USEA/Jessica Duffy Photo.
There is no doubt that most eventers are well-organized and travel to events with most everything they need. But a classic series long format event is a little different. Your preparation will start much earlier with the conditioning that must take place and you will be likely be staying at the venue several days longer than you would for a regular horse trial. Part of the fun of doing a classic series long format event is having the opportunity to 'test' your organization skills and showcase yourself and your horse at your best. So, attention to the details becomes part of the experience!
To that end, there are some supplies that will help make the week a success that might not be on your radar for a regular horse trial. Starting early on building your 'kit' will make your life much easier. Some general things to think about bringing along are:
- Extra copy of your horse's health papers, depending on what the event requires. These may be collected by the vets at your in-barn exam and you may not get them back.
- Copy of the event schedule and any other material the event organizer might have sent you.
- Clippers with sharp blades – small for last minute touch-ups and large if you intend to body clip before cross-country day.
- Spare set of shoes – fitted to your horse's feet at the last reset before the competition and labeled (front left, front right, etc.)
- Several old bridle numbers and a sharpie – to use during baths so your competition numbers stay in good shape.
- Lots of clean rags and towels
- Multiple clean saddle pads for practice rides – turnout is important each time you ride.
- Multiple clean schooling breeches
- Extra hair nets
- Clean show pads – at least two.
- Extra sets of clean polos (if you use them)
- Extra clean tail bandages (if you use them)
- Extensive grooming supplies, including hoof polish, coat polish, baby oil, hair spray, and baby powder.
- Extra braiding supplies – you will be braiding up to three times.
- Plenty of extra hay for a longer stay at the event
At a classic series long format event, you will have two formal veterinary inspections. Having supplies at the ready for down-to-the-wire touch-ups will ensure your horse looks his best for the judges. You might include:
- Clean rags
- Order of go
- Fly spray
- Baby oil for highlights
- Coat polish
- Finishing brush
- Tail comb
- Baby powder for whites
- Hoof oil
- Hoof pick
- Halter and lead rope
- Cooler or flysheet (if needed)
It is no secret that a really cool part of the classic series long format experience is the 10-minute "vet box" on endurance day. Because time is limited and the objective is to maximize the cooling out of the horse so he is ready to go cross-country, it is particularly important to be organized and well-prepared for anything. Here are some groupings that might help you to that end:
- 4 wash buckets
- 1 small drink bucket – labeled "water only"
- 4 large car wash sponges (soft)
- 4 sweat scrapers – preferably the curved w/ rubber style
- Bottles of plain rubbing alcohol
- Turkey baster - to flush the horse’s mouth if he won’t drink
- Lots of towels and rags - one large enough to cover the saddle
- Halter with number and lead rope (chain shank if needed)
- Set of extra shoes – pre-fitted with same studs and labeled
- Spare reins
- Spare stirrup leather and stirrup – pre-adjusted
- Spare girth
- Spare gloves
- Spare whip
- Spare spurs
- Sweat sheet
- Cooler (if needed)
- Extra galloping boots
- Extra bell boots
- Stud kit
- Watch, set to exact event time
- Several copies of A, B, & C schedule with times and mile markers
- Map of the course
- Small first aid kit – equine and human
- Duct tape
- Hoof pick
- Hole punch
- Safety pins – assorted sizes
- Electrical tape
- Crisco or barrier cream
- Surgical gloves
- Cooler for drinks
- Ice boots, bandages
- Water-proof sheet/tarp (to cover gear/set gear on)
Unique to the classic series long format is the assistance area after phase B, the steeplechase phase. It is wise to have a separate kit to take there in case your designated helper doesn't get back in time for the 10-minute vet box. Some things to include are:
- Wash bucket, sponge, and sweat scraper
- Pre-made foot pad or spare shoes – depending on your strategy for a lost shoe.
- Duct tape
- Vet wrap
- Small sponge
- Drink for rider
- Stud kit
These lists are just a jumping-off place to get you thinking about your classic series long format experience. Every rider needs to adapt their own list to their individual horse's needs. But it never hurts to be overly prepared. Good luck!