Back in the day, my “show bag” was simply my mom. She somehow magically had everything I needed before I needed it. Nowadays, her show responsibilities are limited to posing for pictures and occasionally handing me cups of water.
Life as an amateur is different. Mom isn’t there to pack your bags for you- unless you’re one of the lucky ones who gets all the fun of being an AMMY and has an awesome show mom to boot. So here are a few things I almost forget to bring every time:
Checkbook: Seems like a no brainer, right? But riddle me this - when is the last time you used a check for something other than a horse show? It’s so easy to forget it at home. Some of the bigger venues have begrudgingly started accepting cards, but keeping your checkbook handy remains the easiest way to pay your show bill, your braider, your emergency farrier, etc.
Chapstick: Whether you’re out in the sun in the summer or braving the cold dry air of winter, your lips are gonna need some extra love. Nothing gets under my skin more than chapped lips when I’m trying to focus on my course walk.
Baseball cap: Unless you are one of the magical unicorn people that doesn’t get helmet-hair (in which case please share your secrets), your hair is going to be a gross sweaty mess after you take your helmet off. Bonus: keep the sun off your face during the summer months!
Extra hairnets: See above. They always rip or go missing just when you’re getting ready to hop on. I keep an unopened package in my show pack just in case.
Towel/rag: Whether it’s mud from wet footing or dust from dry footing, chances are high that your boots will be less than pristine after you warm up. Or your horse may have snuck a bite of grass and is now covered in green slobber. Or literally a million other things that a towel can fix.
Portable phone charger: OMG these things are life changing. My phone always runs through battery so fast at shows- I get bad service out in the boondocks where all my regional venues are, I take a million pics and videos, I call my dad every 2 hours to tell him how great his grand-pony is, I post to social media obsessively, I start drafting blog posts, I check my bank account and cry when I’m paying my bill, and basically I am using my phone every second that I’m not actively jumping a jump. The stabling area may have outlets, but a portable charger that I can plug in at the end of the day to recharge is revolutionary.
In a nutshell: money, sun protection, sustenance, basic equipment, and access to phone juice! These are what keep me going during long show days in the heat and cold, rain and sleet.
What other essentials do you pack?