When you set foot into the showring, you want your pony to be so gorgeous that the judge can’t stop looking at him. This takes hard work and a horse who is in peak condition. Here are some tips to shine to perfection on the showing circuit.
Coats and dapples
Bath your pony to make sure he is spotlessly clean and shiny. Use a coat spray to promote shine, but don’t spray it under the saddle or your saddle might slip.
White coats, socks and spots
Use a special shampoo for greys, and spray with coat spray to help prevent staining. Stand your pony on a clean dry surface till dry and bandage socks when the legs are dry so that they don’t get dirty. Let your grey pony sleep in a sheet overnight to help prevent extra stains. Always allow extra time to do spot cleaning of stains before the show.
After bathing when the legs are dry, use a fine-grained sandpaper to lightly polish your pony’s feet to remove any bumps. Trim the hair around the coronary bands and feathers then brush off any dust and hair and paint the hoof with hoof paint in either clear or black. Most people prefer to use black because it’s so striking – remember to touch up any scuffs or chips before you go in the ring.
Trim the ears out cleanly and wipe them with warm water to remove all grease and dirt. Apply a tiny bit of baby oil inside the ear, just before going in the ring to give it a lovely shine.
Whiskers and beards
Trim the whiskers neatly, leaving the eyelashes alone. The beard can be brushed against the hair to lift all the long hairs and then neatly trim them off until your pony looks clean-shaven. Wipe the muzzle and around the eyes with baby oil before going in the ring.
Manes and tails
Keep manes and tails in good condition with regular washing and conditioning. Don’t condition the mane or the top of the tail where you plait just before a show, it makes the hair too slippery to plait well. Plait with a strong hold gel to help keep the plaits tidy and if necessary spritz with hair spray before going in the ring.
After plaiting the tail, brush the bottom through and either wipe baby oil through it or use mane and tail spray to help it shine and stay silky. Bandage the top of the tail and remove the bandage just before you go in the ring.
Do a last polish just before you enter the and enjoy the fact that you and your pony look amazing!
Text: Mandy Schröder. Photography: dressageafrica.com
The full article appeared in the February 2015 issue of HQPony magazine.