Horse show grooming tips – knock the judge over!


Well, aside from staying on and your horse not acting like a totally foolish goober, you can make your horse shine for the judge. That show ring shine is in the details,  an extra set of hands, adding a few things to your regular grooming routine.  


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Back in the barn, before your classes:


  • Tidy any braids with mousse to pin down fly-aways.



Mane Mousse is great before you braid and can be used after as well to tame any disobedient strands of mane.


  • Use a smidge of grooming oil to make your horse’s eye orbits and nostrils shine. Some disciplines use a lot of grooming oil! For disciplines that don’t typically use oil, a little bit goes a long way; aim for the understated look. Less is more.


  • A tidy tail. Some mousse will flatten and shape the top of your horse’s tail. This helps you avoid the unfashionable, just got struck by lightning look.


  • Wickedly clean tack. Before you hop on, a quick wipe with a lederbalsam creates a nice subtle shine on your tack and gives your bum some extra sticking action.



Lederbalsams are great at spiffing up your tack AND creating grip. Good news for your bum!


  • Trim your horse’s coronary bands. You may have the sharpest-looking legs with perfectly groomed fetlocks, so keep the look going by trimming up the coronary band. Simple safety scissors or your clippers can create a sharp line. Bonus – it’s easier to inspect your horse’s hooves this way; you will likely catch any cracks early!


  • Add some last-second shine. Apply your shine product evenly, and avoid the saddle area!  Sheen sprays can be slippery. 


  • Properly fitted saddle pads do their job without covering up most of your horse. Keep bling and decorations to a minimum, and keep saddle pads clean and minimal.


  • If your horse has been eating before you hop on, consider rinsing his mouth with water to remove all the green slobbies. A large syringe does the trick.


  • When you are getting dressed, honor the tradition of your discipline without taking the judge’s eye away from your horse.



Dress to impress. You and your horse.


Grooming between the warm-up and the show ring:


  • Nicely cleaned and polished hooves. Brush off all dirt on the hooves and add some hoof polish sparingly. You may even want to wipe off most of it, so your horse’s hooves shine just a bit.


  • Do your best to remove sweat. Use a sweat scraper to remove most of it, then follow with damp or dry cloths. Sweat scrapers with the rubber flap are awesome for this job. 


  • Clean any slobber from your horse’s lips, and wipe any sweat from his face. You may want to also check and clean in between his butt cheeks.


  • Smile and have fun!





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Thank you!