Emma Ford and Cat Hill Demonstrate World Class Grooming in Clinic

Annemarie Cochrane attended the first World Class Grooming for Horses clinic hosted by authors Cat Hill and Emma Ford, and she kindly shared a blog about the experience. Visit www.worldclassgrooming.com for more information on future clinics.

Cat Hill and Emma Ford. Photo by Jess Lynn Dailey. Cat Hill and Emma Ford. Photo by Jess Lynn Dailey.

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be the lucky winner to be picked to attend the first World Class Grooming Clinic hosted by Emma Ford and Cat Hill. This past April while at Rolex, I bought their new book entitled World-Class Grooming for Horses. At the time, my name got placed in a drawing with 50 or so others who purchased the book for a chance to attend this first clinic for free.

So mid-May, when Cat called to tell me that my name had been picked, I was thrilled! I had never met Cat or Emma, but I absolutely loved reading the book. It is filled with knowledge, detailed descriptions and pictures, so therefore I couldn’t wait to hear the plethora of information they were going to share. (Click here to read EN’s book review!)

Cat Hill explaining the importance of examining and being familiar with your horse's legs each time you ride or groom. Photo by Anniemarie Cochrane.

Cat Hill explaining the importance of examining and being familiar with your horse’s legs each time you ride or groom. Photo by Anniemarie Cochrane.

The full day clinic was held at Phillip Dutton’s True Prospect Farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania, which is Emma’s home base. The clinic was wonderful! There were 12 participants, and we spent the day immersed in discussing proper daily horse care, learning about stable management and safety, grooming, blanketing, first aid, clipping, show turnout, braiding, boots, leg care and studs.

They divided us up into two groups, and we were given the opportunity to work with both Emma and Cat at different times throughout the day. There were chances for hands-on practice, including clipping and braiding. Over lunch, Christine Taylor of Body Kneads gave us an hour-long presentation on body work, laser therapy, farrier issues, thermal imaging and kinesio taping.

Christine Taylor gives a body work demonstration. Photo by Annemarie Cochrane.

Christine Taylor gives a body work demonstration. Photo by Annemarie Cochrane.

The overall theme that Emma and Cat tried to stress throughout the day was that while working in the barn and around horses, “Slower and safer is better than faster and dangerous. Take time where it matters to do things correctly.” I came away from the clinic with a wealth of new knowledge. Below I have listed just a few tips I found particularly interesting and wanted to share:

  • Aisle ways should be free of clutter, including trunks, and every barn should have an updated fire extinguisher in plain view.
  • When grooming, use a coat moisturizer each day and Show Sheen on show days.
  • Use baby powder on white socks on show days.
  • OxiClean is great for getting out pee stains.
  • Shapley’s Hi Shine Shampoo is wonderful for grey horses.
  • Witch hazel, used for a brace, post clipping and/or cleaning purposes, is a great product to have in your barn and trailer, as it does not dry out skin.
  • Use an apple cider vinegar rinse (1/4 vinegar to 3/4 water) for horses that break out. No need to rinse off.
  • Locking Creme Wax is a wonderful product for mane and tail training.
  • Afro Grow helps hair growth and reduces the appearance of scars.
  • If your horse has a thin tail, bang it shorter.
  • If your horse is a bit on his forehand, keep the tail a little longer.
  • The best thing for keeping legs tight with little or no swelling is turnout.
  • Icing legs is critical for horses competing at the upper levels. Ice their legs for 20 minutes once to three times right after a gallop, hard work or competition.
  • Knowing your horse’s body and having him or her worked on by a skilled, licensed professional body worker can be a huge benefit.
Emma Ford demonstrates face clipping. Photo by Annemarie Cochrane.

Emma Ford demonstrates face clipping. Photo by Annemarie Cochrane.

It was such a treat to learn from Emma and Cat, who are professional grooms and who have worked for some of the best riders in the world. A huge thank you to Christine who shared her expertise and to Joe Adams of Top Rail Tack who generously sponsored the clinic. If you happen to see Emma and Cat giving a clinic in your area, I would highly recommend you plan to attend. You’ll learn so much and as a result become a better horseman.

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