DIY $10 Wooden Grooming Tote

I know, it’s a little early to be planning for horse shows. Well, that is here in Colorado. But show season is in full swing down in Wellington, Florida. Oh how I wish I were there.

But show season will be here soon enough, and I thought it would be fun to put together a ringside tote for the necessities you should have if you are going to a show anytime soon. And since I’m a planner, no time like the present to get ready for the future, right?

What is a Ringside Bag?

A ringside bag can be anything. It can be a grooming tote, or a back pack. My Noble Outfitters grooming tote would be great, because I can carry so much in it. But realistically, the ringside tote is a smaller collection of tools and essentials just before your horse enters the show ring.

My ringside bag is actually a small wooden tote. At one time you could find these at Ikea for around $10.00. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to have them anymore. However I did find something very similar at SP Rhodes. It is a little on the pricey side though at 69.99. But they do offer customization that is included in this price, which is pretty neat!

DIY $10 Wooden Grooming Tote

What To Put in a Ringside Bag

Remember, this isn’t your full-on grooming tote! You only want to put in what you may need before you enter the ring. So try and keep it to the essentials, and the things you might need just before going into the show ring.

lessons learned from my first horse show


I always like to have treats to entice my horses. I know, I am kind of a treat type person. But its a good idea to keep the treats simple. You don’t want any residue on your horses mouth that will look yucky before you enter the show ring, so keep it simple.

I find sugar cubes and peppermints are nice little treat and you can keep them in a small container that will fit well in the tote.

Microfiber Towel (or 2)

What's in my ringside bag

This is fantastic to keep in your tote. And the best ones I have found are at the dollar store. These microfiber towels are big, thick and soft. Every time I go to the dollar store I end up buying a few more to add to my collection. They are the best I have found. And they work great as a rub rag, to wipe of the dust on your tack, or boots. And they can even be used with a little bit of water to keep the eyes and nostrils free of dust and debris that may accumulate.

Different color rubber bands, and electrical tape

Just in case there is a boot or bridle keeper malfunction, brown or black rubber bands or electrical tape can be very helpful to keep in your tote. And don’t forget to include a scissors to help keep cuts clean!

Alushield Spray

Things happen, so having a first aid spray in your ringside bag might be a good idea to include too. Because well, you just never know. I love this stuff. So much less messy than Scarlet Oil or any of the other wound dressings that I have used in the past. Alushield seals the wound and keeps out dirt and water. Stays on well and it prevents scarring.

It may not be the cheapest, but it’s worth it, trust me!

Fast Boot Polish

I first learned about this in a Heart to Horse box, and this is by far the best boot polish I have used yet! This is Fiebing’s Instant Shine.

whats in my ringside bag

It helps give a quick shine to your boots, and has the added benefit of helping to keep the dust away. Very nice to have right before you enter the show ring.

whats in my ringside bag

Horse and Tack Brushes

In my ringside bag is where I keep the best brushes for the last minute touch-ups. This is your last chance before you enter the ring to make sure your horse looks perfect. SO it’s important to have the right brushes to get the job done, and then only use these brushes for that purpose.

I prefer to have a very soft face brush, and body brush meant to help shine, just in case its needed. And these brushes are smaller, and fit well in the smaller tote.

And a medium long bristle brush is helpful to smooth leg and hindquarter hair.

As well as a polishing body brush to keep your horse smooth and shiny before entering the ring.

And you can find each of these brushes at SP Rhodes. They used to be called Saucy Piaffe, but have changed their name apparently. You can get all three of these brushes, and you can customize them on their website. I know this because I received this set of brushes for Christmas! And they have been customized with my horse’s name! They are adorable!

Having a medium general purpose synthetic brush, or gentle scrub brush is also a good idea if you have to remove dirt (or mud) from stirrups, or even hooves. I have found the best scrub brushes are at the Dollar Store. They are affordable, and they work great for your ringside bag as well as scrubbing buckets at home!

Extra Pair of Gloves

Again, you never know when you might lose a glove (or two) or when a hole might be ready to appear. So having an extra pair of gloves is a good idea to include.

My favorite gloves so far are the original Roeck Grip Riding Gloves, which feature their exclusive Roeck-Grip synthetic leather. This provides superior grip and moisture maintenance. These gloves are lightweight and breathable, making them perfect for riding on summer days.

Whether for daily use in schooling, training, competing, or pleasure riding, these gloves are perfect for any type of riding. The flexible material will give you a real feel for the reins, while the traditional look will keep you looking sharp in the show ring.

And the best thing about these gloves is that they are machine washable. So you can always have clean, nice looking gloves.


Ok, this may be debatable by some, but I like Vaseline. It gives an incredible shine, and can help keep hairs in place. It works great around eyes and muzzles.

Learning Lessons with a New Horse

But if you have a white or light colored horse, don’t use this when its really sunny, it attracts the sun, and could cause a sunburn.


I am addicted to lip balm, so I always have it with me at all times. But even then, I still misplace it! So having some chap stick in my ringside tote is a must have for me.

You can buy a multi pack of ChapStik, and keep one in your ringside bag, and a spare in your tack trunk! I found them on Amazon for less than $3.00 for 3!

Spurs and spur straps

Again, always helpful to have in case of a wardrobe or spur malfunction. I am a prepper when it comes to horses and showing. And there is a saying that goes along with preparedness, two is one, one is none. And this really applies to going to a horse show. You want to be prepared for anything. So it’s a good idea to have two of the important things.

Two sets of spurs, and spur straps are important to keep on hand, especially if you need them for your horse.

I like a humane type of spur. And these spurs by Centaur are really nice. They have a rubber part on them which helps to keep the spurs in place, and they don’t mess up your boots.

And to go with the spurs, you should have a spare pair (or two) of spur straps. I really like the braided nylon spur straps because they are flexible, they work great, and they are affordable.

Pens and notebook

I love writing in a notebook. And you never know when you might need a pen. So I like to keep a little notebook and a couple of pens around, just in case!

Safety Pins and the Like

You never know when safety pins could be needed, so I like to keep a few in my tote as well. Having them stored in a small plastic container works well so they don’t take up a lot of room.

And with this little organizer, you can keep your pins,tape, and so much other little things you may need in one place that is organized!

A couple Bottles of Water

Water is helpful to stay hydrated, as well as maybe adding to a rag. So by having 2 or 3 bottles of water in your tote can be very nice to have.

And if you don’t like having water bottles, just get a refillable water bottle or two. This Contigo Autospout is my absolute favorite. They are really affordable at less than $10.00 for one. Or you can buy a three-pack for about $22.00. They last forever and are very sturdy. Perfect for going to a horse show.

What’s in My Ringside Bag

Alright, those are my must haves in my ringside tote. And if you are wondering how to put together an affordable horse show outfit, be sure to check out this blog post.

The $125.00 Horse Show Outfit Challenge

How about you? Is there anything different you have in your ringside tote?


I am horse crazy and love DIY projects, and finding great deals on everything horse related. When I have a new idea, or find a great deal I love sharing this information with you........AND just to have FULL Disclosure:Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of the blog posts on my site will allow you to purchase different products and services online provided by other merchants, and not myself. Some of the links that I post on my site are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission.* I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn a commission by linking to and affiliated sites. *Disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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