Horse Show Essentials


If you’re primarily traveling to one-day shows, you don’t need to schlep around every horse item you own. You just need to assemble a few necessities and keep them handy in a tote tray, crate or gym bag. Here are a dozen show essentials:

  • A water bucket and extra feed (usually hay in a net) for your horse.
  • Copies of important paperwork, such as registration papers for breed and halter classes, a negative Coggins test, and your membership cards for sponsoring riding clubs so you can accrue points for ribbons won.
  • Nutritious snacks so you don’t have to rely on questionable offerings from the concession stand.
  • Any extra tack that you just might need, such as a standing martingale or a pair of spurs.
  • A leather hole punch—you never know when you might need to make a minor adjustment to your belt, stirrup leathers or bridle cheekpieces.
  • A longeline, so you’re not forced into riding Smarty Jones in your equitation class.
  • Basic grooming tools: a comb, a couple of brushes and a hoof pick.
  • Grooming accessories that add a winning look to your horse: hoof oil or dressing, coat polish and at least one clean, soft rub rag to wipe away dust and slobber.
  • A small, zippered cosmetic bag filled with your own hair care kit (consider a hairnet, barrettes and bobby pins).
  • Rather than trying to catch a glimpse of yourself in your truck’s chrome bumper, bring along a small handheld mirror.
  • Horse and human first-aid items, stored in a small plastic carrying case, will give you peace of mind.
  • Coverup clothes to wear over your show outfit between classes and, even better, to wear on the trip home.

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Cindy Hale’s life with horses has been filled with variety. As a child she rode western and learned to barrel race. Then she worked as a groom for a show barn, and was taught to harness and drive Welsh ponies. But once she’d taken her first lessons aboard American Saddlebreds she was hooked on English riding. Hunters and hunt seat equitation came next, and she spent decades competing in those divisions on the West Coast. Always seeking to improve her horsemanship, she rode in clinics conducted by world-class riders like George Morris, Kathy Kusner and Anne Kursinski. During that time, her family began raising Thoroughbred and warmblood sport horses, and Cindy experienced the thrills and challenges of training and showing the homebred greenies. Now retired from active competition, she’s a popular judge at local and county-rated open and hunter/jumper shows. She rides recreationally both English and western. Her Paint gelding, Wally, lives at home with her and her non-horsey husband, Ron.


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