DID you ever wonder how to prepare and groom your horse for a sale in order to produce him or her to be attractive, fit, healthy and eye-catching, and ultimately get you a higher price tag? Follow the eight tips below to achieve the best results:
1. Before the sale (around two months) pay attention to your horse’s general health, have his teeth checked, worm count done, any vaccinations required updated. Also book the farrier or hoof trimmer to come just before the sale so you have freshly shod or trimmed feet.
2. Make sure his coat is clean and he is well groomed. Regular brushing and grooming along with a healthy diet will produce a good sheen on the coat. This can be enhanced with special shampoos pre-sale, and some coat polish on the day will add shine. You can brush on quarter marks if your horse has a fine coat, it will accentuate this.
3. Have the mane and tail well washed and groomed, the mane should be brushed and tidied, shortened to around six to eight inches long. Regular brushing will help train it to lie to one side.
4. If your horse doesn’t mind having his mane pulled, you can thin it slightly if its bushy, however most horses despise having their mane pulled (because it hurts!) in this case, I would advocate plenty of brushing, which will remove quite a few hairs daily, and in time the mane will thin.
5. The tail needs similar attention. It needs to be washed, brushed and maintained to keep it in good condition. If your horse has a short back, a slightly longer tail draws the eye and makes it appear longer, conversely if your horse has a long back, a shorter tail cut to the bottom of the hocks, can help to shorten the outline thus making your horse appear a more balanced shape. Make sure that you err on the side of caution before cutting, as you can’t stick it on again, and brush the tail before trimming, to make sure it’s crisp and sharp looking.
6. You can also trim the jawline, but not the whiskers or eyelashes, you can make a small bridle path, two to three inches only, where the bridle sits.
7. If you are plaiting for the sale what matters is that the mane is clean, freshly washed, and neatly plaited in a form that enhances your horse. For instance, if your horse has a thick mane, put in more plaits, 18 may be a good number depending on thickness and size of your horse. If your horse is fine-blooded and has a fine mane, then 12 plaits may be enough.
You need to practise before the big day to determine what style suits best and how big or small they should be. If you can’t plait well enough hire someone in who can do it nicely, because a well turned out horse will always command a higher price than a messy uncared for untidy one.
8. On the big day make sure your horse arrives early enough and that it has access to water and hay, give him a final brush and polish, put on his tack and take him out to oil his feet. Remember it’s a very stressful situation for him, so leave yourself plenty of extra time. Get him out and about, walking him briskly to attract the attention of your possible buyers. Good luck!