There is no point in spending time turning out your pony for
a show unless it is a clean pony!
Flies are attracted more to sweating, dirty ponies more than
clean ones so bathe your pony regularly during the summer
months. Shampoo your pony the day before the show as the
coat then has time to settle. Cheaper than coat gloss and
for a gleaming finish, a little aerosol furniture polish can be
sprayed onto a stable rubber (cloth) and wiped over the coat
- WARNING: TRY A SMALL PATCH FIRST TO MAKE SURE THERE IS NO
ALLERGIC REACTION. A few drops of baby oil on a brush run
through a tail when it is clean prevents tangles and white
tails from discolouring. A" blue bag" can be added to the final
rinse of a grey pony's tail, this takes away any yellow tone.
A plastic safety razor instead of scissors is safer to trim whiskers.
Trim away a small section of mane behind the ears which makes the bridle
headpiece sit better and makes it easier to put in the first plait.
Similarly, the mane can be trimmed at the withers so as not to interfere
with the saddle. Clipping out white socks makes it easier to keep them
white, and trimming the hair around the coronet gives a neat and tidy
look to the foot. Feathers on show animals (not M&M) are usually
trimmed out. If this is cleverly done it can give the appearance of
more "bone" to the limbs.
Pulling the tail is HIGHLY favoured against shaving the sides of the
pony's tail. This is easier to do when the pores are more open after
exercise. To trim the length of a pony's tail ask a friend to help by
placing their arm underneath the ponies dock then run your hand down
the length of the tail and trim ("bang") to a length level with the
pony's chestnuts . A Hunter Pony tail may be slightly shorter. Too long
a tail gives the appearance of a long pony.
The way in which you plait can do a lot to improve the appearance
of your pony. Small dainty plaits on show ponies will make a thick
neck look better proportioned whilst fewer large plaits built up
along the crest and will make a long thin neck appear to carry more
muscle. When plaiting for a show, save time by threading lots of
needles beforehand and stick them into the front of your sweater
so that you don't lose them! Setting Gel can be used to prevent
any stray hairs in the plaits.
The plaits should NOT be dressage
like and are usually odd in number 7, 9, or 11 along the neck,
making an even number with the forelock.
Used correctly these can improve quarters. Chequer board
patterns for show ponies should have the top line of squares
parallel to the ground and not the pony's quarters.
"Block" type squares are more suitable for Show and Working Hunter
Ponies. Sharks teeth can be used on the flanks and can make
a weak second thigh look stronger. Vertical brush marks
either side of the tail make the quarters look stronger
and symmetrical when standing from behind if done properly.
It is made easier to do all of these patterns if the coat
is dampened first and marks are made across the lie of
Shoe polish instead of hoof oil can be used if you are showing your
pony on a surface as it prevents debris sticking to the oil. You can
make your own hoof oil by mixing Stockholm tar with cheap cooking
oil........much cheaper and far nicer and more professional than
the trend for painted black hooves! Shoe whitener (test a small area
first!) or chalk can be used on white markings. A LITTLE baby oil
around the eyes, muzzle and beneath the pony's tail enhances the
appearance but any other make- up on the pony is to be discouraged!
Warm water with a little vinegar or Dettol added and used with a body
brush takes away any excess top grease from the coat and also
Finally, a clean pony deserves clean well fitting tack to enhance the
overall appearance. Browbands should be the correct size, not
"drooping" and not too "bling" on show ponies! If necessary a deeper
noseband can improve a "plain" head. Numnahs (preferably a fine sheepskin)
and saddles should be well fitting for both the pony and rider.