With the show season looming large, Carolyn Henderson investigates the innovative turnout tricks and products loved by riders and grooms across the disciplines
1. Freelance eventing groom Alex Van Tuyll, whose clients include William Fox-Pitt, counts flick brushes with long, soft bristles among her grooming kit must-haves.
“I have flick brushes in two colours — one for the mane and one for the tail,” she says. “This means that if I put detangler spray on the tail, I don’t transfer it to the mane and make it slippery.”
2. Showjumper Emma Hinkley swears by PRO:VOKE’s Touch Of Silver Brightening Shampoo, a purple shampoo formulated for people which she uses on her grade B showjumper, Heritage Silver, and that she buys from her local supermarket.
“Leave it in for five minutes,” she advises “It’s great for manes and tails.”
3. Riding school and livery yard owner Lorna Johnstone nominates hypoallergenic, biodegradable wet wipes as essential.
“They can be used for removing stains and for cleaning around small wounds,” says Lorna, who also uses individual wipes for cleaning noses, eyes and docks, as they don’t irritate and are easy to dispose of.
“They don’t smell strongly, are not scary to horses and don’t freeze or melt,” she adds.
4. Top model Amber Martinez, the face of Scottish Widows, knows more about hair care than most. She uses coconut oil on her own locks and shares it with her horses, too.
“It’s great for conditioning hair and encouraged new hair growth when the base of my mare’s tail was rubbed,” she said. “A little goes a long way.”
5. For dirty ponies, Highland enthusiast Rachael Stewart uses a car wash mitt, which costs £1 from her local supermarket. It has microfibre loops on one side and mesh on the other. The mesh side, says Rachael, is great for removing stains.
6. Dressage rider Emma Penny’s secret weapon is Smart Grooming’s Super Groomer, which is made from recycled polypropylene and moulds to the horse’s contours.
“It’s very basic, but great for removing dried mud — and when you’re bathing a horse,” she says.
Call us high maintenance, but there are some things in our tackroom that we're not sure we could survive without...
7. “We use a capful of Dettol in a quarter of a bucket of hot water, scrubbed on with a small towel,” says showjumping specialist Shirley Light, of Brendon Stud.
This technique removes grease and the horse also gets a massage.
Event rider and trainer Laura Powell also favours Dettol.
“I use Dettol to hot-cloth after exercise,” she says. “My horses love having their faces done.”
8. Tack cleaning is many riders’ least favourite job.
“If leather is really dirty, then use lukewarm water with a couple of drops of washing-up liquid — and I mean drops — to degrease and remove mud, then rinse in clean water [and allow to dry before applying saddle soap],” says retired international saddler and lecturer Malan Goddard.
Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (18 January 2018) for our 11-page kit special, including the tech your horse can wear, and the latest show jackets on the market