Grooming the Thoroughbred…for Race Day or the Sales Ring



  • Amazing! I had a Quarter Horse that I had to clip once before riding her in the local town Christmas parade. She was bred/born in Colorado and grew SO much hair even in the relatively mild winters of Calif, that I called her my wooly mammoth. To have used anything even close to the clips shown above did not even enter my head.
  • RachelRachel Member
    ive seen thoroughbreds that race in the winter with the clippings done, nothing like that LOL just the standard. the reason is to keep the horse cool and warm at the same time is what i always thought
  • I knew about all of these different types of grooming for racehorses, but it's really interesting to see them all together and realize how similar it is to the grooming for my show horse! I show an Appaloosa and even though I mainly show in English disciplines (Hunter In Hand & Hunter Under Saddle), Appaloosa shows are basically still classified as "Western shows."

    At the Appaloosa National Show and the Appaloosa Youth World Show (which took place over the past two weeks), my trainer put the checkerboard on the rumps of all the horse showing in English classes. He used hairspray and rather than using a stencil, he just used the smooth side of the blade of horse clippers. This pattern was long-lasting, but could easily be wiped off if it needed to be. For all the classes, we use fake tails, which are very long and banged. In Western classes, the tails are simply brushed, not braided (so they look like this: In English classes, the top part of the horse's tail is braided/plaited (so it looks like this: Fake tails are tied into the horses natural tail and cause the horse no pain if they are put in correctly. Essentially every horse wears these tails at shows and although some people in other disciplines do not like these tails, I think they give the horse a much more polished look, especially if the horse's natural tail is very thin and short. For Western classes, we band the horses' manes. (Here's a picture of a banded mane: For English classes, we braid their manes. (Here's a picture of a mane braided for a show: For an idea of how exhibitors dress in different events and how horses are groomed for shows like these, check out newest edition of the Equine Chronicle magazine. Some pictures are taken in casual clothes, but you can easily get an idea of how the people and horses look at the type of shows I go to :) Oh, and look for my horse Colby and me on page 134! Here's the link to the online version:

    Sorry if this is a bit off topic, but I just thought it would be neat to compare how some racehorses are groomed to how the horses in my world are groomed!
  • Sorry that the links don't show up as links! They should work if you just copy them and paste them in your address bar :)
  • Mary, thank you for the magazine. It is really interesting and I saw you and your beautiful horse! Of course, now I was checking out every tail I saw, trying to figure out if it was real or not. LOL! Who knew they had fake tails for horses? I learn something new every day!
  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    When is body clipping used...Summer or Winter or all year?
    In So. Cal, we frequently have to do it in the very early fall and again in winter. We commonly have 40-50° temperature shift between day and night. Once the days start lengthening, the coats start thickening and lengthening. If worked in 80-90° temps, they sweat up, and can't cool down completely and dry off. Then they get skin diseases and fungus.
  • Paniolo_GalPaniolo_Gal Member
    edited July 2013
    Hi Pepper9873...Great Job of compiling all these great works of art on horses!
    btw...I like how you were able to add on the enlarge option on the last direct link photo of yours. Perhaps, if you don't mind...if you could provide us how to do that option. If you are willing to share, it would be great to add this knowledge in the "Posting a Picture" Discussion above. Did you use imageshack or flickr (or other) for your direct links? :o)
  • @ Pepper, great pics.

    I'm not sure how I feel about some of those clips. Part of me says, "how creative," part of me says "the poor horse" and part of me says "somebody has too much time on their hands."
  • You don't have to thank me for sharing the pictures, I like sharing them.

    @Paniolo_Gal Truth be told I did nothing special to get the enlarge option. Some of the photos were larger than the width of the message board, and they were automatically shrunk to fit within the parameters.
    With the direct links I used Google, so I just clicked on the image in the search then on the "view original image" option and copied the address from the address bar of my browser.

    @lauraj_cincinnati If you think that's bad you should do a web search for poodle art. People go all-out on those dogs.
  • Hi Pepper9873!
    Thanks for your reply! This information might be good to put into "Posting a Picture" that Kylea has set up. If you don't mind typing this out in a step-by-step manner so other viewers can use your tip for themselves!

    LOL! I've seen some of those reality shows about dog grooming "art" contests so I can just imagine what they make these poor poodles look like!
  • @lauraj_cincinnati If you think that's bad you should do a web search for poodle art. People go all-out on those dogs.
    I've seen some of it! For a reason unbeknownst to me, I get a magazine for groomers. A recent cover had a poodle clipped and dyed to look like Yoda.
  • Poor poodle...that sounds hilarious though! A Yoda Poodle! :o)
  • Pepper9873Pepper9873 Member
    edited July 2013
    @Paniolo_Gal I'll see if I can squeeze in some time between homework and watching "Defiance" to get that done tonight. If not I'll probably be able to do it on Friday.

    Is this the one?

  • RachelRachel Member the poor thing o.o
  • @ Pepper, yes, the very same.
  • OMG!!! That's crazy (but sort of fun in a perverse way)!

  • Ok....question. Almost every day we see Chrome going out for a gallop and coming back and getting a sudsy wash down. Maybe this isn’t a good comparison, but I always wait at least a week (usually weeks in-between actually) before giving my dog another bath because I don’t want to dry out the oils in his fur with too much shampooing. I’m not saying the same thing applies for a horse but what kind of shampoo are they using? I also noticed they don’t seem to worry about suds in his eyes. Because I have Chromeitics, this inquiring mind wants to know, lol.

  • caseycasey any racetrack with camera in handMember
    the shampoo is heavily diluted, so that it doesn't really dry out the skin. He is sweating every day, and the suds help cut the sweat, thus preventing fungal infections from forming (My TB would get them all the time) Don't know what shampoo they're using, but would venture to guess it's a pH neutral shampoo so that it doesn't dry the skin
  • RachelRachel Member
    @Paniolo_Gal I'll see if I can squeeze in some time between homework and watching "Defiance" to get that done tonight. If not I'll probably be able to do it on Friday.

    Is this the one?

    Hideous this is, Cute it is not

    but gosh am i dying laughing xD

  • Over at the Ziconic Thread Jen-Bloom commented on Zi's whiskers..."Lots of people like to leave the whiskers long because they help a horse to feel where he is. Maybe Zi's groom is of that persuasion."

    Here is some information about "To clip or not to clip"

    Whiskers - Does Your Horse Really Need Them?

    Do you clip your horse’s whiskers? Many people who compete their horses do, but why? They look untidy and spoil an otherwise immaculate turn out. At least that is the usual answer. Some showing classes even demand that all superfluous whiskers are removed. But are they really just an optional extra?

    As far as the horse is concerned their whiskers are an extremely important sensory tool. A horse’s eyes are positioned in such a way that they are unable to see what’s immediately in front of them or on the ground below their nose. Whiskers on the muzzle therefore are effectively an extra pair of eyes, helping the horse to work out what he is grazing on or where the walls are in a dark stable. Horses also have long whiskers near their eyes and these are also there to help them avoid bumping into things that cannot ordinarily see.

    Many horses object quite strongly to having their whiskers removed. As the horse uses his whiskers as a kind of third eye, could his objection be because he’s actually a bit short-sighted and losing his whiskers would be like you losing your reading specs? Whilst we’re able to diagnose problems like disease, infection and foreign bodies affecting the horse’s eye, we can’t actually tell if a horse has a visual impairment outside of these areas.

    The horse’s whiskers are a vital part of his complicated peripheral sensory system which supplies the horse’s brain with input from a vast array of sensory receptor nerve cells scattered throughout his body, particularly in the skin. The skin varies in thickness ranging from 1mm to 6mm and is at its thickest where the tail and mane grow. It also varies from horse to horse depending upon breed, sex and age. The density of sensory receptors in the skin differs too; some areas having hundreds and some thousands. Tactile sensitivity is especially acute around the face; nose, lips and eyes. These areas contain the highest density of receptors and a concentration of long, stiff hairs - whiskers. The follicles from which the whiskers grow are surrounded by nerve endings. Each time the horse’s whiskers come into contact with an object, the nerves fire off a 250mph electrical message to the brain enabling it to determine what the horse is touching.

    So, from your horse’s point of view, shaving off his whiskers just to make him look nice and tidy is pretty much akin to making you wear thick gloves and then asking you to identify objects blindfold without your sense of touch or tying your hands behind your back and expecting you to find your way around a room without bumping into anything.

    Leave them on; your horse will thank you for it!
  • Body clipping is done in the winter so that horses that are worked can cool off more quickly, since you generally can't bathe many horses in the winter, unless you have a heated barn. Clipped horses are also blanketed in the cool weather, whereas many horses with full coats are not. It depends on the owner regarding decision to blanket full coated horses.
  • Stonestreet Farms:
    Grooming plays a large role in the care of our horses and serves different purposes in various stages of their lives. With yearlings, we focus on teaching manners and patience. With horses in training, we focus on developing their muscles and coats for the track.
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