Okay, so a few tips ago I talked about the Equine First Aid kit. The next kit that is the frequent source of deductions is the Extra Equipment Kit. The purpose of the extra equipment kit is to substitute for pieces deemed a safety issue, pieces that get broken, or pieces that are forgotten (d’oh!). The equipment should be cleaned to the standard of the highest rated member of the team, but regardless of rating, should be in good repair, and fairly well-conditioned and ready to use (e.g., not stiff as a board). The difficult part is frequently finding equipment that will work on all horses, so many teams end up presenting multiple bridles (or pieces of bridles) and girths. This is where you and your teammates need to communicate about the sizes of your horses. Even though we don’t WANT you to have to use your extra equipment, we all know that poo happens, stuff breaks, and the kit is there so that you can continue on without missing a beat.
Here we go…
2 extra lead ropes, one with chain shank – Hopefully self explanatory, but we usually recommend that the non-shank rope be cotton rope so that you can use it for tying. Chain shank should not be overly rusty or crusty.
Halter(s) [adjustable] – This should be a breakaway halter. If you have a pony and a huge warmblood on your team, you will probably need 2 halters. If your halter is being used because the original halter was broken, put the broken halter in the kit as a “placeholder.”
Complete bridle(s) with bit(s) – Again, if you have big size differences on your team, you may have to provide multiple bridles OR the pieces to make the bridle fit everyone (for instance, my beloved Roger Rabbit wears a horse headstall, browband and reins, but I frequently need to swap in a cob size cavesson and cheek pieces.) Make sure your extra bits are legal for your discipline (e.g., a twisted wire snaffle won’t do you any good in dressage.) I’ve seen teams provide an assortment of cavessons with their main bridle to help compensate for team needs, which is a good idea because if you need a flash or figure 8 on your horse for XC, a plain cavesson just isn’t going to cut it. Bridle should be assembled and ready to rock and roll.
Girth(s) – It is very rare that a team can get away with one girth for an entire team. If you have dressage saddles with long billets, you will need a short girth (check and see if you need 2 and 3 buckle versions–another pain). In terms of long girths, if we see a 14.2 pony and a 54″ girth…well, we’re going to wonder…
Stirrup Leathers and Irons – The big thing here is to make sure that the irons fit everyone. If you have a teenage boy and a 12 year old girl on your team, chances are, they will have diffent foot sizes. Irons should have ~1/4″ on each side of the foot. Too little, you get stuck. Too much, your foot slides through.
Peacock Tabs and Bands – Only required if you have a teammate that uses them on their regular tack. Make sure the bands aren’t dried out and crusty.
For Polocrosse, you get your own additional equipment :
Breastplate(s) – Again, like all “fitted” tack, it’s got to be adjustable to everyone on the team. You may need to have 2 different sizes, depending on your horses.
2 Pair Boots or Bandages – You are required to wrap for polocrosse, so these are important. Bandages give you the most flexibility for fitting a wide range of horses.
2 Pair Bell Boots – Again, a requirement for sport. Just make sure they work for everyone. I find that pull ons fit a wide range of horses.
Alright, so go call your teammates and put your equipment together! 🙂