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Musings, insight, and pro tips

The Show Kit To End All Show Kits

Sophia Proler



Show Season Is Upon Us!

Are you ready for the nerves, the hurrying up and waiting, the broken vending machines, far-away porta-potties, and that rider who keeps beating you by .5 seconds in the jump off?


Whether it's your fiftieth show season or your first, the key to a successful show trip is having a killer show kit. Below, we've listed show essentials and pro tips for a smooth show season!

If you think we missed one, or have a great tip you'd like to share, comment below! We'll add it and credit you in the master list!





Saddle (all purpose, dressage, jumping, or all three!)
Show pad
Hack pad
Show bit
Hack bit
and/or breastplate

Boots/Polo wraps for warmup & lunging
Halter & lead rope
Lunge line

Shipping wraps
Tail bandage
(if not offered/your horse is sensitive)
Night blanket

Braiding rubber bands
Seam ripper

Touch up clippers
Hoof polish
Grooming supplies
Basic farrier kit
Vet wrap, Corona ointment, quick fix vet gear
Coggins & Rabies certificates


Show helmet
Protective vest
Show coat
Stock tie
or show pin
Hair bow/ribbon
(for the kiddo competitor)
Show shirt (bring 2!)
Cuff links for the dressage test
Show gloves
Show breeches
(bring 2!)
Tall boots
Tall socks

Boot polish

Bobby pins, scrunchies, rubber bands
Hair net & hairspray

Lint roller

Muck boots
Rain coat & sweatshirt
Baggy shirt
to wear over your show gear
Ibuprofen, bandaids, athletic tape





Pro Tips



WD-40 - Spray it on hooves to repel dust & dirt

Pledge - Great tail detangler, and quickly polishes tack, too!

Dryer sheets - Rub hind legs & tail for a static-free tail! 

Baby powder - Apply to (clean) white markings for an extra boost of chrome. It also repels dust in the ring!

Rags - More than you think. More than that

Alcohol - Spray on manure stains, rub off with rags, save yourself another trip to the wash rack

Extra spray bottles - Show sheen? Water? Bleach mixture? Spray bottles are endlessly helpful

Poultice & liniment - Exhausted & in need of an ice bath at the end of a show day? So is your horse

Peppermints - Keep the wrapper in your pocket for the jog or vet check, and you'll have a much more eager horse trotting next to you



Extra string & safety pins for your show number

Extra stirrup leather & emergency release rubber bands

Saddle cover - Keep it on while you warm up: clean saddle, warm bum

Tags & a Sharpie - Everything without your name on it will be claimed by someone else

Cooler with snacks - The food cart is going to feel impossibly far away after a tough ride

Frozen Gatorade & water -Save yourself a heat-stroke or three

Wet rags in the cooler - See above

Treats - For you, for your horse, for making friends!

Sunscreen - Bring it, and it'll probably rain. But if you don't, your horse's snip will be burnt a tomato red hue and you'll have a very strange helmet tan

Moleskin - Strange name. Savior of ankles & calves everywhere



Step ladder - You know what sucks? Running around the show grounds asking to borrow someone's step ladder at 4am

Headlamp - Whether you're braiding before dawn or searching for a bit in the depths of your trailer, a headlamp is this season's hottest accessory

Cooler blanket - Toss it over your tacked up horse to keep her muscles warm while you walk the course. Wrap yourself in it while wandering the show grounds to keep mud from flicking up onto your breeches

Extra buckets - Also more than that

Double sided snaps - Even if you don't use these -- which you will -- keep some around. These are horse show gold

Zip ties - Tie your broken reins to your bit. Tie your loose stirrup leather to the catch. Tie your broken bone back to your arm. Easy!

Duct tape - What a zip tie can't fix, duct tape will!

Enthusiastic teenager (or a patient friend) - Essential for removing tall boots w/o zippers, scratching or adding classes, horse-holding for last minute bathroom trips, and much, much more!

Cash - It's a horse show. No one will take credit cards

Trainer bribes - Chocolate? Smoothie? Beer? Do some reconnaissance. They'll appreciate it, and your early morning panic attack will be forgiven

Toilet Paper - When your choices are the back of a horse's stall or the fly-infested portable toilet

Lucky charm - They work

Good luck! ;) 





Jessie & These Tiny Miracles

Sophia Proler

I was reminded today that my problems are small. 

When a big, ugly, horrible, sad thing flattens you or someone you love, you can’t help but reflect. 

We never know how many or how few days we may actually get to use or abuse in a life. How can you fill each day with meaning? What does that meaning even look like? 

Several years ago, like many college students at the time, I was very caught up in my little world. What friends did I need to see while back for the summer? Was my major going to lead to a good job after I graduated? How much fun could I pack into the break before returning to school?

Despite these thoughts, texting constantly, and having serious FOMO, I still knew that I needed to get some quality horse time in, so I signed up to be a lead walker and facilitator at SIRE. 

SIRE helps individuals with special needs and disabilities through therapeutic horsemanship.

My petty problems dissolved each time I drove onto the property, and I found them returning much more slowly by the end of the summer. I soon cared far less if I was excluded from somebody's party or didn't win the internship. The saintly horses, the unbreakable will of the riders, and the incredible support of their parents and guardians became my life force. 

Some showed up in wheelchairs, with blank stares, and with significant mental challenges. Some clients were completely silent. Some clients cried in pain as they were lifted onto their horse, and some spent much of their time on the horse yelling or flailing. Yet others seemed to wake up as soon as they sat in the saddle, and somehow at the end of the lesson, each rider stood a little taller. They smiled more easily. They acknowledged the volunteers and patted their mount.

These horses were working tiny miracles.

My favorite rider came every Wednesday and Thursday for her 45 minute lesson. She was silent, but her face glowed with enthusiasm every time she was helped onto her horse and took the reins. Jessie was in her late teens, non-verbal, and mostly non-responsive. She had a lifetime of challenges ahead of her, but on a horse, she was finally in control. She put her heels down, she placed balls in buckets, and steered her steed over poles and through gates. This was her opportunity to be free.

And her father was on the bleachers every time. He sat in his suit and tie, watching with rapt attention and cheering Jessie on each time she passed him.

“You look great up there!”
“You’re doing wonderfully; I love you!”

Sometimes she would seem to smile, sometimes she seemed not to hear him. But his support was unfailing. 

He knew better than any of us how hard Jessie's life (and his own) would continue to be. He knew that the rest of his life would be dedicated to helping her in and out of the bathtub, making sure she ate enough, protecting her from bullying, and teaching her all he could about the world. But he didn't spend those precious 45 minutes checking his phone or zoning out. He was right there. 

These horses gave us all a reason to be present and grateful for the moments we have. Their legacy is clear. Now I just need to get going on mine.

Click here if you would like to donate to SIRE

Wherever you are, Jessie, I hope you’re still riding.