Coloring your horse for the show ring

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LostandFound

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At the show I noticed that every single horse with black points had black legs 3/4 up their legs. There were no sunbleached manes or tails, and one horse looked like they spraypainted him for contouring. I'm sure you can just use hair dye for the mane and tail but what in the world are they using on legs and body? The only thing I could find online said use a black sharpie around their eyes.
 

diamond c

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40 years ago when we were showing minis we used regular ol hair dye on our black horses that were sunburned. We even had a couple that would burn so bad that we only put them out at night, and even then a stallion that we had would moon burn. Anyway hair dye is all we had at the time but like I said it worked well.
 

dalvers63

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I always wanted to know -WHY? Why can't people show their horses as they are without dyeing, coloring, or, the worst, shaving and clipping their heads? I don't get it and that's probably why I dislike breed shows so much. At least we can do carriage classes without all of the above.
 

Kelly

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I always wanted to know -WHY? Why can't people show their horses as they are without dyeing, coloring, or, the worst, shaving and clipping their heads? I don't get it and that's probably why I dislike breed shows so much. At least we can do carriage classes without all of the above.

Oh I don’t show, but I do like pretty! I hate all that hair and love the look of a freshly clipped pony. I don’t like whiskers and hair fuzz out the ears and 4inch eye whiskers… I dislike all that hair so much, I can’t wait for spring clippings! In fact this upcoming winter I am even thinking about keeping all 4 of my little boys clipped. I like pretty!! And pretty to me is a freshly clipped horse. Maybe pretty to you is all that hair? IDK? I’ve thought about coloring one of their bleached manes darker, just so it is easier on the eyes, but I haven’t done it yet. I also think it is fun to make them all pretty and it makes me feel like I am spoiling them. I love fussing over them!! That’s just me though. The beauty of everyone having different views and opinions and likes and dislikes is what is so wonderful because there is no right or wrong, it is just different.
 

Cayuse

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Shapleys spray color is used on the legs and tails a lot and people swear by it. I have had no luck with it though trying to cover white blemish spots, I can't get it to cover. I did color a bright orange sun burned tail once with regular human hair dye. I'm all for a little enhancement here and there but not too pleased when a horse shows up an entirely different color than what Mother Nature intended.
 

LostandFound

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I'm not a big fan of the whole shaving your horse bald thing myself, but you can't even tell if their little legs are straight under all that hair. I may experiment with some Shapelys and see how that works, it was interesting to see it used to make a thick neck look thinner among other things.
 

dalvers63

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Oh, I clip my guys too but only with a 10 blade over the body and face, leaving whiskers and eyelashes as they need those to feel things and protect their eyes. Come Spring I can't wait for it to get warm enough to give Mike and Eden a bath and get rid of the winter coat.
 

chandab

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Never clip eyelashes, and eye whiskers shouldn't be clipped either, they help keep the horse from bumping their face/eyes.
All the clipping and razoring has been over done. There is a level where clipping cleans up the appearance, and then there is over done; and I'm sure we all have a different level for the change from one to the other, but for health reasons, don't clip eyelashes and seriously rethink clipping the eye whiskers.
 

Marsha Cassada

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Mmm. Might look into the shapley's to touch up sun burned tails. I've used hair dye before, but it's not always successfully natural, and it's pretty messy.
I was a little shocked the first show I ever attended and saw the shaved, oiled heads. Not sure what I think about that. But, it isn't my world so guess it's none of my business.
I always leave whiskers but don't like beards. I like whiskers and eye lashes, but beards get trimmed even in winter. I do prefer tidy ears; I think it is easier to monitor what is going on inside the ear if they are somewhat tidy. And ears are my absolute favorite, so it's fun to see them tidy. Ears are so expressive.
I think I read where it is illegal now to shave whiskers in Europe for shows.
 

JFNM miniatures

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I think I read where it is illegal now to shave whiskers in Europe for shows.
True, my dressage coach who breeds Trakehners stopped doing to her horses when she saw it was illegal in Europe and the reasons why they decided to put that law, even if she's here in Canada.

Ever since she told me about it (this was about 3 years ago, I think), I stopped doing it as well. I've always been in a rather natural horsemanship mindset, but I guess we all learn new things. I had never thought about the fact that horses use those whiskers to avoid bumping into things.
 

Ryan Johnson

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Mmm. Might look into the shapley's to touch up sun burned tails. I've used hair dye before, but it's not always successfully natural, and it's pretty messy.
I was a little shocked the first show I ever attended and saw the shaved, oiled heads. Not sure what I think about that. But, it isn't my world so guess it's none of my business.
I always leave whiskers but don't like beards. I like whiskers and eye lashes, but beards get trimmed even in winter. I do prefer tidy ears; I think it is easier to monitor what is going on inside the ear if they are somewhat tidy. And ears are my absolute favorite, so it's fun to see them tidy. Ears are so expressive.
I think I read where it is illegal now to shave whiskers in Europe for shows.
Its illegal here too !
 

JFNM miniatures

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I saw a show horse go from pinto to solid and back again o_O:mad:o_O.
How is that even possible ? I've heard of people dyeing mane/tail or legs for "flaws"... which is understandable to some point... but to change the horse's color completely ? :oops: Since were at it, why don't people show up with a pink horse ?

It must be that humans are hard to satisfy, I guess, but I find the horse naturally is just the most beautiful horse, whiskers, color flaws, you name it. They are themselves, that's what really counts.
 

elizabeth.conder

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I saw a show horse go from pinto to solid and back again o_O:mad:o_O.
That’s crazy! Was this at a rated show? Not sure how they got away with that since papers have to match the horse lol...

I will say at the shows I’ve been to, horses are very well cared for. Sure I don’t necessarily agree with dying and coloring horses like that. But I haven’t seen much of it. Not a huge fan of the razoring. When I’ve shown I did the bare minimum. Many did in fact. Some do extremes though. Just not everyone.
 

ServiceMini

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I might be the odd one out- I don't mind coloring animals as long as it's a pet-safe dye or paint and it's not for a show. I plan on using Manic Panic (Human grade, vegan, plant based dye) to do small things, like a line around where her hooves and fur meet to make her more unique incase she's ever nabbed as I live in a village and don't trust people. A horse with Neon Rings around her hooves that can't be washed off in just one bath is much easier to find then a normal horse!

It's been long used in creative grooming, and is perfectly safe. I know dying has become very common in the service dog world for the exact same reason- colorful dogs are worse targets for theft. Many people will think one golden retriever looks like another, but one with a bright pink tail will always stand out and be easier to spot.

I'd imagine it would be either Shapley's or Manic Panic. Manic Panic would last awhile longer, as it's semi-permanent.
 

Maryann at MiniV

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I HATE razoring. And back when we used to show (it's been over 10 years) The show rules were that you couldn't alter a horse's natural color, only "enhance". So people would darken a bay's points on their legs, for example.... or dye a black horse's mane that was sun bleached.
 

elizabeth.conder

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I HATE razoring. And back when we used to show (it's been over 10 years) The show rules were that you couldn't alter a horse's natural color, only "enhance". So people would darken a bay's points on their legs, for example.... or dye a black horse's mane that was sun bleached.
The shows I’ve been to are the same way. No changing a horses color. Some enhancing allowed. But not a complete color change. Not that it doesn’t happen...
 

LostandFound

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I didn't notice any colors completely changed, just using dark to shadow and trick the eye into seeing a slimmer neck and shorter back. A lot of closely clipped faces and a few that were bald but not most of them. Though I now have to figure out if they really are coloring inside their nostrils. I don't think all that work helps much. For the most part what I saw were the nicer horses winning. Not the ones with the most makeup. We had no makeup or dye and clipper tracks and we did did ok. (not great, but ok) I have been using the photographers photo album to go back and compare, which is a great tool.
 

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