Stepping into the show ring with a well-groomed horse may not guarantee you a blue ribbon, but it certainly will get you noticed. And standing out from the rest of the competition is always a goal! You likely have a daily grooming routine to keep your horse’s coat in top condition, but on show day, it’s time to go the extra mile to get that show-worthy shine. Here are some of our favorite tips so you can outshine the competition.

Phase 1: Scrub-A-Dub

Hi Shine Shampoo from Shapley's for show ring shine available at FarmVet

A clean horse is the first place to start. A few hours before you show, head to the wash rack to give your horse a proper bath. Use a shampoo like this Hi-Shine Shampoo from Shapley’s to remove dirt, grease, and the remnants of their poo-pillow from their pre-game nap. It will leave their manes, tails, and bodies shiny without any greasy build-up. If your horse has spent some time in the sun or their coat looks washed out, bring out their color with Gallop Color Enhancing Shampoo. And, of course, whiten up the chrome with a purple shampoo like Exhibitor Lab’s Quic Silver Shampoo.

Mane 'N Tail Conditioner for show ring shine available at FarmVet

Here’s the start of the extra work for show day. After your horse is sparkly clean, apply your conditioner to its neck and hip area in addition to the mane and tail. This extra step will give a luxurious, healthy shine even before you start the grooming process. We love this Mane N’ Tail Conditioner for moisture without grease or residue. Keeping that conditioner on only the neck and hip will ensure it does not cause your tack to slip.

Phase 2: Nitty-Gritty Grooming Routine

So your horse is clean and dry from the bath earlier but carrying a nice coating of dust from a good roll in their shavings. Now we get into the gritty part. Always give yourself extra time to tack up on show day because we’re about to dive in with a few extra steps.

1. Curry
Gelcomb Mitt curry comb for show ring shine available at FarmVet

First, curry. Curry in circles across their whole body until your arms feel like they’re made of the same rubber as that little round brush. This loosens any extra dirt, dust, or hair, bringing that to the surface. This process also helps stimulate blood flow and massage their muscles, loosening them up before work. A Gelcomb Mitt does a fantastic job grooming and is a favorite for many horses due to the soft, massaging bristles.

2. Brush
Decker Flicker Brush for show ring shine available at FarmVet

After the curry session, brush away all that dirt and hair with a stiff-bristled brush, like this Decker Flicker Brush. Then finally, use a soft brush, such as the Haas Noir Brush, eliminating any lingering tiny dust particles while smoothing each hair into place and bringing out your horse’s natural shine.

3. Spray
Dream Coat Spray from Carr & Day & Martin for show ring shine available at FarmVet

Now for the best part – spray your horse down with a shine spray, avoiding the saddle area. We love the Dreamcoat Spray from Carr & Day & Martin for a finishing touch to your tack-up routine. This spray has a unique non-slip formula and sprays in a light mist for perfectly even coverage. Use it in their mane and tail also before combing through.

4. Smooth
Hass Diva Exklusiv Brush for show ring shine available at FarmVet

After you apply the shine spray, smooth it over their coat one last time with the softest brush ever – the Hass Diva Exklusiv Brush. This will pick up every last bit of dust and bring out the intense show-worthy shine you just worked so hard for!

5. Highlight
Silverado Face Glo for show ring shine available at FarmVet

Add the Silverado Face Glo around their eyes, ears, and muzzle for the perfect highlight, and you’re ready to warm up!

Phase 3: Final Touches

You wowed everyone when you stepped into the warmup arena, but you will likely need just a few finishing touches to wow the judges and the crowd around the show ring. Right before you head through the gate, use a grooming towel to wipe away any sweat and smooth out their hair. This should be easy because of your grand grooming sesh before the warmup!

Farnam Grand Champion Spray for show ring shine available at FarmVet

Top them off with the Farnam Grand Champion Spray for a final shine and fly protection, smoothing it over again with the Diva Exklusiv Brush. Spritz some World Champion Pepi spray into their mane and tail, giving a final comb through that brilliant, clean, show-worthy look. And just like that, it’s show time.

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Learn More

Remember that a shiny haircoat always starts within. A proper diet will yield a healthy, glistening coat. Check out this blog for some supplement recommendations to help you get there!