I'm entering a riding school horse in a very minor schooling show in May. I've only got about half an hour to groom her and possibly I can come down the day before, but that's doubtful!
My question is, how can I make her look good (coat wise) on the day? Sh'es a liver chestnut with three white socks. Obviously, I'll be giving her a good groom, but I want her to look stunning; coat shining, socks pure white, no dirt, you get the idea. I've never bathed a horse so I'm not particularly keen on that idea. Any thoughts?
Well bathing isn't that difficult. Just make them super wet scrub with horse soap(I use superpoo lol) and then just rinse. I use a plastic curry comb that attaches to a hose. Just do it on a warm day with luke warm water or dry them with towels and blanket :P
I also have this special shine spray but I don't know what it's called. I spray that on and then give 'em a quick brush. I've heard that some people use baby powder for the white parts to make them whiter but I'm not completely sure about that.
Don't forget to bang the tail and cut her whiskers to about 2 inches in length. Oh and use seperate sponges to clean the eyes, nose and dock areas!!
^^ good advice.
If you can get out with a pair of clippers, i'd also suggest trimming her jaw/chin hairs as well as fetlock hairs & the ear hairs that stick out (not all of them!). Check out youtube, there are some great how-to videos.
Pull out any loose, scraggly bits of hair that wont cooperate in the mane as well lol.
If you go out the day before, you could bath her (even rubbing her down with a wet cloth would bring out some shine) and then put a sheet on her over night incase she rolls or lies down.
Then when you get to the competition, get a bucket & wet sponge/cloth & wipe down her legs or any dirty spots. No need to bring out the hose if you're not comfortable with it yet.
Spray on shine is good as well though a wet rag works fine ;)
Well....giving a bath is pretty simple. I know I could do it without much help, although for a little bit last year I though giving a hose off counted as a bath *embarrassing* just get your horse wet, shampoo up a sponge and put the soap on. Then rinse and dry. You could trim her and if you wanted to either while you are bathing use quicsilver (a shampoo) or on the day of the show just sure some green spot out on her sicks to bring out the white. Showsheen is nice, but be sure not to put it where her saddle goes or...slippery bad news. Good luck at your show!
Can I just point out that the OP is in the UK, in May it is normaly Quite cold and riding schools don't like you giving thier horses full baths in that weather.
In the last 2 weeks I have bathed my show pony twice and he has been shakeing with cold both times, now I have access to running hot water, a horse shower and I am extremely well practiced in the art of giving a horse a bath as quick as possible (record is 20 mins flat), I also have a mountain of rugs and duvets to put on the horse afterwards which doesnt normaly happen at riding schools.
Please Ask before you do anything to the horse perticularly when it comes to pulling manes or trimming whiskers. Lots of horses realy don't like clippers or trimmers and can react violently towards them, some people do not like you trimming the whiskers off a horse or stripping out ears. Before you start putting anything near the horse ask the owner if the horse is allergic to anything and what they do and do not want you to do to the horse
About a week before the show I would ask your instructor to show you how to pull a mane and trim the jow bone/ears (preferably on the horse you are going to use).
On the day before I would give her a proper quartering, not just a good brushing but a proper grooming. I was always taught that with any colour of horse other than a grey you do not need to bath (it makes it quicker) but a proper grooming will give the same effects.
You will need a full grooming kit including:
Rubber curry comb,
Plastic curry comb,
Metal curry comb,
Hoof oil brush,
Stable rubber (also known as a tea towel)
Piece of paper
Start with the plastic curry comb to get any mud off, then use the rubber curry comb in circles to loosen any hair or dirt off, press quite hard. Dandy brush to remove what you have raised with that.
Then contrary to popular oppinion I'm going to tell you that the metal curry comb is not actualy for use on the horse itself it is for use to clean your body brush. You should use the body brush vigarously on the horse and scrape it accross the metal curry comb every 4-6 strokes.
Every so often tap the side of the metal currycomb on to the piece of paper to dislodge the dirt then using the paper put dirt into the egg cup.
Normaly you are done with the bodybrush when you have done both sides of the horse, the egg cup is full, your arm is aching like fury and you are sweating heavily.
Once you have body brushed you should then use a stable rubber. Often this is done using just the tea towel.
At this point I normaly strap a horse but this is best not attempted unless you have had someone show you how to do it properly.
To lift more dirt up you can hot cloth the horse which involves warm water with a smidge of lavender oil in it (some people use vinegar or baby oil depending on preferance), to hot cloth you need to dip cloth in bucket of HOT water (as hot as you can stand) then wring it out so it is nearly dry and wipe against horse pressing hard. The towel will normaly come away a disgusting colour, rinse towel and repeat untill cloth comes away clean (you will need to change your water quite often). This option means that the horse doesnt get as cold as a bath and you can leave part of the horse covered in rugs.
Then pick out and scrub the horses hooves, oil them. I would also reccomend washing horses socks as generaly it is very difficult to get them clean any other way.
Use 1 sponge to clean horses bottom and anouther to clean its eyes and nose.
On the day of the show repeat the above (without the hot clothing), spray with a non greasy show shine avoiding the saddle patch (I reccomend Absorbine, greasy show shines wsill just bring dirt to the surface)
Put chalk on her socks, oil her hooves
I would suggest that you get a waterless shampoo for any stains on the day.
Above all enjoy yourself and don't obsess over things you can't control.
This pony was done using the above methods! Before these photos were taken he was NOT bathed (he could be difficult to bath so if I could get away with it I didnt bath him)
This show was indoors so quite early in the year I think!
This one was in late May, the weather was miserable all day the previous day and on the day of the show we had thunder, lightening and a hail storm! I was very lucky to get my class in the only dry patch of the day.
Bathing is one of the best ways. But if you don't have time to bath then this is what I suggest and it works. Do NOT use a curry. They only bring up the under dirt which you want to hide. Go over with a stiffer body brush in short strokes to lift up some of the dirt. Then go over in long strokes with a softer body brush. Then I like to use a very very damp sponge and wipe over the horses body. It picks up much of the surface dirt but hides the under stuff while giving the appearance of a bath. On the white legs if you have time and know how to blend the hairs I would suggest clipping the legs with a 10 blade. Then putting on corn starch or baby powder to really bring out the white. If can't do the clipping then just put the baby powder or corn strach. Also use sandpaper on the hooves to remove the uggly stuff then apply hoof polish. Clip the bridle path and face and wiskers and ears and around the cornet band of the hoof if didn't clip the leg.
Azale, you should note that this is NOT her horse. I sincerely doubt that a riding school is going to let her clip a horses legs, bridle paths or whiskers.
Also if you don't get the base dirt out then the second the horse moves it will come to the surface and look filthy.
A proper grooming including hot clothing is about the only way to get a horse gleaming without having to bath it.
I beg to differ. All my time growing up I showed on nothing but school horses because I couldn't afford my own. And we always clipped the wisker, legs, etc. All you do is ask and often times they will want you to do it cause it makes the horse look clean cut. Also the curry is a general rule by all proffessionals before the show ring. Because it does bring up the under dirt and will have to spend hours to get rid of it. And this girl specifically said she would not have very much time before her class to prepare her horse. Also the Smponing helps especially if don't have time for a bath cause it brings a gleam to the coat and hides the other stuff that may not have had time to get out. I used to show in a series that went on in the winter in KY where could not bath the horses. I used the trick and never would have though of using a curry cause the grooming process would never have ended and my horse always gleamed and so did every other one in my barn. I know how to prepare horse with winter coats and summer coats for the show as I have competed myself many times and have groomed proffessionally for many top trainers in the country and I never got any complaints, in fact they would want me to help the other grooms with my tricks.
Also I can tell you this works cause I once have had to pull a mare for sale going for a outstanding price ready to show for sale to a prospective buyer coming to the barn within 30 min tops. She was covered in dry mud and absolutely filthy. I used the no curry rule clipped her wiskers ears bridlepath cornet band sandpapered the hooves body brushed and sponged wiped on just a little bit of my homemade conditioner and when I pulled her out of the stall my managers jaw dropped at how good I had her looking in such a short time. She was gleaming in winter.
We obviously have different ways of doing things. But I can tell you that mine have proven themselves time and time again, both for myself and proffessionally. GoldenPony asked for tips and suggestions and so I gave mine which I know works for me and others who I have told and try my advice. But it is GoldenPony's decision of what she wants to do. Maybe she wants to do just one persons advice/tips or maybe she wants to do a mixture ove everyones.
I agree with Faye's way of grooming, I was taught to groom my horse the exact same way by my trainer when I was younger, it get's out all the underdirt and makes your horse/pony shine. And since the OP has the day before to do the "grunt" work, she has plenty of time, she can also "refresh" the horse with a 30 min grooming the next day before the show and he/she (the horse) will look all the much better for it.