20 Dec 2021

Perfect Show Prep: Looking Your Best at Your Western Pleasure Shows


Western pleasure shows differ from more physically competitive equestrian events. There are no complex maneuvers or tough obstacles. Instead, riders train tirelessly on perfecting the fundamentals of walking, jogging, and loping in a show ring. There are several things that judges look for in these types of shows, including a clean turnout and a quiet and well-behaved horse. Your horse should move forward in rhythmic, smooth strides with his head level to his withers. Of course, performance is not the only thing that is judged. The horse’s conformation and condition are also evaluated. Horses must meet current standards to make a good impression as they pass by the judges.

Preparing for a Western Pleasure Show

Show participants should begin grooming their horses in the days leading up to the event. Prior to show time, bathe and clip the horse. Remove the long hairs found on the backs and insides of the horse’s lower legs. Also, trim any hairs that may hang over the horse’s coronet bands. Use a finer blade on the horse’s face to remove long hairs on the chin and muzzle. A coarser blade is best to trim the guard hairs below and above the eyes.

While bathing your horse, use a conditioning shampoo that will not strip the coat’s natural oils. Ensure that any white areas are as white as can be and that the tail and mane are free of tangles. Follow up with a mist of conditioning spray to replace oils in the coat and add sheen. Silicone-based sprays can remove tangles and repel dirt. Avoid spraying the saddle area as this can lead to slippage. Also, avoid spraying the horse’s mane as this can make it more difficult to band.

Having access to the right supplements can also make a big difference in your horse’s performance and appearance during western pleasure shows. Even with a balanced diet, some horses may lack the nutrients they need to perform their best and outshine the competition. Consider adding natural, competition legal supplements like Elite Equine to your horse’s diet. Elite Equine is an organic horse health supplement formulated with 100% rosehip powder. Rosehip supplementation not only results in a shinier coat and stronger hooves due to its copper and biotin contents, but also contains inflammation and joint health properties such as vitamin C which promotes free-flowing movement.

Finishing Touches the Day of the Show

On the day of the event, take your horse on a short walk to loosen up stiff muscles or joints. Then, clean off any dirt from your horse that may have accumulated during the night. Scrub the hooves with a sponge and soap and water. Add brightness to white hairs on the legs with baby powder or cornstarch. For a finishing touch, give your horse’s hooves a coat of clear lacquer or black hoof polish.

Before the show, oil your horse’s face with an oil-based shine product dabbed on a rag or towel. Oiling your horse’s face will help highlight any black points around the eyes, muzzle, and the inside of the ears. Tinted shine products are also available but always check with your breed association before using these products as some associations forbid them.

Shine and smooth your horse’s tail to remove any tangles or dullness. Consider keeping your horse’s tail braided when not showing to keep it healthy and minimize hair breakage. An oil-based coat shine spray can give your horse’s coat a nice sheen right before the event. Use detangling products in your horse’s mane to help smooth down the hairs.

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Keeping your horse show-ready takes a lot of work and dedication. Make the process easier by ensuring that your horse receives the best nutrition possible to support their overall health and wellbeing. Supplement with Elite Equine to enhance the appearance and performance of your horse.