Alandra Halem, head groom for Allison Springer Eventing, spoke to Horse Nation’s Lorraine Jackson about how she gets Copycat Chloe’s gray coat to shine not just at Rolex, but every day of the year. Many thanks to Alandra for sharing her top secret turnout tips.
As a professional groom, one of the most rewarding experiences I get is to have my horses complimented on their condition and turnout when they are out competing — especially on the international scene, such as this past Rolex. A lot of work goes into the everyday care of my horses. Arthur is naturally a good looking guy, but good care helps him to be his most handsome self. Of course it takes just a little bit extra to keep miss Copycat Chloe looking her best.
You can’t cheat and just put in the extra effort on show days when it comes to getting a truly well turned out horse. It all starts with our daily routine. Good nutrition is definitely important, and Chloe gets the best of the best from Buckeye Nutrition, eating a combination of EQ8 Gut Health, Gro ‘n Win and Ultimate Finish 25. The Ultimate Finish is an extruded fat supplement and helps to keep Clo’s skin and coat at its healthiest.
In addition to the excellent feed, she has her individualized SmartPaks to ensure that she gets her fresh vitamins and supplements in the right amounts every day, and keeping these things consistent really does make a difference in their health and appearance. Then, of course, comes good, old elbow grease when grooming on a daily basis. Nothing beats daily currying and toweling. It is also a lot easier to keep a freshly clipped horse clean, so as long as she is growing hair, I am constantly clipping her.
As you can imagine, Chloe likes to have a good roll every night in the pasture (or a good lie down in her stall at shows), resulting in plenty of baths, thanks to the fact that at the end of the day she was inevitably destined to be a grey horse. When you have to bathe a horse so often, it really is essential to have good bathing products to help maintain skin and coat condition.
My favorite line of shampoos and grooming products are from a brand called Bardsley. Chloe gets bathed with their White Wash shampoo both at home and at shows — full strength for any particularly dirty spots, as well as her mane and tail, and diluted to wash the rest of her. To help keep her skin and coat moisturized, I like to add a bit of their Tonic conditioner to my diluted wash.
My show prep tends to be pretty minimal due to consistent daily care. I add a few extra tail washes the last couple days before a show with a super secret whitening solution that was passed on to me by one of my previous employers that had a grey horse. One of the main ingredients is Bardsley’s White Wash shampoo. Ok, it’s really not that secret. If you want to know the other two ingredients, you can just ask me!
To appreciate how much Chloe shines, see her in motion courtesy of Thehorsepesterer:
After bathing at shows and as a last once over before handing Chloe over to Allison, I like to give her a good coating of Bardsley’s Horse Shine spray and then wipe her down with a towel. It really gives that little extra bit of glossy shine and helps keep her dust free. I do keep a white touch up spray handy for those last minute “Oh no I missed a spot!” moments.
In the long run, last minute tricks are nice, but it’s more about good nutrition, daily care and grooming products that really help me keep Chloe looking her best every day! I truly love taking care of these amazing athletes, and I have made them my life. They are more like my children than anything else. How they look is a direct reflection of the time and effort I put into my daily job, and I take great pride when they can enter the ring looking their absolute best.