Among all the preparations that go into getting ready for a show, cleaning up your horse is a big item to check off the list. It’s important to look your best when you enter the ring, regardless of your discipline, and the appearance of your horse is a major part of the overall picture. Your horse’s tail should appear long, thick and neat, with mane pulled, combed or braided. Overall coat condition should be rich and sheen from a habit of healthy grooming, exercise and nutrition, along with high quality grooming products. Luckily, a new company, Ponytail, has launched a high-end grooming collection of shampoos, conditioners, and other helpful items to get your horse’s coat to shimmer and make your horse show prep easier.
- Start with a Bath: A conditioning shampoo will help to bring out the natural shine of your horse’s hair while it removes all the dirt and grime that has gotten down into the coat. A sponge can be used to massage the shampoo into your horse’s coat, and a hand curry can be used to scrub dirtier areas that need a little extra attention. Some people prefer to create a shampoo-water mixture in a bucket and sponge out of there onto the horse. Applying the shampoo directly to a soaked sponge, however, is a great way to make your shampoo bottle last longer. The shampoo will foam up as you briskly rub the sponge on the horse, and you ensure no shampoo is left behind and wasted in a bucket. Alternatively, Ponytail offers a Foam & Frolic shampoo-infused sponge that already has the shampoo inside. The sponge will last you approximately 2 washes on your horse.
- Condition Away Tangles: With all the time your horse spends outside roaming the paddocks, moving briskly under saddle, or rolling around in the dirt, it’s expected that their mane and tail may get fairly tangled. Leave-in conditioner can be massaged into your horse’s mane and tail to help detangle and smooth the hair. This will make combing out these areas throughout the show day much easier, and everything will be left soft, silky and shiny.
- Braid Your Mane: A braided mane gives a very finished look to a horse entering a show ring, and in my competitions they are required. Make the job a bit easier on yourself while improving the final look by using a stay-braid spray. Sprays like this help to add additional shine and give a strong hold to the hair so unruly manes are tamed and braids stay put, looking perfect.
- Touch-Up Quick: If your horse has decided his manure pile looks like a great place to lie down for the night after a day of bathing and cleaning, there is no need to fret. Ponytail’s Trot the Spot is a rinse-free shampoo, so you can touch-up any stains on-the-go, leaving a glossy shine behind.
Filling your horse show prep kit up with these items, as well as bringing the spot cleaner along in the trailer, will allow your horse to look as top-quality as you do on the day of the show. Aside from a pre-show bath, regular high-quality grooming, good nutrition, and consistent exercise will help to keep your horse in winning form inside and out. A little hoof polish, a damp towel over their face and a wipe down of your own boots, and heads will be sure to turn as you make your way to the ring, already a winner.