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Grooming your horse for a summer show or competition

Grooming your horse for a summer show or competition

Loz Dorey |

You’ve put in the hours of riding and training, carefully managed your horse or pony’s health and exercise regime and they are in their best shape for the season. It’s now time to prepare their coat so that they look their very best for show day. Here are our tips and top products to give your horse a perfect grooming finish ready for the show ring.



Bathing! It’s always best to start with a clean coat before reaching for brushes, clippers or trimmers so you can see exactly how the coat is and where it needs attention when it comes to trimming up. Trimming or clipping a clean coat is also so much better for your clipper and clipper blades and will give you the best possible finish.



Full clip with Masterclip Hunter clippers and A2 fine blade @Smart Clip



As the coat begins to change from the seasons, your horse may have a few unsightly cat hairs as the new coat comes through. A great way to tidy these guard hairs is to trim them level with the rest of the coat without completely re-clipping. There are few methods to achieve this sleek look.

  • For heavy duty clippers, the A2 coarse blade provides a longer 4.5mm cut to skim over the coat leaving a neat finish.
  • The 5 clipper blade on an A5 medium duty clipper such as the Royale and MD Roamer trim these long guard hairs away for a natural finish.
  • The cordless Showmate II trimmer with a comb guard to neaten up faces, jaw lines, ears and heels and legs in all the hard to reach areas. See Alice Fox-Pitt give Shetland pony Sir James a trim ready for the SPGN racing season here.



Horse or pony feeling the heat when working in the summer? Some horses may still produce a thick summer coat that hinders keeping them cool when working in the heat. Breed such as cobs, draughts and thick coated ponies may benefit from full clipping all year round. Our A2 coarse blade for heavy-duty clippers leaves a natural looking finish akin to a summer coat. This blade is great for these thicker coated breeds an those with Cushing’s to keep them cooler without giving them a short or obvious clip. It’s a great choice for a smart but more natural looking show finish. Our popular A2 coarse blades cut to 4.5mm and are similar to the popular covercote blades. 


Mr Pegs clipped using the A2 coarse blades @Bonnie Fishburn Eventing


Eventers and horses in very fast regular work over the summer warmer months may require a shorter clip to help them stay cool and reduce the loss of precious electrolytes from over sweating when competing in hot or humid weather. Our A2 medium for lighter coats, and A2 fine and superfine blades can be considered for these hard-working equines but care must be taken not to clip the coat too short to ensure the remaining hair still provides adequate protection from the sun’s powerful rays.



A stunning finish - full clip with Masterclip A2 fine blades @Smart Clip


Top Tip – Avoid clipping the day before a show. Always aim for at least a week in advance to give any clip lines time to settle, any clipping issues a chance to be resolved or skin reactions time to settle down. (These issues are usually avoided by preparing the coat well before clipping, ensuring your clipper is cleaned and serviced regularly, using freshly sharpened or new blades with the correct tension, using the correct clipper oil and washing off or hot clothing your horse after clipping. – Read our blog for more useful tips.)



Leg blending is becoming increasingly popular as it gives a more natural look to the coat. For full leg clipping, a heavy-duty clipper is the easiest way to remove thick heavy feathers in a breeze. For a more refined finish, our medium duty clippers the Royale and cordless MD Roamer can be used with a variety of blades and combs to give a superb finish and can be used for details such as blended and reverse blended legs for a natural look to really impress the judges. For legs that are fluffy with light to medium density hair, our Showmate II cordless trimmer can neaten up fluffy legs and used with the supplied combs, is a great handy trimmer for fiddly leg blending and elsewhere on the body.  





Whether you prefer a straight cut, showjumper style mane or a more natural look (with no pulling required), our coat rakes and grooming scissors combined can give you just the look you’re after. Coat rakes gently thin out a thick mane to help it to lay over the correct side. Team with thinning scissors to complete the pulled look or blunt cut and plait using finishing scissors for a sharp precise finish. You can find our coat rakes, scissors and mane & tail comb for the perfect plaits starting at just £7.99 here.  

A natural pulled using coat rakes and thinning scissors @Bonnie Fishburn Eventng

Hogging - A heavy duty clipper will hog quickly but for a more refined finish, medium duty clippers with a choice of blades and combs mean you can blend the clipped mane seamlessly into the neck for a flawless finish.  

Coat rakes and thinning scissors are also great tools for humanely thinning out the sides of the top of the tail to create a rounder looking rump for the show ring, giving the back end the appearance of more strength and power! For a defined shape to the top of tail, our A5 clippers and Showmate II trimmer can be used with combs to give that perfect ‘v’ shape.



Even when you’ve arrived at the show you may still need be a few last-minute touch ups before heading to the ring. Our Showmate II horse trimmer is the ultimate pocket-sized trimmer for perfecting the finer details. With it’s own handy carry case, this trimmer is the ideal compact size for taking along in the car or lorry for quick, neat detailing so not a single hair is left out of place.  Fully cordless and super quiet, this trimmer is perfect for trimming bridle paths, coronets, heels, elbows, between the legs, around the ears, under the jaw and face. Once you’re ready to mount for the show ring, don’t forget to give your horse a quick spritz with fly repellent to keep pesky flies away and avoid your horse ruining his outline trying to swat them away! Our Wildwash bug repellent spray is a made with all natural ingredients, with a blend of essential oils that really work and smells devine.


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