Top 5 Grooming Tips
Updated: Aug 22
So you want to book a photo shoot, but your horse is a mess.. where to start? Here are my top 5 grooming tips to get your pony looking spick and span. If you're anything like me, I love to groom.. I've groomed for friends at shows and for employment. You learn a thing or two when you are constantly trying to keep show horses clean. Sometimes they drive you nuts because they just wanna be dirty!
Grooming doubles as some bonding time with your partner and a stress release. In addition to making sure they are healthy, looking for cuts or injuries and anything out of sorts. You get to know your horse, their quirks and you'll pick up right away if something is wrong. Guaranteed, you'll be leaving the barn feeling like you were just at a therapy session; it is a soul healing, humbling and a very blissful time to connect and bond with your pony.
Now back to those tips, I can edit and photoshop many things out of a portrait; however a dirty, dusty horse with caked on mud isn't one of them. Editing that shine can be done with a few clicks on the mouse but the natural gloss of a beautiful coat and mane can never be replicated. So... here it is... my top 5 tips for a healthy, shiny and gorgeous looking horse!
1. Plan ahead!
Start planning a week before your photo shoot; think about how you would like your horse to look in the photos. Depending on what discipline you ride in, it may require more tasks than others. Whichever you decide, make sure you have a image in your mind before you embark on a grooming game plan.
2. Scrub a Dub Dub
Depending on what season we are in and if the weather permits, a good bath is a great start. Bathing the day before the photo shoot will hopefully decrease your chances of your horse getting dirty again. If you are wanting to clip, clip 2-3 days before the photo shoot. If you are not able to bathe your horse, get that curry comb out and a nice soft brush. My personal favourite is a horse hair brush... my horses coats always look so shiny after I give a good curry and brush!
3. Braids, Bands and Tails
A beautiful braid or banding job never goes unnoticed. However, it is up to you and what look you are going for in your photos. Sometimes banding or branding will help those lopsided-manes but by no means is this required. I wouldn't recommended trying to braid or band for the first time right before your photo shoot.
If you have a fake tail, pop it in! Just like at a show, this extra hair helps fill out the tail and balance your horse's entire look. For those dreamy long manes, I would recommend braiding loosely the night before and removing them a few hours before your photo shoot starts. A little spray of water or detangled can help remove any kinks.
4. Fresh Toes
If it is possible to co-ordinate your photo shoot shortly after your horse has his/her feet trimmed or new shoes placed - freshly done hooves always looks sharp! You could also add some hoof polish if you like!
5. Face to Face
Again, depending on your discipline, if you apply oil or face glow for the show pen you are more than welcome to apply for your photo shoot however please use sparingly! I always like to get some cuddle and kissing photos so you don't want to get covered in it. ShowSheen or similar products work as well when applied with a rag. Avoid applying products to your horses back if you are wanting photos in the saddle or bareback.
And there you have it! My top 5 tips to grooming for a photo shoot. Below I have listed some necessities for the day of the photo shoot to have on hand. I will often have some on hand as well in case you don't!
Clean, soft towels for quick touch-ups
A soft brush
Comb or mane and tail brush
After all this grooming talk, I'm excited to see those pretty ponies!