Top level show barns have grooms and handlers to prepare and primp up horses for their owner, but for the average person taking part in horse shows getting your horse spit and polished is often left to parents and friends the day before a show. Here are some tips to get you started.
- Proper nutrition is important and shows in the horse’s coats. Gleaming coats start from the inside. It doesn’t matter how much you groom, you can’t have a shiny coat if there is a problem with nutrition.
- Daily grooming and care is a must. Having a daily groom session will make your show prep a snap. Daily grooming includes a soft curry with a round rubber curry comb. Used in a circular motion on the fleshy parts of the horse (neck, shoulders, hip, hindquarters) will lift the dirt to the surface where you can brush or vacuum it off.
Follow this up with a vigorous brushing and polish the coat off with a towel or stable rubber.
- Avoid daily baths. Daily baths will remove the horse’s natural oils and may, in fact, dull the horse’s coat. Brushing and using a stable rubber will stimulate the oils in the horse’s coat and leave the coat with a ‘bloom’ or polished look
- Follow a regular de-worming program. A regular de-worming program will ensure the horse is getting one hundred percent of the nutrients rather than losing some to internal parasites.
- Clip the fur and feathers around their hooves. Clipping the feathers gives
the horse’s legs a clean appearance and make them easier to clean and keep clean. To avoid the sign of clipper marks, clip 3 or 4 days before the horse show. If your horse has white socks or stockings, use a mild shampoo to get the stains out.
- Use a coat polish. Using a coat polish can help make the difference in the show ring. Avoid using full strength polish on the horse’s body as it may dry the horse’s skin and leaves the fur slippery. You can use a diluted polish to help repel dirt and keep the horse cleaner in between rides.
Using a mane and tail polish is not cheating. Have the tail washed and cleaned with a mild shampoo and apply a polish to help prevent the tail hairs from tangling and breaking.
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