Equine Grooming Guide

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Look good, feel good, do good. The old saying is about an attitude that speaks to confidence. Although there's an air of vanity and the possible mistake of placing too much importance on outward appearances in the statement, there is a truth to it. Who doesn't feel ready to conquer the world when wearing a sharp, starched shirt and jeans, newly polished boots, a hat creased exactly right and a shiny buckle fresh from last weekend's roping?

You already know that given the chance, you can rope with anyone at your level, you have a great horse and your partner has been roping the lights out. Backing into the box with all that confidence is a great feeling.

A well-groomed horse tops it all off. In the roping world, you're only as good as your horse-and a well-groomed horse presents him and you at your best. It gives you an edge in the arena knowing the last detail has been attended to-from perfect practice to your mount's appearance. A man's chest can't help but swell a bit when he feels he's got the best-looking package in the arena and knows he can back it up with his rope. Not only that, a flashy horse will make an impression on peers and colleagues, attracting potential buyers. But even if all that's not important to you, spending the time grooming your horse will help you understand your silent partner more deeply and improve the connection you already share.

Grooming, like most equine-related activities, has become complex, with a myriad of options available. Regardless, there are a few necessary items.

Washing
When it comes to selecting a shampoo, the sky's the limit. Everything from moisturizing to all-natural, from fly-control to waterless, from color-enhancing to medicated shampoos are on the market. To decide what's best for you, know your horse. Does he have sensitive skin? A grey horse might need a color enhancer. Is the horse prone to sunburn? Do you have a particularly bad fly problem? Are ringworm, rainrot or itching a particular problem for your horse? Answer all these questions, look carefully through a horse-supply catalog and visit with your peers to decide what's best for you.

Brushing
To keep your horse looking his best, there are a variety of brushes to have on hand. In spring, if you need to remove excess hair, consider a regular curry comb, pumice stone or even an old, dull hacksaw blade. The next step might be a rubber groomer or a stiff-bristle brush to loosen the remaining dirt. Finally, a soft horsehair brush is ideal for the final sweep as well as for applying sheens or polishes.

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If you're just getting your horse in from pasture, a little silicone spray can help de-tangle the mane and tail and loosen debris. There are also many de-tangleing solutions on the market. A pin-brush is a good place to start for tangled manes and tails, as it is less likely than a comb to cause breakage.

Clipping
Where and what you clip is strictly personal preference. However, bridle paths are very common and a recently clipped muzzle adds to the overall effect. Also, don't neglect the ears and legs. Some even like to clip on the withers, it prevents the hair from getting matted under the saddle blanket.

It's a good policy to approach the horse in an easy and smooth manner even if your horse is good about his head, surprising them once with the clippers might develop a difficult habit to break.

Finishing Touches:
Sunscreen and Polishes

Most sunscreen products are also designed to enhance the sheen of your horse's coat. Polishes also come in a variety of options, but a long-lasting formula that repels dirt and debris could be advantageous for a long weekend roping. Unless your horse sweats, consider bathing him a little less often. Constant exposure to water and shampoo can cause the horse's hair to become dry and brittle. If your horse does need to be rinsed shortly after being washed, simply re-apply the polish or conditioner rather than repeating the process.

Products
Equinique Detangler, Shampoo and Conditioner Line
From Farnam
www.farnam.com
Equinique Smooth-Shine Detangler contains specially formulated silicones for the highest-quality detangler. It smooths and shines hair while it conditions and adds volume. It also dramatically increases manageability without damaging or drying the hair and leaves hair tangle-free with a healthy-looking shine Equinique Ultra-Hydrating Shampoo is a moisture-rich shampoo that gently cleanses the hair, bringing back a soft, radiant luster. The shampoo is Ph-balanced and enriched with pure botanical extracts plus vitamins A and E formulated to revive shine and manageability without stripping hair of vital moisture.

Finally, Equinique Moisturizing Conditioning Balm is designed to deeply replenish hair with essential elements needed to moisturize and restructure. It is also made with pure botanical extracts plus vitamins A and E to help deep condition and rejuvenate dry, damaged hair. Additionally it restores strength and elasticity so hair recovers its natural shine with a silky-soft and manageable look and feel.

Krud Buster
From Cowboy Magic
www.cowboymagic.com

Krud Buster is a micro skin cleansing wash used before and after veterinarian treatment. It can be used as a skin cleanser on rain rot, scratches, show crud, crusty skin, ring worm, girth itch and other "icky skin" issues prior to veterinarian treatment.

Simply spray on the affected area, let it soak in and then gently scrub. Rinse and repeat the process as needed to clean.

Veterinarians may recommend the use of Krud Buster as a cleanser, to remove scabs prior to continued treatment of Scratches, by soaking until soft. This product should not be used on deep open wounds. Don't forget to make room for Krud Buster in your equine aid and grooming kit.

This product is not intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease.

Rio Vista Products
Free Grooming Tote Bag with Purchase
www.riovistaproducts.com

Rio Vista Products announces the first leg in the Rio Vista Rewards program: a free tote bag mail-in rebate offer. A bright red tag with black and white racing stripes and the words "Free Tote Bag" will be on selected 32 oz.

bottles of Equine Shampoo, Tail and Mane Conditioner, Hi-Ho Silver Shampoo, Herb 'N Oats Shampoo, Equine Shine, Coat-So-Soft and 18 oz. bottles of Hoof Manicure. To redeem, customers simply follow the instructions on the back of the tag and mail in to receive the free show tote bag. This offer is good through June 30, 2005, or while supplies last.

The wipes also remove stubborn stains, repel dust and dirt, enhance every color with a shine and are great for the tough, small jobs.

Also, this is a great solution for horses that don't like to be sprayed or to simply achieve that last-minute finishing touch.

Waterfall Spray Wand, Nozzle and Coil Hose
From Water Coil Hose
www.watercoilhose.com

The Waterfall Spray Wand and Nozzle features nine settings ideal for the various steps in the cleaning process. It is made with a soft dial ring nozzle, trigger lock, insulated hand-grip and non-corrosive anodized aluminum. The coil hose is perfect for closed-in
spaces and features crush proof fittings. It is available in various lengths and colors.

Quic Shade
From Exhibitor Labs
www.exhibitorlabs.com

Sun damage is not pretty. From faded coats to full-blown cancer, exposure to the sun affects your horse more than you might think.So turn to Quic Shade. It was designed specifically for the special needs of horses... for example, it contains a generous amount of vitamin E and other soothing ingredients to eliminate the sunscreen-sensitivity reactions often found with horses.

Beneath this gentle nature, Quic Shade is serious protection. It fully protects against cancer-causing rays with a human SPF equivalent of 15. Used correctly on a daily basis, horses benefit greatly from sun protection, if your horse is an Appaloosa, Paint, Pinto, Albino, or simply has a white-marked nose, daily sun protection is critical.

Plus, Quic Shade lotion is really two products in one. Sunny weather or not, use Quic Shade as a show-day highlighter around muzzles, eyes, ears and muscles... it contains a great no-run, no-melt, no-mess shine ingredient.

Professional Pro Series
Cord/Cordless Rechargeable Grooming Kit
From Wahl
www.wahlanimal.com

This rechargeable medium-duty clipper can be used as cordless or with the cord attached, making it ideal for at-home use or on the road. It contains a 3.6 volt rotary motor, number 30 and 10 detachable blade sets, high output charging unit, high performance NiMH batteries, cleaning brush, blade guard, oil and 5 attachment guide combs. It also packs a year warranty.

Equine Care Series Accessories
From Oster
www.osterpro.com

All of Oster's Equine Care Series Accessories are designed specifically with control touch to reduce hand fatigue during use.

The Mane & Tail Brush allows for multi-directional brushing, easier brushing and fewer tangles.

The Stiff Grooming Brush contains densely packed coarse bristles to remove dirt with less effort.

The Soft Finishing Brush also contains densely packed bristles, however in the finishing brush they are soft and natural bristles to produce a beautiful sheen.

The Fine Curry Comb is designed to gently cleanse and massage sensitive areas, and features a rubberized grip for better control.

The Coarse Curry Comb has the same basic design, but with sturdier fingers to give a more vigorous massage while loosening dirt.

Finally, The Sweat Scraper has a contoured shape that comfortably hugs your horse's body while the soft contact edge effectively sweeps away water and dirt.

Also in the line are The Mane and Tail Comb and a Hoof Pick.