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Show Organization

Horse show newbie question, but how do you organize yourselves at an overnight show? As in where’s the best place to store hay, carriage, grooming equipment, etc. Obv I don’t want to clutter up the barn aisles with stuff but would rather not have to haul ass back and forth from my trailer to the barn non-stop seeing as we opted for a stall this time around. Do certain things stay in your trailer (locked, I presume) at night and then you take them out again during the day?

And are box fans generally permitted to be run during the day?

I don’t know the answer for your type of show.

But at my first horse trials my trainer did what she did for every newbie: She assigned me a minder. To make sure I didn’t screw up too badly in just these areas. And to make sure I showed up properly kitted out for each of my official rides. Plus our entire small group was charged with double-checking and correcting myself and the other newbie. :slight_smile:

Even though I had a lot of previous experience with small horse shows, trail rides, etc., she made this mandatory for everyone’s first horse trial. And let’s just say thank goodness she did. :crazy_face: :rofl:

So. My suggestion is to recruit a minder with great tact and experience, who is already likely to be near you for most of your adventure.

Good luck and have a fantastic time! :grin:

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Currently I compete where trailers are not far from stalls usually --so easy enough to carry saddle/bridle/brushes to Will where I cross tie him in his stall and prepare, then go to the trailer and dress myself --returning to Will to put his bridle on.

One suggestion I’ve done for years is use a bale-size hay net. Take it to the stall, tie it out of harm’s way, and you are good for the duration. We also haul hay in bale size nibble nets so there is less mess in the trailer.

Otherwise, all Will’s stuff is in one tote (saddle pads, girth, bridle, brushes, lotions and potions, etc that is water tight and can be left outside an open air stall --has a tight lid. His saddle and my show attire stay in the trailer along with rain gear.

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If at all possible CDE people stage out of the trailer, it’s just so much easier. I put up those Rubbermaid snap on tracks in the back to make it really organized. The"harness" hooks come off and go into storage when I’m done. It’s my happy place at a show… But there are a couple venues where that’s just not possible. At those venues I’m so grateful for my modified harness rack. It’s actually the more expensive (better tires!) double saddle rack from Schneider’s. I took the lower saddle rack off (it is easily removables) and found a heavy duty basket to go in that spot (from one of those storage systems). Reins and headstalls go on hooks on the back of the rolling rack, harness on the saddle rack and the 2 baskets below hold all the grooming supplies, etc.

I always leave hay/grain at the stall even if I’m staying out of the trailer. For grain I have a 5 gal bucket with a screw on lid (Amazon has them, very useful!) that holds all my feed/supps for at least 5 days on the road (he gets ration balancer, beet pulp and some alfalfa cubes). Hay goes in the 2 roller hay bags. That keeps hay and grain neat and organized both traveling and showing.

I deal with 2 carriages and harness sets, so it’s a bit more complicated than that. Carriages go wherever the place to go is :joy: At FHP it’s at the end of the aisle (generous overhang), at Tryon, presentation carriages are IN the aisle (they do a decent job of putting only a few competitors in each aisle) and marathons are at the end (not covered).

For everything else, I try to have some sort of cordura type bag, ideally not expensive. Chicks is your friend. I have a big square zipper top bag that was supposed to be for blanket storage, but it holds my presentation harness beautifully (I wrap it in a black fleecy blanket) and is great for storage and traveling. Those over the stall bags they advertise for $10 are useful for keeping blankets, Ziploc bags of feed and brushes at the stall as well. And zilco makes a big harness bag that isn’t too expensive if you order it from the UK and while it’s supposed to hold the entire harness, what it really does well is hold 2 headstalls & reins. It also helpfully hangs on the back of that rolling rack.

As for my outfit(s), they always stay in the trailer and I’ll bring whatever I need to the stall that day. I also use one of those rolling stackable tool boxes as my marathon box, very useful and organized!

Here’s a pic of our set up at Live Oak. Headstalls, reins (and saddle, he gets ridden the day before dressage) on the left, harnesses on the right, dressing room is the curtain area. Straight through to the front is 2 of the 3 parts of the marathon box, the middle box hold horse boots and marathon sneakers, and is right below the harness (it’s sides are like a milk crate so things can dry out - genius!). You can also see the left edge of the rolling saddle rack next to the marathon box (usually it’s also in the back when I’m camping in the front)

There’s a clothes bar in the front where all the clothes go as well.

Some people lock everything up, but by and large, CDE people just have too much stuff and are too tired lol.

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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. And @DMK I could look at that organized set-up ALLLL DAY. Amazing. It looks too clean to have been used to transport any equine :laughing:

I almost mounted a rail like that in my trailer but didn’t, in the end. You’re making me reconsider, though. Was it easy to install? I worried about the hooks during transport but I imagine you only put those up once you’re at your final destination.

Unfortunately the Chicks bags seem to be gone, I did look last night. For now, I’ve got a Dollar store courier bag that I’m stitching velcro straps onto, which can hold an index card with emergency info in a clear pocket on the outside – and it’s perfectly sized to hold a clipboard with the show schedule in it too (and any other relatively flat bits and pieces).

I do feel it’s going to take some trial and error to figure out what works - and looks nice - since I’m not into that lots-of-cheap-junk-everywhere look.

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I love this trailer and keep it sparkling clean partly because… anal… but mostly because I camp in it at shows (no water but it’s insulated and I have electric). At shows I’ll either put the bedding in the far back corner or if just add it to the stall and set aside a half bag for coming home. Also, I keep a blower in the trailer to speed up the cleaning!

The tracks were easy to put up, harder to line up with support beams, so I settled for making sure at least one set was drilled into a support beam. Definitely take off the hooks, they love to pop off when there’s a breeze but they do store nicely in your water buckets if you need a storage space. If you have a bumper pull about the smarter thing you can do is as a shelf in the nose above the windows. It’s amazing how much you can store up there (need sure it has a lip). And if it’s a wire shelf well mounted, you can hang all sorts of things from it as well.

Sorry, big D for the blanket bag turned harness bag (link below)! I did have to cover that clear panel with gorilla tape because it tore almost immediately, but it was ridiculously cheap compared to every other large bag or harness bag and that was with the monogram. I did notice now it’s nylon instead of cordura. And if you buy a cheap black blanket off Amazon, that works perfectly to protect the harness and you don’t get any colored bits of fluff on it (I also use black pillow cases as dust covers on the nice headstall as well. I generally transport the presentation harness in the bag on the floor of the presentation carriage. The headstalls and twins are in the zilco bag on a hook, that leaves only the saddle, breeching and breast plate/traces to go on the rolling saddle carrier that lives in the center nose of the trailer.

It’s an amazingly intricate dance that I can put me, a corgi, a fjord, an e bike, 2 carriages, 2 harnesses, dressage saddle full bridle, snaffle bridle, hay, grain, all the stuff that goes with marathon, a VERY wide brim fancy hat, cot, airbed, mattress topper (we are not heathens, the bed must be comfy), George’s dog bed, mini fridge, air fryer/oven thing, Keurig, Coleman grill, plates utensils, WINE GLASSES AND WINE, 2 coolers for marathon ice and drink storage…andeverythingelse and it all fits in an F250 and a 2+1 BP trailer. But I end up staying in it for 5 nights regularly and one 10 day stretch, so that’s a lot of hotel $$$ saved!


Here’s the closest I could find to the chick’s bag, but keep checking chicks, I bet they will come back. Besides, once you look on the site your FB page will happily remind you 1 or 10,000 times :joy::joy::joy:



This is inspirational. Re-thinking my trailer set-up.

@DMK has this figured out! Of course electricity is a thing, but with the small portable coolers and heaters on the market these days … well I’m not sure I need another place to live …

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@DMK I want you to be my Show Mom :heart_eyes:

I show a mini so stuff is scaled down.
At the 3 venues I’ve shown - Villa Louis, Hoosier Horse Park & County Fair - temporary stalls have a good overhang & my carts go right in front of my stall beneath it. Fair barn has space for carts/carriages in the aisle.
Hay is stacked by the stall door - 2 bales is more than enough, so 1 stays in the trailer until needed.
Harness travels in a rolling softsided suitcase & is hung outside the stalls on a portable tack rack with 10 hooks. I have a wee wicker basket used as a brush box that attaches to this with zipties.
Everything else goes in a small tote: first aid stuff, pre-bagged feed, treats & the brush box.
I set up a folding chair & small table for myself & bring a small cooler for drinks & snacks.
Tote goes by the hay, cooler next to my chair.
I have a mini muck bucket I fill with water so I don’t need to trek to the pump. That gets a towel over the top & fits under the table.
My setup at HHP (5yrs ago :wink:):

I did about 8 months asking driving people and researching before I had this trailer done (it’s an 8’ wide version of a 3H bp slant w/dressing room footprint with an entirely different inside configuration). But ever since I went to my first show in Feb 2019 with this trailer I’ve been noodling with how to make it more comfortable while saving space. This year I added a mini fridge (used my barn fridge during the season). Next year it’s mini fridge with separate freezer, on a stand with a shelf (dorm room idea) and possibly a marine battery to keep the fridge running while driving, because that’s one less cooler that needs to be transported under the presentation carriage.

You could add a 30 amp hook up without much work, and plenty of my friends have added a simple 12v outlet for a regular extension cord (it’s like a pass through, extension cord plug on the outside, outlet directly across the wall so no wiring run through trailer walls). They can’t handle all the stuff I use (yes my laptop is also my tv :grin:), but you can charge your stuff and run a fan or space heater (I swear it should be standard on horse trailers). Mine has a mostly useless light wired in, but it’s really the two outlets (either side) that make my life easy (and the insulated roof) AND the part where I just last year finally figured out the temp would be a lot more comfy if I hung insulated drapes across the trailer just in front of the chest bars. :woman_facepalming:

The other thing that is simple and will rock your world if you have an all aluminum trailer is 1) adhesive metal plates and 2) really strong rare earth magnets with d rings or carabineer snaps. So. Useful.

I’ve got a circular shower curtain on order, it looks like it will fit perfectly in the place where the dressing room is in the pic. I already have a folding dog bath for a shower pan and a rechargeable shower head/hose for primitive camping, BUT if the circular curtain/dog bath works well for showering on some trial runs, I may have a water connection put in that spot and spring for one of those propane tankless shower thingies, because hot showers are right up there with quality sleep and an internet connection in my world view. The only thing I need to work out is putting a screw on safety cover over the spigot since it will be in the hay bag space for any offside horses, but I’m pretty sure there’s all sorts of stuff like that at an RV supply.


Tell us about internet connections on the road.

Rare earth ‘permanent’ magnets? I’m reading up on it now. ‘Permanent’ as in you stick it somewhere, it’s there forever? So get it right the first time? :slight_smile:

Thanks for these brilliant tips! :grin:

I have a mi fi that gets me through horse shows, not the best, not the worst solution. Mine is older so only 4G but I figure 5G isn’t in a lot of these places anyway. It’s not perfect but I’ll get a connection on my phone and between that and downloading a lot of Netflix shows to my laptop, it gets me through the bad places.

The magnets aren’t permanent, but some of them are up to 75lbs vertical forces do they can hold a decent amount. They are considerably less strong on anything but a pure vertical force, but very useful for putting a temporary window covering up, and always having a handy spot to hang up schedules, etc.

Another idea is to get adhesive pencil/pen holders. Use them as whip holders on an unused wall. Wonder where the hell this idea was all your life.

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You forgot to add that your trailer also sleeps your navigator and her cot!

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Right, downloading, the answer to so many of life’s little conveniences out in the country away from signals. :slight_smile:

I do have a hotspot with my cellular service. But even that has to find a signal.

The magnets are a terrific tip. Once they are latched on, can they be removed?

Not anymore! She went and got herself a fancy rig! :joy:

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Just slide the magnet off the steel plate rather than pull it off.

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Would those magnets hold-up a lightweight curtain? My little trailer has nowhere to change in etc., it would be nice to create a private spot for dressing. I’m wondering about suspending a thin wire between two of them… :thinking:

That’s what I used it for, the challenge is that if the tension on the cord pulls the magnet sideways, it’s not nearly as strong. But I was trying to cover a long area (across the width of the trailer) with insulated curtains, so if you stick with lightweight and smaller area it will probably be fine. If not, there’s a 1000 other things you will find them useful for, you just don’t know what they are yet!


Ahh interesting re: magnet hold. I’m now thinking about a shower curtain with a tension rod to create a dressing room at the front, I think it would be cheaper and then no need to worry about the sideways pull.

I was definitely envying some of the setups I saw this weekend, but was shocked at how much STUFF some people travel/show with. Entire stalls rented-out just to hold their gear and equipment! (Clearly I’m still operating on the other end of the spectrum with just the basics and even THAT was more than enough hauling-of-stuff for my taste :sweat_smile: )

This is truly impressive! Keeping in mind my trailer is teeny tiny, I’ll pick-up a collapsible dolly-type thing to help haul stuff into and out of the barn (and maybe a stall bag for odds and ends) and a handful of rubber hooks for the trailer (just thinking out loud here). I adore the rail system you installed but I keep my harness on a hanger, so the extra rail storage might be a bit redundant.

At the moment the cart rides in the front of the trailer which is where I’d like to store all the conveniences (chairs, canopy, etc.) for when we show out of the trailer for those one-day events. If I could find a solution to have it mounted on the back of the trailer … :thinking:

And feed. And hay, mucking supplies … etc.

If you split one tack stall between several riders, it can be a convenience that is well worth it. :slight_smile:

Theoretically you can lock the tack stall overnight, although show management may prefer that you not, on principal. Even locked, I would never leave tack or anything really valuable there overnight. But during the day it’s handy for tack.

It’s just a world I’m not really familiar with, it’s been a learning curve for sure :slight_smile: