A shiny coat is a sign of overall health in horses – it’s also a good way to make an instant impact in the show ring. Jenni Owen, equine technical advisor at Carr & Day & Martin, explains how regular grooming, correct feeding and a few magic products will help keep your horse in tip-top condition and give him a show ring shine.
Washing your horse is an essential part of his grooming routine, but it’s an area owners often get wrong. We bath our horses to remove dirt, stains and sweat from their coat, but also importantly to remove grease. A quick hose down simply moves the grease around the coat – imagine trying to wash your hair with just water and no shampoo! For this reason, it’s vital you use a shampoo on your horse’s coat, as this is the only way grease will be safely and effectively lifted from the skin.
Another important factor to consider is keeping your horse’s skin healthy and this means using a shampoo that is pH balanced to match his skin. Using a product that’s too acidic or alkaline can kill off the good bacteria, enabling the unwanted bacteria to take over, leading to sore and itchy skin or – even worse – make him susceptible to mud fever, rain scald or sweet itch.
Most washing up liquids are more than 100 times more alkaline than your horse’s skin and human shampoos are at least 10 times too acidic. Gallop shampoos are all balanced to match the natural pH of your horse’s skin and therefore gentle enough to use every day, but they also contain effective, active ingredients to make sure every last bit of grease and dirt is lifted from the coat.
Just as when washing your own hair, once the shampoo has been rinsed out, the next step is conditioner. Conditioning your horse’s coat is vital to ensure the hair stays healthy and strong and easy to manage. For owners that are competing or wish to achieve a mirror-like shine on their horse’s coat, we recommend using Dreamcoat and a soft body brush after shampooing.
Dreamcoat can be used on a wet or dry coat and sprayed on as often as you like to encourage your horse’s coat to lie flat, have a glossy sheen and highlight muscle definition. It can also be used under your saddle. For a tangle free, silky soft mane and tail we recommend using Canter Mane & Tail spray, which can also be used on wet or dry hair.
Once your horse has been bathed and conditioned, grooming is essential to stimulate blood flow, check for injuries and to remove dirt and dead skin cells. Your horse should be thoroughly groomed every day, using a dandy brush to flick off mud and dirt from the coat’s surface, followed by a softer body brush which will reach through the coat to the skin.
Canter Coat Shine is a great grooming spray, which not only keeps the coat soft enough to make grooming easier, but also spraying the coat before turning your horse out means mud, dirt and stains will groom straight off.
Another vital way to make sure your horse’s coat and skin stays healthy is to provide him with the correct nutrition. For the horse to be able to effectively utilise his feed it needs to contain the right levels of vitamins and minerals, which is where a feed balancer can help. Day, Son & Hewitt Foundation is packaged in daily sachets, so it’s easy to feed and ensures the vitamins and minerals stay as fresh as the day it was made.
Providing your horse with a source of oil encourages a healthy, glossy coat and supple skin. It also provides Omega oils and natural vitamins and minerals. Feel Good 30 Garlic, Parsley & Linseed is an easy to feed oil in a pump bottle. Garlic has many health benefits, including helping prevent flies, while parsley aids digestion and linseed provides a glossy coat.