Horse show season is officially in full swing, and it’s time to look your best and feel your best so that you can perform your best!
Grooming is something that should not just begin in earnest because you have a show coming up, though. As a matter of fact, good grooming habits will, over time, reap much longer lasting benefits. And the maintenance of a healthy coat is something that takes time — you cannot realistically expect your horse to come out of his stall gleaming and shiny with zero effort prior.
So what are some of the best ways to tune up your grooming as your next show approaches? Use these best practices for show grooming and watch your horse blossom as you put that extra layer of elbow grease on!
Get Down to the Skin
Simply brushing surface dirt from your horse’s coat won’t do much. To really get that healthy shine, no amount of shine spray will replace a good, meticulous grooming. To accomplish this, you must get all the way down to the skin to help circulate healthy skin oils and remove excess dirt and dead skin cells. This process encourages healthy hair growth and lays a foundation for that shiny look we all want to see.
HandsOn Grooming Gloves are a great solution for really getting down to the skin, where healthy oils need to be distributed to encourage healthy coat growth. The five-finger design gives you even more control and articulation, as opposed to a rigid curry comb that can’t contour with the horse’s body.
Don’t Ignore the Hard-to-Reach Spots
A horse has a large body, there’s no denying that. This can make it easy to overlook spots that are difficult to reach, but this doesn’t mean you should just ignore those trouble spots.
Spots that can be tougher to groom include behind the ears, the head, between the legs, right above the hoof and fetlock area, and under the tail. Some horses don’t love having more “ticklish” areas touched, so you need to be aware of what your horse prefers and what he doesn’t. However, there are still ways to give these areas the attention they deserve!
Use your HandsOn Gloves to really get into the nooks and crannies during grooming time. Since you have the use of all five fingers while wearing the Gloves, you’ll find that you can get into those smaller or difficult to reach areas with ease.
And these areas should not be neglected! Behind the ears, sweat and residue can build up from wearing a bridle or halter. Dirt and mud can accumulate between the legs and around the fetlocks, which can lead to skin irritations. And sweat builds up due to friction between the hind legs, so this area should always be thoroughly cleaned after a good workout.
Bath Time Matters, Too
Of course, you may not give your horse a full-on bath each time you ride — if anything, this could cause a problem by removing too many natural oils from the skin with too-frequent bathing. However, baths should still be a regular part of your grooming routine. But how you bathe makes a big difference.
Take the time to properly wash each part of your horse’s body. This includes their face! Many riders skip a proper face wash if their horse prefers not to get sprayed in the face, but there are alternatives. Using your HandsOn Gloves comes in handy during bath time, enabling you to give your horse’s face a good, gentle scrub. A wet sponge or towel can be used for rinsing if the horse does not appreciate water to the face.
Bath time is a great opportunity to get a good, deep clean using your HandsOn Gloves. In a circular motion, evenly distribute the shampoo or conditioner to really work down to the skin and remove that built-up dirt and dander. When rinsing, be sure to rinse thoroughly, until the water runs clear. Using the “shower” setting on the nozzle, spraying against the growth of the hair can help lift the hair and allow for a full rinse down to the skin, which is important. You can also use your HandsOn Gloves to lift the hair and allow the rinsing water to remove all the dirt it can.
Good grooming takes time, and it’s not something you can just skimp on if you expect your horse to be shiny and, more importantly, have a healthy skin and coat. Set aside a proper amount of time for grooming and bathing, and over time you will see the results and have a shiny, happy horse in the show ring!