Glowing Show Hunters
Show season is upon us, especially in Ireland, and so it’s time to dust off you canary yellow jods and your navy velvet hunting caps and sacrifice your Sunday morning lie-ins for a 5am head start on your plaits.
Don’t you want a little more for your trouble? Here’s a few tips and tricks to make your horse look like the stud he is, or the brightest mare in the hunter class!
I don’t mean a spot wash to get out the grass stains or a quick rinse like you do after a sweaty hour of flatwork. You need to mix the shampoo into the water of the bucket and put some on your sponge.
The lather is the key to a squeaky clean coat and it’s the bubbles that lift the dirt and dust out of the hair.
Extra hint: for horses kept in a sand paddock or around very dry and dusty soil (like my horse, Stimpy), it helps to wash everyday for about 3-5 days to make sure the dust if fully extracted.
Tail by hand.
In today’s world, convenience triumphs over effect. I am asking you to put down those fancy tail brushes and do out your horse’s tail by hand. This minimises breakages and aides to the overall health of your horse’s tail allowing it to grow longer and thicker.
It is also more efficient at taking out the knots and gives you time to bond with your horse. Spray in conditioner is also advised to keep those locks more silky than ever!
Extra hint: a grey horses tail may appear yellow, but don’t fret, it’s a natural thing that most judges won’t mark down, but if it’s stressing you out, a bit of dish soap can get it back to a snowy white!
Call me old fashioned, but I am never one to put in hair extensions, or black petroleum jelly on Stimpy’s eyes, I’m not even all that into black varnish on my his hooves.
However, there are some things I do recommend, like show sheen on your horses coat or chalk on their white markings.
For the hooves, I think the best thing you can do, if you can afford it, is to get your farrier to put on aluminium “slippers” (only to be worn during show week, then removed as they wear easily) to keep your horses feet looking minimalistic and neat.
If your horse has white hooves, it also helps to just put on a tinted hoof oil rather than a black varnish, which can wear off and leave you feeling a little embarrassed.
When it comes to the traditional Irish Hunter, less is more in terms of bling, so I’m sad to say that your diamante browbands, fabulous leg bandages and matching numnahs have to stay in the tack room.
A plain black or hevana bridle will fit in brilliantly with a wide flat leather noseband to elongate the nose, a matching saddle would be expected and a matching colour numnah (if you could do without a numnah, even better!) will set you up for any class once oiled and gleaming.
Sometimes, for the likes of a riding horse class, a ribbon browband is needed, and I suggest you check out http://stablemates.xyz/colour-coordinating-horse/to get the best colours to suit you and your horse!
A healthy horse is a stunning horse.
If your horse’s health is down in anyway, it usually shows first in a dull coat or eyes. Keeping your horse’s health at 110% can be difficult, but worth it no matter the discipline.
Most things can be treated with an over the counter remedy in your local co-op and some are just solved by supplements, nevertheless, health is always a priory and is the basis for any great show animal.
Hope your show season leaves you blinded by the gloss of your steed and remember to enjoy this 2017 season!
Article by Susan Doran