Preparation is key – firstly break it down into categories:
Write out an equipment list for each category or Download our Complete Packing List. I find it easier to start at the top and work my way down.
- Horse – Bridle (correct bit) Martingale/Breast plate, Saddle, Stirrups, Girth, Saddlecloth, Bridle Numbers, Gel Pad, Half Pad
- Rider – Hat, Hat Silk, Hairnet, Hair Bobble, Make up, Shirt, Tie/stock, Tie/stock pin, Jacket, Gloves, Breeches/jodhpurs, Socks, Boots, Spurs, Whip, Number/bib
- Trailer/Lorry – Water canister, water bucket, vet kit, spare headcollar and leadrope, baling twine, hay-net, grooming kit
The next step is to check all the items on the list, start by getting all of your competition clothing together and make sure to check things like zips and buttons, hairnet for holes, spur buckles etc. Anything damaged or missing get repaired or replaced, also check everything fits if it has not been used for a while. Once all the equipment is accounted for and usable the next step is to decide how to pack it. I like to have separate bags for each competition outfit, one for showing with all my tweed, yellow and velvet, a second one for dressage/jumping with my black, bling and whites. Each set is in its own jacket bag – a black bling bag for the dressage and a grey bag for the showing. I keep all of the clothes in the bags as i do not like wearing my show gear under jogging bottoms etc, as i am a dirt magnet and manage to spill something on me that invariably soaks through.
As i pack everything into its bag i check it off the list, and then the jacket bags go back in the wardrobe ready to grab and go when the competition arrives. After the competition i wash everything and check for damage, then put back in the bag again packed and ready for next time.
The lorry/ trailer can also be checked over and left ready packed all year round. Keep a water canister and bucket, vet kit, spare headcollar and leadrope, baling twine and grooming kit hay bags on your lorry or trailer, this again minimises the amount of work to do the day before an event, and also makes sure you have all the basics when you arrive. There are various ways of storing these items on the lorry or trailer, you can get a big bucket and put everything in that, or you may have built in tack lockers and rug racks. You may wish to purchase a tack locker. The storage of these items will depend on your transport and budget.
The horse: this is usually the most labour intensive part of the competition packing as the horses equipment is in use on a daily basis, and can not be left clean, packed and ready for use. However it does have the added advantage of knowing all of your tack is is good repair as you are using it everyday. Using your list of horse equipment get all of your tack together and start by cleaning it, do one item at a time, so nothing gets mixed up or misplaced. Give it a good clean and make sure it is put back together correctly – for the bridle make sure you have the correct bit for the discipline that you are due to compete in. Then move onto the next item.
To save time in the morning pack your competition clothes and any of the horses items such as boots, rugs etc in the car, lorry or trailer the day before. It is best to leave your tack secured in your tack room overnight – if you are packing it into your transport the night before make sure it will still be covered by your insurance. As you are packing your car/lorry use your packing lists to ensure you have all of your equipment – tick it off as it goes INTO the transport. Finally on the morning make sure you put your tack in.
The first thing to do on arrival at the yard on a competition morning is to get the trailer hitched up, or the lorry out in position ready to go, open up the ramps and pack any last items – check everything off your list. Then begin getting the horse ready and mucking out etc. This way if you run out of time you can stop what you are doing load up and go – and still get the the competition on time with all of your equipment. You can finish the yard jobs later when you return.
There are many different ways to protect and pack your tack whilst travelling and competing. If you like to keep all of your equipment separate then there a huge variety of bags available for each item. Bridle bags, saddle bags, saddlecloth bags, boot bags etc. These are very good if you are going to do one class and do not need lots of tack, also if you will be using the same tack all day, as you can get the items out individually and put them on a the trailer or lorry. However if you are needing tack changes throughout the day and will be needing to carry tack around there are other option to look for. There are tack trolleys that hold 1 – 2 sets of tack and can be easily wheeled around and folded flat when not in use. There is the travel bag, a suitcase on wheels designed to carry a full set of tack and all the equipment, or you can use a wheel barrow. The equipment you use will all depend on the amount of equipment you need and how much help you will have on the day.
If you need help with your lists or you want a pre – prepared list check out the ones we have done for you here.
Above all remember to have fun and share your packing tips with us 🙂
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