16 AM
Thanks everyone, those are some super suggestions.

I have a not-great raincoat, so I think I will buy another (like you say heartinrye, I may need more than one on a given day anyway). I have lots of rubber boots...my godsend!

hideyourheart - we must think a bit alike...I always have granola bars with me, and was planning on getting a couple of the big bulk packs. And ibuprofen - check!

Moocow - the notebook is very smart, and I never would have thought of that.

Madoy - knowing me, I don't think I want a mirror anywhere within viewing distance :lol:

bumknees - not to get overly personal, but awhile back I switched to the diva cup (http://www.divacup.com/). The concept of not-so-frequent changes as we are used to with typical products (and the accompanying paranoia if we can't get to a bathroom) seems like it was made just for horse shows. I think it is my recommendation to all grooms, as well as riders trainers - anyone stuck on showgrounds all day!

Apr. 26, 2009, 03:17 PM
some DO for the BO.

I also always have tons of green rubbing alcohol on me. I use it for tons of stuff on the horses (spray on their bodies cools them down, rub on their legs after a hack, spray in the stinky helmet or other stinky items), but also will spritz it on myself if I smell less than good and will be meeting someone that I want to look semi-nongross for :).

Hand towels for your face or just freshening up.


ball caps. Or if dig, a cowboy hat ;)

Anything that your barn or clients may forget and need in emergency (or sort of emergencies :)). Such as bit keepers, extra spur straps, peppermints for the good ponies, rubber bands, bailing twine, chain, snaps and hooks and the works...

lots of hair ties, those suckers are always breaking on me

multiple pairs of gloves


I like to use my own small backpack packed with my own supplies for the ringside grooming personally. But be sure to bring your own bucket or grooming tote. Have your own clean supplies in it that you would use. Add or subtract items when you learn the barns personal ringside routine.


phone charger. I always seem to forget those things. Also I would invest in one of those clip on phone holder things. They are very nifty.

perhaps buy a set of walky talkys. My barn has used them at shows that have bigger grounds and they have saved lives (in a horse show sense).

a little standing fan for the tackroom/lounging room if your barn will allow it.

Apr. 26, 2009, 03:32 PM
Good question! :D

First aid kit- I usually kept a really small one in my pocket because there's nothing worse than cutting your self and not having a plaster handy. (Especially if you're working with a grey. :winkgrin: )

Hair grips/elastics- I can't work if my hair is flapping about in my face. :)

For on a night-

A few good books. They're nice if you need to chill after a long hard day.

I second a mirror or small compact. Even if you don't feel like looking at yourself, they come in handy in case you get something in your eye, want to apply sunscreen etc.

Ipod/MP3 player with recharagable batteries.

Spare changer/car charger for your mobile phone.

Spare pair of boots! ;)

Apr. 26, 2009, 04:05 PM
Stupid question, but I'm so curious - several people mentioned needing multiple rain coats - what happened the the first one(s) that you need the others? Do they rip or get lost, or just get wet and dirty?

Apr. 26, 2009, 04:39 PM
Stupid question, but I'm so curious - several people mentioned needing multiple rain coats - what happened the the first one(s) that you need the others? Do they rip or get lost, or just get wet and dirty?

Wet and dirty. Sometimes the rain is so bad you need to switch rain coats during the day, to let the other one dry. Also, if you've been setting jumps in the mud, you are FILTHY, so to look semi-decent a 2nd or 4rd raincoat is handy. My trainer never goes anywhere without 4. Yup, 4 raincoats.

Apr. 26, 2009, 05:46 PM
Extra seam rippers - those always break! Baby wipes for your face/hands on those days that you are unbearably sticky and sweaty, and they double as a good cleanup cloth for gross pony faces as well. At least 3x the amount of socks you think you need.

Apr. 26, 2009, 06:39 PM
Don't forget rain pants... I know might be included with the rain coats suggestion, but I love them for bathing on cold days... keeps the pants from getting wet!

Eye drops for dusty shows

Love baby wipes! Great for getting dirt off your face and poo stains off greys!

Apr. 26, 2009, 08:41 PM
Get rubber gloves, the yellow kind like you wash dishes with. This winter that was the best $$$ I spent at a horse show when at 6am I was scrubbing politce off legs with cold water and 20 degrees.

Apr. 26, 2009, 08:58 PM
Hair spray/gel, hair ties, bobby pins, make up, make up remover, deodorant, washcloths, ribbon, shoelaces, girl supplies, tweezers, nail clippers, and a razor. Oh, bandaids are a must.

Apr. 26, 2009, 10:23 PM
Extra pair rubber boots
small personal tool kit

Apr. 26, 2009, 10:27 PM
Oh I forgot the most important thing:
DUCT TAPE. Lifesaver! (Especially if you can get it in hot pink!)

Apr. 26, 2009, 10:40 PM
Oh I forgot the most important thing:
DUCT TAPE. Lifesaver! (Especially if you can get it in hot pink!)

You beat me to it! I was going to say Duct Tape, baling twine and WD40, you can fix ANYTHING with those three ingredients!

Apr. 27, 2009, 12:47 AM
Thanks for all the super suggestions everyone. I'm going to spend tomorrow doing some shopping and digging around the apartment for a some supplies. I think I'll be going with the multi-pack of duct tape :grin:

Apr. 27, 2009, 11:48 AM
Many have given you great advice already. Trying to think of things not mentioned, I came up with these (sorry if they are repetative!).


Extra roll of quarters

Woops! Just noticed that someone beat me to the bandaids!

Hunter Mom
Apr. 27, 2009, 12:27 PM
A Tide Pen - for icky green goobers.

Apr. 27, 2009, 12:41 PM
A pair of scissors. The barn pairs always disappear, so I bring my own and guard them with my life, lending them to nobody.

Some paper and a few extra pens.

Caffeine. I know it isn't the healthiest, but I always buy a few diet cokes for when I need a pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

Wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring some of that aloe stuff since you'll probably get burnt anyways.

Chapstick (the kind that comes with sunscreen)

Apr. 27, 2009, 01:03 PM
Alright, I'm trying to come up with some stuff that hasn't already been mentioned, but you've got a lot of great advice here!

- Stud kit (Studs, cleaner, a pick to clean out the holes, a wrench, plugs). Even if you're going to a show with dirt/sand rings, some people will use studs if it gets muddy, so it's always good to have your tools at the ready!

- Drinks and Snacks. I know they've already been mentioned, but it will definitely make your experience better if you've got them.

- Safety pins. This goes along with the extra shoestrings someone mentioned. Most jumper riders pin their numbers to their pads, and extra pins are much more difficult to find than extra shoestrings, in my experience.

And some things it's good to make sure the barn has packed to make your life easier: extra lead lines (they disappear like hoofpicks at shows, I swear), multiple longe lines, longe whips, etc.

Apr. 27, 2009, 06:32 PM
Bring extra knives/scissors- they always walk off right when you need to hay the ponies :)

Apr. 27, 2009, 09:28 PM
I know ace bandages have been mention, but I would suggest bringing a few extra in case people forget them or the braider runs out of them for the horses tail.