With the show season about to kick off, it’s time to pull those mud and dust monsters out of the paddock, apply a bit of elbow grease and get them ring ready!
For some of you this might be your first season, but never fear – we have you covered with our top tips to bathing your horse and entering your competition on a gleaming steed.
Tip one: optimum shine comes from within.
Sure, you can spritz and spray your horse ‘till your hearts content, but a healthy and balanced diet with the correct vitamins and minerals will allow your horse to be in optimum health. This reflects not only in the horse’s coat, but also in their hooves, mane and tail.
Tip two: elbow grease
Give your horse a really good grooming session before you turn on the hose. Make sure you remove all the mud and dirt from your horses legs, hooves, mane and tail so you’re not wasting precious water on trying to spray it all out.
Tip three: rub-a-dub-dub
Gently horse your horse all over and remove any sweat and dirt that may be coming out of the coat. Invest in good quality horse shampoo (medicated is a bonus) and dilute it in a bucket. Remember that depending on the quality of the shampoo, a little may go a long way. Apply the suds to the neck body using a sponge – focus on the legs and face separately.
Gently massaging the suds into your horses coat will help bring any trapped dirt to the surface. Let the suds sit for a few minutes and then rinse off. Remember that leaving any suds in the coat can irritate and cause itching, so ensure that your horse has been thoroughly rinsed afterwards.
Tip four: glorious legs
Much like tip three, dilute your shampoo in a bucket and gently work your way from the bottom of the leg to the top. Be sure to stay safe to avoid any accidents and work the suds down into the horses fur. Rinse and then repeat for each leg. While washing the legs you can use this time to check for any fungus or abrasions that may need to be treated.
Tip five: facials
Well we don’t really give our horses facials, but it’s important that we remove any scurf and build-up. If your horse is opposed to having his face washed, try removing what you can with a baby wipe. If your horse doesn’t mind a bit of water, gently hose the face and add a little shampoo in a bucket
and gently rub a clean sponge over the front of the face – keep suds away from eyes and the inside of ears. The sponge should not have been used for the rear end or legs of the horse as we don’t want to create a circus of infections. Gently work the suds in and rinse when ready – again be careful to remove all the shampoo.
Tip six: oh ma hair!
Quality mane and tail shampoos are available to purchase, although you may choose buy an off the shelf human brand from woolies. Just be aware that human hair PH is different to your horses, so we do recommend using a brand that caters to your equines luscious locks.
Like all good brands, a little goes a long way so sparingly add the shampoo to your horses mane and tail and gently work the product in. If you need more, then add some extra until your happy with your lather efforts. Be sure to gently work the product into the mane and tail, you don’t want to cause breakage or pull out any of those long grown strands.
Rinse the mane and tail well – repeat the shampooing process if your horse is an extra dirty hippo in the hair department.
If you intend on plaiting, we advise that you don’t use conditioner as it can make the hair slippery. If you’re not plaiting, go fourth and release the cracken! Gently massage and rinse – when the water runs clear you know all the conditioner is out. Don’t brush the mane or tail until it is dry, else you can cause knots, tangles and breakage.
Tip seven: air dry
Scrape your horse down with a water scraper – on hot days ensure that you’ve scraped all the water off your horses coat else it can warm up and raise your horse’s body temperature. Allow your horse to dry (you can help them out by using a chamois or towel) and then groom with a soft bristled brush.
Tip eight: rug up
Apply a clean rug to keep your horse dirt free. If you’re plaiting, a skinny hood over the top of the head and neck will help protect your plaits and keep the hair down for a smooth and sleek finish come competition day.
Now you’re ready to hit the arena in squeaky clean style!
Remember: Be sure not to bathe your horse too often else you’ll strip the coat of its natural oils which will make it appear dull and feel brittle.