Show season is in full swing and we want our horses looking their best! As someone who has been showing for over 20 years, I have tried a lot of products on the market. Below, please find my top picks for making your horse stand out and shine on show day:
After shampooing, I stick with the same brands and use either the Cowboy Magic Rosewater Conditioner or the Eqyss Avocado Mist Conditioner. These products make the coat silky smooth, and I love the way they smell. They also work well to detangle and soften the tail. Both of my horses have tails that are at least a foot on the ground, so I appreciate having a conditioner that allows me to detangle without damaging the hair.
My go to for whitening is the Exhibitors Quic Silver Shampoo. I usually curry it into my horse’s white markings and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing out. I have not had an issue with it turning the hair purple, but it could happen if you let it sit for too long.
Coat and Shine Spray
After I finish bathing, I always spray my horses with a shine spray while the coat, mane, and tail are still wet so it can moisturize and set in the hair before it dries. My favorites are the Vetrolin Shine as well as Laser Sheen. These keep my manes and tails tangle free as well as give the horse a healthy shine!
To complete the look, I sand their hooves and apply the Absorbine Supershine Hoof Polish. It is easy to use and a little goes a long way! It stays on for the show, makes their hooves shine, and it rarely needs any touch-ups.
If you need extra shine on show day, my new favorite is the E3 Elite Argan Oil Waterless Shampoo. This product locks in moisture and makes your horse shine! It works perfectly to get any stains out of your horse’s white spots or anything else they might have gotten into the night before the show. Even though this is an oil-based product, it does not leave the horse greasy and really brings out the shine.
While these are my personal favorites, there are a lot of new products we are offering so please check them out and reach out if you have any questions. I know there are a few I have my eye on to try this show season!
The Five Love Languages are a useful tool to understand relationship dynamics better and define qualities that speak a person’s “love language.” These characteristics, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch can apply to any relationship between friends, family, loved ones, and especially your horse! Read on to see what practices you can do at the barn to share your Love Language this Valentines Day.
Words of Affirmation
Everyone likes to feel validated and encouraged, your horse does too! Keeping a positive dialogue and mindset when you go to the barn will help keep any of the stress or baggage you might unintentionally bring from work, home, or other situations. Much like us, horses thrive on praise and uplifting words and tone, even if they may not necessarily speak the same language we do.
When working or riding your horse, shower them with praise when they do a job well done. So often, if we are working on an exercise trying to fix or get through something, we are more focused on the “wrong” that when they do give a release or a movement we ask, we act as if that was the expected response and wait for them to “mess up” again. Instead, when your horse does give the desired response, a simple “good boy!” or reassuring scratch at the withers will help increase your horse’s confidence, and make him eager to do it again the next time you ask. Much like physical exercise and new movements, practice makes perfect. The same thing applies to Words of Affirmation – it may not stick right away, but keep at it. Your horse – and your relationship between horse and rider – will thank you.
Although your horse may not appreciate a new saddle pad or fancy bridle as much as you, treats and toys are something any horse can enjoy! Perhaps you can try a new stretching technique or some groundwork exercises and use treats as a positive reinforcement tool. I love the Buckeye Treats as training tools because of their size and variety of flavors – my horses especially love the Peppermint!
When your horse is by himself during the day in his stall, treating him to a new toy or boredom buster like the Jolly Stall Toy will help engage his brain and keep him focused on a fun, yummy task. On days that it might be too cold to ride, have a play day with your horse in the arena with the Jolly Mega Ball! You can also cover it to look like a Beach Ball or Soccer Ball so you and your horse can play tag, “catch,” or a variety of other fun, desensitizing exercises.
Acts of Service
Kindness always reaps kindness. If you board your horse at home, or if you take care of your horses at home, having a helping hand to show someone their appreciation for all the hard work they do. Not only will it help encourage a positive, working relationship between your barn owner, the stable hands who help take care of your horse everyday, it always feels good to give back!
Whatever you put into your relationship with your horse is what you will get out of it. So be sure to spend time getting to know your horse and build your partnership! Whether it’s doing something fun like showing, taking a lesson, having a relaxing trail ride, or sharing a quiet moment in his stall, all of these will nurture and grow the bond between horse and rider. If needed, go for quality over quantity. Even if you’re super busy between work, family members, and other priorities, taking the time to find your happy place (for most, myself included, that means being at the barn) will result in a positive relationship and wonderful memories for years to come.
Even though your horse may not appreciate a bouquet of roses, gift card (though we certainly would!), or an expensive dinner, each horse has their own love language that allows them to interpret affection and the desire to achieve a close bond with their partner. Take time this Valentine’s season to discover all the many ways you can show love to your four-legged bestie!
Enjoy the ride, Colleen C. – Purchasing Specialist
Have you ever had tail envy? You know – that horse you see with the long flowing tail and you think, wow – I would love for my horse to have that tail!
I grew up around Arabians, so for as long as I can remember, I strived to achieve that long, beautiful tail. Along the way, I have learned that beautiful tails take a lot of work! There are so many factors that go into making a “perfect tail,” but hard work pays off. It is important to take tails out and put them back up regularly, especially if you are showing.
Over the weekend, I decided to tackle Rascal’s tail. Rascal has plenty of beautifully long, thick hair but I still deal with knots! As a result, I came up with my favorite “tail care” routine that works best for my routine (and my schedule).
First things first – get your supplies out and have them within reach BEFORE you begin working. This is really helpful, especially when you get to the end of the tail and you don’t have your supplies and have to let go of that braid – you’re going to be upset with yourself!
1.) Cowboy Magic Detangler– Amazing for getting the tangles out – also works on burrs! 2.) Mane Brush – I really like the Tail Tamer Rainbow Mane and Tail Brush – it is heavy duty and the bristles don’t do damage to the hair. 3.) 2 pieces of fabric that will be braided into the tail – You can use an old t-shirt or that spare polo that losts its match a long time ago. Either can be cut into strips and if you are really in a pinch, a few pieces of bailing twine will do the job. (I’ll get to the why/how in a bit) 4.) Guard-Tex 5.) Marker 6.) Tail bagor an old sock
After unwrapping the tail, apply the detangler and begin working through with your fingers. Remember, a little goes a long way! I love the Cowboy Magic because of its smells good and – added bonus – my hands are soft after I am done! Plus, when I wrap the tail back up in the bag, it keeps it nice and soft. Giving yourself small sections to work through makes the job easier. Once that’s done, take the tangle-free brush and, starting from the bottom, work through brushing out the rest of the tail.
Next, you are going to start braiding the tail. I recommend starting a few inches below the tail bone, otherwise it may cause the horse to try and rub out his tail. Allow for a few loose braids, then start your nice tight braid.
Here is where your strips of fabric come into play. Having the fabric strips will serve two purposes. First, as you braid from the top of the tail to the bottom, the braid becomes smaller and smaller, leaving you with tiny bits of hair on hair. By the time you take the braid out, it can knot and cause bits of the tail to break off, so the fabric will help save as much hair as possible. Second, by adding the strips, your braid sections will be more uniform, allowing you to braid the tail all the way to the end without any pieces being too thick or too thin. Once the braid is finished, I bring the tail up and wrap it through the loose braids at the top of the tail. One or two times around is all you need; it’s mostly to make sure all the pieces are kept together.
Next, I reach for the Guard-Tex. This self-adhering wrap is typically used for bandaging, but I like it for tails because it doesn’t get sticky or break hairs when I’m unwrapping the tail. Plus, if it gets wet, I can still remove it. You can use Vetrap, but I find it becomes real tricky to take it off if you leave it on for longer than a few weeks. When wrapping the tail, make sure you get enough of the wrap up and around the top and the bottom of the tail for as much protection as possible. I wrap it around a few times, for good measure. When finished, mark the end with a marker so you know where to start when you unwrap it later on.
To “wrap” everything up (hahaha), the last step is to put a tail bag over the wrap you just finished. In case you don’t have a tail bag, I like to use an old sock that I either lost its match (or its so riddled with holes my piggy toe constantly pokes out). Simply cut a 3” slit down each side of the sock (just enough that you’ll have something you can tie in a bow or knot), put the nicely braided and wrapped tail in the sock (or tail bag), tie at the top, and voila, you’re done!
Born in 1919 in the foothills of Germany, Haas has created a legacy of dedicated craftsmanship, handmade engineering, and longevity in each of their grooming tools. Designed without glues, nails, or screws, these shatter-proof tools are often designed from a single plastic mold, ensuring durability and long-lasting quality. Professional grooms, trainers, amateur owners, and horse care enthusiasts around the world attest to these colorful, hardworking brushes, curries, and hoof picks.
Whatever your grooming preference, Haas brushes are available in a wide variety of bristle materials (synthetic rice root, coconut fiber, horsehair, sheepskin), sizes, and functions to accommodate even the dirtiest and most sensitive-skinned horses. Tested and proven for generations, feel confident and rest assured Haas brushes will produce a clean, glittering horse every time its pulled from a grooming caddy.
Brush for Caked-On Mud & Tough Spots
Striegel Der GuteCurry– THE BEST CURRY COMB EVER. Roomy leather strap and rounded plastic “teeth” easily work out dried mud and hard-to-clean dirt spots.
Schimmel: Stiff, dense coconut fibers easily remove stubborn manure, grass, and dirt stains. Perfect for the night-before a show and your white horse is suddenly green!
Putzi Double Sided Brush: Features horsehair on one side and massaging curry on the other, this multi-functional tool can be used to clean heavy dirt away from the hoof, mane, or body.
Joker Hoof Pick – Fastened with an extra-stiff brush and steel pick, perfect for digging out embedded rocks or for deep set hoof grooves.
Best for Body
Welsh Brush: Wide leather hand strap and horsehair bristles cleans and polishes the coat for any moderate sized dust particles
Fellglanzburstse : Great to use as a body brush for those thin-skinned Thoroughbreds or sensitive horses, this soft yet densely-woven horsehair brush creates a luxurious finish.
Brenig Madoc Combo Brush:The #1 best-selling Haas brush, this tool features extended synthetic bristles and wide set brush that covers a large surface area. Gentle, yet effective on removing dirt, sand, and shavings.
Best for Mane & Tail
Mahnenburste Large Dandy Brush: This 8cm tall brush is great for flicking away mud post-curry and trapped dust particles. Can also be used on the body.
Mahnenburste Small Dandy Brush: The short, 3cm synthetic bristles are great for working caked on mud and brambles through manes and tails without damaging or breaking hair.
Best for Legs and Face
Grundys Finest : Made with super-soft horse hair and short bristles to collect even the finest dust particles, this brush creates a show ring shine and comfortably sized enough to slip over joints and ears.
Kopfburste Face Brush: Features an elastic hand strap to get into nooks and crannies, this palm sized brush can alternately be used for thin-skinned, super sensitive horses. Made from uber-soft white horse hair.
Best for Finishing Touches
Diva Best and Diva Girlie Girl: Designed with the most luxuriously soft Mattes sheepskin and softest horsehair bristles, the Diva essentially buffs and waxes your horse’s coat to create a blue-ribbon finish and show-stopping shine. Perfect to give as a gift – even if it’s for yourself!
Kinderwurzel– Made from stiff, synthetic rice-root bristles, the elastic hand strap and vibrant colors make grooming time fun for children young and young at heart!
Smile Dandy Brush: 5cm synthetic brisles easily flick away dirt and dust, plus the fun smiley face handle is sure to cheer any little groom’s day.
Schmuserburste: Palm sized and with an elastic strap, the exceptionally soft horse hair bristles smooth and glide over legs, body, and face.
Hufkratzburste – Single plastic mold and brightly colored, this hoof pick is great for everyday hoof cleaning, while the contoured grip keeps your hand comfortable. Plus, the nail hole up top makes it easy to hang or attach to a key ring.
Whether you’re new to grooming or a seasoned pro, most grooms value a quality set of brushes including a curry, stiff brush, soft brush, hoof pick, and mane brush for just about any job. With a variety of fun colors available and easy-to-wash convenience, these tools will enhance the bonding and care taking experience grooming has to offer. An important reminder, Haas brushes will last for years to come, if kept with proper care and storage practices. Simply wash with cold water and mild soap on occasion, and leave to air dry.
It’s our favorite time of year! The time of the season where horses have turned into shedding wildebeests and what was once known as a horse farm has turned into a mud farm.
Thankfully, the Big Dee’s Crew has come to the rescue to hand-select some of our favorite, must-have products to get us through mud season. Whether you’re dealing with issues like 5 layers of mud or ways to bring your horse’s dull winter coat to a shiny spring glow, we’ve got you covered!
Curry On a Stik’
Picked by Purchasing & Showroom Department Manager, Gail L.
Are you looking for a grooming tool that will lift caked-on mud after your horse has spent all day rolling in his favorite puddle? Look no further, the Curry On A Stik’ allows deep cleaning with its large rubber prongs and exfoliating bristles.
What makes this grooming tool out of this world isn’t just the fact it is Veterinarian tested and recommended, the unique handle design prevents hand fatigue – say goodbye to cramped fingers and “claw” hands! The dual-sided head provides a gentle massaging effect that horses crave, creating a bonding ritual your horse will look forward to.
“Finally, a round curry that is balanced and easy to hold! [Curry On a Stik’] will not make your hand cramp up. It’s great for getting out mud and shedding and there is a soft bristle side for finishing…” – Gail L.
E3Antibacterial / Anti-Fungal Shampoo
Picked by Operations Manager, Jess R.
Who says you have to sacrifice penetrating, deep-cleaning properties for a gentle, pleasant-smelling formula? Elite Equine Evolution’s Antibacterial & Antifungal Shampoo proves you can have the best of both worlds!
This pH-balanced medicated shampoo is the solution to ensure a clean coat, while its fortification of Nano Vitamins A, C, E, & F ensure maximum absorption and diffusion of the vitamins to prevent inflammation and promote rapid healing. The E3 Antibacterial Shampoo’s truly one of the most effective bathing items out there for controlling Hot Spots, Ring Worm, Rain Rot, mud-related skin disorders, and more. Plus, it’s safe for dogs!
“E3 Antibacterial/Antifungal shampoo is my top-pick to keep my horses skin clean and healthy year-round. While it can be used for all-over cleaning, I absolutely rely on this shampoo to care for my horses legs.
During the wet season I like to do a deep clean with E3 and a full dry out at least once a week to keep nasty mud related afflictions at bay. The other 6 months of the year I use it as an integral part of my post-foxhunting routine. This high-sudsing cleanser has a pleasant scent and leaves the hair soft and radiant. I truly believe that the E3 Antibacterial/Antifungal shampoo is the absolute best defense against minor cuts and scrapes from brush, brambles and wire.” – Jess R.
Epona Grooming Tools
Picked by Operations Manager, Jess R.
Epona has designed some of the leading grooming tools great for tackling dirt, dust, and debris on any horse, any time of the year. From brushes to curries and sponges galore, you’ll definitely want to stock up for your own grooming box
The Epona Ulta-Mitt is super effective for bathing and removing sweat marks from both clipped and unclipped horses. The gentle, cactus-like material helps lift dirt and debris free from the skin, then simply hose off and hang to dry! The April Power Shower Sponge with Tiger’s Tongue is one of Big Dee’s best-selling items, a two-sided and super absorbent sponge to scrub away dirt or use with your favorite coat conditioner to bring out a dazzling finish.
“The Epona April Power Shower Sponge with Tigers Tongue is a great dual-purpose sponge. This tool makes bucket baths quick and easy, the sponge holds lots of soap, while with a simple flip the tigers tongue makes quick work of tough stains. I also use it dry to power through crusted mud and sweat marks. Flip it over to the sponge side and give it a spritz with your favorite coat conditioner for a quick spot clean.
The Epona Ulta-Mitt is the one tool I think every equestrian should have in their bath bucket. The tightly woven loops help to create a rich lather while attaining a deep clean right down to their skin. The flexible fabric allows my hand to easily conform to my horses legs to make scrubbing easy and comfortable for my horse. I give the Epona Ulta-Mitt two thumbs up for quality and durability.” – Jess R.
EQyss Survivor Super Detangler & Shine
Picked by Purchasing Associate, Colleen C.
One of the most treasured grooming items in my tack box, I have been a big fan of the EQyss Survivor Super Detangler & Shine for everyday grooming and last-minute touch-ups before entering the show ring. I swear by this stuff and any person who wants to make a “wow” statement for their horse’s turnout needs this product. This heavenly-smelling gel slides easily through burrs, knots, and tangles without being sticky or greasy. A little goes a long way on this detangler – a nickel to quarter size drop is all I need!
Zarasyl is a Superman-like agent that does it all! This scientifically-designed barrier cream is used for a variety of preventative and treatment methods for most types of skin ailments. It’s steroid- and antibiotic-free, making it safe for any level of competition.
Its proprietary formula contains bio-available Silica for healthy connective tissue growth and enriched with Beeswax for gentle soothing and healing of abrasions while creating a protective barrier against harmful bacteria. Zarasyl also contains Tree Tree Oil for antibacterial properties, Zinc for cell growth and wound healing, and Lanolin for a moisturized skin barrier. Extremely easy to use and apply, the slightly sticky formula allows you to pinpoint exactly where you want the cream to go – no mess, no fuss.
“[With Zarasyl], a little goes a long way! Test-Free and I found it starts to heal up limestone/mud rash within a few days.” – Tish C.
Picked by Purchasing / Product Management, Christie F.
What started out as a non-toxic, sustainable, and Eco-friendly human skincare solution has turned into an international phenomenon for the effective cleaning, treatment, and management of a healthy skin and coat for horses.
This all-natural line of effective products is without harsh ingredients like chemical preservatives, synthetic detergents and fragrances – but don’t let that fool you – their topical skincare products pack a punch! The Coat Defense Powder & Paste can be used for a variety of common skin issues like rain rot, bug bites, sweet itch, various cuts and scrapes, and makes a FANTASTIC dry shampoo! Plus, its delicate Peppermint scent will keep you reaching for both of these fantastic products throughout the year.
“For many years I have battled mud fever until I found Coat Defense. Now using Coat Defense combined with a daily grooming routine we have had no mud fever episodes (yay!). I focus on the problem areas, legs, hocks and spine area cleaning off dirt and debris using the Epona Tigers Tongue, it easily removes dirt and debris from hard to reach areas because it so easily conforms to the body part you’re grooming. I follow up with a generous amount of Coat Defense powder making sure to rub it into the coat to get to the skin. During Spring and Winter months when the horses are wearing their blankets more frequently I will even put a little Coat Defense on prior to blanketing. Coat Defense is now my go-to product for Mud Fever prevention!” – Christie F.
What Will YOU Choose?
With over 200 brands and thousands of items to select within our vast inventory, Big Dee’s is certain to have the products you need to bring out the best from your horse – both on the inside and the outside! Whether you’re battling caked on mud in a dirty tail, dealing with a shedding woolly mammoth, or brightening a coat that was left dull from the winter, our expert staff is here to ensure you have the grooming tools and bathing essentials to create a dazzling finish.
Horse Brushes are quite possibly one of the most collected, and frequently used tools in the barn. Whether your go-to brush is a synthetic mud brush or a natural fiber body brush, any brush is going to get dirty with time. Before you condemn you favorites to the bottom of the bag or worse… read on about how to clean brushes for the health of your horse and the longevity to your grooming kit!
Do I really need to clean my brushes?
Not only are dirty brushes unsightly but they can also harbor fungus, bacteria and even creepy crawlies. Taking a moment to clean your brushes not only helps to extend their life, but also helps to ensure that your horse is getting the best and healthiest grooming possible. Plus it is really tough to get a horse really clean with a gross, dirty brush. If you are Continue reading Clean brushes for healthy horses!→
I was recently blessed with an opportunity to have my horse Paladin clipped by Natasha from A Pampered Pony for a facebook live demo. Even though I have been body clipping my own horses for years I really enjoyed the tips and pointers that Natasha was able to provide. I am so very thankful to both Wahl and Lister for helping to arrange this fabulous event. The response to the demo was overwhelmingly positive. Though I did see a number of questions surrounding the general practice of body clipping. I hope to be able to offer a little more information, about the purpose and goals of body clipping. From the perspective of a performance horse owner.
A little bit about my horse
My horse Paladin is and always has been a show horse, eventer and most recently a field hunter. In an effort to help prepare my horse for his performance career I chose to show him extensively his first
three years of life. Regardless of if the show was local or recognized, I always take pride in producing a well turned out horse. I strongly believe that quality show turnout starts in the stable. Providing quality food and forage, regularly scheduled vet, farrier and dental care and allowing ample turnout helps to promote a strong body and sound mind. Everything that you do at home to benefit your horses overall health will be obvious in the show ring or out working in the field. I feel that clipping further enhances all of that hard work you put into your horse on a daily basis.