Horse grooming for a competition must be started upon long before the show day. Doing everything a couple of hours right before your horse enters the arena may not provide you with the kind of impression that you need to wow the judges. Keep in mind that it is not only your horse's performance that would be judged but also its overall appearance. In fact, this is the first thing which the judges will set eyes on and so it has to be appealing to their sight.
Before going onto the useful tips on how such an appearance can be achieved, let us first have a definition of what a properly groomed horse looks like. First of all, it has to be clean. With this, there must be no trace of saliva and manure on the coat or any part of the horse. Also, its eyes and ears must be free of any visible dirt that would make it sloppy to look at. Next, it has to be clipped neatly. Judges can notice a horse that is not clipped well even from afar.
Horse grooming must be regarded as important as feeding the horse on a daily basis. This goes for all horses out there and not just for those that would be put in a show. Set your mind right from the start that this will require much of your effort and time. If you fail to follow through on this, your horse's health and not just its appearance could be at stake.
To begin with, invest in quality brushes and other horse grooming supplies that would not hurt your horse as you clean it. They can be expensive but you can be assured that they will do good on your horse. Refrain from using these brushes on other horses to prevent fungal infection. Brush the hair in the direction of its growth to keep it from looking disheveled. If your horse is shedding, use appropriate shedding blades. Pick the hooves everyday. To keep them conditioned, treat them to a lanolin-based conditioner once a week. Do not forget to wipe the dust off your horse's coat when need be. Failure to do so can be a root cause of unwanted problems. Be reminded too that bathing is a prerequisite to all the grooming you would do. It is key to keep your horse squeaky clean.
To improve the natural appearance of your horse, you can use oils to highlight its face and powder or starch to whiten its socks. A wax-based shoe polish may be used to make its feet shiny black. Apply some spray on it using your hands if you want its coat, mane and tail to be very shiny come the day of the competition. If ever dust or manure sets on your horse, you can go for a quick clean up with the use of a towel and shine spray. Do not forget to clean its ears with a soft cloth damp with warm water. Your horse grooming would be incomplete if you do not get to clean the ears.