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What to Pack for a Horse Show

What to Pack for a Horse Show

Posted by Kelly Steele on 19th Apr 2023

Tips for Stress-Free Show Packing

As a seasoned groomer and engineer with over ten years of experience, I have developed a packing strategy that ensures that I don't forget anything when heading out to a horse show. In this post, I will share with you some of my favorite tips and tricks to make your show packing more efficient, organized, and stress-free.

Kelly Steele atop mare Chanel at equestrian horse show

Kelly Steele on mare Chanel at horse show

Packing List for Horse Shows

I find it easier to break down my packing list into small sections instead of making one big list. This helps ensure that I don't miss anything important. I keep my list on my phone's notes section, so I can edit it as needed and don't have to start from scratch each time I pack for a show. I've learned that each horse I groom for has unique needs, so I tailor my packing list accordingly. 

Weather is also a factor, especially when packing for shows in different seasons. For example, for a normal season in the Midwest, I might only need rain gear, but for regionals in the fall, I better pack a blanket and a fan, as I'm likely to see both summer and winter weather in the span of four days!

I like to divide my list into a few categories: horse items, human items, tack, and linens. I also make a note of which items I keep at home and which stay at the barn or in the trailer. This is especially important since I board my horses, and I can't keep everything at the barn. 

  • Horse items: grooming supplies, bath products, and feed
  • Human items: show clothes, boots, and extra socks
  • Tack: saddle, girth, and bridle
  • Linens: rags, towels, saddle pads, polo wraps, and other items that can go in the washing machine

I pack my linens in a separate collapsible hamper that has a zip lid to keep everything clean. I also pack a laundry hamper for dirty linens, and this system has worked well for me.

Organizing Your Horse Trailer

Once you have your lists and know everything you will pack, it's time to strategize how to organize your trailer. Avoid throwing everything in bags or boxes; instead, pack items in vessels that are easy to access and use. For example, I travel with a trunk and easy-up shelves that I can fill to make unpacking easy. It's also crucial to load items in order of importance. Items your horse will need right away, such as water buckets and bucket hooks, should be packed last for easy access.

Avoid Overpacking for Horse Shows

Many people tend to overpack, bringing everything they own to the horse show. Remember, the purpose of packing is to bring what is necessary. Leave unnecessary items in the trailer and only bring essentials to the show.

Horse Show Essential Supplies

Lastly, I would like to share some of my favorite items for a horse show. An extension cord and power strip are a must-have to charge your phone and other electronics. Double-ended snaps & clips are versatile and take up little space. One empty bucket outside the tack room can serve as a catch-all for random things throughout the day.

Groom Kelly Steele with Pam Heglund on Hottie at the regional championships

Blog author Kelly Steele with fellow groom posing with Pam Heglund on Hottie at the regional championships

Have Fun at a Horse Show!

Packing for a horse show doesn't have to be stressful or chaotic. With a little planning and organization, you can make the process efficient and enjoyable. I hope my tips help you level up your horse show packing strategy. Don't hesitate to share your packing strategy or show essentials in the comments below.