Grooming Horse Care Young Rider

Shiny Horse Secrets

Young Rider Magazine LogoEveryone loves a horse with a shiny coat. But how do you take your pony from drab to fab? Use these tips and tricks to bring out your horse’s best shine.


True beauty comes from the inside out! Before anything else, you should check that your horse is in good health and gets his annual vaccinations and exam from the vet. A good nutritional program is also super important. If your horse is lacking any nutrients, it could show up in a dull, lifeless coat.

Shiny bay horse in a field

To give you’r horse’s shine an extra boost, try adding some fat to your horse’s diet. Wherever you buy your feed and supplements probably has a wide array of products for this purpose, including liquid or powdered high-fat supplements. These may be advertised as weight builders, shiny coat supplements, or hoof and coat. Look for one that has a blend of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, both of which the body needs for different purposes. Follow feeding instructions so as not to overdo it—horses take longer to adjust to fat in their diet than people.


It’s easy to skip thorough grooming if you’re always in a hurry to saddle up and get riding.

Think about really taking your time to groom for at least 20 minutes. Thoroughly curry your horse and follow with a stiff brush before moving to a soft brush. The curry comb brings dirt and oils up through the hair to the surface. You can use a nubby mitt on sensitive areas like the face and legs. Stiff brushes are great for getting tough areas of dirt or dried mud off, and a soft brush brings out the final shine when your horse is nice and clean.

Curry comb and grooming mitt
The curry comb (and grooming mitt for sensitive areas) will bring out the shine!

If you like to bathe your horse, always use shampoo designed for horses to avoid drying out the skin and coat. Add a conditioner for next-level shine. Conditioners make hair stronger and smoother so that it looks shinier.

Coat-Shine Products

As a final step to keep your horse looking shiny, add a coat polish spray. These also do double-duty to detangle manes and tails, leaving them super shiny too.

Coat polish sprays work on both wet and dry coats. Apply right after a bath for mega-watt shine, or try using as part of your grooming routine once a week. Regular use can help cut down your grooming time because the ingredients that produce a sleek shine also help dirt and dust slide off the coat!

While sprays with silicone help repel dirt, they also make the hair slick—so take care not to use on the saddle area, which could make your saddle slip backward or to the side. For extra benefits, choose a spray containing nourishing conditioners that improve hair health.

Putting your new care and grooming superpowers to work will get your pony looking his best in no time.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2019 issue of Young Rider magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Holly Caccamise

Holly Caccamise has been with Horse Illustrated and Young Rider since 2007, and in August 2019, she took over as head editor. She’s been instrumental in the production of both magazines and helped Horse Illustrated win a 2018 American Horse Publications Media Award in the General Excellence Self-Supported Publication (circulation 15,000 and over) category. Before getting involved in the editorial side of print media, she worked as an award-winning ad copywriter for Thoroughbred Times magazine. Caccamise has her MS in Animal Science from the University of Kentucky, where she studied equine nutrition and exercise physiology, and her Bachelor’s from UCLA in Biology. Caccamise has also worked as a research assistant, horse camp counselor teaching riding and vaulting, and as a top-level show groom in the eventing world, where she continues to compete her horse, Artie, at the lower levels.


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