Trailer and Riding Gear Checklist

By Terry Golson

I use checklists. I’ve already shared my hitching up checklist for you. I once thought I had that down and didn’t need to take pen to paper to X off the steps – and my trailer didn’t budge. I’d forgotten to remove the chocks from the wheels! Fortunately Tonka wasn’t yet loaded.

I also have a list of all of the stuff that I need for horse shows. That keeps me from forgetting an essential detail, like my tall boots. But even the short trips that I do, for example to take a riding lesson at my trainer’s barn, or to drive up the road to the trail head, requires an array of gear, and one missing element can ruin everything. The other day I trailered twenty minutes to a Town Forest, and halfway there realized I’d forgotten my helmet. Luckily, I always keep a spare helmet in the truck (there are times, working with client’s horses, that I wear it when doing groundwork.) I have other items that permanently reside in my truck and trailer. Here’s a list:


I don’t always have to sponge off Tonka, but there’s always manure to clean up! It doesn’t matter where I am – I always tidy up after my horse.


There are work gloves and hitch lubricant in the door of my truck:


I keep this kit in the crew cab:

  • sponge
  • grooming tools
  • hoof pick
  • towel
  • spare socks
  • spare riding gloves
  • fly spray
  • ear net
  • spare halter
  • spare lead rope
  • bungy cords
  • during show season there are also extra rubber bands and horse dry shampoo

Also in the crew cab are a selection of treats for Tonka, and chocolate for me.


I have a zippered pouch that keeps toiletries in one place. Facial wipes, deodorant, hair brush, lip balm, sunscreen, etc.


I wouldn’t go anywhere without my emergency vet kit. This one is compact and has the necessary basics.  So far, I’ve used the thermometer, and helped a friend with a horse that needed a wound cleaned out.


What I’ve itemized above are all things that I keep on hand, but I’ve needed a checklist for what I bring from the barn. Riding requires a lot of gear!

Here is my list:

  • saddle (with stirrups – I once forgot to put them back on after cleaning tack and trail rode stirrup-less!)
  • saddle pad
  • girth
  • bridle
  • fly net as needed (I have a net for trails, and a different one for lessons)
  • helmet
  • gloves
  • tall boots (I don’t like to drive in them, and always change my footwear)
  • carrots and/or apple pieces (Tonka gets these in his hay manger in the trailer every time he loads)
  • water for me (driving home hot and thirsty is a bad idea)

That’s it. A short list. But forget one item, and you might have made the drive for nothing, and you wouldn’t want to miss out on this:


What do you keep in your truck and trailer? Have I not included something that you find essential? Do you have a story about forgetting something? Tell me in the comments!

8 thoughts on “Trailer and Riding Gear Checklist

  • Gin

    I have a spare key also, jumper cables, a sharp hunting knife, (other than a pocket knife) to cut a rope just in case of some kind of tie accident even though I have break-a-way trailer ties. Rain pancho. Set of old clothes and flannel shirts in case of getting wet in cold weather

    • Terry Golson Post author

      I’ve been thinking about keeping a knife in the truck. Your rain poncho is a regional need. In the winter, I keep a spare blanket. extra gloves, etc 🙂

      • Gin

        Hope it’s OK if I post again on this subject. I happened to remember I have a long rope, like a lariat in the truck. I was following some friends a long time ago and their 2 horse trailer overturned. It was laying on it’s side and the top horse was smothering the bottom horse. They had a lariat and dragged the top horse out and saved the other horse. Both horses came out of it fine. But if they hadn’t had that rope it wouldn’t have ended so happily. Us women alone might not have the strength to do that, but hopefully someone strong enough to help would come along, in case it takes fire/rescue too long go arrive. And, it can come in mighty handy with a horse that decides not to load for some reason.

        • Terry Golson Post author

          Great comment! I realized I didn’t mention it, but I always have a spare lunge line in the truck. Good for emergencies. Good if you have something you need to tie down.

  • Tracy

    If you’re willing to share, I’d love to learn what you keep in your vet kit. Thanks, Terry.

    • Terry Golson Post author

      It’s a prepackaged kit, so just the basics. Wound care, vet wrap, scissors, thermometer. I don’t travel overnight or at a distance from a good veterinarian. If I did, I’d bring banamine and a larger kit.

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