48 JUNE 2017 I HORSEillustrated.com
Follow this five-step plan to
get your horse show-ready.
BY HOLLY CACCAMISE / PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH MOYER
Everyone wants their horse to shine in the show ring. Whether you’re being judged on your performance or your horse’s, you will show respect o the judge and can take pride in having stellar turnout. Here’s how to take your horse from filthy to fabulous.
The first step in getting your horse deep-down clean is a bath.
Most horses take offense to ice-cold water, so if you have access
to warm or heated water, he will appreciate it. It also helps with
After wetting all of the hair thoroughly, it’s time to shampoo.
Everyone has a preference—either add a dollop of equine shampoo
to a bucket and dilute it, or apply a small amount to a wet sponge
and squeeze into a lather. Use your sponge or a nubby bathing mitt
to thoroughly suds your horse, working it down to the skin.
The No. 1 secret to bathing is in the rinse. Start from high areas
(top of neck and back), and work your way down, using the highest
pressure spray your horse will tolerate. This acts as a “dirt squeegee,”
ensuring that nothing goes back upward or into the hair. Keep rinsing
until the water runs completely clear—this takes more time than
most people think.
After removing excess water from your horse’s coat with a sweat
scraper, towel your horse dry, rubbing back and forth across the grain.
Graze him until damp, if not completely dry. Unfortunately, wet
horses really enjoy diving into dirt piles or their bedding for a good
roll! A spritz of coat polish spray will help repel dust and shavings,
being careful to avoid the saddle area and the mane if you will be
braiding or banding it, since it makes the hair slippery. If it’s not too
hot, put a stable sheet on him to help him stay clean.