Prospective horse buyers and loaners may put a great deal of weight on the overall appearance of your horse during their viewing; hence, showing them a nicely groomed and well-turned-out horse might just give you an edge and increase your chances of closing a good deal.
To help you get started in the right direction, below are our top turn out tips for a horse viewing:
1. Safety First – Even if you and your horse have a strong bond, you cannot entirely be sure on how he or she will react at any given moment during the cleaning and grooming process. As a precaution, make sure that your horse is safely tied with a halter and avoid standing directly in front or behind him.
2. Commence the Pre-Bath – Starting on one side of the horse, use a rubber curry comb to loosen up matted dirt, dust, mud, dandruff, and dead hairs from the horse’s body. Utilizing small yet vigorous circular strokes, start currying from the neck and work your way down to the hindquarters, and then go around on the other side of the horse to repeat the procedure. For the best results, stroke your curry comb against the grain of the horse’s coat. For the bony and tender parts such as the legs and face, use a grooming mitt instead of a curry comb.
3. Bathe Your Horse – A horse that just had a good and clean bath will almost always have a competitive edge over a horse that didn’t have any. Once the pre-bath has been completed, it’s now time for your horse to get wet and lathered. Here are the steps:
- Using a water hose with a nozzle, start at the front legs and then spray the hose towards the back legs. This way, you’ll have your horse be accustomed to the feel and sound of the water before getting his or her entire body wet. Then, spray your hose to the chest and neck, and then work the hose towards the stomach, the hindquarters, and the tail.
- Dab a wet sponge onto the horse’s face instead of using the hose, taking extra caution not to let any excess water get into the ears, nostrils and eyes. Although some horses can tolerate being sprayed with water on the face, most horses will find it annoying and might get startled.
- After getting your horse all wet, apply a good amount of shampoo solution using a hand mitt. Start from the neck area and work your way down towards the back and the legs. Use a circular motion, just like you would when using a curry comb, to create a good lather on the body. Furthermore, this action makes the shampoo solution seep deeply into the coat and further loosen any trapped dirt or grime. For the horse’s face, use a soft sponge to apply the shampoo solution. Make sure that the mane and the tail are shampooed to a thick lather. The best shampoos to use are those labelled for equine use, although mild shampoo formulas may also suffice in most cases. However, always keep in mind to have a precise mixture of shampoo and water to get the best cleaning effect. Mixing instructions are usually found on the shampoo bottle’s label.
- Start rinsing from the top and then work your way down, making sure that no shampoo residues are left on the horse’s body. Keep in mind that shampoo residue can cause irritation and will leave the coat looking dull and dry.
4. Make That Coat Gleam – After drying up your horse, it’s now time to get his or her coat gleaming. Using a soft bristled body brush, start brushing your horse with smooth and straight strokes that follow the grain of the hairs. This helps put the hairs neatly back into their natural position. However, be very gentle when brushing the face and other sensitive parts to avoid irritating the horse.
5. Trim the Excess Hairs – Excess and protruding hairs are not a pleasant sight to any potential horse buyer or loaner. Horse parts that usually have excess hairs are the fetlock, throat, ears, and chin. Moreover, trimming adds a great deal of definition to the horse’s body contour that enhances the looks of your horse from a potential buyer’s perspective.
6. Clean and Trim the Hooves – Using a hoof pick, start picking dirt and debris at the heel and work your way towards the toes. Keep in mind to be very gentle at the sensitive frog area avoid startling your horse. Instead of a hoof polish, just use a soft brush to make the hooves look clean. Potential buyers and loaners usually want to see the natural appearance of the horse’s hooves. If the hooves of your horse look a bit lengthier than normal, a good trimming job should be undertaken.
7. Brush that Tail – Even with a good conditioner applied to the tail, some hairs may still end up tangled or knotted. Applying a good detangler spray, coupled with a dandy brush, will almost always be sufficient in straightening the tail and make it look full. Using a comb for straightening the tail is not recommended as it often causes a lot of hairs to be ripped out.
8. Comb the Mane – Combing the mane requires smooth and gentle strokes. Doing it vigorously will annoy your horse. A plastic mane comb is best for this purpose, and it will less likely rip out any mane hair.
Guest post by Equine Online – an equestrian classified website offering free advertising worldwide including horses for sale and loan