Horse 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. It’s in the details, you may need an extra set of hands, and it’s regular grooming PLUS a few added things.


Back in the barn:


  • 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 a bit. 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 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. Be sure to apply your shine product evenly, and avoid the saddle area!


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


  • If your horse has been eating before you hop on, consider rinsing his mouth with some water to remove all of 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 the majority of it, so your horse’s hooves shine just a bit.


  • Do your best to remove sweat. Use an actual sweat scraper to get most of it off, then follow with damp or dry cloths.


  • 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!




Want some help getting horse show ring ready? As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. These links don’t cost you a penny more to use. I qualify for a commission, which I greatly thank you for!

Shapley’s Mane Mousse – for mane taming, braids, and a tail top tidy.


Shapley’s No.1 Light Oil – for coat conditioning and face highlighting.


Effax Leather Balsam 500 ml – for clean, shiny tack with a bit of stick.


How do you spiff up your horse so the judge says “WOW”?