What to Take to a Long Trail Ride

Gear You'll Need for Competitive, Endurance and Other Long Trail Rides

Female ranchers relaxing at campsite in remote field
Hero Images / Getty Images

Recreational and competitive trail riding is very popular. When heading out to an event, you'll want to make sure you have all the essential equipment. 

The items you’ll need to take to a Competitive Trail Ride, Mileage Ride, Endurance Ride or long pleasure trail ride are similar to what you would take to a show, with a few exceptions. Every time we pack for a competition it seems like we take too much and end up not using half of what we pack. But you never know when you’ll end up in a spot where you can’t put up your portable corral and you wish you brought the picket lines, or the weather turns from tropical to frigid. Here is a list of items you will want to pack for your next long trail ride.

Have Ready Before You Leave

  • Halter
  • Trailer tie
  • Leg wraps and cottons or shipping boots
  • Tail wrap, if using
  • Blanket, if using

Pack for the Day

  • 2 lead ropes, one cotton, one with a chain.
  • Longe line
  • Longe whip
  • Haynet or flake bag
  • Hay, for as many days as you will be staying
  • Grain, if you'll be there for 'mealtimes'
  • Some people like to feed beat pulp for energy and moisture.
  • Picket ropes or portable corrals ,if camping over
  • 3 buckets—one for horse watering and two for washing and sponging
  • Water (if possible)—horses may be more likely to drink water from home
  • Apples and carrots to encourage horses to get their nose into feed or water
  • Electrolytes, if using
  • Brushes
  • Hoofpick
  • Toweling
  • Sponges—one that fastens to your saddle
  • You can also make scoops from old jugs to get water on your horse.
  • Rain sheet—be prepared for any weather.
  • Liniment—to be used only after the competition is over.
  • Replacement shoe, like an Easy Boot if possible
  • Stethoscope
  • Wrist watch
  • Fly sheet
  • Cooler
  • Lined or winter blanket—if there is the chance of cold weather
  • Saddle(s)
  • Bridle(s)
  • Breast plates or crupper, if used
  • Extra saddle pads or blankets to replace wet ones
  • Girth or cinch
  • Sweat scraper
  • Bug spray
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Water bottle to mix electrolytes on trail (if using)
  • Large syringe to administer electrolyte mixture
  • Water bottle, for the rider
  • Energy snack, for the rider
  • Fanny pack to carry electrolytes, snacks, cell phone and bottles
  • Comfortable riding pants
  • Safe riding boots or shoes
  • Helmet
  • Sunscreen
  • Clothing – be prepared for extremes in weather. I also recall after some rides being fatigued enough to feel chilled in spite of the hot weather.
  • Tent, if there is no sleeping quarters in your trailer

Camping Gear

Of course, if you are camping over you’ll need all the camping gear for yourself too. One recommendation is that you make sure you have somewhere comfortable to sleep. Waking up stiff and sore from sleeping on a thin pad might not be the best way to start the day of a long ride.

Food and Drink

Take along food that requires minimum cooking for suppers around the camp. Many enjoy producing gourmet meals on a portable grill, but decide how much energy you think you’ll have for cooking and plan accordingly.

For vet stops where time is short, an energy bar and cubed melons or sliced fruits are easy to grab and eat while walking with your horse. Sandwiches tend to fall apart if you have one hand on the reins while you try to eat. It is just as important for the rider to drink as the horse. Water or sports drinks are great. You can find recipes to make your own less expensively.