With the showing season under way here is a little insight into some of our top tips for getting your horses show ring ready and looking their best in order to make a great impression when in the ring.
Turning you horses or ponies out to a high standard and to the best of your ability can really set a good image and it can make the world of difference when trying to catch the judges eye. If you and your horse look great then you feel amazing and are sure to perform to your best.
The day before
Trimming - Whether you ride a native or a riding horse make sure you know what is correct for the breed that you are showing so do your homework if your unsure how to turnout your horse spend some time watching other classes, ask an expert or browse the internet to find out what is expected of your breed.
Natives should be shown in their natural state but there are ways of enhancing their look by using some choice products and tidying the wild look before heading off to your show.
The day before the show we always like to give Charlie a last minute trim so he can look his very best!
Being a welsh D trimming is minimal as per the breed standard but areas such as his ears, his jaw line, whiskers and any hair above his fetlocks are allowed to be trimmed, a great tool for any last minute tidy ups is an Equi Shave !
Thick and bushy manes and tails -
Manes that are overly thick can be quickly and humanly thinned using a Smart Grooming tail thinning rake which will leave a nice natural look, the length can then be shortened to the desired length using a comb and thinning scissors.
For native classes tails should look natural however if the tail is overly thick again you can use the tail rake to thin the top of the tail or take out some of the bulk if the tail is too weighted.
Rakes are also great for achieving the feathered look on the welsh tail.
This photos demonstrates how I like Charlie's tail, i shape it to show off his muscles on his hind quarters.
Bath - The day before we always give Charlie a bath to remove and dirt and grease from the coat, I like to use a lavender based shampoo because Charlie has very sensitive skin and I find this shampoo helps his skin whilst achieving a lovely shine.
Make sure you remember to wash your horses head otherwise as soon as you work your horse in your lovely clean bridle will very quickly become dirty!
We always wash Charlie's mane two days prior to the show and then we plait it down, by doing this it helps to keep his mane lying flat and on the correct side of his neck, applying a little super shine also helps to hold the mane in place.
Super White socks - When in the ring we are always asked how we keep Charlies socks looking so white so here is our top trick for super white socks..
When bathing we like to use Smart grooming's deep purple shampoo, using my hands I rub the purple shampoo in well to his sock and feathers, then I leave it on for at least 10 minutes before washing out with warm water.
i then towel dry
Star Product - Using Smart Grooming's leg and body whitener I make up a paste and apply carefully to Charlie's socks with my hands! The paste can be worked in well to his socks providing a really good coverage!
Another method is to use a damp sponge and apply directly to the sock but the above method works best for me.. any excess that goes on to the hoof can be wiped of with a damp sponge.
Once applied I then put leg wraps on and leave to dry until the show morning... on the morning of the show we take off the wraps brush out any excess the reapply the wraps.. these stay on until right before entering the ring.
Over Night - To keep any dust out of the coat we always make sure we use a clean rug when stabled, plaiting the tail or using a tail bag will also keep it from getting dirty, Lively hoods do great tail bags which I like to use.
Tack - Our tack gets a good clean the night before, (My tack cleaning fairy aka my Mum) tends to use a balm over saddle soap as it nourishes the tack better and you don't get a stick residue.
Once clean we always hang it in a bridle bag and cover the saddle over ( Tip - don't put your girth over the top of the saddle otherwise it leaves marks on it)
Whether in-hand or in riding classes in order to make sure you give a great first impression with the judge be sure your horse is spotless before entering the ring! First impressions count for a lot and nothing says look at me better than a super shiny and clean horse that is turned out to a high standard.
If your horse has white legs or if the ground is a bit muddy try to keep them covered right up to the minute before you enter the ring... after all you wouldn't want all your effort getting your horses legs super white or clean the day before to go to waste!
For Charlie we like to use A&J Boots !! These boots fit right down to the hoof, they have Velcro fastenings which make the quick and easy to remove before going in the ring and are ideal for use when working in.
If your horse takes quite a long time to work in or has a tendency to sweat up easily make sure you allow yourself enough time to work in and then have time to clean up before going in the ring.
Tails - My favorite product for a really glossy mane and tail is Gloss n Go from Smart Groomings range, this product keeps the tail knot free for in the ring and even days after!
Last minute Clean - I am very lucky to have the help of my mother on most days which is a great help for a last minute clean up, but if you are on your own the key to your last minute clean up is organisation !!
Make sure you have everything in order of use in a basket so after warming up you can tie your horse to the lorry, give them a quick clean up and jump back on in good time for your class.
Before we go into the ring these are the main areas we focus on.
Mouth - Using a damp sponge we wipe away any froth on the outside of the mouth.
Boots - My boots always get a quick wipe with a boot wipe or baby wipe to take off any dust.
The horse - Before going in the ring we wipe over Charlies body, for this we use some super shine on a cloth or a small amount of coat shine.
Dampen mane - As Charlies mane can be rather wild we quickly dampen down his mane with a damp sponge or again with super shine.
Tack - The main visible areas get a quick wipe to make sure there is not grease or dust on the tack.
Hooves - To finish the look Charlies hooves get a last minute oil with a hoof dressing then he's good to go.
So that's it, our guide for some top turnout tips for your horse for the show ring !
Happy Showing !