We all know that a clear round doesn’t come in a bottle, and you can’t spray on a collected canter. When we ride, we know that the best results come from months (or years) of hard work and preparation. So why is it that so many of us wait until the day before the show to start thinking about our horse’s coats?
Just like with your training program, it’s important to start with a solid foundation. Make sure that your horse has high-quality forage and is receiving a full ration of the vitamins and minerals required to thrive. To outshine your competitors, consider enhancing his diet with a skin and coat supplement.
To get a glossy coat, add essential fatty acids to optimize skin health. When comparing fat-based supplements it’s important to consider the source, because not all fats are created equal. While any type of fat will help with dry skin by increasing oil production, some supply even greater health benefits.
Flax Seed is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, a key component in skin cell membranes. Supplying your horse with Omega 3s will promote healthier, more resilient skin, addressing dryness and boosting your horse’s shine. Omega 3s also help fight inflammation throughout the body–a great bonus for your competitive athlete. To supplement with these healthful fats, consider Omega Horseshine (#10182, $20.20) or SmartShine (#16317, $8.49).
Rice Bran is rich in fat, protein and fiber, as well as B Vitamins, Vitamin E and minerals. Supplements like Grand Coat (#10797, $18.85) and Cocosoya Ultra SPTM (#13525, $22.95) blend this ultra-tasty fat source with Flax Seed to support superior shine.
Fish Oil is also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which are known for their many proven health benefits. EPA has been shown to be healthful for kidneys, the heart and arthritis in humans. Meanwhile, DHA has been shown to improve brain function in dogs, and support reproductive ability in stallions. SmartShine Ultra (#16319, $18.49) blends Fish Oil with Flax Seed for superior shine.
The clock is ticking…
With a solid nutritional program, your horse is sure to shine all year long. Come show day, with only a few minutes in front of the judge, you’ll want to make an instant and lasting impression. Make the most of the weeks, days and minutes before your class to make sure you shine in the spotlight.
at least 6 weeks before – Start supplementing for a healthier skin and coat based on our recommendations above.
5 weeks before – Protect your horse’s natural coat color from bleaching and sun damage. Choose a fly sheet with UV protection, like the Air Flow Mesh Fly Sheet (#14630, $65.95).
4 weeks before – Repair winter damage, clear up fungal infections, support healthy skin and maximize hair growth with Shapley’s Original M-T-G (#16238, $15.95).
3 weeks before – Over-bathing can strip essential oils, so shampoo sparingly. When you do bathe, let your suds do double-duty. Promote healthy skin with R.M. Minard’s DermaSmart Shampoo (#17841, $16.95).
3 days before – Save yourself some last minute stress and clip with the Moser Arco Clippers (#11342, $145.95) a few days ahead. Then, a quick pre-show touch-up is all you’ll need.
The Day Before
1:00 p.m. – Touch up your trim before you bathe. Clippers work better on dry hair, and the bath will wash away any trimmings, so they don’t irritate your horse’s skin.
2:15 p.m. – Seal in the after-bath glow with Hair Moisturizer (#10233, $12.95). To ward off clingy shavings and keep your tail tangle-free, braid the tail and put on the Jammies Tailbag (#16006, $14.95).
2:45 p.m. – While your horse dries off, finish packing for tomorrow. Double check that your grooming kit is fully stocked for show day touch-ups.
3:00 p.m. – Tuck your horse in. Once he’s dry, give him a final once-over with a brush or clean, dry towel. Keep his coat smooth overnight and defend against stains with the Baker Stable Sheet (#10438, $84.95).
3 hours before your class – Arrive at the barn bright and early. Wash out any overnight stains so your horse has plenty of time to dry while you braid.
2 hours before – Start braiding. Get a no-slip grip with Quic Braid (#10217, $7.50) and eliminate flyaways for tighter, tidier braids.
1.5 hours before – Check your horse’s markings while you still have time to clean them. Banish stubborn spots with Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover (#10199, $9.90).
1 hour before – Brush out your horse’s tail with Canter Silk Mane and Tail Conditioner (#10080, $14.95) for a glossy and smooth look that will last all day long.
At the in-gate – Time to shine! Give your horse (and your boots!) one last rub down with the Euro Rub-Down Towel (#14973, $17.95).