Eventing Nation: Listmania

Are you a list-maker? EN blogger Ella Rak shares a few of her favorite horse show checklists.

From Ella:

Next weekend I make my grand re-entry to the eventing scene as a competitor, but it wouldn’t be complete without a multitude of lists, schedules, and reminders. I am the type of person who likes to be prepared, stocking truck, trailer, and trunk, everywhere with emergency vet-wrap, rolled gauze, halters and thermometers. In a desperate attempt to keep organized, I start making lists, so present to you my top 5 list of Event Lists.

  1. The Horse Prep List: Starting 2 weeks ahead I plan out all grooming as well as riding that needs to be done before the show. You don’t want to end up putting off clipping until the week before and be forced to show your horse covered in clipping lines (whoops…).
  2. The Packing List: Who hasn’t show up at an event and realized you left that oh so important piece of tack at home? If there is a chance you could need it, bring it. Scratch that, bring two. There is nothing worse than forgetting something, or worse, having it break, right when you need it. As someone who has suffered the humiliation of wearing duct-taped tall boots to a dressage test, it is not fun.
  3. The Trailer Checklist: This one is often left out, but arguably the most important. Stuff breaks, and you don’t want it to impact the safety of your horse or others, so check the hitch, floors, lights, and latches before you put your horse on it. I personally won’t leave without a full tank either, as when you need fuel the only station in a 60 mile radius, your rig can’t fit into. Pony club has a great list here.
  4. The Schedule: As soon as ride times are posted, I work backwards from my last ride of the day to make sure I know where I need to be and what to do at every moment. Of course as soon as you make a schedule with horses it will be broken, but I will always be the dork in the corner checking my schedule I wrote on a notecard every 5 minutes.
  5. The Before you Leave List: Events are exhausting and I am really bad about remembering to pick everything up before I leave, so I made a list for that! It is so easy to leave your whip on the wheel hub, or water buckets by the trailer, but horse trials are expensive enough without losing tack.

At the end of the day, it may not make a difference in placing, but in a game where the things we can fully control are few and far apart, why not make the most of the things we can? A less-stress rider makes a less-stressed horse, and a less stressed horse makes a safe round.