We once forgot to pack wheelbarrows for a two-week show where we brought eight horses. That was a very long two weeks.
When you’re hitting the road with your horse on the show circuit, packing can be a daunting task. You need to remember everything you and your horse need, but you can’t truly bring everything. How do you decide what to put on the trailer and what can be left behind? Pro groom Meghan Button is here to share her go-to packing list for shows.
Based in Tottenham, Ontario, and Wellington, Florida, Meghan has been a professional hunter/jumper groom for Hugh Graham, Roberto Teran, and Erynn Ballard, managing care of 20+ horses at top competitions in North America. Here is what she packs.
Packing List (per horse)
One Day Show (ship in / showing off trailer)
1 water bucket
1 hay net with extra hay
1 bathing bucket: shampoo, sponge, sweat scraper
1 grooming box: mane comb, curry comb, hard brush, soft brush, hoof pick, baby oil, hoof oil, seam ripper for removing braids, braiding elastics, ear plugs, safety pins for attaching jumper numbers to saddle pads, show sheen, fly spray, baby powder.
5 towels: for drying legs, cleaning up before ring, cleaning tack
1 saddle rack
1 tack hook if none in trailer
tack soap and sponge
1 set of bandages/wraps
1 of either: cooler, scrim, rainsheet (weather depending)
1 irish knit for shipping home (keeps dust off clean horses)
1 chain lead shank for the ring
1 rope lead for tying, bathing, grazing, etc
All necessary tack, boots, polos and saddle
Lunge line and whip
Step ladder for mounting, braiding, and unbraiding
Bottled water and snacks for yourself
If you have stalls at a one day show, add:
1 extra water bucket
Bedding for stall – 10 bags of shavings for a regular 10’x10’ stall with dirt floor
FEI Week-Long Show
1 sheet, 1 midweight, 1 heavy, 1 witney blanket/fleece cooler
1 blanket chain for hanging blankets on stall front with double ended snap for hanging the halter
1 stall chain – will keep your horse from opening the stall door (accidentally or intentionally!)
1 stall card with emergency contact information – your cell phone and hotel room number, and your vet’s contact information
2 water buckets
1 feed tub
1 irish knit
1 scrim sheet
1 blanket rack
More towels than you think you need
Enough saddle pads for schooling and hacking
Show saddle pads
All necessary tack, boots, polos, and saddle
1 wall box with grooming supplies listed above
1 bag of cable ties
1 bathing bucket: shampoo, sponge, sweat scraper + extra shampoo
2 full sets of bandages
Poultice, hoof packing, and liniment
1 extension cord with power strip
1 box fan for stall front in the summer – can be secured with cable ties or bungee cords
Double ended snaps
Wheelbarrow, pitchfork, broom, shovel, rake
1 chain shank
1 rope lead
Lunge line and whip
Tack soap and sponge
Clippers for trimming
1 set of cross ties; even without a grooming stall, bank the bedding in the stall before the class, cross tie the horse, then tack up and put away without bedding getting in the way.
Bedding and hay if not ordering at show – 10 bags for normal 10’x10’ stall with dirt base
Grain: I pre-measure into resealable plastic Ziploc bags and label a.m. or p.m. This reduces the mess of multiple grain bags and it’s much easier.
Week-Long FEI Show With Grooming Stall: Add…
2 rubber mats
1 plastic shelf
1 muck bucket
1 stall chain with lock to protect saddle and tack overnight
1 floor fan for drying legs
Unusual items you pack?
The most unusual items I pack are pool noodles! They are perfect for cutting and slipping over the overhead stall bars. They prevent horses from hitting their polls when leaving the stalls or when the stall doors allow them to stick their heads out.
I also always pack Gatorade for long road trips. Teaching your horses to enjoy the taste at home can make for smooth traveling, as the water at gas stations and truck stops doesn’t always taste like home. If the horses aren’t drinking much, I will add a bottle of Gatorade or a scoop of the powder to their water buckets. They think it’s a treat and will usually start to drink.
Have you ever forgotten something and had to improvise McGyver-style?
We once forgot to pack wheelbarrows for a two-week show where we brought eight horses! That was a very long two weeks of mucking the stalls into plastic muck buckets and dragging them to the manure piles with lead ropes.
Sometimes the days get long and we aren’t always able to do laundry. One rainy week we quickly ran out of towels before the end of the show and I dried a horse’s legs with my own sweater and a saddle pad. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
The most important advice I can give is to make lists. Mentally walk yourself through an average show day and write down everything you will need.
Do your research ahead of time. Get on the show website and put contact information for the show veterinarian and blacksmith in your phone.
Pack more towels than you think you will need.
Don’t forget about yourself. Pack a rain coat, rubber boots, an extra sweater, shoes that aren’t your tall boots, bottled water, and a phone charger.