Shapley’s products vs. Morgane’s grubby ponies …
As the ward of a nearly all-white paint horse, and as someone who spends multiple weekends a month showing, I’m forever exploring various grooming supplies and options. Specifically, in addition to looking for products that actually work, I’m also looking for products that can save a little bit of prep time before heading into the show ring (because really, when you have to be up before dawn to get ready, every last minute of sleep you can grab is precious).
While there’s a myriad assortment of grooming supplies these days, I’ve found that Shapley’s has consistently proven not only highly effective, but also expertly tailored to the needs of the show ring. These products are specifically geared towards achieving a show-ring ready look efficiently.
To fully highlight how awesome these products are, I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to discuss below.
To start let’s look at EquiTone Whitening Shampoo. Before I began showing a nearly all-white horse, I couldn’t comprehend how useful these sorts of shampoos are. Where my bay gelding can get a fifteen-minute bath and look just as lovely as if I’d spent two hours, that’s just not the case with a white horse. While there are a few other shampoos I love for daily use on Stormy, showing is a slightly different story. The sad truth is that you need to use a whitening shampoo on a white horse if you really want to achieve that dazzling white look for the ring.
Cue Shapley’s EquiTone whitening shampoo. This shampoo is quite effective at achieving that bright white glow and unlike similar whitening shampoos or something like Tide, it doesn’t seem to be as hard on the coat and skin. In fact Stormy feels quite soft after using it. Even after repeated uses due to multiple shows (or an absurd number of tough stains), EquiTone doesn’t dry out his uber sensitive skin.
For the best results, I use the shampoo at full strength and work it through with a rubber curry or grooming mitt; I’m especially generous with the application on his legs where he tends to get the most staining. Once applied I let the shampoo sit for ten minutes or so before rinsing. I occasionally will let it sit longer on stubborn stains on his knees and hocks. Be careful not to let it sit too long though, unless you want your horse to have a slightly purple hue.
If you have a white horse, or one with a fair amount of white, you should certainly give EquiTone whitening a try. EquiTone color enhancing shampoos are also available in black, red, and gold hues to enhance just about any coat color and help you present your horse in his best light in the ring.
You can purchase EquiTone from SmartPak for $11.95 per 16 oz bottle.
While we’re thinking about shampoo, in addition to making a super whitening shampoo, Shapley’s also makes an outstanding Hi Shine Shampoo. This is a good shampoo to use for regular washings as it removes dirt and grime without stripping the hair of its natural oils.
I like to use it diluted in a bucket for quick bathing following a workout. This is especially true if the footing is particularly muddy and gross resulting in my horse’s legs and belly being a mess. Hi Shine Shampoo can also be used at full strength for stubborn stains or mud without drying the coat or causing irritation. It rinses out beautifully and does leave the coat noticeably shiny afterwards.
You can purchase Shapley’s Hi Shine Shampoo from SmartPak for $8.95 per 32 oz bottle, making it an exceptional buy for the money!
Magic Sheen~ Hair Polish
Next up is Magic Sheen. Magic Sheen is silicone type hair polish meant to repel dirt, dust, and grime while giving your horse’s coat a beautiful shine. What sets Magic Sheen apart from most other similar sprays is that it won’t dry out the hair, making it brittle. In addition to that, it also lasts for up to a week, which is excellent when you’re away at a longer show and trying to keep from living in the wash rack (unless your horse is white, then you will live there anyway).
Magic Sheen can be used on the coat, tail, and mane, though I would recommend avoiding the mane if you plan on braiding as it can make it too slick. You should also avoid spraying it in the saddle area if you’d like to keep your saddle in place. I personally use Magic Sheen at two major junctions. First, as a final coating in my horses’ tails and on their coats after they’ve been washed. This is to help keep the tails from getting tangled and loaded with dust and shavings and to help repel the inevitable dirt and dust on their coats, both of which make daily grooming and tacking up much quicker. I then use it as a final touch up right before I enter the ring to enhance their shine.
While the detangling and dust repelling properties of Magic Sheen work beautifully on all my horses, the shine factor is most apparent on my non-white horses (largely because most white horses don’t really shine as much as they appear bright white).
Regardless of what color horse you have though, this is basically a must-have grooming item for anyone showing as it helps not only with keeping the horse clean, but also with enhancing the final presentation in the ring.
Magic Sheen is available at SmartPak for $11.95 for a 32 oz bottle with sprayer.
Up next is Shapley’s Easy-Out no rinse shampoo. Now as some of you may remember from previous reviews, I’m not usually a fan of spray on, waterless shampoos given that they often just smear things around rather than removing the stain. Nevertheless, Easy-Out has proven to be another of the few that actually works. I just spray a bit directly onto the stain and let it sit for a minute or two before wiping it off with a clean towel. Easy-Out lifts the stain to the surface of the hair where it can be wiped off easily and leaves no odd discoloration or stickiness behind. It’s even more effective at removing those lovely green stains if I happened to have used Magic Sheen on the horse when I bathed the day before.
Since Stormy was not at our last show, see the images below of my friend’s PRE gelding, Bandolero, for a better idea of the effectiveness of Easy-Out. These were taken at the last show around 6:00 am, with a ride scheduled at 8:05 (clearly there wasn’t enough time for a full on bath). Bandolero was wearing a sheet, sleazy, and a body protector but still managed to destroy any efforts at cleanliness (standard MO for a white horse).
Given its super effectiveness, ease of use, and time-saving potential, Easy-Out is another staple show grooming supply that should be in everyone’s grooming arsenal (especially if you’re blessed with a white or grey beast).
For more information on Easy-Out and purchasing click HERE.
As someone who braids five to six horses per show, often multiple times, I get excited about anything that makes that particular stint in purgatory shorter without yielding unfortunate results (because, wouldn’t you know it, I’m also a bit of a perfectionist and abhor a bad braid job). Given that, Shapley’s Mane Mousse is truly an exciting thing.
Mane Mousse helps tackify the mane so that it’s easier to grip, which makes getting the braids tight enough something that can actually be done sans hand cramps. It also slicks down any odd, stray hairs — you know, the ones you get after you’ve braided and unbraided your horse 47 times– making for a much cleaner, more polished look. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to braid a horse and having the braids come unraveled as you braid them or falling out before you can pull them up; not only because you need to get the job done well, but also because it’s a huge waste of time.
Because it helps tame the mane, making braiding easier and more efficient, Mane Mousse is also a time saver. Who doesn’t like saving time?
I’m also intrigued with the aerosol spray aspect of Mane Mousse. I was initially concerned that my horses would be upset by it but none seemed to care. Additionally, it’s also nice because it doesn’t pose the leaking hazard that regular spray bottles do (if you’ve ever had hairspray leak and coat the contents of your braid box you know it’s not a good time for anyone).
To use Mane Mousse, I find it most effective to spray a little in each section I’m about to braid as I go along (rather than spraying the entire mane once at the start). After I’ve finished braiding and pulling up the braids, I then put a final coat of Mane Mousse on top to help hold everything on place.
Whether you’re an OCD perfectionist type braider wanting that ‘just so’ look sans flyaways, or someone who is just hoping and praying that their braids stay in, Mane Mousse can certainly help.
Mane Mousse is available at SmartPak for $12.95 per 14 oz can.
Last but not least, let’s look at Shapley’s Show Touch Up. I LOVE this stuff. Of course I could be bias since I have fond memories of my sisters and I as preteens using it to put black points on an otherwise white horse, and white socks on a chestnut who had none just to confuse our parents. Regardless of our shenanigans, this stuff is a legitimately great product.
Shapley’s Show Touch Up comes in various colors to match most coat colors. I generally use the white or black versions to enhance points or brighten white areas but the other colors are great for covering scars and other blemishes as well. The Show Touch Up in white is excellent at covering minor stains or imperfections on the coat that otherwise won’t wash out without removing a layer of skin. It’s also super for cleaning up white tails that are mildly stained and refuse to come clean with normal shampooing (BONUS! It also makes the tail appear fuller).
For scrapes or stains on the knees or hocks I spray Shapley’s Touch Up on them lightly (holding the can about 12″ away) and let the first coat dry a bit. If the blemish isn’t entirely covered I use another layer. The sprayed area will be somewhat matte in appearance so if you’re using white to touch up socks or smaller white markings, this isn’t generally a problem as most white areas aren’t particularly shiny and you can simply tape off the area where the color begins to avoid getting any excess white on it. However if you’re using white on the body of a white or nearly-white grey horse (or if you’re using another color on the body of your horse) you may want to use a soft brush around the edges of where you’ve sprayed to soften any lines that may appear. My experience has been that when applied correctly, Show Touch Up lasts all day and is pretty smudge proof.
While covering slightly stained hocks or old scars isn’t entirely necessary, I think doing so adds to your overall presentation in the ring. That being said, Shapley’s Show Touch Up is one way to add those important finishing touches.
Show Touch Up is available at SmartPak for $12.95 per 12 oz can.
Even though grooming isn’t really the focus in the dressage ring (hairy ears and muzzles anyone?), coming from a background that included some hunter shows, open rail classes, and showmanship I still thoroughly believe that presentation is important. Having the right tools to effectively and efficiently present your horse in his best light is also then a necessity. I believe that Shapley’s has pretty solidly covered that.
Ultimately, their products work beautifully, are easy to use, and time saving. It seems clear to me then that Shapley’s has a solid idea what rider’s need to groom for the show ring.
If you’ve not already, you should certainly give Shapley’s a try; I’ve used their products since I was a kid and have yet to be disappointed. For more information on their products and their team visit their webpage HERE. You should also check them out on Facebook!
Go Riding AND Grooming for the WIN!
Morgane Schmidt Gabriel is a 31-year-old teacher/artist/dressage trainer/show announcer/ who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. A native Floridian, she now lives in Reno, NV, where she’s been able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless. Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She was recently able to complete her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently working on her gold. Generally speaking her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, a now gawky 5-year-old Dutch gelding, and Stormy, her friend’s nearly all white paint gelding with a penchant for finding every mud hole and pee spot in existence. Visit her website at www.theideaoforder.com.