Saturday I got to attend an awesome little informal "clinic" on how to turn your welsh out for showing in hand. It was just what I needed. She (P) started with mane trimming using a thinning knife. She uses chalk to mark the general outline of where she wants to take the mane to and discussed varying mane lengths depending on your horses neck. Of course she said it was always better to start longer and then work up to it being shorter since you can't do anything about it once you take it off.
Next P demonstrated clipping. Here I thought all of these welsh were shown "in the rough" but it's totally not true! It actually reminded me of arab people a little bit. She talked about how you should use clipping to minimize flaws or maximize the good qualities your horse has. The mare she was working on she clipped her under her jawline and up on her nose to give her a more refined feminine face. She also clipped the dishy spot on her face to bring it out more. She then used a slick 'n easy grooming block to blend the hair in that area. She trimmed up her ears and discussed giving them a bridle path and/or braiding just one chunk of hair behind the ears to clean up the throat latch and to elongate the neck. When she was done the mare looked super. It's definitely an art!
I commented that I'd be scared to clip that much but she said it just takes practice and that it takes 3 weeks for a face clip to grow out. Emi's next show is in about 6 weeks so I have some time to practice. I also plan to try it on Roz first. He will be more cooperative anyway.
P uses cheap hair gel to lay the mane down and normally lays a towel or something over it for 10 or 15 minutes to get it all laying flat. She does the same thing with the top of the tail and vet wraps it down for an hour or less before going in the show ring. P mentioned that you could get foaming temporary hair color to put in at the top of the main to color bleached ends. She also talked about using corn starch on white socks. She said to pack it in when they are wet and then brush it out the next day.
We then moved to the arena to talk about showing in hand. P is a judge and basically said none of us are fast enough to run with a cob in a full out trot...but that's basically what they want. She did say that them being in balance and not strung out it also important. Again, it's an art and a fine balance. She said she works with her young horses every day on standing and said that's one of the most important things they can do well in the show ring. She teaches them the voice cue "stand up" and says she is then able to use it in riding and driving classes.
I started practicing standing with Emi tonight and she stood for about 30 seconds with out moving. She was definitely beginning to figure out that I didn't want her to move. That will be handy feature for picture taking too! I asked if it was okay to have something in your hand (like a peppermint wrapper) and she said almost everyone does have something in their hand. She mentioned putting peppermint oil on your gloves to get them to follow your hand with their nose. There are so many tricks to this breed show thing. I'm just naive!
I'm sure there's things I'm forgetting, or not explaining well but I wanted to get the big picture ideas written down so I won't forget. It was a really fun day and it was super neat to get to know more welsh people in the area. Although I didn't take Emi to the clinic most everyone knew of her or had seen her at the other two shows. Everyone was very complimentary of how well behaved she is and that she's a nice mover. I think the State Fair show will be our best show yet. P basically said you should turn your horse out like they are the Supreme Champion and make the judge have to look for reasons they are not, rather than reasons they are.