A few weeks ago Amanda asked us what our top horse show essentials are, and I had quite the time thinking about it. For one, I don’t show that much. But also, lots of people had already mentioned the good ones! Amanda talked about the wheely muck cart, which is seriously brilliant and you need it if you can’t fit a wheelbarrow, and Karen talked about booze. But after much thought I came up with a few essentials that I don’t think have been covered elsewhere.
1. Spare halters and lead ropes
When you own a horse who breaks away from the trailer on the reg, you get used to making accommodations. Whether it means never leaving your horse unattended at the trailer (sigh, there goes watching any other division ever), or fastidiously warning everyone around you to please, please not leap out of the tack room (or just tying your horse on the other side of the trailer), you figure it out. The other thing you figure out is to carry spare everything. I always carry at least one nylon (unbreakable biatch!) and a spare leather (for safe trailering home) halter with me, and I have one of those heavy-duty (butt ugly) nylon lead ropes also. Interestingly, horses at shows seem to like getting free near me, and it seems more than coincidence the number of times my spare halters (always at the ready) have been used to wrangle the odd loose horse on the property — including one Rolex horse who decided to go for a jaunt one year. That was especially fun.
(Also included in this list are my blocker and break-away tie rings for safety, and a stud chain. While it’s not safe to tie your horse using the stud chain, it is mighty effective for teaching your horse a lesson when
wielded at the end of your arm like a nunchuk carefully applied.)
2. Cold-brew coffee
I am a coffee-junkie, but I’m also cheap as hell. Cold brew coffee takes almost no effort to make, keeps at room temperature, and I’m always perfectly happy to take it black. Somehow, it isn’t quite as bitter as hot coffee. This also means I have coffee available to me throughout the day, right at my stall, and if I happen to leave it overnight and forget about it? Whelp, I can probably still drink it tomorrow too. Obviously, this is in a mason jar because… I have a lot of those in my life.
3. Baby wipes and home-made baby wipes
Baby wipes are infinitely useful. You can wash your hands and/or face (no, I have never fallen off my horse twice at a show and needed to wash my face before the competitor’s dinner before), lean up minor stains, wipe down buckets or even tack in a pinch (it’s a PINCH okay, I’m talking mud on your boots), and all other manner of things. I “make” baby wipes by pre-wetting clean wash cloths (ones that are a touch threadbare here work nicely as they don’t hold too much water) and putting them in a ziplock bag for the day. They stay moist and don’t get gross unless it’s super hot.
4. Portable power!
My phone isn’t the spring chicken it once was, which means that when I’m bored and toodling around on the internet at a show for hours on end, poor old Nexus 5 doesn’t necessarily last the day. No matter! These days I carry a couple of spare chargers around and a phone cable and my phone never runs out of batteries. This one (pictured below) gets me about 3 full charges, and this baby gets me up to 8. Also, it is helpful when trainer is running out of batteries and all of your ride times are on her phone.
I couldn’t get through a full show without my friends — they are there for me when it goes poorly, and even better, they celebrate with me when it goes well. Plus, without friends at the show, who would take pictures and video?!! But really — I am not looking forward to the day I have to go to a show with just one other person (or, forbid it, alone) — they will tire of me rapidly and I can only imagine that one of us will hate the other by the end of the weekend.