Outfitting The Horse Trailer

rsz 004If you have a horse trailer with a dressing room you could store most of your competition equipment there, eliminating the need to repack the trailer each time you have a competition. If items are affordable enough, keep a spare set in the trailer.

I really like sturdy tote boxes to store most of my gear. They can be stacked on top of each other if needed or allow other items to be stacked on them. They also deter mice or other critters from finding a way to make a home in them if you can find an airtight version. I also keep some open boxes to store items that I need easily accessible. Another advantage of the tote boxes is that they are easily transported to the horses stall for overnight competitions and the sturdy ones can do double duty as seats.

Suggestions for Dressing Room Supplies:

 SuSSjS1. Porta potty. Yes, it is odd that is my first suggestion but I got my first trailer with a dressing room when I had small children. I would sometimes take them with me to lessons and the porta potty was a lifesaver. It also is handy to have one available for long trips (no more sneaking behind a bush on the side of the road) or just to avoid using the public porta pottys on the 3rd day of 90 degree heat at a horse show!

2. Trailer Aid. Because we all eventually have to deal with a flat tire on the horse trailer and it is always when you have at least one horse in it. Trailer Aids are simple to use. I also carry a small hydraulic jack just in case the trailer needs a little extra boost to lift it along with a block of wood to prevent the jack from sinking into the ground while in use.

3. Horse clothes for various seasons. I include a heavier weight polarfleece cooler, a lighter weight cooler, dress sheet or antisweat sheet, a rainsheet, and a flysheet if your horse is extra sensitive to flies. I pack these items in a storage container and have a label on the inside of the lid that lists what supplies belong in the box. This saves you having to go through all the items each time you pack. Keep a spare halter and a few leads in your trailer as well as a lunge line and lunge whip. Even if you don't lunge your horse, it may come in handy with a reluctant loader. I also keep a spare bridle, martingale, reins and my horses sport boots for competition. This has come in handy more than once when I've arrived at a lesson realizing that I forgot to pack the bridle!

4. Rider/Groom clothes. Having a few extra jackets and rain gear ensures that even if you get caught in nasty weather, you are prepared. I also keep a pair of muck boots and socks in the trailer just in case. My XC vest stays in the trailer for lessons and competition, as does my helmet and a few sets of gloves. I keep one set of show clothes in the trailer which includes boots, breeches, a belt, show shirt and jacket for one day shows and as a back up. Having an extra set of spurs, a jumping bat and a dressage whip makes packing for lessons and shows much easier since you always have a set to use in the trailer. Be sure to keep a set of boot pulls and a boot jack, too. A spare competition armband can also be kept here. If you do any trail riding, an orange vest during hunting season is a good idea.

5. Medical Kit. The USEA Event Checklist has a comprehensive list for items in the medical kit. I keep a copy of that list in the medical kit lid so it is easy to cross reference. Also include a small medical kit for people. Keep sunscreen and insect spray on hand, too. To prevent leakage, I store all the supplies inside baggies.

6. Tool kit. A small tool kit won't take up too much room and can keep all your needed supplies for overnights. I use a plastic file box and have a hammer, nails, double ended snaps, an extension cord, duct tape, rope, scissors, pliers, screw eyes, a screwdriver and a leather punch. Don't forget to pack a flashlight or two and keep them in an easily accessible place.

7. Grooming kit. Keep brushes, fly spray, a braiding kit (keep all supplies in a small zippered bag) inside a mounting box or stool that can serve as a mounting block. Also doubles as a stool when braiding.

8. Bandaging/Shipping Supplies. Keep items for poulticing within easy reach. I have an open top box that contains liniment, paper towels (shop towels work very well for poulticing legs), plastic wrap, alcohol, poultice and disposable gloves. The gloves work well for applying poultice and can be turned inside out once used to be discarded. I keep a set of standing wraps and bandages inside a large mesh zip top laundry bag. It keeps it organized in the trailer and can be tossed in the washing machine with all the wraps afterwards and it keeps the wraps from getting tangled in the laundry. I keep a set of four bell boots for shipping in case I've poulticed a horse and am shipping him home in standing wraps. I also keep a supply of baby wipes handy for instant clean ups when soap and water may not be available.

9. Mucking items. A pitchfork, broom and muck bucket are all necessary items. I use the flexible tub rugs because they take up less space.

10. Stud kit. It's easier to keep the stud kit in the trailer and have an extra tee tap, awl and plug its in the tack room. I make sure to clean my horses stud holes the night before a competition so they are much easier to reclean and use the day of the competition.
I use a fishing tackle box as a stud kit. They are inexpensive to purchase and are an easy size to work with.
Items included in Stud Kit:
WD 40
Small adjustable wrench (for loosening and tightening studs)
Stud Suds (for cleaning studs after use)
Plug Its (to keep in stud holes when studs are not being used)
Awl (for retrieving plug its from stud holes and to aid to cleaning holes)
Safety Spin Tee Tap (user friendly and safety designed tee tap)
Stud storage boxes with stud type identified on top of box
Small wire brush (for cleaning studs)
Magnetic stud dish
Towel or rag
Full set of spare horseshoes, drilled and tapped 

This constitutes my entire stud kit. When I have decided what studs I will be using that day, I have a smaller zip top bag that I put in the supplies for that day. It is easier to carry and work from the smaller kit than the entire box.

In the smaller kit, I would include:
Magnetic dish
Awl
Adjustable wrench
Small pill box with studs and plug its needed for that day
Tee tap

Studs with Plug Its in pill box

Smaller stud kit with only items needed for that day.

11. Buckets and Sponges. I have two buckets for water, one bucket for feed, a small bucket for light sponging and 2 large extra deep buckets for sponging after XC. I also have a small feed bucket mounted in the horses section of the trailer where I can put grain and/or treats when I load the horses. I keep a small bucket with a lid for grain/treats in the trailer so it is always available. Since I don't have help when loading, I've found often the grain in the front of the trailer keeps them occupied long enough for me to fasten the butt bar. Keeping bailing twine between the stored buckets helps prevent them from getting stuck together during transit.

12. Ice boots for after XC. I have a pop up laundry basket that I set my ice boots in after they are filled so they will be ready to be used immediately after XC. Since I'm a wimp about getting my hands cold, I use neoprene gloves when loading the ice boots. The gloves will keep your hands warm and dry and are totally waterproof.

13. Free standing saddle rack. I need this because my trailer is so packed with everything that I can't easily get to my tack!! Actually, I've found keeping my tack needed for the next phase outside of the dressing room gives me more space to lay out everything. Once I'm finished with a phase, the bridles and accessories go back into the bridle bags to be taken home and cleaned for the next show. Horse clothes and any riding clothes go directly into pop up laundry bags to be taken to the laundry. Separating what needs to be cleaned and what goes back to the barn is easier if it's done throughout the day rather than when you get home.

If your dressing room has a pole for hanging clothes, I've found wrapping a polo wrap around the pole and pushing the clothes behind the wrap against the trailer wall prevents your clothes and other hanging items from sliding during sharp turns while the trailer is moving.

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Horse Trailer Accessories