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 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.
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.
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.