When you have a grey horse, or a horse that is 50% white, like, I dunno, Foster, getting ready for a show takes a little more effort than just knocking the dust off.
When you have a horse that loves to turn himself green, brown, and other sordid colors, like, I dunno, Foster (!), getting white white becomes a whole ‘nother story!
Luckily, friend A was a professional groom in another life, and has spent much of our shows together teaching me the fine art of not-looking-like-a-redneck-hoodlum. A.k.a, how to groom your white horse 101.
Step 1: Shave the legs
This is a step that has to happen long before the show, maybe even before the entry goes in. About 1-2 weeks out, so the hair has a bit of time to grow back and avoid lines, I clip all 4 legs, blending the hair at the knobby parts so it’s not as obvious. Foster [used to] love laying down in his stall, and so stained knees were a trademark of his. Clipped legs make these stains easier to get out, leaves less hair for dirt to cling to, and overall provides a nice, sleek silhouette that helps the overall picture.
Step 2: Pull the mane
This is kind of a ‘duh’ for anyone showing in the English disciplines. While admittedly I am super lazy in the winter and let the mane grow to John Wayne pony lengths, for shows I like the mane to be about 5-6″ long.
Step 3: Trim the face
I know it’s becoming increasingly popular for chin whiskers in the dressage ring, but I personally prefer the well-manicured look of a trimmed up profile. Nose, jawline, bridal path, and if I feel like it, ears, all get the buzz cut treatment.
Step 4: Wash the pony
Kind of a no-brainer here, but again, definitely required for a mostly white pony like Foster. Scrub-a-dub-dub!
Step 5: Purple the pony
This is the fun part. I fill up a small bucket with water, and pull out the handy-dandy Blue Lotion. Dab the dabber into the water until the water turns a deep purple (it doesn’t take much). Then, sponge the purple water all over the pony, until pony is as purple as a My Little Pony. Scrape off excess water, and let dry. If the tail is white as well, dunk that into the purple water as well. Ideally, we do this process the night before, and wake up to find a beautiful, sparkling white steed in the morning!
Step 6: Braid the pony
Another big ‘duh’, depending on what type of show you are going to. The fun part about braiding a paint is mixing the colors together! It does mean you need bands (or yarn, if you’re skilled- I’m not) in multiple colors though.
Step 7: Powder puff
Right before stepping out into the dusty show ground, Foster’s legs get a big puff of baby powder. Again, this helps them stay white and keeps the dust at bay. I’m not a big fan of show sheen because I hate the slippery feeling of it, but I think at a really nice show I would show sheen too at that point.
And there you have it!