Updated: Feb 9, 2019
We love our glamour shots at EWS, and we believe that looking the part is a great way to make a good impression. For our rescue horses, getting good photos can be really beneficial in their quest to find a new home. Who doesn't want a gorgeous horse to bring home and love?
What we do isn't magic, we promise! There are a few simple tips and tricks that you can use next time you want to take some photos of your horse, or when you go to a show and want to make the right impression.
Step One: Bathe!
While this might seem obvious, it's a crucial first step. We usually bathe our horses the same day of their photo session or event, if we can manage it. If you bathe the day before, I can almost guarantee that he or she will immediately go out and roll in mud, and you'll be sorely disappointed in the morning.
A quick spray down won't do for this job, either. Get your shampoo, some whitening shampoo if you've got any markings, and a good scrubbing mitt. You'll want to be able to scrub rigorously over every part of the horse, being gentle but thorough on the legs and the head. Yes, even the head!
Make sure that you rinse all the soap away with a firm power of water at the end, and scrape them dry. You will also thank yourself for combing the mane over on the correct side while it is wet, and putting some detangler in the tail.
Step Two: Trim!
What you trim can be to personal taste, but we prefer a tidy look all over. A mane that is pulled to the correct length, and a tail that has been banged at the fetlocks can take you far. If your horse is not a fan of mane pulling (and you aren't either) there are plenty of methods that use scissors that achieve the same effect without looking like a bowl cut.
We also trim the whiskers, fetlocks, edge of ears, and bridle path. All of our horses learn to not fear the clippers, and we work with them from day one to allow us to access these fiddly parts of their bodies. There are always horses that aren't keen on clippers though, so most of this can be achieved with a small set of scissors and some nose shavers if you're in a pinch. Shaggy fetlocks be gone!
We don't trim inside the ears, just around the edges and the fluffy bits that hang out and look scraggly. Our horses live out most of the time, and their ear hair protects them against flies.
Step Three: Finishing Touches!
Little details really count when it comes to glamour shots or show ring turnout. These are the last minute applications of gloss and flair that really take your horse's appearance to the next level. Now that everything is squeaky clean and tidied up, it's time to blow them all away.
First do their feet, with a good hoof oil. We like to use one that has a dark coloring for the black hooves and a clear coat for the white or spotted hooves. Next you can pour some non-scented baby oil onto either your hands or a rag, and then rub this onto their nostrils and nose, which gives them a nice sheen.
Make sure the tail is freshly detangled and brushed out with a big brush, and the mane is tucked onto one side. While putting something similar to Show Sheen all over the body is tempting, we do not recommend it for two reasons: not only do these products inhibit the horse from sweating while exercising, but you'll find your horse terribly slippery and your saddle might not stay in place!
So now you're all set and ready for your own glamour shots, or ready to go into the show ring! Putting the time and effort into your horse's appearance is fun, and when other people see them, you'll be duly rewarded with their envious sighs. Good luck and have fun grooming! ~Kate