No matter the discipline or level, a ring-side bag is a must-have for all competing riders. In a sport where anything can happen, being prepared is imperative — especially when working with horses, who can — to say the least — be unpredictable.
For Sweden’s rising star Stephanie Holmén, her ring bag is filled with the basic essentials that help ease her mind and prepare her to perform her best in the ring. Keeping things simple, Stephanie tries "to always stick to the same routine so both my horses, me, and my groom feel confident." Training under the tutelage of fellow Swedish rider and Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ contender, Peder Fredricson, Stephanie is constantly absorbing knowledge from the two-time Olympic silver medalist and his wife, Lisen.
So what does the ring bag look like for this 28-year-old Swede currently competing at the Gothenburg Horse Show? Let’s take a look.
Treats for Right After Her Ride
While using treats as positive reinforcement varies from rider to rider, Stephanie keeps them handy so that she can immediately reward her horse after her ride. She keeps a variety of small treats in an easy-to-open plastic snap top container and chooses small treats that are easy to eat and don't make a mess. "I always give my horse a little treat when coming out from the ring," she says.
Gloves are another personal preference for riders. Some enjoy the glove-free contact with the reins — but Stephanie is not one of those riders. "I really don't like to ride without gloves so it's a must!" Stephanie says. Good for grip and an extra layer of warmth for Sweden’s colder days, gloves are a staple in Stephanie’s ring bag.
A Fun, Yet Handy Brush
A stiff brush is great for knocking the dust off stirrups and hooves before heading into the ring — even better when it's printed with fun illustrations.
Three Sets of Spurs
"I don't have so many spurs — I change between three different pairs. I always keep them in my bag so I can quickly change between the horses," Stephanie explains.
The Versatile Hole Punch
"A hole punch is a good thing to have. You never know when you might need it," Stephanie says. A hole-punch is key when making last-minute adjustments to tack — from bridle adjustments to a shorter stirrup length.
A Mighty Towel
Ah, yes. The mighty towel — never to be missing from any top rider's (or groom's) ring bag. Stephanie always has a towel on hand "to dry the horses and reins from sweat." No one likes slippery reins before entering the ring.
Read this next: Seven Things Stephanie Holmen Has Learned From Peder Fredricson
All photos by Thomas Reiner for NoelleFloyd.com