Before Show Day Tips for Getting Your Horse Ready To Show

Horse show day is busy, exciting, and often hectic. However, there are lots of things you can do before horse show day to make the event go smoother and be less stressful for both you and your horse.

  • Grooming your horse daily is important for many reasons. Most importantly, it gives you the chance to check your horse for cuts, scrapes, or other injuries that need attention. Additionally, this can be a time of bonding. Most horses enjoy being groomed and grooming can be a relaxing time for both of you to enjoy each other’s company. Always brush in the direction the hair grows and use brushes in the correct order: curry comb, dandy brush, and then a finish brush. Pay special attention to manes and tails. Work from the bottom up to avoid breakage. If you find a snarl that is hard to get through, use a product like Cowboy Magic Detangle and Shine. Finally, daily grooming not only keeps your horse clean, but also helps bring out the natural oils that enhance the coat condition and add that healthy gloss. Grooming products are great, but nothing beats starting with a naturally healthy, shiny coat.


  • Hoof care is vital. The old adage “No hoof, no horse” is very true. Daily hoof care should include picking to remove dirt and debris. Using a good hoof conditioner at least once a week will help keep hooves pliable and help prevent chipping. Your farrier is an important member of your horse care team. Be sure to keep on a regular schedule for trimming and shoeing to keep your horse’s hooves in good shape and help him to travel true.

  • Have all your show day grooming tools gathered & ready to use in a lightweight tote. Nothing is more frustrating that trying to find a hoof pick or mane comb when you are pressed for time. Make sure all brushes that you pack are clean…you don’t want to put any dust or dirt from a brush on your clean horse. You might want to keep a “show only” brush set that does not see the daily grime. So they are nice and clean! Don’t forget things like bands, cleaning cloths, etc., that you might need.

  • Having clean, polished, and neat equipment gives you a professional look. Make sure all your show halters, saddles, bridles, and any other tack you use in the show ring are clean and oiled. Polish any silver following the manufacturer’s directions. Saddle pads or blankets should be clean and free of stray horse hairs. Again, pay attention to manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning; some can be dry cleaned, some are washable, and some just need a good brushing with a soft brush.

  • Bathing and clipping your horse before the event makes horse show day less hectic. When bathing, be sure the water is a comfortable temperature and use bathing and conditioning products specific for horses. Horse products have pH levels that are best for use on horses and take their skin and hair needs into consideration.


    Pay special attention to those “forgotten areas” (underside, between the legs, under the tail). Geldings/stallions need to have their sheaths cleaned periodically and mares need the area around and between their nipples cleaned as well. Work from front to back, being careful to avoid getting soapy water in the eyes and ears. Rinse in the same direction and be sure to get all soap out of the horse’s coat. Once the horse is dry, cover with a stable sheet to keep them clean and to avoid them getting chilled. 


Clipping clean, dry hair is easier on your blades so it should be done after the bath, when the hair has dried. Be sure your blades are sharp. When getting a horse used to clippers, run them near him and ease him into the clippers touching him. A little clipper training early on pays huge benefits down the road. Clippers work hard and can heat up. Check them often while clipping and use a cooling spray like Wahl Blade Ice when needed.


  • MAKE A CHECKLIST. Can’t stress this enough. Nothing sets off a panic attack faster than getting to the show and realizing you forgot to pack your show halter or your lucky pleasure shirt. Sit down well ahead of time, make a list of what you need to take with you and check things off as you load them into your trailer or vehicle. Don’t forget feed and water buckets, hay bags, etc. We have a laminated copy that we can erase so the same list can be used for the next show. Big time saver. It goes without saying that packing everything the day before the show takes off a lot of pressure show morning. Just load up the horse and go.

There will still be lots to do on horse show day, but getting these things done prior to the event will help you enjoy the experience. So make and use your check list, groom daily, bathe and clip the day before…then go relax and have a great time at your next horse show.

  • Aug 05, 2020
  • Category: News
  • Comments: 0
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