Show Prep Tips Designed to Keep Your Horse Healthy

Here are some tips for making your horse shine without hindering his long-term health.
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Show Prep Tips Designed to Keep Your Horse Healthy
You can spruce your horse up for a show without hindering his long-term health. | Photo: Thinkstock
You’ve been training and practicing for months. Your mare is right where you want her to be, and now it’s time to get to the show and give her a chance to strut her stuff. But you can’t just show up at the show like you do when you practice. You need to primp, groom, tweak—anything you can think of to make her look absolutely stunning. But are there long-term effects? Could you be doing something that might not be in your horse’s best interest?

Verena Affolter, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ECVP, of the University of California, Davis, thinks so. Affolter has lectured on skin pathology, and she says that sometimes grooms and owners primp without realizing some long-term effects. Here are some specific things she says to keep in mind.

Those Wispy Whiskers

The horse’s whiskers, Affolter says, act as his receptors. So cutting them too short might impede your horse’s performance.

“The whiskers may not look nice,” she explains, “but they do have a definite function. They help orient the horse. It’s okay to cut them back, but cutting them completely off may not be doing your horse—or his performance—any favors

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Written by:

Katherine J. Meitner is a free-lance writer located in Milwaukee, Wis., and former associate editor of the American Farriers Journal. Her work has appeared in Western Horseman, Green Magazine, American Farriers Journal, and No-Till Farmer.

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