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Fly On Over's Horse Show Prep

Horse Show Prep

Our first horse show of the season is this week – horses will haul up Wednesday afternoon in fact, so I’ve been in full-fledged panic horse show prep mode for the last 10 days at least. With the schedule change, it seems like the horse show is coming up much more quickly, but luckily I’ve got planning and prep pretty much down to a science.

The Printable Pony Horse Binder Cover

Paperwork ☑

The first step in horse show prep is to ensure I have all of my paperwork in order. I need current national and local organization registrations, plus proof of coggins and vaccines. I like to use my Printable Pony Horse Binder to keep all of these documents organized, so I just have to open it up and verify everything is in order, then I set it aside to bring with me to the show! Also key is to remember to reserve stalls and send in entries on time – I use Google Calendars to set deadlines and reminders for myself, and my trainer helps by sending out emails to coordinate stalls and entry forms are sent in together for the entire barn.

Show Clothes ☑

Next stop is my closet: I try on all my show clothes to make sure they still fit, in good repair and clean. Then I pack them in my garment bag, ensuring I have any extra’s I might in the front pouch (extra hair ties, hair nets, gloves, boot socks and safety pins). I also make sure all my regular laundry is done, so I can wear whatever clothes I want during the horse show. Nothing is worse than waking up and looking for a particular t-shirt at 5am and realizing it’s dirty.

Tack ☑

This is an especially important part of horse show prep. I have some special tack I reserve just for shows, that I haven’t touched since I cleaned it and put it away last year. I like to give it a cursory glance to ensure it’s in good repair, and start compiling it all into more manageable stacks (instead of scattered around my entire house). The day before the show, I clean all my tack at the barn and start to pack my car. Here’s my mental checklist:

Shipping Halter & Lead Schooling Pad & Half Pad
Show Halter & Lead Show Bridle & Bit
Scrim Sheet Show Martingale
Standing Wraps & Quilts Show Girth
Polo Wraps & Bell Boots Show Pad & Half Pad
Lunging Bridle, Lunge Line & Lunge Whip Grooming Bag
Saddle Fly Spray & Shine Spray

I also like to pack my ringside backpack prior to the show. I like to have my whip and spurs easily accessible, as well as some fly spray. Inside, I make sure I have a soft brush and rag handy, plus some sunscreen and my camera. That way, it’s just a grab the bag and go to the ring!

Horse Stall and Tack/Feed Stall ☑

I pre-order shavings to be delivered to my stall at the show, but I still have to bring water buckets, feed pan and a box fan. Our group sets up our own tack stall as well, so I have a big plastic box filled with zip ties, bungee cords, extension cords, stall door hangers, bridle racks, saddle racks, etc. that makes this portion of horse show prep a breeze. With 3-4 of us sharing one stall for tack and feed, it’s imperative we stay organized. Luckily, I love to organize, so I typically end up with coordinating that attack.

Miles hacking down the lane

Prepping the Pony ☑

Of course, the most important part of horse show preparation is making sure your horse is ready to go! I took an extra lesson last week and I’m feeling really confident about the fences and coursework — we are definitely ready to go show! This week leading up to the show, Miles is getting some extra time off, with one light hack before we haul to the show. I’m also going to give him a bath the day before, because the weather forecast for Wednesday includes lower temps and chance of rain.

What do your horse show preparations include?


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

5 thoughts on “Horse Show Prep

  1. You’re so organized. Mine is like: wait until the night before, frantically try to clean everything (tack and clothes), pack up, and end up going to bed at like 1 am.

  2. I love this so much, I’m super organised like you and love that there is someone like me who does this too! Most of friends are super chilled and don’t really plan/prep that much. Good luck at the show xx

  3. Oh man it is just somuchstuffomg that needs packing for shows. And we don’t even stay over night! Tho eventers do have a lot of tack haha,
    So that is definitely part of it… Luckily my friends and I have developed a pretty good routine over the past couple years but it’s changed quite a bit now with a new trailer (different storage options) and with my friend boarding at a different barn. Twice now I have dropper her and her horse off at their barn after a show only for us to discover that something (usually something important bc isn’t that always the way?) has been left behind in the trailer or truck. We might need a checklist lol!

  4. Laminated packing lists keep me semi-organized. I just have myself to worry about since I’m the sole eventer at my barn, so can’t even imagine having to plan for multiple horses/riders!

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