How to go from fluffy cob, to show cob!
When you have a particularly dirty horse, it is always a wonder where to start! We hear from Griffiths Equestrian, and how they prepare their horses for shows. Alice says “with a Traditional cob, like Tommy, I find it best to start with the feathers, mane and tail.” Using a tough brush, start from bottom and work your way to the top, taking care not to rip any of the hair out, if there are any obvious knots within the mane and tail, try to separate and brush through (this is the way I find best to combat against tangles). If necessary, use some Mane and Tail spray to make it easier!
Once all the hairy bits are done, start on the body. Alice advises, “For the best shine, I find you need to start by using a thick bristled brush and flick all over the neck, back and rump, this will also easily get out any dried mud. Flick, being a good word, use it for small strokes and literally flick the scruff off of the body.” Make sure your brushes are clean to begin with, this makes a lot of difference. Keeping the brushes clean during this time also helps. Use another hard bristled brush or a metal curry comb and make sure you clean away from your horse, otherwise the dust just goes back on.
Then do the same with a soft body brush. With the use of a goats hair brush after that, this is used to brush softly over the body, helpful for horses that have finer coats, as well as getting all the last bits of dust and scruff out of the coat.
Some horses may brush up nicely, before a show, however, nothing will compare to a horse that has had a good bath. Particularly for white spots. Washing up to three times will help make them whiter than white. There is such a range of shampoo’s, stain removers and other lotions, but there is nothing wrong with using ordinary Shampoo and fairy liquid. Alice says “For a cob, like Tommy, with white feathers, once you have washed them enough, do not let them dry.” A traditional product that is used on the heavy horses is wood flour. This is a very fine powder – lather the legs in this and then either bandage or even use travel boots, to stop the feathers from getting dirty again. Ideally put horse to bed in rug and snuggy hood, as this just prevents further dust from getting on him.
On the morning of the show, allow yourself enough time to do any emergency washing (for poo stains etc.) It is always a good idea, to brush through feathers, mane and tail again before re-booting and tail bandaging for travel. Using your soft brushed, flick off any excess dust. Make sure you give enough time to brush through the feathers, once the excess of the wood flour is out, feel free to use the chalk to brighten up any of those darker parts of the feathers (like around the hooves – that get caught in the mud!)
Top Tip: Get an old, clean towel use to wipe over your horse, this will let the hairs lay the correct way and will enable a fantastic shine. You can also spray the old towel with furniture polish and wipe all over. Do not put too much on, as you don’t want your horse to look wet! At the end of it, you will have a super clean and shiny horse!
It is all well and good saying that this is the way to get your horse to shine. However, it needs to be maintained in everyday life and may differ for each individual horse. Washing feathers and any other white area’s regularly, will stop that yellow stain, which we all struggle to get out. Big clean beds, will also help hugely – understandably this is particularly difficult for those with dirty horses. Things like, adding a bit of oil to your horses diet will enable them to have a shiny coat, and keeping extra rugs on over the winter, will keep your horses winter coat down. Fly rugs on over the hotter months will stop darker horses getting their coats bleached and will also help with keeping the dust off of them. However, not all solutions work for all horses, so if you are unsure, don’t be afraid to ask for help!