Tips and Tricks of the Trade is a new article series being provided through a partnership between Athletux and the USEA.
Have a white or grey horse that wants to always be brown? Or socks that you can't get white? Here are a few easy and handy tips from four-star rider Hawley Bennett-Awad’s groom, Sarah Braun, for keeping white horses and legs white.
First, you’ll want to curry off any mud and then hose the horse off to remove residual dust or dirt. I personally use Bardsley’s White Wash which is a concentrated Shampoo. For full body washing, dilute it in a bucket of water. I sponge the horse down with the diluted soap and then take a “pimple mitt,” or any kind of scrubbing mitt, to curry the soapy body. For tough stains use the Bardsley’s White Wash full strength on the Pimple mitt and curry well. The same goes for getting tails clean and white – apply the whitening shampoo directly to the tail. I'll let it sit for a few minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
For those White/Grey horses that like to stay dirty, I highly recommend investing in a light sheet to keep them covered. There are many on the market now that can be used even throughout warmer temperatures. I recommend the Kool Coat from Weatherbeeta, They’re very reasonably priced – and worth it to keep a white horse white.
Another trick get socks and face markings white is to use Betadine scrub. It works well for the socks and any face markings to get really white. Rinse the sock/face and curry on the betadine. You can either dilute it or put in on full strength. I let it sit for a minute and then rise. For the face be really careful not to get soap in the horse’s eyes. I also always towel dry my horses faces and legs really well afterwards to prevent any fungus/scratches and irritated skin.
When conditioning a horse’s tail, instead of putting conditioner straight on the tail, I put about a ¼ cup of Bardsley’s Tonic Conditioner in a bucket and add about 1 gallon of water to it, then dunk the tail in the bucket several times. This will use less conditioner, and I find it works the best. I will then let the conditioner sit in the tail for a few minutes before rinsing, and spraying on some Bardsley Horse Shine. Finally, I’ll wrap the top part of the tail with a tail wrap and then let the rest of the tail dry. Once the tail is dry I pull off the tail wrap and brush it.
Also, before I body clip a horse, I always bathe them. (The same steps apply here as with the White Wash) First I'll use the diluted Bardleys Horse Wash it in a bucket of water. I sponge the horse down with the diluted soap and then take a pimple mitt to curry the soapy body. Up on top of the hindquarters dust and dirt really like to set in, there I’ll use the shampoo Full strength on to the Pimple mitt and curry well. Then rise. Finally, I'll add conditioner to a bucket and add water and then curry the whole horse with the bucket of conditioner let it sit and then rise. Using conditioner like this helps soften the coat, which will make for a cleaner clip job, all while saving your blades.
Another trick I use for bathing horses is to use vinegar. I will dilute the vinegar in a bucket of water, and sponge the horse all over with this mix after they’ve been bathed. This helps remove soap residue and protect horses prone to getting skin irritations such as scratches rainrot, etc., since it changes the pH of the skin slightly. It is also a great tool to give your horse a bit of extra shine. Towel dry the legs and face and let the horse completely dry.
There are quite a few tricks to keeping white stockings and horses clean and bright, but I find these work best. Good luck!
About Sarah Braun
Sarah Braun became a working student for Hawley in August 2011, and became Hawley’s full time groom in August 2012. Sarah has traveled with Hawley to events around the country including Rebecca Farm in MT, the AECs in TX, Jersey Fresh in NJ, Rolex Kentucky CCI4*, and internationally to France for Les Étoiles de Pau CCI4* and the World Equestrian Games in Normany, France. In 2014, Sarah was awarded for her hard work and dedication by being named the USEA Christine E. Stafford Eventing Groom of the Year. Sarah successfully competed through the Advanced level on her own Canadian Thoroughbred mare Perfect Intentions, and earned herself a 5th place individual finish at NAYRC representing Area VI in 2012, as well as a team gold medal. Sarah enjoys riding a variety of horses at Hawley’s and is excited to continue progressing in her own riding career. Question for Sarah? Send her an email.
You can also learn more about Hawley by visiting her website, www.hawleybennett.com