Whether you are showing for the first time this year, or you are a seasoned amateur or professional, we know the stress that comes from packing your tack trunk before a competition. The last thing any rider wants is to forget their favorite show pad or lucky hoof pick. That’s why we compiled a handy list of tack trunk essentials to help you keep track of what you and your horse might need this show season!

What to Pack in Your Horse Show Trunk?

When packing for a horse show, there are 5 essential categories of supplies you need to make sure you pack:

  1. Tack and Riding Equipment, like bridles and girths.
  2. Grooming Supplies, like shampoos and brushes.
  3. Horse Care Supplies, like slickers and leg wraps.
  4. Rider Essentials, like gloves and hair nets.
  5. Extra Stable Supplies, like utility straps and portable racks

Every rider might pack a little differently based on their discipline, show venue, number of horses, how much space they have, and how long they are staying. Some riders might even have a horse trailer to store show clothes or larger items that are not routinely needed at the stalls. Tack trunks are convenient for riders who cannot park their trailer near the stall barn, or share limited space in a tack stall, but still need extra storage for quick, on hand use.

Since tack trunks typically reside at the set of stalls you rent at the show, they should encompass all items your horse will need to school and show, get ready, and receive post-ride care. Plus, it’s always good to have extras in case a piece of equipment breaks. In addition to tack, brushes, and horse care products, you should pack various items for yourself, like spurs, gloves, chapstick, snacks, and basic stable items to have on hand for back at the stalls, like cross-ties and stall guards.

To keep all your items organized, store each category of items together that fit in containers or totes. Consider storing a set of grooming, care, and stable supplies reserved for horse shows together in your trunk year-round or in a place you will always remember during packing, preventing you from accidentally leaving items behind in your tack room or locker.

You can also label your horse show tack trunk with your name, phone number, and horse’s name, preventing your trunk from getting mixed up with others while also being an easy way to contact you during emergencies. A padlock on your trunk might be helpful in ensuring that your items remain secure, too.

Tack and Riding Equipment

Tack and Riding Equipment

  • Show and Schooling Pads: Make sure you pack one or two extras of each, depending on the number of days you show. If it rains and your show pad gets wet or muddy, you will want a clean one for the next day. If you ride western, you might also want to remember an attractive show blanket to place over a saddle pad, adding a finishing touch to your horse’s outfit.

  • Bridles: Don’t forget if you have both a schooling and a show bridle, especially if one breaks - you will have a backup just in case.

  • Martingales: Pack your martingale with your bridle(s) so you have everything together in one place.

  • Bits: Include a few extra bits your horse is familiar with. You might need to make bridle or bit adjustments as the show progresses.

  • Training Equipment: In case your horse needs a pre-ride warm up, grab a lunge line and lunge whip.

  • Show and Schooling Girths: Similar to your show and schooling pads, you might want a couple different girths, especially if the arena gets muddy.

  • Girth Attachments: Store your girth attachment with your martingale or draw reins for greater organization.

  • Ear Plugs and/ or Bonnets: While your horse might only have a few bonnets to match their tack, you can never have too many ear plugs on hand.

  • Tack Cleaner: Never leave home without tack cleaner for your saddle, bridle, or show halter, ensuring that you enter the show ring all polished and ready to go!

  • Extra Halter and Leadrope: You never know when your horse’s halter might break, or when a horse gets loose and you need to quickly find a spare halter and leadrope.

  • Extra Set of Reins: Keep another set of reins accessible in case your other reins break or you make further tack changes.

  • Number Holder: Place your number holder near the top of your trunk, so you will remember to attach it to your saddle as soon as you receive your number for the show.

  • Extra Latigo Cinch Tie Strap: Your latigo breaking is every rider’s worst nightmare. Always keep an extra one just in case an accident happens and you need a quick replacement.

  • Horse Boots: Don’t leave behind any sets of splint boots, sport boots, bell boots, or polo wraps that your horse might need to school or show.

Grooming Supplies

Grooming Supplies

  • Hard and Soft Brushes: Start your tack trunk’s grooming kit with hard and soft brushes.

  • Curry Comb: Add a relaxing massage curry comb, especially for muscle relief on long show days.

  • Hoof Pick: An essential in every grooming collection!

  • Mane and Tail Brushes: Grab gentle mane and tail brushes to keep your horse neat and tidy.

  • Baby Oil: Don’t forget baby oil to clean up your horse’s nose and ears before hitting the show ring.

  • Rubbing Alcohol: If you do not already store rubbing alcohol with your first aid kit, include a bottle to help dry your horse’s legs before wrapping them.

  • Braiding or Banding Supplies: If you braid or band your own horse, make sure you find the right tools, such as rubber bands, thread, shears, combs, a seam ripper, and a latch hook.

  • Hoof Paint/ Oil: Enhance your horse’s shine and appearance with hoof paint or oil.

  • Moisturizing Spray: Keep your horse soft and shiny with a nourishing hair moisturizer that can be applied to manes, tails, and coats.

  • Detangler: No mane and tail care kit is complete without detangler.

  • Wash Bucket with Shampoos, Sponges, and a Sweat Scraper: Pack all your bathing products together in your wash bucket, so you can quickly grab and go as you head to the wash rack.

Horse Care Supplies

Horse Care Supplies

  • Equine First Aid Kit: If you do not store an equine first aid kit that is designated for travel in the horse trailer, keep one in your tack trunk for emergencies.

  • Feed / Water Buckets: Never forget both your horse’s feed and water buckets. Consider packing them with your horse’s feed and supplements.

  • Tail Bags: Prevent your horse’s tail from getting dirty or losing braids with tail bags.

  • Slicker: Slickers stop your horse’s coat and mane from getting dirty while keeping manes, braids, and bands lying flat.

  • Extra Rags: Towels and rags are always handy for cleaning your horse and tack.

  • Poultice and Liniment: Perfect to soothe and cool down your horse’s muscles and joints after showing.

  • Hoof Pack: Soothe overheated and inflamed hooves with hoof pack after long days showing.

  • Vet Wrap: You can never have too much vet wrap for leg bandages, hooves, or tails.

  • Leg Wraps: Roll up leg wraps into your tack trunk for trailering, post-ride care, etc.

  • Horse Treats: Perhaps the most important item - always reward your horse with plenty of treats!

Rider Essentials

Rider Essentials

  • First-Aid Kit: Save a first-aid kit for yourself for any minor cuts, scrapes, medicines, etc.

  • Toiletries: You will never regret packing personal items, like sunscreen, chapstick, or deodorant.

  • Sunglasses and Extra Hat: Block the harsh sun from your face with sunglasses and a hat.

  • Scissors or Pocket Knife: Always handy for cutting hay bales, bags of bedding, bandages, etc.

  • Western or English Spurs: Keep spare spurs and straps for yourself in case you lose a pair or need to switch it up.

  • Crop: Every rider has a favorite crop to aid their legs and seat.

  • Gloves: Riding gloves have a habit of disappearing or wearing out, so make sure you grab a spare set.

  • Helmet with Extra Hair Nets and Hair Ties: If you do not pack your helmet in another bag or backpack, check that you place it in your trunk with extra hair nets and hair ties.

  • Boot Polish: Never step foot in the show ring without a pair of clean and shiny boots.

  • Number Holders: Don’t leave your number holders behind. Put them at the top of your tack trunk, so you can quickly grab them as you put your number on for the day.

  • Sticky Spray or Stick: Provide yourself with a little extra grip using a sticky spray or stick to apply on your saddle or inner calves of your boots.

  • Snacks: Pack plenty of energy boosting snacks to get through long days of showing.

  • Phone Charger: Make sure you stash an extra phone charger cord or portable charger, so you do not run out of battery.

Stable Supplies Essentials

Extra Stable Supplies

  • Extra Utility Straps: Hang up buckets and hay nets with ease using utility straps.

  • Utility Hooks: A must-have in every tack trunk, hang up just about anything, from halters, to bridles, to buckets.

  • Bridle Rack: Display multiple bridles or halters at once with a portable bridle rack.

  • Double End Snaps: Extra snaps are always convenient for buckets, cross ties, or stall guards.

  • Stall Guards: Grant your horse air flow and a better view of the aisle way as you go in and out of their stall with foldable stall guards.

  • Leather Hole Puncher: Comes in handy when you need to adjust a bridle or stirrup leathers in a pinch!

  • Sewing Kit: Make any last minute fixes to your show clothes with a portable sewing kit.

  • Electrical Tape: Insulate wires and make minor repairs with a roll of electrical tape.

  • Tools: Basic tools, such as a screwdriver, hammer, staple gun, and wrench are great to have during certain emergencies or stall repairs.

  • Spray Bottle: You never know when one might break or start leaking!

  • Zip Ties: Secure cords or seal bags with durable zip ties.

  • Cross Ties and Cross Tie Rings: Depending on the setup of your stall area, you might want to hang up cross ties and rings, so you can properly tack up your horse.
Download a packing checklist to double-check that you added all the essentials to your horse show-tack trunk.

Now that you have everything you might need, safe travels and happy horseshowing!