Stand out on show day with expert grooming tips


There’s nothing lovelier than a horse sporting a sleek, super-shiny coat, but how do the professionals go about achieving a show-ready gleam?

Show producer Nicky Smith takes us behind the scenes at her yard and reveals her grooming tips and show day advice.

Nicky’s grooming routine 

1.    Pick out your horse’s feet, checking for loose shoes, cracks, heat or lumps and bumps.

2.    Use a rubber curry comb all over the body in big circular strokes to loosen any dead hair, scurf and dirt. This is particularly useful when your horse is losing his winter coat.

3.    Brush out the mane and tail with a mane comb, being careful not to break the hair – a little spray of mane and tail conditioner will help to remove knots. It’s best to do this now, so that you remove any mud before the rest of his body has been brushed.

4.    Using a body brush and metal curry comb, start brushing at his head and move along his body to the hind end so that you’re pushing the dead hair and grease away from your horse. Every few strokes, scrape the body brush on the metal curry comb to remove the dead hair from the brush

5.    To finish, spray a special concoction of ‘Spray and Shine’ and almond oil onto a cloth and rub over the coat to give it shine without making it greasy.

6.    Do one last check over to see if anything needs trimming, such as hair around the ears and legs.

Show day tips

  • Before loading on the lorry, we take off the horse’s rugs and brush and oil them, before putting their rugs back on to travel. When the oil gets warm, it gives a shine to the coat.

  • For any white bits, I use Fairy washing-up liquid to wash it, then a chalk whitener. You mix this with water, apply, let it dry, then brush off.

  • For the mane and tail, I use a detangler and then bandage until they’re ready to go in the ring.

For more advice on getting your horse’s coat gleaming this show season, read the full article in issue 452, available here.

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now. Find out what’s in the latest issue here