Saturday, November 3, 2012

Grooming for a Cold Winter Show

Golly prior to grooming
Tomorrow is the PVDA Chapter Challenge.  While its technically a schooling show its kind of a big deal as for most people its the culmination of the show season and we compete as teams.  Because of that everyone is braided and wearing their "show best".
Broom Brush
Of course this weekend is cloudy with a high of about 50 degrees and a blustery wind.   Not the best weather for a show bath.

So these are the steps I take to groom Golly when a bath isn't possible.   I'm sure there are better methods (and I'd love hear them in the comments section) but this is what I've found works the best.

The picture at the top is what his coat looked like when I started -- I had my work cut out for me!
Rubber Curry
After Using Rubber Curry
First I use a brush that reminds me of a rough broom to brush off the big dirt.  Then I take a rubber curry and spend lots of elbow grease to pull the dirt from down deep.   After this step he looks worse that before but its necessary to get the good glow we are looking for.  Here's a pic of what it looks like after the curry step.   It looks like there is a fine coating of dust all at the tips of the hair.

I then use the broom brush again and that's when he finally starts looking like a show horse.  Yes, there is hope!     Depending on how dirty he is I may repeat the entire series of steps (broom brush, curry, broom brush) until he is looking decent.

After Curry and Broom Brush

This is when I have to use some water.  I take a small towel and dip it in water and wring it out WELL!  Its important the towel is just barely damp -- not dripping wet -- or your horse will be wet and cold.  Its great if you have warm water to do this but if you run a no frills operation like mine you will be dipping in cold water.  It really doesn't make much difference to the horse because you are using so little water and you aren't trying to get him wet.  In fact, if you get him wet you are doing something wrong and your horse will be very cold.

Using the towel I rub it in a circular motion in any spots that still look dusty.  Usually this is in the spots that "stick out" such as hip bones or hock joints.  Or in the spot I called the "tickle spot" where his hair grows the opposite direction just under his loin.  (I have no idea what that is called -- anyone know?)  Use some elbow grease and rub well!  

Be sure you rinse your towel frequently and wring well again so you aren't just mixing mud on your horse.   

After I've hit all the dusty spots, I lightly rub his entire body with a clean damp towel to get any remaining dust.

After I think I have most of the dirt, I sometimes use a little Show Sheen (or whatever conditioning product you like) sprayed into the towel and rubbed in like I did the water. 

Be VERY careful not to get the Show Sheen anywhere near the saddle area though as you are essentially polishing your horse and your saddle will slip and slide.  Can you imagine your saddle slipping completely around your horse during your test?!

I then let Golly dry completely tied in the cross ties while I work on his mane or clean stalls.  It doesn't take long as he is only slightly damp.  You can take a dry towel and rub it in deeply to get any remaining moisture out and hasten the drying time.

Once he is dry I use a polishing brush like this one to get the final polish on him.   The final touch is to put a sheet or blanket on him (depending on the temperature), put him out to pasture and pray he stays somewhat clean!

Its not a perfect method but it does get a decent show glow on him and keeps him warm and dry in the colder show months.

Tomorrow is the big show.  Hopefully I will have some good things to report both about our ride and our Charles County team.

I'd love to hear YOUR tips on grooming in the winter.

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