I do think it's an insult to the judge to go in the ring dirty or unkept.
Around here, it seems like even the little local show circuits the competitors shave inside ears, the nose, muzzle, eyebrows, up to the knees, etc. It looks like we're at a rated QH show honestly.
Compared to the other horses, mine is exceedingly hairy lol. Thanks to his drafty lineage. I can do a running braid on BOTH sides of his neck and have some left over.
But I'll try just doing the outside of his ears and his beard, trim up all the feathers, and see how we do :) I of course always bathe too ;)
"There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." -- Albert Einstein