Horse Show Essentials: Cow Horse Edition


If you've dabbled on the show circuit, you've probably learned that half the battle is remembering to pack everything you need! RW customer and cutting and cow horse enthusiast, Holly Wilson, knows this all too well. Having lots of competitions under her belt, Holly has learned a few tips and tricks along the way to help her be prepared for anything. That way, she can focus her energy on riding and competing! Below, Holly gives us a run down on the essentials you should pack in your horse show "go bag."


Packing up for a horse show can be stressful. Between the boots, tack, and everything else you could easily forget, keeping a show bag packed and ready to go is the most effective way to keep track of your horse show essentials.

Here are the top 6 items I always keep in my show bag, packed and ready to go!

1. Grooming Supplies

Have a hair brush, braiding bands, body brush, and hoof pick always packed in your show bag. I find it useful to have a separate set of grooming supplies that I only use for horse shows. That way, you're less likely to misplace them and they'll stay cleaner, too.


My pre-packed, competition only grooming/boots bucket, which lives in my trailer!

I start with the Decker Stiff Dandy Brush for that pesky dirt and shaving debris, and finish with a lighter brush. I love the Decker Soft Finishing Brush because it’s gentle and removes the surface dirt right before I head into the pen. ShowSheen is also a must-have for that finishing touch! To make my life easier, I also always keep my mare’s tail tied up or braided until it’s time to go, and then I put it down and give it a quick brush through.

Pro Tip: Keep a spare whisker trimmer in
your trailer just in case you forgot to give
your horse a trim before you left!

The handheld Horse Shave Razor Singles are perfect for storing in the trailer. At the end of the day, there are tons of different brands out there for all your grooming needs, so find what works for you! For more inspiration on grooming supplies, click here.

2. Fly Spray

A bottle of fly spray is a consistent must-have in my show bag. I also apply it to myself in a pinch if I need to! The Farnam Bronco-E Equine Fly Spray is my favorite for keeping pesky critters at bay. It’s fairly cost-effective (which is important when you’re on a horse show budget), and kills things like ticks and fleas (yuck). It also has a 1-gallon refill size so that you don't have to keep buying the same spray bottle. Overall, it's the most economical choice!

3. Extra Pair of Socks

Sweaty feet can ruin a good day in the show pen. Keep a spare pair of socks in your show bag in case you get in a pinch. I personally love the Ariat Horse Graphic Crew Boot Socks. They're fun, lightweight, and breathable. I will say that these are also pretty thin, so it's the kind of sock I save for competition days.

4. Hardware

You never know when you’re going to lose a pin in your spur or need to replace a Chicago Screw. Most headstalls are made with Chicago Screw attachments to secure the Conchos onto the leather, and the last thing you want is for your headstall to break in the middle of your run (we’ve all seen Charmayne James and Scamper work through it with ease, but we’re not all world champions).


Concho on Greta's headstall, which is attached to the leather with Chicago Screws

5. Extra Lead Rope

You might need to catch a loose horse, lead yours back to the stall, or maybe yours snapped and you need another.

I prefer the Weaver Solid-Colored Lead Line Rope with Brass Snap. I’ve had my current lead rope for over five years and it’s still going strong! They really are built to last, and provide just the right amount of length for tying, trailering, and leading with ease.


My Weaver Lead Rope may not be as black and shiny as it once was after 5 years of use, but it's tough and effective!

6. Support Boots

I always keep a washed and ready pair of tendon boots in my show bag. That way, I never have to worry! I swear by the Professional’s Choice VenTECH Elite SMB Boots. I’ve used them for years, and have always admired the support and protection they offer my horses. I even use them in practice, paired with my Professional’s Choice Ballistic Overreach Boots. I am a huge fan of teal (is it obvious enough?!), but I also love the look of a clean pair of white SMB Boots in the show ring.


Professional's Choice SMB Boots are hands down my go to for competition and schooling.

So what’s left? Don’t forget your tack! Keep it locked up and ready in the tack room of your horse trailer to make sure you don’t forget it. With this quick checklist in mind, I hope you feel a little more prepared and maybe even a little less stressed going into your next competition!