Show Ready with EcoLicious Equestrian : Comprehensive Guide to Make Your Horse Red Carpet Ready, Part 2.
Here`s the 2nd part of our Comprehensive Guide to Make Your Horse Carpet Ready. Enjoy!
Step 3: Bath time
Drum roll please! We have finally arrived. Possibly the most messy but fun part of any pre-show makeover is the bathing portion. Although I know those of you that own horses who fear the sabre-toothed garden hose may disagree with me, bathing horses can be tons of fun (even if means coming home soaking wet and covered in horse hair!)
Albeit bathing is pretty self explanatory, it is worth noting that going to the trouble of bathing your horse will only be worth it if you use a good quality natural shampoo (such as Squeaky Green & Clean) that doesn’t leave your horse itching to roll the instant you release them! Since I have the floor, I also can’t resist reminding everyone to be ever mindful of choosing a water temperature that is comfortable for your horse – no one likes an icy cold bath or scalding hot shower!
This is up to you, but I like to thoroughly soak my horse before I start scrubbing so that there is adequate moisture to get a nice foamy froth built up when I take the loofah to ‘em! Next I go to the mane and tail. I scrub the base thoroughly to remove any dead skin and dander that may cause itching.
Speaking of my loofah…I like to really go to town with it if my horse has socks – no talcum powders or toxic home remedies here! With just a little elbow grease you’ll have the kind of vibrant whites Javex users the world over only dream about. Squeaky is perfect for baths – tough on grime and dirt yet gentle on skin (all while still adding that much sought after moisture and gloss.) An added bonus is that like all EcoLicious products, a little goes a long way and it’s biodegradable so you can bathe your horse on the grass with a clear conscience. ( Note from EcoLicious Equestrian: we’ll be launching a new EcoLicious whitener in 2011).
Since I mentioned elbow grease earlier, it got me thinking. While you’re bathing your horse keep an eye out for any itchy spots as you scrub. My take on this is that if you scratch the itchy spots for them, the need to take scratching into their own hands (or hooves!) post-bath is exponentially reduced! Besides, why pass up a chance to make my horse feel good and build rapport? Too many horses want divorces these days!
Once I’ve scrubbed my horse from head to toe and gently washed out the shampoo, I like to take things a step further and apply a rinse out conditioner to the entire body, mane and tail like Silky Rinse Out Moisturizing Conditioner. Not only does it make your horse feel silky soft but it is also made without silicones so you can condition the entire body without worrying that it may cause your saddle to slip. I like to let the conditioner sit for a few minutes before I proceed with my trusty “lather, rinse, repeat” routine. During this time I like to rinse out the underside of my horses hooves and take a warm, damp towel to gently clean areas where a loofah-mitt isn’t welcome…
I should also mention that once I’ve done my final rinse, I use a squeegee or sweat scraper to get the excess water off their coat. This step is dual-purposed as not only does it save you precious drying time but is also a chance to make sure there is no excess product left on your horse (which will show up in the form of little white bubbles as you scrape along your horses coat.)
Whenever possible, I like to graze my horse after a bath and allow them to dry in the sun. That said, when I’m on the show grounds (or the weather isn’t cooperating) I put a cooler on them to prevent chills and keep the coat and mane laying flat. I like to put them back in their stall and give them some quiet time while the bulk of the moisture evaporates. I’m not one to blow dry my horses…bathing stresses some horses (and handlers!) enough as it is. I prefer to give everyone a chance to decompress and grab a snack instead.
Step 4: Treat the Mane and Tail…again!
I know! I’m like a chocoholic that can’t lay off the brownies (and yes, my spell check just confirmed that “chocoholic” is indeed a real word!) but while the mane is still slightly damp I like to mist conditioning product on it before I begin finger combing again. My go-to-product is Moisture Maniac Mane & Tail Detangling Infusion because it softens the hair and protects it from breakage (which is critical for any of you ladies who know how damaging combing wet hair can be.) I like to spray liberally into the base of the mane and tail to ensure that I moisturize any areas that could potentially look dry or brittle when I come to braid my horse. It’s also worth noting that Moisture Maniac contains natural UV filters – a definite bonus for those of you who compete your horses outdoors all summer and hate how the sun fades dark manes and tails.
Step 5: Enhance the Coat
For now I will leave the mane and tail to dry and move onto my second favourite part of the makeover experience. We all know how a healthy, lustrous coat can enhance any horses appearance and I am a huge fan of cultivating sheen in my horses. Once my horse’s coat has dried I use my all time favourite product, Glossy – Gloss Enhancing Coat Tonic. It not only softens my horses coat but also creates this natural luminosity (which trust me, cannot be duplicated by other products that contain silicones which just coat the hair instead of penetrating and conditioning it.)
Further to my sheen obsession, because Glossy is an EcoLicious product, I can spray with wild abandon (and believe me, I do!) knowing it will never cause my tack to slip.
Although some may be content with spraying on a coat enhancer I like to take it a step further. After spraying, I rub the horse down using the palms of my hands, following the direction of hair growth. I then bring out my secret weapon (the sheepskin grooming mitt!) and rub the horse all over to gently buff their coat to high, glossy sheen. The Glossy – Gloss Enhancing Coat Tonic is infused with Mica (a shimmering, reflective mineral) and, when combined with the naturally buffing action of the sheepskin, really finishes the look. Trust me ladies, the sheen is definitely Ray Ban worthy.
Naturally yours until next time!
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