The ringside backpack, much like a gym bag, is custom to the individual person. It carries whatever each rider deems essential in those last minutes before going in the ring. We are here to give you some tips of a few essential items we deem must haves that every Ringside Backpack needs to carry. First, pro-tip, make sure your backpack has multiple pockets, a whip holder and enough space to put a helmet.
- Treats! This is the number 1 must-have item. Every horse deserves a yummy snack after going into the ring and performing for us. The regular mint can be a hassle to get out of the wrapper, they melt easily if left in a pocket. Sugar cubes can be smashed easily. We highly recommend Buckeye Nutrition, Peppermint Bits.
They are a perfect size for the horse that still has a bit in. They are hard and maintain shape, they also have no sugars added, which is also appealing for horses with diet restrictions but they are still tasty enough for any horse.
- Towels! Yes, that is plural, because you can never have enough towels. We recommend around 3. One for the rider boots, one for the horse and one for when the others don’t make it back in the backpack after being washed, because we all know it is bound to happen sometime! Hand towels, around 15in by 25in, are the best size, so if needed, you can use all corners for different things, without running out of towel real-estate. Another pro-tip, using a darker color, Navy, Grey, Black or Green, maybe whatever your farm colors are, will hide stains and hold up longer over time.
- Spot Cleaner! Have a grey? A horse with lots of chrome? When you’re in a pinch for time at the ring, it's nice to have a spray that clears the stains away. Just beware that a lot of sprays can dry out the skin, which leads to skin disease, so be mindful of the ingredients. We highly recommend EnviroEquine Stain Away Spray is perfect for cold weather grooming or those times when water is in short supply. It is formulated to be tough on grass, urine, manure and dirt, but gentle on skin. Stain Away dissolves unwanted stable stains with a quick spray and rub with a cloth (that is already in the backpack!).
- Extra tack! This is slightly individualized- but if you use a martingale, having an extra attachment in case there is a tack malfunction, use a bit with multiple reins? Have an extra set on hand. That being said, this can also apply to having extra spurs on hand as well, your horse may be up- you might need smaller spurs or vice versa- they’re feeling a bit tired and you need to size up for a round. Small tip: using an extra-large carabiner ring (around 7in) to keep them organized and paired up, is easier than ripping the backpack apart to find the matching set. Keep a lunge line in the backpack as well. Horse feeling a bit fresh? Don’t waste time running back to the barns- go straight to the backpack and throw them on the lunge, let them get their shenanigans out briefly then hop back on, with no time wasted.
- Snacks/Water! We can’t forget the rider! The riders and grooms can be stuck by the ring with multiple horses/rides, clients etc. Staying hydrated and getting enough protein/keeping the blood sugar levels up is very important for optimal performance. Keeping a water bottle or 2, powder packets or tablets of electrolytes and a protein bar in a side pocket is extremely recommended. Legion protein bars are 100% natural, packed with 20 grams of high-quality whey and pea protein, and low in calories and added sugars along with 10g of prebiotic. It makes for a Perfect healthy & high-protein snack.
The key is to not overload the Ringside Bag but be smart about what is packed inside. Also- it's easy for things to accumulate overtime, so make sure every few months or between shows- you empty out and reorganize and restock items. The worst feeling is when you thought something was in the bag, only to find out that it's not! Make sure your bag has a few different compartments and that each compartment has its assigned items, so that everything can stay super organized and in the heat of everything, you know exactly where to look. The key is to stay super organized, less is more, and quality items are best. Carry the good stuff and you won’t need a ton of junk, quite literally weighing you down! Now go compete!