Next up is the bridle path. Every
discipline is different, with lengths
ranging from 1" to 12". If you braid, a
shorter path looks better. Start behind
your horse’s ears, as this is where the
crown of the bridle actually rests, and
go down the mane from there. You
want to be sure to avoid clipping into
The last stop is the ears. Many
horses are sensitive to having buzzing
clippers near their ears, so be careful
and work slowly to get the horse used
to the noise and vibration. For most
shows, gently squeezing the ear closed
and clipping off any tufts that stand
out past the edges is sufficient. If your
discipline requires a “cleaned-out” ear,
you will have to be extremely vigilant
about fly protection until the hair
Whether your horse is a loud pinto
or sports a few socks, nothing kills
the polished look faster than dingy
whites. Make sure you take the time
to get them dazzling.
First, you’ll be doing yourself a
favor if you frequently scrub or spot-treat white areas. Leaving it all for
show time will result in set-in stains
that are hard to remove. Manes and
tails hold the deepest-down grunge, so
shampooing and conditioning at least
once a week becomes necessary if you
want to see results at show time.
Spot-treating white doesn’t require
a bath, and these products can be
applied to a rag or sponge to rub
out the stain. It helps to keep white
stockings clipped with a No. 10 blade
so there is less hair to get dirty.
When you do bathe, use a color-specific shampoo for whites and grays.
These are often blue or purple in color,
and help tint any stains in the hair
for a more silvery look. Use a scrubby
mitt for maximum effect. Be sure to
read label directions and don’t leave
the product on too long, or your horse
could end up turning purple!
To get the super sharp show-ring
look, you’ll need to clip off the
excess shaggy hairs on your horse’s
face and legs. Start with a set of
freshly sharpened and oiled No. 10
blades for best performance. These
cut the hair longer and are more
forgiving of mistakes than blades
with higher numbers. Experienced
grooms and some show circuits may
prefer the closer trim of a No. 30
blade, especially for muzzle and ears.
The hair should be clean to keep
your blades sharp, so the best time
to clip is after bathing and drying
your horse. Starting with the legs,
run the clippers down the back of
the cannons to tidy up any long
hairs, then run them upward around the coronary band, the
back of the pastern and around the fetlock.
The next stop is the face, with several zones to be clipped.
Begin with the jawline, running the clippers downward in the
direction of the hair. It’s best not to go against the grain here
or around the sides of the face, as clipper marks are especially
noticeable in these areas.
Many people opt to leave the chin whiskers in place as “feelers” for their horse.
If your show circuit demands a clean shave, wait until show day or the day before
to clip these, since they grow back very quickly.
Gently cup the
ear and clip off
any exposed tufts
Tidying up long
makes a big
difference in your