With excitement building ahead of Equifest leading showman Robert Walker offers turnout secrets to help make your horse stand out from the crowd.
In order to create the perfect look for riding horses, tacks, hunters or show ponies it helps to know the tricks of the trade to ensure you achieve an immaculate look for the show ring.
Experienced show producers have gained their knowledge and skills through many years of hard work and dedication always striving to have the edge over their competition.
Here are 10 turnout secrets to fast track you to success:
1, When it comes to plaiting – it is vital you look at the horses neck and adjust the number of plaits and where the plaits are positioned carefully. A horse that is short on topline will need plaits to be set higher while a horse that carries more condition will want smaller plaits that are sewn in lower. It is also key to have an odd number of plaits along the neck, and then add the final plait in the forelock for an even finish. Making sure plaits are perfect is always our aim.
2, The show horse’s coat is key to success and should be gleaming and full of lustre when you enter the show ring. It is no good thinking a bath the day before will make up for weeks of neglect; you must keep a careful eye on the coat at all times
3, As well as a thorough shampoo to remove any dirt, stains or residues, regular use of a high quality coat gloss must be part of your maintenance routine if you want a coat to have depth and lustre.
4, Careful rugging can make such a difference and can quickly turn a dull, staring coat into a shiny winning show ring coat that gleams whatever the weather.
5, A show horse ideally needs a good mane and tail, especially at the start of the season before the plaiting and brushing gets underway. Again keeping them full, healthy and ready to accentuate the overall picture takes careful looking after at all times. Mane and tail hair damage easily but ensuring they are moisturised and conditioned regularly makes a massive difference.
6, Staying with the mane and tail, if you want them to stay full and thick – DON’T over brush them. Use a good detangler on a regular basis and only brush them out when necessary. It is totally unnecessary to comb or brush tails out everyday which only helps to make them thin and lifeless.
7, Show horses and ponies need to be trimmed correctly whether it is their face or feathers! You should always aim for a sharp, clearly defined look without going over board and leaving any areas bald or sparse. If you are at all unsure about trimming get the help of an expert. Yes hair does grow back but not the night before a show!
8, It may sound odd but a show horse must be well shod with their hooves carefully looked after and suiting the overall image. A horse’s hooves are the size they are but leaving them too long and overgrown will do nothing to help your chance of success. Once trimming and shoeing is sorted it is then important to consider how the hooves look in the ring.
9, If you have a grey horse or one with white bits – make sure they are white! There is nothing worse than a horse that looks well presented until you see a stable stain or dirty socks. Rather than allow any stains to build up wash them as soon as they appear rather than letting them become deep and ingrained.
10, It goes without saying that in the show ring final finishing touches for show horses are very important whether accentuating the eyes with a little make-up and gloss or adding sharks teeth and quarter marks. Again do this carefully, take your time, stand back and enjoy the results of your hard work.
Equifest is held at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, August 12 to 16, book your tickets now.