hishineA lot goes into a winning competition ride. Years of great training for the horse and for the rider; smart preparation leading up to the show, including conditioning and fitness work; tack and equipment that helps both horse and human perform their best; and a great strategy to manage two brains—and lots of emotions—on the day.

And the cherry on top is a beautiful grooming protocol. At my farm, the secret to a glowing horse begins internally, with a world-class feeding program supervised by the brilliant Lindsey Williamson of Tribute Equine Nutrition. We feed Essential K, Kalm Performer, Kalm Ultra and Kalm N EZ, depending on any given horse’s nutritional needs. All have a terrific balance of healthy fats to promote a glowing coat, and amino acids to support a healthy topline. We work our horses well, and give them lots of turnout and quality forage as well.

Our day-to-day grooming protocol is simple, and it helps keep our horses’ coats, manes and tails in good condition, so buffing them up on show day is a much simpler task. Our barn is full of Shapley’s grooming products, and at home we use their Magic Sheen daily in our horses’ tails, and then shake out, rather than brush daily; a few shavings never killed anyone, and the Magic Sheen keeps the tails detangled without risking pulling out precious hairs. We use Hi Shine shampoo on the really dirty and/or sweaty ones, because it’s gentle for daily use, even on fickle-skinned creatures like Princess Ellegria, whose hair and skin really enjoy parting ways with her body, particularly in the summertime. But we also love their new Medi-Care shampoo for the sensitive, balding creatures too, as we also love apple cider vinegar, to help adjust the pH levels on the skin and cut down on crud.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of The Horse!