Perfect Show Prep

Get the plaiting bands ready because shows are back on! Now that the restrictions have been eased, we are so excited to get back out competing. Heading for a hack with grass stains and an uncombed mane is fine but your horse needs to look their best in public, or for your next online dressage test. We have lots of tips and tricks to turn your horse out beautifully without last minute panic.


Bath Time


If you’re planning to wash your horse, it’s best to do so a few days before the show. By show day the natural oils in the coat will come through for a lovely shine and the mane won’t be too slippery if you intend to plait it. The Horsewise Concentrated Shampoo gently removes dirt and grime to leave a gleam to the coat.

 Horse Bath

Short on time? Spot treat stains and lift grease with the Horsewise Water Free Shampoo. This can even be done on show day if you suddenly notice your horse has picked up stains after a full bath. It’s also an invaluable product for winter shows when normal bathing isn’t practical. To help remove stains, we love using the mesh side of the Harlequin 2 in 1 Super Shine Wash Sponge before using the microfibre side boost shine.




Planning to plait? You may want to plait up the night before if you have an early start time. Neat plaits begin with a neat mane, so pull the mane with a pulling comb until it is the desired length and thickness. For thick, unruly manes, or horses that don’t like their mane being pulled, a thinning comb is a good option. Then, divide the mane into equal sections. If you’re being traditional, you want an uneven number of plaits down the mane so that there are an even number with the forelock included.


Top tip: use a plaiting band on a mane comb to mark out the width of each section so they are all equal.


Dampen the section of mane with a sponge then keep an even pressure as you plait down the mane. You may want to start plaiting at the poll, as it’s easier to plait at the withers if your horse starts fidgeting. Use a plaiting band before folding it in half and half again, then secure with another band.


Plaiting isn’t required for all events, or if your horse is a more native type. It’s still a good idea to wash and tidy up the mane before your show though.

 Mane CombMane ThinnerPlaiting Bands


Tack Cleaning


It’s not just your horse that needs to look clean but your tack or driving harness too. For leather tack, wipe away sweat and dirt before applying a conditioner such as the Horsewise Elite Leather Conditioner. This will help to protect the leather and keep it supple. If you have a Zilco harness, or synthetic tack, you simply need some warm soapy water to clean it, check out our blog with full cleaning instructions here

 Cleaning Zilco Harness

Tack cleaning is a great opportunity to check for wear and tear, so be sure to look out for any loose stitching or damage.


Packing the Lorry

There is lot of kit involved when competing and there’s nothing worse than arriving at the venue only to discover you’ve left your hat or girth at the yard! Organisation is key for a stress-free day. There are lots of luggage options which are great for not only protecting your kit and keeping it clean but transporting it too. The Zilco Heritage Collection has options to store everything from boots to saddles. For travelling with your driving harness, the Zilco Classic Harness Bag is a smart option.

 Boot BagRuck Sack












A Grooming Tote Bag is a useful addition to your show kit as it stores brushes and sprays, with plenty of room for plaiting bands and studs too so that you won’t be missing anything on show day. For ultimate organisation, check out the Rhinegold Equestrian Holdall and Backpack which carries your riding hat, whip and other competition essentials.


Get everything together the day before and if possible load it into your car/trailer/lorry. If you are going to a driving trials or eventing make sure you have the necessary kit for each phase too.  


Finishing Touches


Driving PresentationOn show day it’s time for all the finishing touches. Check all your plaits are still intact before brushing over the coat with a body brush. We love using the Rhinegold Soft Goat Hair Body Brush to bring a brilliant shine to the coat before finishing with the Horsewise Coat Sheen & Conditioner Spray which repels dust and can also be used under tack or harnesses as it doesn’t leave an oily residue. Just before you head into the ring, smarten up hooves with a little oil. The Horsewise Hoof Oil comes with an applicator for quick and easy use.


Good luck and have fun competing! We would love to see your show day photos, share them by either:

📧 emailing

💌 sending them to us on Facebook or Instagram

👋 tagging us @harnessstuff on Instagram

⭐️ using #harnessstuff on Instagram


We are very happy for you to share our blog posts via social media buttons, in fact we're delighted if you do! However, please do not copy our content as it is protected by copyscape so we will know very quickly if you do! Thank you.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published