Question: “Many people feel that those who participate in the showing world go too far; horses that are too fat and too much gloss for example – what is your view?”
Smart Grooming’s Answer: “Many competitors think that fat horses look good, but far too many do tend to carry too much weight. The overall picture should look rounded, sleek and well within themselves, with shiny coats, and sufficient muscle build up to support them too. There is a very fine balance and a real art to getting this right, most of which depends on getting the right amount of exercise against feed, along with sufficient daily turnout and good grooming.”
Question: What are your thoughts on a grooming routine?
Smart Grooming’s answer: “Grooming seems to have taken a bit of a back step these days. There are very few people who would know how to strap a horse, or even use a body brush and curry comb properly. Grooming seems to be done under the hosepipe or not at all. With more horse owners now than ever, many of whom are working full time or with other time consuming commitments, inevitably traditional grooming has gone out of the window.
Grooming was always part of the daily routine of keeping a horse fit and well in both mind and body and would take a good 45 minutes if done thoroughly. With so many short cuts in all areas of horse care, it’s no wonder there are so many horses and ponies that are over fed, under exercised, stressed with inconsistent routines and sadly misunderstood when mis-management is generally the cause.”
Question: Why do we need to choose specifically made up Show Prep products when a quick brush over should do?
Smart Grooming’s answer: “Horses and ponies need to be treated as normal animals, ridden a lot, groomed a lot, fed enough, and cleaned up the night before or early the morning of the show. The show prep products are there to give that extra shine, to highlight and enhance already good skin and coats, and to give that final “head turning look” that you want from the judge.
Gloss products should only be used for the final finish, to enhance areas that aren’t naturally shiny or need a bit of help to brighten or darken, either by gloss or colour. Whitening products are really useful to jazz up light or white areas, and really make a statement. There is nothing worse than seeing a beautiful horse, but with a slightly off white tail and slightly grubby legs.”
Show horses do need to stand out, they need the “look at me” finish, and this does need to be worked on. You need to take a good look at the animal and decide what points need highlighting or are best left, trial a few products a few weeks before needed, to see if there is any reaction and to perfect the look that you require. It’s worth watching the professional producers and see what they are using and how they get the show ring finish
Question: “ In terms of showing, what are your top three 'must haves' show prep essentials to keep in the showing basket and why?
1. Smart Tails – the humane way to create a “pulled look” for tails. An absolute necessity – makes it kind for the horse and safe for the owner as well as giving a very smart, tidy pulled tail look in minutes.
2. If you have a grey, white or coloured horse with lots of light coloured areas – either Deep Purple high intensity whitening shampoo or for a quick fix – Polar White spray on whitening shampoo and stain remover.
3. Super Shine Lotion – this little pot of lotion can be used in so many ways – either directly on manes and tails as a high shine conditioning and detangling lotion. Mixed with make up to blend in colours or used directly onto faces, around eyes and muzzles as a highlighter.