Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How to organize for a horse show...

One of my dear friends is just getting back into the swing of traveling to horse shows, and had a bit of a hard time getting her "stuff" together at the her first one back. Unfortunately, she was stabled down the barn aisle from us so we didn't have a chance to help her as much as we could, so I told her I was going to do an organization clinic for her... which turned into a blog entry, in case anyone else in the world is interested in how I organize.

Until this year, I had to rely on others to haul to events, so I needed to be neatly organized with as little "fluff" as possible. I got down to three Rubbermaid trunks, my two saddles, a fan, a bale of hay and my horse. Now that I have my own rig, I can spread out a little, but I can still revert back to that if I need to split a trip and ride with someone else!

Having traveled with SO MANY different people has helped me gleen a bunch of different ideas on packing, organizing and set up at a horse trial, and while what I do may not work exactly for everyone it sure does work for me! Different venues require different set-ups, of course, but overall, this works pretty well.

The most important part for me is having lots of organizing within organizing- for example, in my biggest trunk, I have several different bags to keep things from getting jumbled. Also, at the show, as many hangers to put "things" as possible- I have found the four prong bridle racks that hook over your door to be helpful, and currently love the four prong tack hook hangers more than anything.
Over the door bridle hanger
Four-prong hanging tack organizery-thingy-bobber

The next thing you need is this amazing checklist, originally by my dear friend Kelly, and since modified to suite my needs. The more you show, the more doubles you'll want of everything. There are very few things I lay hands out outside of a horse trial, most everything stays packed away so I don't have to worry about getting it packed back up. I have a crop, dressage whip, helmet, boots, saddle pads (three), XC and show jumping boots, pitch fork, wheelbarrow, buckets, hose, all my hardware, fan, grooming equipment, bath buckets, belt etc that are dedicated to showing. That is another expensive expenditure, but it really does pay off in the end.

From there, I keep things organized like this- I have a 50 gallon Stanley Trunk that lives in front of my stall. In it resides:
  • Standing wraps
  • Hardware bag- snaps, clips, hangers, zip ties, staple gun, bungee cords, chain, rope, extension cords, etc. etc.
  • Horse-boot bag- I use re-useable shopping bags from Kroger, since they are a great size, cheap, and can be chucked in the wash and keep my stadium and XC boots together plus an extra set of bell boots
  • Anything I need for stall set-up- bridle racks, the hanger I hang my hay bag off of, tack hangers, stall guard, saddle rack if it will fit
  • Stud kit in a small tool box
  • Poultice, shop towels and gloves
  • Rags, in another re-usable Kroger bag
  • A towel to hang over the stall between the stall bars and my saddle/bridle rack
  • My nifty as-seen-on-TV folding stool that I get so much crap about
Blue grooming bag, the pink zipper bag has the hardware in it, by boot bag is hidden, but you can see my purple stud keep peeking though. I never said I was neat... just organized!
The Stanley trunk has a tote in the top of it as well, and I've just ordered an extra, so I'll have two. In the top of it, I keep:
  • Hand mirror
  • Baby wipes
  • Braiding kit (bands, EZ braid comb, hair clips, etc)
  • SHARP scissors 
  • Sharpie
  • Duct tape
  • Stock tie and pin
  • Safety pins
  • Old bridle numbers to turn over and re-use on my horse's halter at competitions
  • Emergency poncho
  • Horse treats!!!

 From there, I have another Rubbermaid tote that keeps my saddle pads- one for dressage and stadium (I share a white pad for both events), one for XC and one for schooling. My XC vest, along with my new pinny holder, and any coolers or sheets and half pads I may need for my horse for the weekend. If I'm traveling with someone else, this will also get my girths and bridles if they'll fit neatly, plus my clippers.

Another small tote holds my horses rations, separated into ziplock bags for each meal, as well as extra probios, electrolytes, bute and other supplements- Brandy's omeprazole packets, Ari's MSM and some extra grain and beetpulp in case of emergency.
The little blue tote is for grain etc. The kitty little box is my garbage can in the trailer, and the small garbage can actually holds beet pulp and a scoop.
And thennnnnn, I get a little obsessive with bags...
Garment bag, boot bag, XC helmet bag, velvet helmet bag, with show halters hanging and extra whip and crop, also.
 My XC helmet has its own bag which contains the helmet, a hair net, my XC gloves, watch and armband. All in one place. The only issue I have with this right now is if do stadium and dressage the same day, I find myself without my armband sometimes. Honestly, I will probably eventually just buy another out of convenience, but my armband has found itself living in the tote of my Stanley trunk, lately.

My dressage and stadium helmet has its bag, and in it I keep another hair net and my "nice" gloves.

My boots have their own bag, with their own set of spurs attached to them.

My garment bag holds my coat and white dressage breeches, and in the pocket, my belt, an couple pairs of boot socks and regular socks and an extra pair of seamless beige underwear and an extra sports bra, just in case.

While I'm packing at home, I have another canvas bag that holds three pairs of breeches (schooling, stadium and XC) plus two white Kerrits ventilator shirts (my show shirt of choice) and my pink XC shirt AND some extra socks. (Do you sense a theme here?!) This bag stays with my show stuff and doesn't go back to the hotel, since I forget to pack for the day often.

All of these bags can fit into my Stanley tote if I'm traveling with someone else, as well as my grooming bag- which is dedicated to showing so I don't ever worry about forgetting something. My grooming bag has all the vitals (including a bot knife!!) plus WD-40 and STICKY SPRAY!

Yet ANOTHER bag has my first aid equipment, hole punch, farrier equipment (rasp, nail puller, clinch tightner, etc)- this stays in my trailer for the show and if I'm traveling with someone else, I check to see if they have their own and if they mind sharing so it can stay home.

My buckets live stacked within each other, one for grain, two for water and three small buckets for soaking beet pulp or cleaning tack and the top one is my bath bucket with shampoo, conditioner, sponge, hose nozzle and scraper in it.

Another grooming tote holds various tack cleaning equipment, polishes, waterless shampoos, hoof polish, show sheen, detanglers, quick braid- things that may spill, basically.

I also keep a binder with my horse's coggins, health papers, a copy of every dressage test from USDF Intro A to First level and USEA BN-Training, directions to venues, old dressage tests, fliers of things for sale that need to be put up, extra packing check-lists, dressage arena diagrams etc.

When I traveled with others, I had a bag for each of my saddles so if they had to be lobbed somewhere, I wouldn't worry. It saved a lot of hassle. The bags are put away for now, but I will certainly pull them out again if need be!

From there, a cooler stocked with drinks, an insulated zipper bag (Supah-proof) with snacks, my folding camp chair, rubber boots... and I'm ready to rock!

1 comment: