Supported Rider, Hannah Atkinson, shares some tricks of the trade to get you prepared for Showing season!
Having competed at HOYS 23 times with 10 different ponies and gaining qualification for HOYS 2019, Hannah Atkinson is regularly sporting red ribbons. When it comes to having ponies gleaming, Hannah is the expert!
Whether you’re getting ready to strut your stuff with your Equine friend in the Show Ring, or hoping to turn heads in the Parade Ring, Hannah’s Showing guide should point you in the right direction.
Preparation is key…
When getting our ponies prepped for a show day, I normally split the process into 2 parts. Firstly a few days before the show, I give the pony a complete body bath. For this I use Gallop conditioning shampoo. This shampoo is literally my go to bathing product and I can’t be without it! It suits all colours and is really good at getting even the toughest of stains out! I use the 5L bottles as I go through so much when we are in peak show season, so this is way it lasts me longer.
Once I have washed and rinsed the body, I will go over the coat with Supreme Products hot oil using a damp clean cloth. When the coat is a little drier I then go over the coat with LeMieux finishing spray. I then rug the pony up for the next few days and repeat the hot oil once a day to keep the coat gleaming. I find that bathing a few days before the show and not the day before allows the coat chance to flatten back down (especially in winter) and also the natural oils in the coat come back to give a more natural shine.
The day before the show I will repeat the hot oil process once again and finish off with the LeMieux finishing spray. This product really does put a gleam on the coat and is one of our grooming bag essentials!
I then cover up the body with a Lycra body suit (hoodless) in order to keep the dust off the coat. When washing the tails I use the same shampoo again, and allow the tail to drip dry before brushing out. For this I use Lincoln Silky shine detangler which helps get rid of any knots ready for me to plait the tail up. I do the same with the mane but also add a bit of the finishing spray to give it an extra shine.
I don’t put Lycra hoods on the manes until the morning of the show, this is because our native ponies manes are quite thick, and if they have a Lycra hood on for too long I find it kinks their mane up and it is difficult to get it to lay naturally. Before we load the ponies onto the lorry I will cover the mane in brylcream and then put the hood on. This flattens the mane in a natural way.
Many of our ponies have 4 white socks which means we go through lots of chalk!
I firstly wash the socks with the gallop shampoo, it brings them up great. Once I have rinsed them off I give them a few minutes to dry and to allow the water to drip dry out of the feathers. Once they are dry I will mix my chalk paste using Supreme Products leg and body whitening powder.
I have tried lots of different chalk products and this is definitely my favourite by far! I add a little bit of water to create a paste, it is important to get the consistency just right as if it’s too runny it will run straight off the legs and you will end up wasting the product. Once I have chalked the legs I either bandage them up or put leg wraps on the socks.
I don’t like to use bandages too much in the summer as the legs can get too warm and the feather starts to come out, this is not what we want with Native ponies! Leg wraps are a little more breathable so I mainly use these through the summer to keep the socks clean.
On show day I take the Supreme products powder and brush some onto the socks dry just to add the final touches and make sure the socks are sparkling bright, and hope there is no muddy walk ways on the way to the ring…
Finally, on the day of the show we use Supreme shine wipes as they are fantastic for adding that last minute gleam!