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Annie Goodwin

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Packing for Horse Trials 101

After two years at Northern Arizona University,  Annie Goodwin of Rafter Y Eventing, now based in Aiken, made the decision to trade the classroom for the cross country course, to see just how far her passion for horses and the great sport of eventing could take her. She has never looked back. Annie keeps up with her blog on her website, and we thought we’d share her packing tips here on EN for our readers to benefit from. Many thanks to Annie for writing!

Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

Photo by Kasey Mueller/Rare Air Photography.

There you are. You’ve submitted your entry, looked up your ride times, and bathed wonder pony, now all you have to do is pack. Ugh. Packing. Why do I event again? Why couldn’t I fall in love with a single phase sport?!

No matter how much you prepare, you always have too much and still forget something. Personally, (and because I often suffer a terrible case of scatterbrain) I get started with a list. For each show, I will grab a piece of paper and a pen and mentally play through my day.

As I go through the day, I write down the supplies I need for each phase, and anything else I might want to properly care for my horse.

As an example, let’s go through CROSS COUNTRY. Not just because it’s every eventer everywhere’s favorite part of the day, but it also because it happens to be the most gear-centric of all three phases. So here we go…

I’ll start with studs (I always start with studs … think from the ground up). Do I need them? Better to have them and not want them, right?

After I’ve studded, I move on to protective boots. When studding, which is a personal choice mind you, it’s super important to keep your horse safe from themselves (not totally out of the ordinary). My general rule is: if the horse has studs in, he has boots on. How much would it stink to have to scratch because your ever-graceful equine split his own leg with his other (studded) hoof? Avoidable Accident. I digress.

We’ve got the boots on! Time to secure them in place so as not to have slippage or velcro malfunction while on course. I use electrical tape, one piece at the top, one piece at the bottom. All booted!

Now onto the tack. I start with my breastplate (hunt plate, 5 point, running martingale, or let your dude run bare boobed; totally a choice made individually).

Next we have the saddle pad, half pad, saddle and girth.

Now that Teddy O’Connor over there is all suited up, it’s my turn. I’ve got my tall boots and spurs (like I said, from the ground up!). Hopefully I still have pants on … it can be questionable.

Next, I grab my jump vest, air vest, pinney holder, arm band and watch.

Moving on up to the all important noggin. I have to attempt to tame my own wild mane. Time for the HAIRNET.

Now for the most important of importants, my helmet. Finally the wait is over and I bridle up (oh, right. I got that too), mount up and kick on!

So after I finish playing this short film, directed by me, in my own brain, this is what my list looks like:

Studs, Horse Boots, Tape, Breast plate, Saddle pad, Half pad, Saddle, Girth, People boots, Jump vest, Air vest, Pinney holder, Arm band, Watch, Hairnet, Helmet, Bridle.

I do this for the entire day (or weekend). From trailering to dressage to stadium to cross country to cool down and aftercare to trailering. Yes, this might be a little time consuming but it’s thorough. I feel prepared and organized.

Playing through my competition is part of my ritual, I guess. With my lists in hand, I start packing and organizing my trailer to be efficient to work out of. Items get marked off the list only as they go in.

This is what works for me! Maybe it will work for you, and I hope it will work for you too. Either way, it’s most important to have a plan and stay organized. We spend so much time training, riding and conditioning that sometimes the mundane stuff like packing and organizing fall to the wayside. Don’t let the mundane bring you down! Make it part of your ritual. Embrace it and make it work for you.