10 Things to Do the Day Before a Horse Show

Horse Show Days are long, fun, activity-filled and can also be downright exhausting! The more prep work you do before the show, the better. We like to use the day before a horse show to get as many things packed and prepared as possible. Check out our tips for what items to cross off your list the day before a show!

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Horse showing is such an exciting and fulfilling opportunity to show off your horse and your riding skills. The show ring is also a place to learn, improve, accept constructive criticism and celebrate progress.

Horse showing is also a lot of work! As a rider, there are a lot of supplies and apparel items that must be cleaned and packed. If you are trailering your own horse to a show, the pre-show activity list is even longer. You not only have to gather all of your own supplies for riding, but also your horse’s essentials as well.

Check out this list of things that you can work on the day before your horse show. Every single thing on this list takes more than a few minutes to complete. And so every single thing on the list that you can cross of the day BEFORE the show will save you precious time (and stress!) on show day.

Day Before Horse Show Checklist

Here is a list of our pre-horse show tasks. We always try to take care of these the day before the show (or the day before leaving home if it is an overnight/travel show).

Pack Horse Show Bag

Make sure you pack all of your horse show bag essentials! Check that anything you used up at the last horse show has been replaced. From sunscreen to Tylenol, you will want to be positive that all supplies are fully stocked. We have a printable horse show essentials checklist in our Etsy store if you are interested. (Tip: laminate the checklist and use it over and over again with a dry erase marker!)

Pack Horse Trailer

Pack up the trailer with any show supplies that you might need for your horse. Here are some things to add:

loading horse trailer

Hookup the trailer

Hitch the trailer to your tow vehicle the night before the show. When you know that the trailer is packed and hooked up to the truck or tow vehicle, all you need to do in the morning is load and go. Use the time after you hitch up to check the turn signals, brake lights, etc.

horse trailer and truck

Bathe horse

Have you ever tried giving a horse a bath at 5 in the morning? I have. It’s not fun. I highly recommend using the day before a show to give your horse a spa day. Scrub him from head to toe, and detangle his mane and tail. Clip his whiskers and bridlepath. Try to get any stains out of his coat! You might want to put a lightweight turnout sheet on your horse overnight to try to keep him stain-free.

bathing pony

Clean stall

It might sound like a no-brainer, but definitely make sure you clean your horse’s stall after giving him a bath! You want to try to eliminate as much horse waste as possible from the stall in case he decides to roll or rest overnight. Give that stall a pre-bedtime spot clean as well. You might luck out and arrive to the barn and find a clean horse in the morning! (Worst case, he still manages to get a stain or two. In that case, you will have to give him a spot clean real quick before loading, which is still better than a full blown bath.

Lay out clothes

Just like we sometimes do the night before work or school, it’s a great idea to lay out your entire horse show outfit the night before a show. This gives you the chance to make sure you have every item you need. You can also use this time to clean and polish your boots and gather any accessories like gloves, crop, show bows or hairnets.

Horse Show Prep

Pack snacks and drinks

Most of our horse show days start long before the sun rises and aren’t over until late afternoon. Many horse shows offer a snack stand (some even get food trucks!) which can be tasty, but the cost adds up. Pack a cooler filled with snacks and drinks to get you and your family through the day. We love easy grab-and-go snacks like granola bars, beef jerky, and small bags of chips or pretzels. Try to avoid anything greasy or drippy as you want to be careful not to get stains on your show clothes.


Confirm entries

Many shows require pre-entry before the show. Some shows offer online registration. If you have pre-registered for a show, you can ask for a confirmation that your entry was received. There is nothing worse than getting held up at the show secretary’s stand because your entry wasn’t received.

Review road map

Double check the route from your farm or house to the horse show ground. We like to look up the time estimate on a map app (like Google Maps) and then if we are trailering our own horse, we also like to pull up the Google Earth image of the route. This allows us to actually see the roads and note any possible issues (such as low overhangs that we might not clear with the trailer).

Go to bed early

How well are you able to function on minimal sleep? The answer is most likely: not great. Try your best to finish up all of this horse show prep by early evening. Get to bed at a decent hour, perhaps a bit earlier than normal. Your wakeup time on show day is likely going to be pretty earlier!

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We hope that this helps you to plan out your horse show prep! Let us know if there are any pre-show day must-dos on your list – drop us a comment and tell us about them!


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