Posted on September 15, 2015
Keeping your horse clean the night before a show.
This is always a tricky task! You want your horse looking his best for the next day but he seems to want to get as dirty as possible. Most of us like to do a deep cleaning shampoo and conditioner the day before to wow the judges but sometimes it seems impossible to keep them clean overnight.
Here are some helpful hints to help you keep your horse in pristine condition for the next day. First, during the bath itself. Use a curry comb to get out as much dirt as possible before you shampoo. Use a mild shampoo designed for horses. This will allow you to get a superior clean, but won’t strip the skin and hair of essential oils that create that ‘glow’ and shine. Less is more. If you do choose to condition your whole horse, his mane, and/or his tail, be sure to rinse all conditioner out. This is going to take some time, start with only a small amount so it will be easier to rinse out.
Rinsing your horse twice is a good idea. If you see bubbles during the sweat scraping process, it is ideal to rinse again. Be aware that many detangling products can act like a dirt magnet on the mane and tail, so think about your horses living situation before you use such products. Your option would be to use the detangling product the morning of the event.
I like to do a towel dry/buff/massage after the sweat scraper, followed by a shine creating spray. This starts the oils coming back and sort of creates a shiny shield that can help repel stains, great for white legs. It is also a good idea to dry your horse completely before letting him loose. It’s a good idea to lock your horse in a stall over night to keep him away from muddy creeks or dirty paddocks. Since most horses enjoy rolling, you can let him do so in a super clean stall with a light cotton rug just incase you missed any spots when cleaning the stall. If it’s not to warn a light cotton rug can do wonders keeping your horse clean. Many newer sheet styles have belly panels, just in case your guy likes to get his belly all dirty.
Keeping your horses area clean is your best bet to keeping him clean. It is a good idea to check your horse during the night and remove and poo, urine, dirt ect from the stall to remove any possible change he can come into contact with anything that will make him dirty.
Wrapping your horse’s legs will keep him cleaner overnight. If your horse has never had his legs rapped before, the night before an event is not the time to try it out. If you do want to wrap your horse’s legs try it out a few times before hand. Rap his legs for a short period of time and gradually increase the amount of time the more you do it so your horse will become used to the raps.
In the morning, start with a deep curry comb. Any unfortunate stains should slide right off if you curry or wipe with warm water. You can use a spot treatment if needed, but if you are grooming your horse from the inside out with a well balanced diet, a damp washrag should do it. If your horse has clipped legs, as many show horses do, this will make things even easier. (I suggest clipping legs at least a week before a show so that the colour change has some time to grow out.)