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The essential horse competition checklist

Horses in their trailer.

Horses in their trailer.

 

Traveling to an out-of-state competition only to find you’ve left something vital is the stuff of nightmares. That’s where this checklist comes in handy. It’s a good reference point for the basic items you must remember to bring, like feed, medical documents and grooming tools.

This list is broken into seven categories: Horse basics, paperwork, first aid, horse supplies, grooming tools, rider apparel and travel essentials. Feel free to modify it to suit the needs and requirements of yourself, your horse and the competition.

A person holding a clipboard with a checklist on it.Use this checklist when preparing to travel.

Horse basics

  • Feed. Bring a diet your horse is used to, as switching things at the last minute could disrupt its delicate stomach. Measure out how much you need for the duration of your trip, then bring a little extra in case of delays or other changes in your travel plans.
  • Supplements. Don’t skip on the supplements for the sake of traveling lightly. As with feed, measure how much you need and bring a little extra.
  • Buckets. You’ll need these for food, water and grooming purposes.

Paperwork

Not all of the documents listed below are required at every event, so check with competition officials for specifics.

  • Show information packet and rule book.
  • Registration papers.
  • Membership papers.
  • Horse passport. This is mandatory for Americans traveling to compete in events held by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports.
  • Medical documentation. This is the one set of paperwork where it’s beneficial to include everything, even if the competition doesn’t require it, in case of an emergency. Applicable documents include:
    • Health certificate.
    • Vaccination records.
    • Coggins test form.
    • Veterinary contact information.

First aid

It’s best to bring your standard first-aid kit with you rather than to only bring what you think you need. When it comes to horse healthcare and first aid, it’s best to be overprepared. Also, the following equine health products are must-haves for the road:

  • ElectroCharge. This two-dose oral electrolyte paste is perfect for travel.
  • Fura-Free. Soothe minor cuts with this nitrofurazone-free sweat and salve.
  • Poutice. Helps soothe muscle heat, inflammation, stiffness and soreness. Choose between Finish Line’s Original Premium Poultice, EZ-Willow Poultice and Kool-Out Poultice.
  • JC’s X-Tie Up. Supports proper muscle function and efficient energy utilization.
  • Quia-Cal. A supplement of calcium, magnesium and vitamin B1 to promote a calm attitude. Quia-Cal contains no banned substances.

Horse supplies

Bring spare parts or write down the location of the nearest supply store so you have backups in case something breaks.

  • Bridle.
  • Halter and lead rope.
  • Reins.
  • Saddle, saddle pads and girth.
  • Stirrups and leathers.
  • Warm-up legwear.
  • Blankets (depending on the weather).
  • Neatsfoot oil to condition leather.

Grooming tools

Pack your standard grooming kit, including your curry comb, mane and tail brush, body brush and hoof pick. When competing, also bring:

  • Hoof and coat polish.
  • Baby powder or corn starch to brighten a white coat.
  • Scissors and/or clippers for last-minute touch ups.
  • Braiding kit. Pack rubber bands, yarn, needle and thread, hair clips and any other accessories.
  • Feet First Coat 2nd: Bring enough of this supplement, which promotes a beautiful coat as well as healthy hooves and skin, to add to your horse’s feed for each day of travel.

Rider apparel

Don’t get so wrapped up in your horse’s needs that you forget about your own appearance.

  • Show shirt.
  • Pants.
  • Boots, hooks, trees, socks and polish.
  • Coat, jacket or vest.
  • Hat or helmet.
  • Gloves.
  • Working clothes.
  • Rain gear.
  • Clothing accessories, if applicable (tie, tie tack, collar bar, hat).
  • Hair accessories (hair net, hair ties, etc.)

Travel essentials

These are just as important as the items listed above, and forgetting them throws a wrench in your travel plans.

  • Keys.
  • Cell phone and charger.
  • Wallet with driver’s license, credit and debit cards, spare cash and checkbook.
  • Passport if traveling internationally.
  • Car emergency kit with flashlight, batteries, a human first aid kit, jumper cables and a spare tire. Don’t forget a spare tire and tools for the trailer as well. You don’t want to end up stranded on the side of the road with a large, nervous animal.

This checklist covers the basics of what you need for any event-related travel. You might need to add or remove things depending on the competition in question, so always double-check the website or information packet before leaving home.