Getting Your Show Horse Looking Its Best

Show horses are expected to be trimmed for competition to look their best. Doing so helps to create a sharp, streamlined appearance that is ideal for shows. Here are some tips to help you make sure your horse looks its best in the show ring.

Grooming: It’s best to start grooming early to give yourself plenty of time to get the horse looking its best. A sleek, short, glossy coat is best because a horse’s coat reflects the attention he is receiving, both from what he is being fed and how much grooming he receives. Make sure you are feeding your horse the best diet possible and brush religiously. Brushing his coat will stimulate natural oils that help his coat look shiny.

Trimming and Clipping: When trimming your horse, it’s usually best and easiest to use electric clippers. The areas that are typically trimmed are: the legs, trimming the “feathers” that form at the fetlock, which is the bulb at the bottom of a horse’s leg; the bridle path, which is the area of the mane right behind the ears; ears; muzzle; and any long eye whiskers. Take great care when clipping so you do not injure your horse, especially around the eye area. Using a size 10 or 15 blade for the legs will produce a great trim, while using a size 30 or 40 blade for the face will provide a close shave. Take care when using a blade that produces such a close shave, especially on the face. You may want to practice quite a few times before trimming for a show to fully get the hang of it.

Bathing: The best time to bathe your horse is the day before the show. This allows natural oils in his coat to return and make his coat shiny. Most likely you will have to touch up any white legs on the day of the show. Use a gentle scrubber pad to clean off all the dirt from your horse’s feet. Make sure to wash your horse’s mane and tail, and apply a polish to it such as ShowSheen.

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