How to Prepare Your Horse for Competition

Are you a horse owner thinking about the coming show season? Find out how you can prepare your horse for a show and make him look the part.

Daily Care

Your horse’s coat won’t need much grooming for a special occasion if you clean him on a day-to-day basis. Use a flick brush or rubber curry comb to rub your horse down to get rid of dried sweat, dust, mud, and to loosen hair and scurf.


Your horse doesn’t need a bath if the coat’s already shining. But if you want to wash the horse, be sure to do it a few days before the show. Allow time for the coat to regain its natural shine. Apply a detangler to prepare your horse for showing, and then leave overnight without combing or brushing to avoid pulling out excess hair. Always start brushing from the bottom while working your way up.


Trimming is a speedy job and helps your horse get tidy and ready for the next show. Use scissors and trimmers to smarten up the horse. Trim the jawline (under the chin), bridlepath, the ears to remove any protruding hair, and the whiskers, but this is optional depending on how you want your horse to look. Be sure to also clip the bottom of your horse’s mane, tail, and lower legs to cut excess feathers.


In the morning of the show, put in your preferred style plaits. Continental style plaits work out just perfect, but you may try anything that interests you. Be sure to do about 20 identical plaits; however, this depends on the length of the neck. You can start by damping the mane down, and separating it into approximately 5cm-wide segments.

Feed your horse correctly, making sure that you include vegetable oils in his diet for brilliant coat shine. Also, work on the hooves, heels, and coronets, removing dirt and germ-causing micro-organisms. Your horse is ready to go!