Check your Tack! Grace under Pressure Requires Advance Prep

It happens to all of us at some time. You arrive at a hunt, or a show, or an event and whip out your newly cleaned tack only to discover that something isn’t right. You find that you didn’t bring the right girth for your saddle (and the one in your trailer is either two inches too long or four inches too short), that you forgot your hair net or stock tie, or that your clean saddle pad is still in the dryer. I’ve even heard of one person who arrived and discovered she hadn’t loaded her horse!

Last week at a hunt, a friend of mine put on a borrowed bridle with a Pelham bit that she had little experience using, and couldn’t understand why it didn’t look right. Turns out the bit was upside down. Luckily, she figured it out before the hunt began.

Seriously, I know people who never take their bridles completely apart when they clean them because they dread putting it back together. Or who own a different bridle for each bit that they use so that they can simply grab the one they need.

My solution to staying organized during hunt season is to keep my dressing room organized and stocked with everything I could need. At the beginning of each season, I generally go out and stock up on the things I am most likely to lose: hair nets, stock pins and gloves. After each hunt, I clean everything and put it right back into place. I also keep a check list to review before I leave the barn. And I always try everything new before I take it on the road.

In my trailer I always keep:

  • My hunt saddle
  • Regular girth and one spare
  • Three packages of hair nets
  • Three pairs of black gloves
  • Two crops
  • An extra set of reins
  • An extra set of stirrup leathers and irons
  • Two stock pins
  • Choker and stock tie
  • A spare halter
  • Two tail wraps
  • Hoof boots
  • Standing wraps
  • Two saddle pads

Yes, my trailer looks like a rolling tack store! But it sure is nice to have what I need on hand.

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