As a show rider one thing I am slightly obsessive about is turnout. So I thought I would share a few of my tips and tricks to help you guys with feral scruffy ponies.
I have warmbloods and are plaited. So I have to keep their manes easy to work with and easy to plait. They both have thick manes so are pulled to keep them thinner so I don’t end up with golf ball plaits. And I find the best length for plaiting is about 5” ish. But every horse is different. And to be honest the best way to find out what works for yours is to play about with what looks good.
If you’re going to trim with scissors the best advice I can give is to use a comb and sharp scissors and snip upwards into the mane so that you don’t end up with that ‘pudding bowl’ look we all dread. Take your time and if your horse gets bored and fidgety then come back to it another day. One wrong move and it’s weeks to grow out 😂
My horses have trimmed heels, but if you have a native or traditional then you won’t need to. But it’s amazing the difference a quick blitz with the trimmers will make. They don’t have to be expensive. I use masterclip but I’ve had good results with dog clippers too. It’s personal preference more than anything.
The best way is to put a longer blade guard on to start with. You can always take more hair off but going too short too soon always ends in disaster. I use the 6mm guard to trim heels and it literally takes about 5 minutes. The guard will almost blend the lines for you so you done get unsightly lines or steps that you get with scissors.
I do love the look of a pulled tail. Done correctly it will make the hindquarters appear more muscled and enhance the overall appearance of the back end of a horse. Neither of my boys tolerate traditional pulling of tails so thankfully the guys from Smart Grooming have invented the tail rake which has become a tack box staple and part of our routine groom because it’s so easy to use.
The design means you cannot ‘over pull’ leaving bald patches or an uneven finish. It takes a few minutes if you’re just starting out but once the shape is made it’s a couple of minutes here and there to maintain it. Any stray hairs can be tidied with scissors.
If you’re out competing dampening the tail (I run a bit of mousse through it too) and then bandaging will lay flat all the stray hairs and result in a sleek and professional finish.
Finally invest in good brushes. Keep them clean and in good condition and try and give your horse a little once over most days and not only will you get a nice clean shiny horse but you can have some nice bonding time too.
For those of you who own greys. Cowboy magic and a lot of elbow grease and a bit of luck!