I love going to stay away clinics and camps, they are so much fun and you learn so much as well. However as with everything horsey they involve taking a lot of kit. But they do give you a good opportunity to use and show off all your matchy sets. I love planning the wardrobe for each lesson. Even if you are not into matchy sets, i would recommend taking clean saddlecloth and boots for each lesson, because you and the horse do tend to work very hard and get sweaty. If you are having upwards of 2 lessons a day, there will not be enough time in between to dry out wet items, plus there will be no way of washing them.
As will all things packing i like to write lists. I start by working out how many and what types of lesson i am having – Dressage, Show jumping, x country. Then i write these down, and then i write my list of sets i have for each discipline, then i allocate a set to each lesson. Once i have done this i then write a separate list of all my clothes that i will wear to each lesson.
Next comes packing it all – again i like to be organised with this too. Now the way i pack depends on how close i am to the stable my horse is in, and if i will be able to bring the horse to the lorry/trailer to get ready, or if i have to take all my gear over to the horse. Now if i am bringing the horse to the lorry/trailer, i arrange everything neatly in storage bags – i have 2 bags for saddlecloths and 2 bags for boots / bandages. I put the sets in the bags in the order i am going to use them, once they are used and dirty i put them into the other bags – this way my clean gear stays clean and then when i get home i can just grab the dirty bags and put them in the washing machine, with out having to sort through everything.
If i have to take the equipment to the horse then i look at how i am going to do that, again there are many ways of doing this – you can put everything in your wheel barrow and push it over , you can do the i should do 3 trips but will make it in one struggle, you can use a tack trolley or look into a tack locker that can be left outside the stable.
If your horse wears bandages etc overnight you can look into stable bags for outside to hold all of your grooming kit and overnight items, which will save you a few trips, and keep everything to hand when you need it.
When it comes to packing for me i again like to put my clothes in, in the order they will be worn – last to first, to save me having to root through to find things, also rolling your clothes is a really good way to fit everything in. I [put all my wash kit in a separate bag, so that when i want a shower etc i can just grab that bag. I also keep a carrier bag in my suitcase – which all the dirty clothes go into, again to make it easier when getting back home and doing the washing.
I also have a list of extra items i will need for each lesson – hat, boots, whip, spurs, back protector etc
I use different tack for each discipline and i keep my bridles in bridle bags, the Zilco ones have whip holder on the outside, so i keep my bridle and whip together on that bag, and my saddle in the matching saddle bag. For my boots and bandages i either use the mini travel case if i am taking lots of sets, or the bandage bag if i am taking less and want to be able to hang the bag up for ease of use. I also take the saddle Sherpa for moving my tack easily about from trailer/lorry to horse.
With my packing lists i write each list and then tick off the items as they go into the bags, then i have an overview packing list for the bags, which again i tick off as they go into the lorry/trailer/car. That way i can be sure i have packed everything i need including spares such as head collars and lead ropes etc.
It is also worth investing in a folding camping table and chairs that you pop up outside your lorry/trailer too, that way int he evening you will have somewhere to sit, the clinics tend to be very sociable and as everyone stays in their lorries etc in the same place it is nice to get together in the evenings for a chat etc. Do not forget to pack alcohol and most importantly cake.
Overall i find clinics great fun and very informative so the most important thing to remember is to have fun and enjoy yourself.
We have a free set of packing lists if you want to take the stress out of getting ready, they can be found here