Whether this is your first show or your one-hundredth, pre-show jitters can leave you scattered and scrambling the week of the event. Here are some helpful tips to keep you organized and make sure that both you and your horse have a good experience.
Packing for the Event
When packing for the show, the first thing you’ll need is a checklist of items that you’ll need. This way you can reference it as you go, and you’ll be much less likely to forget something important. The most important thing that you’ll need is your paperwork. Proper paperwork consists of permits, registration documents, and membership papers. This should include your truck and trailer registration! But don’t forget your other supplies, such as show clothes, casual clothes, snacks, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
As hard as you’ll be working, without a happy and well-tended horse, you’re dead in the water. Be sure to include the following items on your list:
- Shipping boots/leg wraps
- Tail bag/wrap
- Grooming Kit
- First-aid kit
- Hay and hay net
- Feed and water buckets
- Manure fork
- Silver polish and rags
On the day before the show, make sure to clean and polish your tack and give your horse a bath to make sure you’ll both look your best.
Preparing the Truck
Because a truck has to work harder in order to pull a horse trailer a long distance, you must ensure that its engine is working efficiently and that the tires aren’t going to blow out on you. By conducting a few simple tests, you can determine whether or not your truck needs maintenance. During an engine test, connect the truck to the trailer and pull a load a short distance. If the engine smokes, makes loud noises, or rumbles and shakes, you should get it checked out by a mechanic.
To test the tires, use a pressure gauge that produces an accurate reading. You can determine the correct psi level by reviewing the maintenance section in the vehicle owner’s manual. In case of inclement weather, you will need to protect any supplies that you’ve packed in the bed of your truck. In a pinch, you can throw a tarp over everything with some bungee cords, but using a topper or tonneau is going to be a more reliable solution for keeping things dry and in top condition.
Preparing the Trailer
Before each trip, you must implement a few strategic trailer maintenance procedures as well. Begin by ensuring that everything is properly connected. Next, step into the trailer, and scan the floors and walls. If the surfaces are dirty, use suitable cleaning supplies to cleanse the area. The last thing you want is for your freshly-bathed horse to be standing in a dirty trailer. If you use bedding in your trailer, add fresh bedding on the side where the horse will be riding. Finally, check the hitch ball that’s attached to the trailer. Whenever the metal is dry, you’ll need to grease the metal surfaces.
There’s a lot to look forward to at a western horse show, but if you’re not adequately prepared, your experience will go downhill fast. Implement these tips beforehand and you and your horses will arrive at your destination prepared for the event and ready to do your best.
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