So I packed up all of the *stuff* I need for a show, including the kitchen sink. How do I organize it all at the show?
To answer this one, let's assume you are spending the night and you have also reserved an extra stall for use as a Grooming stall and storage area. If you have mutliple horses, it's often a good idea to have more than one extra stall reserved, so that you have a storage room for hay/grain, tack, etc. and one for grooming. Here are some ideas on how to set them up.
A typical showground - stalls, grooming stalls, and stuff spilling out to the barn aisle.
Let's assume you only have one extra stall for everything you need. This means that you may need to do some clearing out so that your horse can actually fit in there safely during the day to use the crossties. At night, pile everything back in and lock up as your horse goes to his eating and sleeping stall.
A highly artistic drawing (UGH) of a grooming stall set up. You may need to do some creative shuffling of stuff during the day so your horse can safely fit when you are grooming.
Depending on the stall, it's really nice to have some sort of flooring that isn't dirt. Those plastic rugs that fold nicely are very common and easy to use at the show to cover the floor IF a horse will not be stepping on them. (So, for your hay area or lounge area.) For a Grooming stall where a horse will be, use a thin rubber mat if you like. They are easy to roll and secure with bailing twine for transport, and allow for some hoof dressing to absorb before your horse shuffles in the dirt.
These storage shelves are easy to set up and transport.
Let's assume your horse will need to be in the Grooming stall to get ready for his classes. (I sometimes use the regular stall to groom and braid, so the horse can feel more comfortable. For some horses, they really need the Grooming stall.) I prefer to attach a set of breakaway cross ties so that the horse stands diagonally in the stall, you will have more room. This leaves the corners for your "stuff". It's easier and safer to have the tack on a rack and hook outside of the stall. After the day is over, put your tack into the Grooming stall for locking.
Watch that hooks you hang for tack are nowhere near hooves or eyes or mouths or legs. Same goes for trunks or bags or what not. Rule of thumb - don't leave your horse unattended.
So here are some handy tips I have for making the most of your space:
- Hang bailing twine across the walls of the Grooming stall and use these lines to hang blankets, boots, wraps, and saddle pads. A piece of twine about 3 or 4 feet in length works well. You can also use a stall guard if you have them. Secure each end with a staple if you can, or use a screw eye in the wall.
- Stall guards make handy holders for saddle pads, sheets, and horse boots.
- Have a designated area for laundry and trash. At day's end, empty the trash and take the laundry to the trailer and store there.
- Have a few hooks handy to hang bridles for cleaning, they are also good to toss your halters onto.
- Have trunks with wheels.
- Label, label, label. Preferably before you get to the show!
- Screw eyes are great for hanging buckets for water, as well as hanging buckets of grooming supplies in the Grooming stall. This keeps hooves out of trouble. (We hope!!)
- Don't forget your padlocks to secure everything.