Showing out of your trailer: ideas to prepare or just do it

So I’m thinking of going to an event 2 hrs away later this season. Venue used to offer stabling, but no longer, so I’ll have to work out of my 2-horse. Got my 5 yr old last year and we’ve showed/cliniced several times successfully, but we’ve always had a stall. What, if anything, can I do to prep her for standing tied to a trailer for 6-7 hrs in a show environment? I’ll be taking just 1 horse, but have no idea if she’ll be totally different (calling, pawing, restless) tied for long periods. Besides having a haynet, taking walks/grazing what pre-show training do you do? My nightmare scenario is the screaming, pacing, worked-up horse tied to a trailer we’ve all seen now and then. Then I imagine pouring rain…

I show out of my trailer pretty often.

My #1 suggestion is really good hay. A flake of straight alfalfa or 50/50 gets their attention pretty well.

The worked up horse gets tied on the other side of the trailer where I don’t have to look at them. :slight_smile:

You’ll have to try it to know. I do lots of handwalking, just because sitting around is boring.


Gotta love your perspective!! I’ve practiced self-loading at home and hung her net in there, do chores for 20 min. and she’s munching fine. Kinda hard to tie her to the outside as parking area can be busy, but I have a few months to try it.

I can get show anxiety, so trying to have a plan “just in case”. May need to make sure I have a friend to come along in case I need an extra hand. Any other suggestions are welcome…


Until you get your routine figured out, I’d definitely recommend having a groom for the day. Pay or otherwise bribe a friend to go along, it will make the day more fun anyway.

My advice: five gallon bucket and Luggable Loo seat/lid. Reduce the number of times you have to leave your horse alone at the trailer.


It’s the norm here not to stable, but I would say only about a small percenteage of horses stay tied to the trailer the whole time. Most stay in the trailer at least part of the time. I usually haul there, pick up my number, walk the courses (if I am walking before dressage) and get all my stuff set up for at least dressage. Then I get the horse out and let them hang out for a bit/ handwalk if there’s extra time. After I do dressage if I am going to walk courses or volunteer or be away from the trailer for any length of time I’ll usually reload for a while. I actually find that being in the trailer with the windows and side doors open is often cooler. I do always shut the ramp if I’m not going to be right there.


Yes to this! I finally wised up and put one in the back of my trailer and what a difference. No icky porta-potties , no waiting in lines, no long walk to get there. Wish I did it years ago.


I routinely show out of my trailer (I would say >50% of shows I do each year) and mine adapted pretty quickly. I leave mine on the trailer pretty much the entire time (unless I’m tacking them up or riding them) with the windows open (so they can see out) and plenty of hay. However, I also haul out for lessons almost every week so mine are used to standing on the trailer. I would just allow for extra time than you normally would and ensure there is hay in front of her at all times. Good luck!


Thanks everyone! I will definitely bring a horsey friend and lots of extra hay. The show in question is a couple months away. I will definitely practice leaving my horse on the trailer for longer periods between now and then.


A tip for show anxiety. Every single person you lay eyes on, think “I wish you happiness.”

Try it.


Buy a 5 gallon water container from Amazon with a lid. If you’ve got to walk any stretch of distance it’s a lifesaver to fill/refill water buckets! All our schooling shows are 1 days and I think most horses tie to the trailer just fine, especially with some good hay. My previous horse stressed at the trailer so I always gave him a half tube of ulcergard before we got on the trailer in the morning.


I always leave mine on the trailer if I’m not actively doing something with them (tacking, washing, etc). Let your horse learn that the trailer is his stall. Hang a water bucket, leave lots of hay, and open the windows. It’s safer, less stressful, and it’s often cooler than being tied in the sun.

I’ve also done plenty of tacking the horses on the trailer, so they’re ready to go by the time I unload them. Only do this if your horse is sensible and you can trust them in the small confined space. If this won’t work for you but you’re concerned that he will be excitable when you unload, bridle him while he is still on the trailer, then put your halter on over the bridle. This way you will never have a horse with a naked head while you are out in the open.

Have fun! I like to collect everything I need right away when I arrive- fill plenty of water buckets for drinking and washing, set your tack out where it is ready to use, put numbers on your pads/pinneys, etc. The more prepared you are for the day, the less stressed you will be if anything unexpected comes up.

Also- remember a mounting block! Don’t wait to find out that your horse won’t let you mount from the wheel well or the back of the truck. Mounting blocks are easily forgotten but so important!


These are awesome tips. Thank you!

My suggestion is to bring a fan and invest in a portable battery. I have this one:

My horses are generally good about being on the trailer, but they always seem so happy when I bring a fan and turn it on for them.

Also if you don’t work out of your trailer a lot, I suggest practicing grooming and tacking tied to the outside of your trailer at home before you go.

And finally, if you get there and your horse is being a goober and you’re at all worried about losing your horse when you go put the bridle on, I suggest putting the bridle on when your horse is still on the trailer, then putting a halter on over that before you go out and finish tacking up.

Good luck!


I show out of my trailer a lot and transitioned to that from showing out of a stall, so I feel you. I also keep them on the trailer unless actively tacking up or untacking, icing, etc. Make sure you know where you will get water. Sometimes there is nothing close to where day trailer parking is and hauling buckets is totally impractical. Just either bring some or know where it is. I also do extra yummy hay.

I also will add that a lot of the screaming idiot horses I see at shows are doing that because they had a horse friend with and friend left. My horses, even the younger ones, generally do pretty well going to a show alone and then staying alone but the same horses will be complete idiots if a friend (even a two hour friend) leaves them alone in or at the trailer.


Adding a 12V battery to the trailer makes a huge improvement as then you can have fans installed, a water tank and electric pump installed, etc. I always show out of the trailer and between phases the horse is back on the trailer with hay and water. I fit is hot the fans are on. I also make sure the doors and windows are open.

The other thing would be to have two of everything. One for at home and one for on the road. That way things you need, never leave the trailer.


Do hang a water bucket for your horse.
But don’t stress if she doesn’t touch it.

My Show days are long over, but I do a fair amount of Driving with my mini & trails with my horse.
Neither one seems to want water, even when I’ve driven or rode for a couple hours.
I feel better for having water available if they want it. :roll_eyes:

I’ve taken the mini on drives since he was 3 & the other horses never bothered him.
Driving GTGs are showlike, in that there’s the distractions of others harnessing & hitching all around you.
Horse was a veteran of trail/camping before I got him, so he’s fine being tied to a trailer, hitch rail or highline.
I don’t leave them in the trailer unless it rains hard.

For yourself, take a friend, relax & have fun!

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Another option is a neck collar. I use these during bad weather with an engraved info tag attached but they’re meant for use with a high line when camping, etc.

Speaking of, if you are going to work out of your trailer a lot, assuming you’re parked far enough apart, adding a Hi-Tie gives the horse more room.

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Again, thank you all for sharing your experiences. This is the only show I’d do that doesn’t offer stalls, so it won’t be a common occurrence for us. The show organizer is “hoping” to return to temp stalls next year. I will bridle in my trailer for safety, but probably not tack up. I’ll practice tacking up tied to trailer at home so I don’t do too many brand new things at the showgrounds.

Train your horse in advance to park next to trailer so you can get on from the wheel arch :wink:


Hundreds (thousands?) of Pony Club horses happily stand tied to trailers all day at rallies, and most events are one day events in my area with horses at trailers. As long as they have a steady hay supply and water, the vast majority of them do just fine. Sometimes you’ll see one pawing, and occasionally there’s one who just won’t stand tied nicely, and that one gets hand walked and/or put on the trailer. Most of them just munch hay and nap.

In order to know what you’re in for, I’d trailer her somewhere and hang out for a little while. Maybe a local hunter show, or a trail ride. Go ahead and ride before or after, but pack a lunch and build some time in your schedule to leave her tied for an hour or so, and see how she reacts.