Ring Bag Essentials: Things You NEED to Have in your Bag ASAP

Typically I like to think of myself as an organized person, but when I get anxious or go into super OCD organizational mode I usually end up putting something somewhere that, at that moment in time, seems like THE BEST place to put it… but of course the moment I need it I have no clue where it is. In the horse world, if you’re about to go in the ring and need something pronto, typically your stalls are another world away. If said item is in your trunk, you’re out of luck. I’ve tried my best to avoid these types of situations by stocking my bag with the necessities but not overdoing it so I can’t ever find anything. It’s a delicate balance, my friends!

I’ve been going back and forth about getting a true ringside bag, like a MaeLort or the Grand Prix. Yes, it has a snazzy spot for your helmet, but my good ‘ol north face from college works just as well for the time being. (Plus it has sweet unicorn and rainbow pins, thanks Jessie!)

Basics in my bag are straight forward: helmet (in its own bag, my Samshield is an investment so you better believe I’m going to take care of it!), crop, spurs, TWO pairs of gloves (because I am a small child and usually drop one like it’s a mitten), hairnets & extra hair ties, peppermints and a water bottle.  So… to help save others the occasional headache of forgetting a random ‘why didn’t I remember that?!’ thing, I highly suggest adding the below to your arsenal if you don’t have them in there already.

  • Tide to Go pen. I am uncoordinated. I drop things, trip, and fall quite often. When I’m wearing white (or beige) the chances of one or all of those things happening to me doubles. So a good stain remover is a must.
  • Copies of your membership cards and horses’s passport/registration. I keep copies of my USEF, USHJA, CHJA & NEHC cards in my bag just to have. You never know if they’ll ever need clarification so make some copies, throw em in there and you don’t ever have to think about it again. (I do the same thing when I’m traveling but with my license & passport, I always have photocopies of each in a side zipper pocket of my suitcase.)
  • Safety pins and fashion tape. We all lose buttons or rip seams – my horse has successfully pulled one zipper and two buttons off of my clothes in one day. Keep it together until you can see the tailor or quick-fix your getup by having a handful of these in a ziplock bag.
  • Basic medicine cabinet stuff: band aids, Tums, Advil, mini deodorant. Just go to the gas station or CVS and get a few small travel sized packs. Just because you don’t need it now doesn’t mean you won’t need it later!
  • Face wipes. Horse shows are dirty. and sometimes hot. and your face gets sweaty and gross. Keep a pack in your bag and when your horse is getting his cute face wiped down with a towel, do yourself a favor and do the same. I like these from Burt’s Bees.
  • Sunscreen. Come on. Just do it. Coola is my favorite brand, everything smells great and works really well. I just got back from Hawaii and did you see one sunburned pic of me? Nope, didn’t think so.
  • Lead rope. You never know if there’s going to be a loose horse or when one will just come in handy. It weighs practically nothing, so just toss one in.
  • Bit. If you switch back and forth between bits sometimes, just throw your plan B in your bag. You’ll be glad you have it with you ringside if you need to swap it out.
  • Pen and a blank (unsigned!) check. We all have days where we forget a check for the horse show office, braider or shipper. Keep one folded up in a small pocket as a backup. It’s come in handy for me more than once.

That’s about it! What do you keep in your bag? If you have any brilliant additions I’d love to hear them! We’re always looking to up our game.

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