Seen On Our Forum: Tips For Showing Out of a Trailer
Our Pleasurehorse.com Forums never ceases to amaze us with the wealth of information and knowledge our members have and share with us and each other. Recently, we came across a great post with tips for working out of your trailer at a show. While many of us rely on show grounds stalls, for those that are attending a one-day show or live close enough to the facilities to just haul in, working out of your trailer comes with it’s pros and cons. Even though you don’t have to set up or break down a tack stall, you also don’t have the luxury of extra space and relaxation that comes with stabling your horse on the show grounds.
Here’s some tips from our forum members to make working out of your trailer easier on everyone:
“I show out of my trailer all the time. I bring a hay bag or two depending on how long I anticipate being there. I bring an evening feeding if I expect it to run late. I bought a six-gallon fresh water tank in the camping section at Walmart and sometimes bring it full, if I’m going to a place where there is not a convenient water hydrant. I never leave my horse unattended tied to the side of the trailer. I just load him if I want to go eat or whatever. Always bring a drink cooler for myself. That’s pretty much it other than normal showing supplies.” -lightranch
“I always wrap legs and put bell boots on and check for any sharp edges on my trailer. I had one get a horse fly on him buck and rear on his short tie and still cut him self badly so always wrap legs. It was a freak accident, but aren’t they usually?” -strauss184
“When you tie to the trailer, tie with a slip knot so you can release them if there’s an issue. Also, start tying your horse to the trailer BEFORE you go to a horse show. My mare was never used to being tied to a trailer and the first time she didn’t do so well. She was always in cross-ties or tied in the stall. Now that we lost our barn to fire, she’s tied to the trailer when I groom (all 4 wheels are chocked) and she’s learning to stand quietly while other things are going on around her.
At a show, I keep a full hay bag in front of my horses when they’re tied to the trailer. Like another poster said, if I’m going to walk away, I load them back on the trailer, but even then I’m not gone but a few minutes. Many years ago, a friend had her gelding standing on the trailer and we were sitting in front of the truck when we heard this horrible noise and the the whole rig was rocking. We ran back and found her gelding half in/half out of the feed door and stuck up in the manger. This horse was shown A LOT and was used to showing out of the trailer. Luckily, we were able to get him out (I was pushing his feet back through the the door and manger) without any many injuries. He needed a stitch or two on the back of one front leg, but that was it. It could have been sooooo much worse. The only thing we can think happened was a bee, horse fly, or something fly into the trailer with him and he freaked. That was the only time he ever did anything like that.” -zipmaggie
“I showed open shows a ton out of the trailer. I always quick release tie, and if you’re worried, tie to something like bailing twine that will break in an emergency or use a breakaway halter. Make sure to not tie them too low or too long that they can get a limb over it or duck under it. I always bring hay and let them munch. Most of the facilities I’ve shown are pretty easy to keep an eye so I have left my horse tied out, no matter if I was right at the trailer or not. I either bring water or as most facilities have it, bring a bucket. I have brought things like fly masks or sheets just in case they need them. If you’re hanging out all day sometimes a pop up tent is nice to have if the facility allows and usually try to bring a cooler and chairs for myself as well.” -p8ntfan3
“I remember one time when I was going to go and eat lunch at an open show I just put my horse back in the back slot in the trailer which was bigger and just tied him up in there and shut the doors. Though that only would work on a cooler day.” -DIYER (MrFlashyPass)
“You can use a rubber tie as well. I throw a soft fly sheet over them to prevent fly tantrums. I also slide a halter over ears and around neck while bridling. The door organizer for your bottles and such is awesome.” -sputly
“One other thing I find helpful is to post the class list somewhere on the outside of the trailer (especially helpful if you’re mounted or in a hurry) so you keep up with what class is running. On the old steel trailers, it was easy to use magnets. On non-steel trailers, you can use blue painter’s tape and it won’t mark your trailer.
I always carry a little grain on my trailer, too. If the show runs late, you can feed dinner. Or if your horse decides they like the show grounds better than your barn, it serves as an encouragement to jump on the trailer. I’ve been the last person on dark show grounds (once – and it was snowing) before and the horse decided they weren’t getting on that trailer come hell or high water. While many won’t agree with the method, sometimes you need to pick your battles and fight that one at home another day.” -zipmaggie
“I showed out of my trailer for the first time in years two summers ago….WOW! What a difference. I have a motor home and trailer, so I tried to arrange the trailer dressing room with tack in the order in which I would use it, and all clothes in the motor home. I got there early and made extra numbers for ALL outfits and had them on the garments, and partially pinned to saddle pads before the show ever started. I put my mare back on the trailer when we weren’t prepping for a class with a hay bag. Much safer than standing tied next to it IMO. I always, always, always put the halter around the horse’s neck when bridling. Nothing worse than a loose horse. Also, make sure you have a mounting block as you may not have anyone to help you.
One day showing out of your trailer is like a speed race! It goes soooo fast, and if you’re not organized it can lead to some hectic changes. Also, if you’re showing a gelding remember you don’t have a stall to let him pee! This can be a huge concern depending on your horse!” -jjwither
“I have only done this a few times but followed jjwither’s advice about packing things in the order in which I would need them, grouped together in categories. Also remember to take something to stand feet on if you black or polish feet (I used old fatigue mats) and have backup plans for wind, rain, etc.
I do not want to sound like a Debbie Downer but have never forgotten the first time I saw a slant-load aluminum trailer. It was at a small open show not far from my home and my eyes bugged out when I saw it, it was so beautiful. The new aluminum gleamed like a Superhero’s shield and the pinstriping was amazing. I was standing there admiring the rig, and the lovely sorrel mare tied to it, when I noticed the mare beginning to dance around and slap her front feet. I think she had a bee tormenting her; it was impossible to tell from a distance, but whatever it was, it evidently freaked her out. Without warning she began striking at the wheel wells, then progressed to pulling back and crashing her whole body forward. She was a halter horse and carried considerable heft, and she looked pretty experienced in the striking department, too. All to say that within five minutes, the fender was mangled, the skin pulverized, and the whole side of the trailer caved in.
For this reason I do not actually tie to my trailer but I greatly admire those with enough trust in their horses to do so!” -LSQH
“Have as much as you can pre prepped. Run off a bunch of exhibitor’s numbers and have them all on your jackets and pads. It will save a lot of time and you will be sure things are on straight. Make sure you pack small items together that you may need like aspirin, band aids, etc. Also pack together other small items like extra pins, make up, travel size deodorant, disposable body wash sheets, and get different colored boxes so you know you have to grab the red or blue box.
Do as much color coordination as you can. It is easier to remember that the English bridles are in the black bag instead of having to look in two or three matching bags.
Bring water for your horse from home. It is much easier to have it at the trailer than carry a bucket even if it is close. Then you can offer water in a smaller bucket and you are less apt to spill it on yourself.
Run off labels with your name and your horse’s name to speed up entry. In addition, everything will be spelled correctly and easy for the show office to read.
Don’t forget to pack water and healthy snacks for your and your crew. Show food is expensive and there is not always time to run to the food booth. This way you can grab something between classes and keep your strength and endurance.” -Happydogue
Have any you would like to add? Share in the comments!