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Packed to Perfection: The Ultimate Horse Show Packing List

horse show packing list
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Written by Annabelle A.

Showing at your best requires having all your mucks in a row. Perfect your process with our horse show packing list.

Preparing for a horse show, especially one far from home, can feel stressful. You’re probably already feeling some pre-show jitters, and scrambling to gather and pack your gear doesn’t help the situation.

When packing for a horse show, you’ll need:

  • Important paperwork
  • Tack
  • Gear
  • Clothing
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Horse care supplies

While everybody’s personal list will look a little different, our horse show packing list will help ensure you have everything you need so you can relax and focus on your performance.

Thanks to Sarah Harris for our feature photo!

Pro Tip: Print out a copy of The Ultimate Horse Show Packing List, and keep it in your binder with your other paperwork to simplify the packing process and reduce anxiety leading up to your next event.

Printable Horse Show Packing List

 

What Should I Bring to a Horse Show?

Show Day Binder

Typically there are at least a few pieces of paperwork you’ll need the day of the show, plus a few things that are good to have just in case.

Putting together a show binder with copies of the important papers you’ll need for most shows (and your packing checklist!) will simplify the packing process. Add any event-specific paperwork before you leave and you’ll be all set!

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  • Event paperwork
    • Original or copy of your registration
    • Any required paperwork for your horse (e.g. Coggins test, health certificate, etc.)
    • Any required paperwork for the rider (e.g. association card)
    • Address and any day of directions you were given
    • Hotel reservation information, if needed
  • Vet information
    • If you’ll be close to home, you’ll just need your own vet’s information. If you’ll be traveling, find a vet nearby that you can contact in an emergency.
  • Insurance information for horse and rider
  • Equine first aid information
  • Extra paper and pens

For the Rider

The specific requirements for each show are dictated by the type of event and any regulations they may have, so not everything on this list may be necessary for you. If you have any questions about what exactly you will need, reach out to your trainer or event coordinator.

western horse show

Photo provided by Angie Misaghi (@angisaghi)

It never hurts to bring extras if you have them, just in case something gets damaged or dirty.

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  • Helmet (and cover, if needed)
  • Riding pants
  • Riding shirt
  • Schooling apparel
  • Riding boots and/or half chaps
  • Show apparel (packed in garment bags)
    • Show pants
    • Show shirt
    • Show jacket
    • Belt
    • Show boots and boot care kit
    • Gloves
  • Barn apparel, if needed (e.g. team coat, barn sweatshirt)
  • Safety vest
  • Weather appropriate gear (e.g. rain boots, sun visor, etc.)
  • Brush, hair ties, bobby pins, hair net, bows, and hair spray
  • Mirror

Grooming

You’ll want your horse to look his very best on show day. In addition to the grooming kit you might use before a regular ride, you’ll want to bring supplies to ensure every inch of your horse is clean, shiny, detangled, and ready to show off.

Click to see this grooming tote on Amazon.

  • Grooming tote / bucket
  • Braiding supplies, if needed
  • Curry comb
  • Soft and hard brushes
  • Clippers
  • Hoof pick
  • Sweat scraper
  • Detangler
  • Brush
  • Baby powder
    • Use on white markings
  • Spray-on conditioner

Horse Trailer Weights

online horse courses

Tack and Care

Bringing extras of key items reduces stress if anything breaks, goes missing, or gets dirty at the last second. Be sure to review the regulations and standards for the event you will be participating in and ensure you have the right tack for the show.

most-comfortable-girth

Click to read about the 8 most comfortable girths for horses.

  • Saddle and cover
  • Saddle pads (schooling and show, if needed)
  • Girth or cinch
  • Bridle (schooling and show, if needed)
  • Bits
  • Halters and leads (regular, showing, and trailering)
  • Extra leathers and irons
  • Extra reins
  • Spurs
  • Tack trunk
  • Lunging line and whip
  • Sponges
  • Leather care supplies
  • Microfiber towels

Horse Care

Whether you are staying overnight or just for the day, make sure you have the things you need to keep your horse healthy and happy away from home.

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Click to read about the 14 best horse fly sprays.

  • Protective boots and/or wraps
  • Blankets
  • Cooler
  • Fly spray and bonnet
  • Mucking equipment
  • Buckets
  • Feed/Hay
  • Supplements and/or medications
  • Treats
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Showsheen
  • Hoof oil
  • First aid kit (check with the vet for specifics)

Miscellaneous

  • Scissors
  • Sewing kit
  • Safety pins
  • Lint roller
  • Stain remover
  • Camera (See our horse photography guide!)
  • Camping chair
  • Roadside kit for truck and trailer
  • Zip ties
  • Duct tape
  • Cash
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks and water
  • First aid kit
best-horse-cameras

Click to read about the 8 best horse cameras.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you wear to a horse show as a spectator?

For the most part, you should wear whatever makes you comfortable.

  • Make sure you choose something weather appropriate. You may be outside with or without access to heating/cooling or covering.
  • Choose items you don’t mind getting dirty. It may be muddy or dusty and the seating, if available, is often bleachers.
  • Wear horse-safe shoes with heels, even if you’re not riding.
  • Avoid clothing that will be noisy or is so loose it blows a lot in the wind. This can spook horses around you.
  • Bring a hat for shade if you’ll be sitting outside.
  • Wear sunscreen!

What should be in my horse show survival kit?

A horse show survival kit should include all the little necessities that you might need at a horse show. Important things to include are bobby pins, safety pins, socks, boot pulls, hair ties, barrettes, a razor, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and a sewing kit.

Plus, be sure to bring all the items above on our packing list!

What do you need for your first horse show?

You shouldn’t need anything special for your first show. Because it can be particularly nerve-wracking, be sure to ask your trainer, barn manager, or a more experienced rider attending the same show for advice.

Many barns will have a prep night at the barn for everyone attending the show to groom, pack, and clean gear.

What if I’m riding a school horse in the show?

If you are not bringing your own horse, you’ll need to discuss the specifics with your horse’s owner and/or trainer. Find out what your responsibilities are (e.g. pre-show grooming, anyone else riding the horse, warm up plan).

Also, find out if you need to provide any gear, participate in transportation, cover gas costs, etc.

Horse Trailer Weights

Ready, Set, Show!

Scrambling at the last minute leads to missing or forgotten items and unnecessary stress on show day. By using our packing list, you’ll pull into the show grounds confident that you have all the essentials you need for success.

Printable Horse Show Packing List

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About the author

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Annabelle A.

My parents owned a boarding facility and ran a lesson program throughout my childhood, so I was quite literally raised in a barn! As an adult, I've owned and shown two horses and now love watching my own children learn to ride. I also loved watching my sisters show on their college equestrian teams.