We all can agree that looking and performing your best in the ring takes a lot of hard collective preparation and planning. As the show season is reaching its peak we have a couple horse grooming secrets to share with you that we have learned along the way of preparing for the numerous shows.
4. Step-up your shampooing game.
It takes a couple of showering sessions to learn how to shampoo a horse properly.
First goes the right choice of shampoo. The most important thing when picking the right shampoo is to match your horse’s pH balance. Normally skin of the horse is somewhere in the range of pH 7.0 to 7.5, but sweat and dirt raise it to more an alkaline side, which might bring discomfort to your pony. You should go with a product which would neutralize that, or simply would not disrupt natural pH balance of your horse – so neutral or slightly acidic product would be just fine. Having this in mind, the ultimate question – whether you can use human shampoo on your horse or not is answered. The answer is that you might, as the human pH level is way less alkaline than it is of a horse, but for the comfort of your horse, pick the most neutrally smelling one – as all these fruity and flowery smells might irritate your horse and attract even more flies. Also, make sure that you wash it out carefully, as human shampoo is not the best when combined with a hard water.
Next tip is on shampooing your horse properly. All you will need is your good old curry comb, and you can start shampooing your pony from the upper part of the neck going down towards the belly and legs. Seems like common sense, right? For sure, however, the mistake that we constantly keep seeing is how shampoo itself is rinsed off. What we’ve learned along the way of long years showering our ponies for shows, is that using a curry comb for rinsing off is just as important as when applying that said shampoo – if not even more. A simple stream of water might not take out shampoo that easily, and that can leave a soapy matte film on your horse which is definitely not a look desired for a show ring and in the worst case scenario could bring your horse a big discomfort by causing itchiness. Rinse your horse with water and brush your horse with curry comb at the same time, to ensure that all the soap is gone by the time you finish bathing your horse.
3. Rinsing – keep it warm.
Warm water wins over cold water any time. It battles mud and sweat way better than a cold hard water does, it helps shampoo dissolve faster and better which saves a lot of time and energy while trying to wash off all the shampoo. Not to mention horses love warm showers – it is a perfect treat for your horse after a hard rigorous exercise or a long day at the show-grounds – as warm water is perfect for muscle relaxation. However, we all know that warm water is not always available. So the handy-dandy thing to have at the barn, or to pack in when leaving for a horse show is a portable horse shower. There are a variety of horse showers to choose from in the market – it all depends on your needs! For example, the ones which store water in their containers are great for quick and warm rinse-offs, but will not hold a water streak for long. While for example ones which work on electric or gas source will keep the flow of the warm water constant, will be easy to carry around at the yard and transport, but will need an external water source for a warm stream to work. With their pros and cons calculated, portable showers can be great to add
2. When in doubt – add more ShowSheen.
Everybody knows the power of ShowSheen. It smells like heaven and it makes your pony shine even from the miles away. After a good old shower, it is handy to spray your horse with ShowSheen while he is still wet and take him out for a short graze in the sun to dry off. Just make sure that spray does not reach the saddle area and the mane, because slipping saddle and mane which won’t cooperate in being braided are definitely not the emotions that we might want to experience at the horse show. After horse is all dry, the chances are that he is already is as shiny as a star, but we advise to sprinkle that little extra layer of the sheen all over again – just for the last motivational resort before your ride, that even if judges won’t be blinded by your excellence, they will be blinded by your shine.
1. The final baby steps.
Now plan a trip to the nearest drugstore and stock up on baby products such as baby oil and baby powder. Yes, we are fully aware that this will probably earn you a smirk or two from your non-equestrian family members and friends but if you are not yet using baby oil and baby powder on your horse, you definitely need to start now! For the final touch-ups, baby oil is perfect to run down the muzzle of your horse right before leaving to a ring for that extra little shine on the nose, and a baby powder when rubbed in on white socks or a blaze will make them as white as a snow! Just make sure to use powder with no talk in it, and when rubbing the powder on to the face be extra careful and apply powder on a brush first, as putting it straight on the face might scare your horse.