Your Complete Hunter Jumper Horse Show Packing List

Updated December 8, 2022
Horse trailer tack room with supplies ready to be packed.

Traveling to horse shows and overnight events can feel overwhelming and many riders have been known to forget important items, from hoof picks to even their helmets. To help combat the pre-show nerves, we’ve put together a helpful horse show packing list of items you won’t want to forget on your next trip with your horse.

Horse Show Packing Basics

Basics don’t feel so basic when you’re missing something crucial! Here are our top five must-haves for traveling with your horse to shows, trails, events, or anywhere you might be headed.

  1. Water: It’s a good idea to fill a clean water jug with water from your barn to store in your trailer and take on the road. Many horses prefer to have the water they are familiar with while on the road instead of getting water at random rest stops along the way. Planning your traveling time to be during the night in the summer is ideal because of the heat. Yet, sometimes daytime travel just can’t be avoided, so proper hydration is crucial. Additionally, ensuring you have a few tubes of electrolyte paste, like SmartLytes Paste, on hand to give throughout traveling and while at the show can be beneficial for your horse as well.
  2. First Aid Supplies: Evaluating and re-stocking your first aid kit is a good habit to get into before travel. For trips that require 12–15 hours of trailer time, it is better to be safe than sorry on the side of the highway in case an issue arises. SmartPak stocks pre-made first aid kits, or you can create your own from the items you find you rely on the most. For an inside look at homemade first aid kits, check out SmartPaker Jamie’s blog.
  3. Extras: Pack an extra of everything! Things like extra hay nets and trailer ties can be a big help when things end up with sudden tears or breaks. Plus, those pesky small items that are never where they’re supposed to be, like hoof picks, hair nets, ear plugs, and boot rags can be great options to put aside somewhere accessible in your trailer for easy access when your original one goes missing.

    A flat tire on a truck and trailer.

  4. Spare Tire: Another key component of a travel checklist is to always be sure that your spare tire for the trailer is in good shape in case of emergencies. It’s also good planning to learn and practice changing a trailer tire in case you ever need to do it on your own. Along the same line, checking truck and trailer lights and fluids before pulling out of the driveway is a smart choice, and you can always add spare bulbs to your extras list!
  5. Cleaning Needs: Anything that you’ll need to keep spaces clean and tidy should be on your list. From brooms, shovels, and pitchforks, to grooming supplies and shampoo. Cleaning items might include extra bags of shavings and muck buckets, too. So, taking a look around your barn’s current cleaning supply storage might help inspire anything this list has missed!

Horse Show Packing for the Rider

If you’re traveling to shows consistently, a huge portion of your horse show checklist, will likely be dedicated to apparel and gear. While every rider is different and disciplines will often require specific, specialized gear, we have PDF horse show packing checklist downloads attached to the end of this page that you can print and use for any occasion.

  1. Show Coat: Depending on if you’re doing a one-day show or planning for a few weeks at a specific venue, having at least two show coats on hand can help eliminate any washing needs or concerns if you end up with mud or slobber on one coat. Selecting coats that are comfortable, breathable, and flattering can help you feel your most polished every time you step into the show ring.

    A woman wearing a hunter jumper navy show coat.

  2. Show Shirt: If you’re going to bring extra of any clothing item, we recommend it be show shirts. Typically, these shirts are light colors and can stain or smudge easily, so bringing at least two or more can save you time or stress if you find coffee or hoof oil on your first shirt. Many shirts are designed with technical features, like mesh underarms and UV protection, that can help make your rides even more comfortable.
  3. Show Breeches: Hunter jumper show breeches differ from schooling breeches in that they’re often tan or white, so—you guessed it—having an extra pair on hand is never a bad choice. Breeches also continue to see improvements in their fabric and design, so finding the right fit and features for you, from the rise to the style can feel like a chore, but with SmartPak’s Free Return Shipping on sized items, we’ll help you find the breech that’s best for you.
  4. Boots: Your boot needs can range from tall boots for showing, to paddock boots and chaps for schooling, or even a casual boot or more sturdy muck boot for days or times when you’re not riding. Having what you need (and having it clean and ready to go) before show day will keep you on track to put your best foot forward.
  5. Accessories: Smaller items like hairnets, gloves, belts, crops, and boot socks are easy to forget, so packing these early in a garment bag is a great way to ensure you won’t be missing vital pieces of your show day outfit when you need them. If you can, having specific ‘show day’ sets of these items to keep in a travel bag can be a great way to always have some on hand—maybe you’ll even be able to save someone else’s show day by having a spare at the ready!
  6. Schooling Clothes: It may be that on your travels, not every day is a show day. Don’t forget to bring things to school or hack in, too! Schooling shirts (whether it be t shirts or sun shirts) schooling breeches or tights, and outerwear in case of weather changes (like vests and raincoats) will mean you’re always ready for every ride.

Packing Your Horse for the Show

SmartPak supplements organized in a cubby on the horse trailer.
  1. Bridle: Splurging on a nice show bridle can be incredibly satisfying, after all, you have show-specific riding gear, why not include your horse’s tack, too? Bridles with anatomically designed elements and high-quality leather can make you feel that extra level of polished and prepped when you buckle it on for the show ring!
  2. Girth: Much like your show bridle, having a nice leather show girth can be a great way to feel ready for judging. Having added elements like fancy stitching and elastic on both sides can bring your look to the next level.
  3. Saddle: Your saddle is one of your most important pieces of tack, so here’s the one place we recommend staying tried and true to what you use at home. Regular saddle fittings and careful care of the leather will give your saddle many years of extra life and trips around the show ring!
  4. Saddle Pads: When it comes to schooling, there’s no such thing as too many saddle pads. For showing, though, having two fitted pads that work for your saddle, your horse, and your discipline should be plenty to get you through a few days or even weeks of showing.
  5. Schooling Gear: Just like with your gear, not every day will be show day. So having some schooling saddle pads on hand and an extra schooling girth or bridle could come in handy to help keep your show gear clean and pristine.
  6. Accessories: Don’t forget the little odds and ends! If your horse uses a fake tail or if you braid, be sure those items are ready to go with the rest of your show gear. From polos and boots to martingales, stoppers, and saddle covers, you’ll want to make sure you’re not missing a single thing to make your rides the best they can be.

Everything Else for Happy Horse Showing

You may think that this list has already covered everything you need to have a safe and successful show, but we’re still missing a few things - which is exactly why we recommend having printable packing lists (like the PDFs at the bottom of this page).

A white fleece shipping halter on a pony

  1. Trailer Gear: Before and after your show, your horse will likely be in a trailer which means he’ll need his travel outfit. A shipping halter, shipping boots or wraps, hay net, bell boots, and even a head bumper are all great items to have cleaned and ready to go for your horse’s road trip.
  2. Grooming: Some riders choose to have their own travel grooming kit with curry combs, soft brushes, hard brushes, hoof picks, coat sprays, and more, or you can pack up your normal supplies in a to-go carrier to hit the road with!
  3. Daily Items: Don’t forget your day-to-day needs, too. Thinks like a halter and lead rope, as well as water buckets, muck buckets, and extra hay, grain, shavings, and your daily supplements in SmartPaks should definitely be high on your list to pack early to make sure you don’t forget them, too.
  4. Sheets & Blankets: Depending on the time of year, your horse will want some outerwear for when he’s not being ridden, too. Having the appropriate weight of stable sheet or blanket, or even fly or turnout gear as appropriate can help make your horse’s home-away-from-home much more comfortable as well as keeping him cleaner!
  5. Therapy & Support: For post-show and post riding care, be sure to pack your wraps and quilts, poultice and poultice paper, liniment, or any other favorite therapy products. Some riders like to use therapeutic sheets and wraps for their horses between rides.
  6. Miscellaneous: Having common items on hand like trash bags and laundry bags, extra double ended snaps, cross ties, bridle, and halter hooks or even a white board and dry erase markers can help keep your things organized, too. Plus, don’t forget the treats!

Strategically Packing Your Show Trunks

But it’s not always just about what to pack but how to pack for a horse show. When it comes to items such as medical supplies, try putting them inside smaller clear containers, or clear plastic bags with labels. Some riders also opt for several well-marked storage totes over one or two tack trunks to hold all their necessary gear.

These trunks should have a general theme (e.g., riding gear or work boots and polo bandages). You can use clear plastic trunks for those items that you have few of. When you pack each trunk, write a general description on the outside where you will be able to read it at a glance. It’s no good having the label on the lid if you then stack your trunks!

When it comes to packing everything into the trailer, it should be done systematically. Trunks that contain spare items like extra boots or blankets should be kept at the back or bottom of your supplies. The trunks with your commonly used items like grooming supplies and show tack should easily accessible. If you can, it’s also recommended to have plenty of hooks available, both installed in your trailer and ones that you can hang over a show-stall for bridles, halters, hats, coats, and more.

Download PDF Horse Show Packing Lists

Click on the links below to be redirected to the PDF packing list of your choice that you can download and use when getting ready for your next event:

The information provided in the Horsemanship Library is based solely on our SmartPak authors' opinions. SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian or equine professionals regarding specific questions about your horse's health, care, or training. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or behavior and is purely educational.

Article originally published September 13, 2013.