14 Things You’ll Find in Any Equestrian’s Car

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That better not be a judgmental look I see on your face, little dog. Photo by Kristen Kovatch.

That better not be a judgmental look I see on your face, little dog. Photo by Kristen Kovatch.

Some time a few years into my first job as a full-time professional horseperson, I opened my car to drive home from the barn on a cold winter night and sat down to immediately realize that I had achieved a certain benchmark status: I had an equestrian car. I didn’t realize how much this moment meant to me until it happened, nor how long I had been unwittingly working to develop that certain blend of aroma, dust and random equine detritus, but when it happened, I knew that for the present moment at least, I had “made it.”

Now that I’m managing my own horses at my own property, the situation has perhaps gotten even worse. Or should that be “better”? I can’t decide.

Chances are, you’ve made it too. Here’s a list of things you’ll find in any equestrian’s car.

1. Boots. Or perhaps a full set of riding clothes. If you go right to the barn from your day job, you might store a day’s riding apparel in your car. In my particular scenario, I’ve stashed a pair of riding boots in the backseat since I’m now wearing knee-high muck boots for the winter to get around.

2. A lead rope. Mine was serving as an emergency dog leash and I just never bothered to take it back out and put it in the tackroom. But I might legitimately need it someday to rescue a loose horse in the neighborhood or something… or I’m just lazy and it blends in to the floor now.

3. Sacks of feed. I only have room for so many pounds of feed in my collection of metal trash cans, but I like to buy enough feed that I’m not constantly driving up to the feed store to stock up, so the extra bags accumulate, sagging in the backseat like unattractive passengers or providing a foundation for more stuff to be piled on top of them in the cargo area, totally forgotten until I run to the feed store again to discover I already had two bags lurking in the back.

4. Actual tack. Headstalls, spare sets of reins, saddle pads that you keep meaning to take home and wash but will forget about until the first warm day when your car smells like a sock… perhaps an actual or saddle or two…

5. Double-ended snaps. You never can find one when you need one, but there are like four in the glove compartment or the cup holder.

6. Speaking of cup holders, lots of empty drive-through coffee cups. Pick your poison, but in my neck of the woods I’m a Tim Hortons fan.

7. Extra bulk jugs of vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, or other things you bought at the grocery store for the barn. I go through a single spray bottle of ACV, oh, maybe every two months? But I had to buy a gallon jug at grocery store so that I had one on standby, where it has been rolling around on the floor in the back of my car since September waiting for me to notice.

8. Unmatched gloves, likely all for the same hand. So you can’t even put them together to make a full pair.

9. A completely scentless dried-up air freshener. From that one time you made a legitimate effort to clean out your car and make it smell appealing, two years ago.

10. Old invoices and receipts from farrier visits gone by. Because filing things in your home office would be both responsible and also let your family see how much you’re spending.

11. Hypodermic instruments, either loaded or used. This looks really good when you get pulled over. I had to drive to a satellite farm for a few weeks to hand-walk a horse on long layup and had a loaded needle of ace floating around in my car “just in case.” I never used it but it was quite the shock when friends or significant others would open the glove compartment and I would remember its existence.

12. A barn dog. Bonus points for this one because they bring their own wake of loose hair and general filth with them. If my border collie has gotten particularly friendly with the cattle on a given day, she seems to come back with molasses lick stuck to her which is its own special variety of delight.

13. Broken things you fully intended to take home to repair. Blankets that need patching, leather that needs stitching, a wide variety of things that just need some cleaning and duct tape… someday, when you remember that you threw them into the back.

14. A fine patina of dust, dirt and hay chaff on pretty much every surface.

What’s floating around in your car? Let us know in the comments section! Go riding.

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