Every little girl’s dream is to have the perfect pony. Once you’ve found your unicorn, that dream evolves into wanting a fancy lorry to transport them in. We all watch those gorgeous Oakleys pull into a show; you know, the ones with the pop-out living area, and imagine ourselves parking it up, sliding gracefully out of the cab and proudly pushing the button to trigger the ramps decent.
While that would be wonderful, a bigger lorry doesn’t necessarily mean a better rider, and there are some massive plus points to a reliable 4×4 and trailer. For example, a 4×4 owner is much more likely to tow themselves out of a boggy car park while Mr Oakley waits for the kind tractor driver to rescue him.
When it comes to packing for a show, we are all a bit rusty after a long break with minimal equestrian outings (thanks, lockdown). So, in part one of our Perfect Packing mini-series, we will run through our essentials to get your kit organised and maximise space in your car and trailer for one-day events, shows, and training clinics.
First things first, let’s talk pre-show-prep. Organisation is key and prevents that whole “running around like a headless chicken, half an hour before you are supposed to leave” saga.
First thing’s first, write a list of everything your need for the trip. Ideally, do this the weekend before so you can check if anything needs to be cleaned or replaced. Starting early also gives you plenty of time to decide what colour of matchy-matchy you want to wear, if required. You’re going to need a list for yourself and a list for your horse; You can use our packing lists here, or make it on the notes section of your phone so that when you randomly remember something you need to take, you can whip it out of your pocket there and then.
Once everything is clean and ready, you’re going to want to pack it into your car and trailer using a system; try to resist the urge to open the boot and chuck everything in!
Reserve the back seat for your stuff so that you know everything is there, ready to go when it’s time to get changed.
Hang your show jacket and body protector on the grab handle above the door and keep everything like your breeches, shirt, belt, socks, helmet, hair net, number bib, etc., together. We highly recommend using the Tidy Tack Room Kit Bag; you’ll be amazed at just how much you can keep in this massive holdall. It comes with a carry handle, meaning you can effortlessly lift it from the car and carry it into your trailer to get changed before your class. We can also print a checklist onto the top, detailing everything you need to pack to ensure you never forget anything again- how cool is that?
The boot is ground zero for your horse’s tack and competition gear. Pop your saddle in (on a saddle rack or resting gently on the pommel) and lay your bridle bag on top. Double/triple-check that your stirrups, stirrup leathers, girth, bit, and reins are all attached before going any further. Protect your spotless white show numnah and/or your jazzy XC saddlecloth in one of our Saddlecloth Bags and slide it down the side of your saddle for safekeeping.
Our Stable Bag is the perfect bag for holding all your ‘bit and bobs’; for example, studs, fly spray, hoof oil, brushes, plaiting bands and a spare headcollar and lead rope. It slides effortlessly in beside your saddle and opens from the front to allow easy access. You can even stack them should you need more than one.
Sick of boots (your horses, that is) rolling around in your boot? We also have Boot and Bandage Bags that keep a set for each discipline safe and secure. Pop this in on top of your stable bag, and just like that, the boot becomes an easy-access game of equestrian Tetris.
Okay, we’ve got a few more things to pack, but the car is full; where on earth are we going to put them? If you are only travelling one horse, it might be a great idea to ask a handyman to install a storage trunk in the unused side of your trailer, which creates a whole new world of storage for your rugs, buckets, and water containers.
Due to the unpredictability of the British weather, it’s always safe to take a good variety of rugs with you. We recommend using our Show Rug Bag, which holds up to three lightweight rugs, so you can easily fit a fleece, a cooler, and a rain sheet or fly rug.
Tah dah! Everything is clean, packed and has its place, ready to quickly and easily lift out and use at your destination. All you need to do now is remove your travel boots from their Travel Boot Storage Bag, pop them on your squeaky-clean horse, and off you go.
Remember, it is essential to tidy as you go throughout the day. Your groom/happy helper can help with this and give the area a quick tidy once mounted. Putting things back where you got them will help you stay organised, which helps keep everything clean and minimises stress levels. The first rule of Tidy Tack Rooms is to never put your foot in the stirrup with a cluttered mind. A tidy, organised environment helps to minimise stress, setting you up for the best possible ride.
Oh, one last thing. If you’ve packed a picnic, make sure it is in the car with you on the way home; there’s nothing worse than getting on the motorway only to realise your post-competition feast is just out of reach!