Grooming with Emma Ford: 5 Things She Can’t Live Without

Emma Ford with Mr. Medicott at Rolex. Photo by Samantha Clark.

In the midst of this thrilling spring four-star season, EN is shining a spotlight on the hardworking grooms who take immaculate care of the incredible equine athletes that compete at the highest level of the sport.

Phillip Dutton finished three horses inside the top 10 at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, and we asked his longtime barn manager Emma Ford which things she can’t live without at a four-star event.

The Posture Prep is a go-to item in Emma’s grooming box. Photo by Lynsey Ekema.

1. Posture Prep: When it comes to grooming, Emma says the most important tool in her kit is the Posture Prep. It’s a curry comb and massaging tool combined in one that helps release tension in the muscles and relax the horse while grooming. Emma recommends working the Posture Prep from the hind end toward the front of the horse’s body to allow for the energy from the hindquarters to release into the rest of the body.

2. Witch Hazel: Emma uses witch hazel to combat a variety of skin issues, from treating itchy bug bites and minor wounds to removing grass stains and reducing swelling. Witch hazel isn’t as harsh on the skin as rubbing alcohol, so it can be used as a substitute in many situations, Emma says. It’s also budget-friendly and easy to find at stores.

The Ice Vibe X-Full Boots. Photo by Kate Samuels.

3. Ice-Vibe Boots: Mr. Medicott used Ice-Vibe boots extensively during his rehabilitation from a tendon injury sustained at Rolex in 2014, and he ultimately came to the event three years later to finish fourth and become the new Rolex/USEF CCI4* National Champion. Other top riders like Michael Jung, Ingrid Klimke, Jessica Phoenix and Doug Payne also use the boots in the everyday care of their horses. Read more in EN’s product review here.

4. Shapley’s Hi Gloss Finishing Spray: Emma uses Shapley’s Hi Gloss Finishing Spray to boost the show-ring shine on Phillip’s horses at competitions. The light, oil-based spray defines muscles, highlights features and adds a noticeable shine. Emma likes the fact that you don’t have to use a lot of spray to get results, and she especially likes to use it on the dark points of bay horses to make their coats pop.

Fernhill Cubalawn wearing his Rambo Ionic sheet and boots. Photo courtesy of Emma Ford.

5. Rambo Ionic: You’ll find Phillip’s horses wearing Rambo Ionic stable sheets and leg wraps regularly at home and competitions. The Ionic line uses tourmaline to increase blood flow to the horse’s brain, muscles and other key parts of the body. The sheet is lightweight enough to use year-round, and Emma likes to use them after hard workouts, during competitions and when shipping to help the horse’s muscles more soft and relaxed.

Learn more grooming tips and tricks from Emma in EN’s World Class Grooming clinic report. If you haven’t had a chance to attend a World Class Grooming clinic, we highly encourage you to like the Facebook page to stay up to date with Emma’s schedule. A clinic could be coming to your town in the very near future!