Okay, so I'm not actually bring a horse to auction. But I have a school assignment for my Equine Care class where I need to groom a horse as though I were preparing it to sell. I have a doozy of a horse to work with. He is a Grey Percheron/Arabian gelding. His name is Pride and as far as I know he has never been bathed before. He has lived in a pasture all his life and he's got the stains to prove it. He also has a pretty messy mane and tail.
Here are some pics of him. He's not my horse, he belongs to a friend:
I could use your advice on how I should spiff him up. He's not actually going to a sale, but I need to prepare him as though his. Basically I need to present before and after pictures and write a detailed account about the procedures I used to clean him. If you have any good ideas on how to make him look extra special, please let me know.
Try quicksilver. It is a miracle for white/light grey horses. Scrub it in really, really well and then wait 5-10 minutes before rinsing. You can also oil his feet right before, and of course brush out his mane and tail. It can't hurt to trim his whiskers either
There is a blue shampoo (I forget the name, but I got it from TSC) that works wonders on light colored horses - including greys. It gets the spots out great when you follow the directions and makes them gleam. If its too cold or you can't get him to work with the water well - they do have dry shampoos you can use, but they aren't going to work as well.
Your friend probably would not appreciate the mane to be pulled and I don't think just combing it will make it "neat" looking. How about a braid for it?
I have about two weeks to prepare for this project, and I can get started at anytime, I don't have to do it all at once. I plan to braid his hair into small braids and set it will gel or something (does normal human hair gel work on horses?) to get all the hair to one side. I'm not going to actually cut any of his hair or whiskers because #1 he's not my horse and #2 he's a pasture horse and he needs the hair for his natural defensive against the elements.
I'm a little concerned that it may be too cold to bath him completely, but I could spot bath him with warm water and stain remover. I don't want to get him chilled, but I figure that if I work on a small portion at a time he will be fine. The temp is in the Forties right now (Fahrenheit). On the final day I may give him a hot towel bath to spruce him up for the final pictures.
This presents a challenge with it being chilly. If you could bath him I would use Silverado Silver Shampoo. This is what I use on all my horses including the one in the avatar, and I have won many championships with him. This shampoo really brings out the color on them and helps get rid of the stains. Generally one bath will really get them most of the way stain free. Since you cannot clip him (I had a whole clipping segment in my head LOL) can you braid the mane down his neck, and hunter braid his tail, I think that would give his mane and tail a nice finished look. As for your question about gel. I use gel with my horses, one thing I have found is gel can yellow the mane. I use a leave in conditioner to smooth, then use gel for just the top of the mane to hold the flyaways.
Cowboy majic is a miracle worker!
Oil the hooves, after a good scrubbing, makes them shiney without drying them, great for short term, and no dust around.
Trim the ear hair even with his ears, that way it cleans them up some but you don't loose any beneficial hair.
Last but not least, after buffing his coat with a good moleskin cloth, spray with Healthy Hair Care Coat polish, and finish with Healthy Hair Care Silverado Shine Areosal spray, really brings out the shine and highlights. And baby oil the nose and around the eyes. (play with the baby oil, never used it on a fuzzy horse before so not sure of the outcome)
Hope this help, Fingers crossed for an A!
In addition to what miniature shetlands said.
Have a look at pictures of other percheron horses to determine what is common or acceptable in their presentation.
When you do your final photos, present him on cleared ground so that they can see the legs and hooves. Also, stand him up square, see if you can get the head up and ears pricked forward.
Present him in a nice halter or bridle.
Get a side on picture of each side, and a head shot.
If you know anything about makeup, use a little around the eyes and muzzle. If you don't know what your doing its better ust to leave it.
I would really talk your friend into letting you go at him with some clippers. When I am selling/showing on of my horses I clip the bridle path, wiskers (and they are pasture ponies as well) feathers etc, etc, etc. In my opinion horses look 100% better all clipped up.
Also Vertroline shine is great for getting rid of knots in the mane and tail and it adds some pretty spectacular shine to them. Just be sure not to put it where his saddle will go if you are going to be riding him.