Groomed to perfection

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Grooming is such an important part of horse care – it helps us bond with our horse, is a pleasurable experience for him, helps aid equine health due to the removal of dead hair and skin cells, promotes circulation, and also helps us spot wounds and sore areas on our animals.

If you enjoy showing, you will know that presentation is a key part of the judging process for show horses; and that much can be done to enhance your horse’s appearance and show him off to his best advantage.

Here are our top ten tips for achieving the well-groomed look this season:

1.If you are showing before your horse has gained its summer coat, you will probably want to clip the horse. We like Lister Legend clippers. This product offers fast, professional clipping and features the most powerful motor in the Lister range, combined with a slim line, multi-position grip. Due to its rubber mounted motor and superb blade ventilation, this clipper runs quietly and with minimal heat and vibration.

2.It is often better to bath a horse a few days before a show, to allow time for the natural coat oils to return, and make him naturally shiny. Cheat with a shine-enhancing coat spray, used on dry coats, if you are running short of time, but avoid using them excessively on the saddle area if you are planning to compete in a ridden class. Try Pharma Silky Shine, 500ml. This is a non-silicon, leave-in, scented conditioner for tail detangling and to give a shiny coat. Contains a UV-filter.

3.Your horse’s mane and tail need to be presented according to the animal’s breed society rules, or the class you are entering. If your are leaving the mane ‘au naturel’, thin the mane and forelock to show off a refined head and fine neck, as a thick mane will be a distraction. Try Horze’s stainless steel Thinning Scissors. The thin blades offer a great and easy way to handle a thick mane.

4.Grey horses are undoubtedly the most difficult horses to keep clean, as their coats and tails can look ‘yellowy’. Choose a good quality shampoo to keep the stains at bay. We like Pharma Wash&Go, 500ml. This is a mild but effective shampoo for all kinds of horses; features a fresh green apple scent.

5.Plait according to your horse’s need (and breed society rulebook) – eg, with a very thick neck, plaits should be smaller and in higher numbers to make the neck appear finer. Thicker, rounder plaits that sit ‘high up’ on the crest can add definition to a ‘weedy’ neck. Some people stick to the ‘old’ rules about having an odd number of plaits along the neck, with the forelock plait making it even, but this is rarely adhered to today, in the show ring. It is generally easier to plait a mane that isn’t freshly washed. Try Horze’s Braiding Elastic Bands.

6.If your horse does react to fly bites, try Pharma Summer Relief, 250ml. This is a nourishing gel lotion to relieve itching skin; it was developed to enhance the healing of injured skin, as well as relieve itching. This is a wonderful product for treating summer dermatitis, itching tails or manes, horsefly bites and mud fever. The scent lasts more than 24 hours. Contains aromatic oils.

7.The night before the show, cover your horse with a rug or sheet that covers his whole body, or utilise a tail cover and a head and neck cover with your rug.

8.Take to the show any finishing touches like hoof oil for the feet, baby oil to bring out shine on the muzzle, and any whitening products such as chalk blocks for white areas like socks. But remember that these are designed to emphasise areas, so only use them areas you want to draw attention to.

9. Pack a grooming mitt for last minute tidy-ups at events. We like Horze’s brown Grooming Mitten, which absorbs dust and dirt and polishes the horse’s coat.

10. If you do find any minor wounds, treat them with a gentle skin disinfectant. We like Pharma Hygi-Spray, 500ml. Pharma Hygi-Spray is a non-alcoholic, non-toxic disinfectant for small wounds. This disinfectant doesn’t dry the skin, doesn’t sting, and is effective.
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Horze have a team of experienced riders, trainers and equestrian journalists who shared their knowledge and expertise through this blog.