Rich, black leg markings accentuate an already-polished turnout. As an AQHA, APHA, NSBA, and NRHA judge, I can say that touching-up your horse’s black stockings doesn’t necessarily earn extra points on my score card, but it demonstrates that you’ve made extra effort to give the best presentation possible.
The enviable, ebony look isn’t solely achieved through good grooming and bathing. When used correctly, color-enhancing sprays can sharpen your horse’s appearance, as well as conceal stains, scars, and blemishes that take away from the pretty picture. Enhancing a horse’s black points is permissible at AQHA- and APHA-sanctioned events; however, it’s illegal to alter a horse’s color by covering up a coronet band or white sock or stocking.
Turn the page to learn the four easy steps to getting sharp-looking legs for the show pen.
Step One: Prep
Fill your grooming box with necessary supplies. Purchase an enhancement spray such as Shapley’s Touch-Up, Bio-Groom Magic Black, or a similar product. Stock-up on clean rags and several pairs of rubber gloves. Rubber gloves protect your hands from staining and potentially transferring the black color to your horse’s coat or tack.
Step Two: Clip
A fresh clip is the first step in achieving a polished look. Three or four days prior to the event, clip the leg area between the knees and coronet bands. Use a #10 blade for a close, clean clip. Clip against the direction of hair growth, and then blend the edges of the clipped hair into the surrounding areas. To clip around the tendon, gently pull the skin to the left and then to the right to trim the small hairs that grow in between for a clean clip.
Step Three: Wrap
Wrap a clean rag or towel around the areas where your horse’s black markings meet lighter-colored hairs. A clean cloth absorbs excess spray and prevents the black spray from bleeding into lighter-colored areas. Tie or tape the loose ends of
the rag into position.
Step Four: Spray
Shake the can well before applying. Hold the spray can 6 to 10 inches away from your horse’s leg. Begin at the highest point of the black stocking, and spray in slow, smooth motion from the highest point of the black marking down to the lowest point. To maintain a natural look, don’t over-apply. Wait two to three minutes for the first coat to dry, and apply a second coat if needed. At the end of an event, wash the horse’s legs with a conditioning shampoo.
For more show-ring grooming tips, click here.