With the number of tools there are for grooming, clipping, feeding, trimming, cooling, and conditioning show animals, it is very easy to get confused about what you really need around to do your best during show season. This article will point you in the direction of some secret essentials that you’re sure to find in any blue ribbon winner’s arsenal.
Black hair dye is a very useful little secret, and you can find some made just for cattle hair. All you have to do is clean and try the hair before application and spray in even layers to get rid of any discolored, grey, or faded patches on your soon-to-be prize-winning animal. You can also use a comb to work the dye in evenly.
A trusty hairbrush can’t be described any one way. Owners and animals have unique tastes and reactions to the many varieties. Try out a few different types of grooming brushes in advance. Some have a stronger massage quality; others aim for the roots of the hair with light bristles. Carefully note the animal’s reaction to the brush, physically and emotionally. The key with this show-time essential is to have lots of practice with the same style of brush. Try not to make to many changes in the weeks preceding the show; your animals, like you, are creatures of habit. The more of the process that you can keep the same, the better of you’ll be.
A good way to control the grooming process is to have a good, portable grooming chute. Show day can be hectic, so if you can groom your animals in the same grooming chute that they are used to, you are at a major advantage. Your animals will be calmer and more receptive to the detailed grooming you give on the day of the show.
Finally, and arguably the most important show tool, is a handy-dandy show stick. These products come in all shapes and sizes, so do your research to find one that fits you and your needs just right. Weight, balance, grip and configuration are all factors to consider. The show stick should be an extension of your own body. Showing large animals requires quick and graceful movements with between your hands, the show stick, the animal, and the halter. A show stick that you can maneuver well might mean the difference in correctly aligning hooves or accurately guiding the animal.
These are by no means all the tools you need for a good show, but they should definitely be on your checklist during show season. Use them all wisely and you’ll have a blue ribbon in no time!