Is your horse a shiny horse?


There’s no real secret to getting a spectacular shine on your horse.  It’s a combo of basic things – nutrition, grooming, and using clean grooming tools and tack.   But we can also use some boosts in those categories to help a horse be a shiny horse. 


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Stallions are just naturally shinier – their hormones create more sebum on their skin, which is the natural oil that creates amazing shine on

Sebum – your horse’s shine maker


  • Nothing can replace your horse’s natural oils that he makes himself.  Sebum, from the sebaceous glands in the skin, create shine and provide waterproofing.  This magic oil has antimicrobial properties, too, warding off bacteria and fungus that can create problems.  


  • When we use too much water, too much shampoo, too much product, have a poor diet, and no elbow grease, your horse will end up with a dull coat and flaky skin.   Frequent shampooing or harsh detergents will strip the sebum off your horse.  


  • Your equine nutritionist can help create the best possible diet for your horse. You want to have appropriate omega fatty acids in there – which means NO CORN OIL – it has too many Omega 6’s for most horses. Instead, use omega fatty acids that help your horse keep balanced in his nutritional needs.


Tools to boost your elbow grease


Hay wisps


  • These are an almost forgotten art of weaving damp hay into a handheld wisp to be brushed and rubbed along the coat for mega shine. A tea towel is the next best thing to create shine, then perhaps a super short and tightly bound natural hair brush, like a finishing brush. Also look for products designed to create shine, these double up as stain guards and can help future stains slide right off.



The hay wisp. Yes, you make it yourself from hay.


How to make a hay wisp:


    • Create a 1/2 inch rope from dampened and soft hay. Long stem hay is best, as is damp hay. You may want to dunk it, spritz it, or shower it.
    • Twist the hay until you have about 6 feet of it.
    • Then, create 2 loops at one end of the rope, one loop slightly larger. So you end up with 2 loops and 1 rope, braid them all together.
    • Ta-dah!! Wisp.
    • When you are done braiding, you can dampen the wisp and even step on it. It should be firm and small enough to hold in one hand.
    • You can also think of it like this: use the rope length to weave in and out of the 2 loops you have.
  • Use the wisp by brushing with the lay of the coat to a shiny finish. If you are anything like me in the “following directions and questionable end results” category, you will make many of these before you figure it out.



A good example of crazy, wicked shine.


The cactus cloth


  • A cactus cloth is a more modern style of hay wisp.  They last forever, and are not made of your horse’s favorite snack – hay. 


  • Cactus cloths have a rougher side and a smoother side and are great for buffing out sweat marks, adding shine, and taking off the last layers of dirt. You can also use them wet. 



The modern-day alternative to a hay wisp is the cactus cloth. More on this little grooming gem here.



Shine products


  • Sheen products add silicone to your horse’s hair for detangling, shine, and sleekness. HOWEVER – many contain boatloads of alcohol, which dry things out. Which also makes your horse’s hair more likely to break and stain. Some brands do not include additional alcohol, which has all of the benefits but none of the breakage.


  • Grooming oils are conditioning and shine-producing. They can bring back shine and softness to a freshly clipped coat, and grooming oils are also great for helping the shedding horse.




  • You have a few options with grooming oils as to how to use them. One option is to lightly buff in some oil for a little sparkle, or apply more heavily, let things rest overnight, and shampoo out the next day.


  • Many shampoos and stain removers also have fancy sparkling things to reflect light and create shine. You want to stick with mild and gentle products here, otherwise, you are removing your horse’s natural oils, which creates more problems down the line.


Top off your hard work with some shine product. This will also help repel stains.


Oil buffing with grooming oils 


  • Oil buffing is the fine art of using a grooming oil to boost shine.  You can use these techniques all year long, in all sorts of weather.  The secret is to use enough grooming oil to add conditioning and stain repelling, but not so much your horse is drenched.  A TINY bit goes a long way. 


  • There are many ways to oil buff your horse.  


    • Mix water and oil, use a stiff brush, cloths, or a cactus cloth to curry your horse with your mixture.
    • In winter, make sure the water is hot and wring out your cloth. 
    • In summer, rinse your horse with a water and oil mixture.  This is great after a bath. 
    • You may also want to pour some oil onto a cloth or stiff brush and massage into your horse.


The complete guide to oil buffing is here!


Oil buffing info

Tips for oil buffing your horse



If you want to pick up some grooming oils for your horse, check into my faves below. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is ZERO extra cost to you and you also get some good vibes from me sent your way.


HandsOn Gloves on horse_.jpg

HandsOn Grooming Gloves – also, use code PEG for some free shipping!



Genuine Cactus Cloth – Natural – 18 X 16-1/2 Standard This is much better for stain removal and spreading natural oils around.

This cactus mitt may be easier to use than a cloth.  


I love Easy Out for touch-up stain removal!


You can also snap up a bottle of the grooming oil I love 




Handy cloths for all things horse grooming

Larger sponge for bathing and grooming


Yes – you can get a fecal egg count test in the mail.



This Omega Fatty acid supplement from KER is easy to dose. 


Another fatty acid supplement option.


This fatty acid supplement also has vitamins and minerals.


Chia seeds for horses


A ration balancer


A basic vitamin and mineral supplement


Another brand of vitamin and mineral supplement



Cashel Quiet Ride Bug Armor – 2 Piece Set




Amigo Mio Fly sheet – I love this one, the extra long tail prevents bugs up the butt, and the neckpiece is great. It’s also super light, which means it tears easily.