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Fifty Shades of Gray: How Top Grooms Keep Gray Horses Bright White

Fifty Shades of Gray: How Top Grooms Keep Gray Horses Bright White

Try as we might to will the dapple gray youngster to stay dark forever, there comes a day when all gray horses become white or flea-bitten gray horses – and thus boost themselves to the highest point of the coat maintenance meter, to our dismay.
We couldn’t help but notice just how brightly the gray or white horses shone at the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event, so we asked a few of their grooms for their tried and true secrets to keeping those whites bright. You’ll see a clear winning pattern emerge as we ask each groom, so the term “tried and true” definitely applies.

Rachael Livermore, groom to Sharon White (Cooley On Show)
“Wash their tail every day, just with Ivory soap on a daily basis and a whitening shampoo in the week leading up to a show.”
Clementine Nostrant, groom to Tamie Smith (Wembley)
“The main product I use is Exhibitor’s Quic Silver shampoo. I typically start off by washing his legs or any green spots with QuicSilver. After that, I towel dry and use Show Sheen thoroughly so that no dirt sticks. Occasionally, I use a solution of rubbing alcohol and Quic Silver as a spray on a damp rag to remove green spots.”
“The best practice is honestly to keep them in a clean environment. I often pick Wembley’s stall five or six times a day to make sure it’s spotless. It may seem like overkill, but it makes the job much easier!”
“Before jogs, I also use baby powder to “highlight” his body – I put it on his hips, hocks, knees, and any other spots that I want to stand out.”

Emily Lapolla, groom to Sara Gumbiner (Polaris)
“Definitely lots of Quic Silver shampoo. Cowboy Magic is also perfect for getting stains off without having to give a complete bath. I’ve used Oxy-Clean for his tail, which worked, but for Kentucky weekend, Sara’s mom found a recipe using baking soda and shampoo to make a paste. You put it in the tail and let it sit for 15 minutes and then rinse with white vinegar – surprisingly, that worked the best out of everything I’ve done in the past.”
Lauren Mair, groom to Lauren Kieffer (Landmark’s Monte Carlo)
“Combine Quic Silver and rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle for quick stain removal.”
Jenn Cain, groom to Lauren Kieffer (Landmark’s Monte Carlo)

“I like using 3/4 Quic Silver and 1/4 alcohol mixed in a spray bottle for spot cleaning. I use it everyday to remove manure, grass and dirt stains – just spray it on and rub with a dry towel.”

Lucy Beard, groom to Will Coleman (Tight Lines)
“I would say first and foremost a clean stall makes for a clean horse. I’m a freak about picking, ESPECIALLY with Phish (Tight Lines), who enjoys a hot steamy manure pillow… Then the other important thing is that gray horses and those with white tails get scrubbed and shaped so much their coat and skin can really take a beating. I’m careful to keep them conditioned and moisturized so the hair stays healthy and silky, and hopefully bright white. I’ve used a splash of baby oil or even coconut oil in some hot water as a finishing rinse for added moisture. Whitening products can be really drying, so after washing tails I always condition them – I like Mane ‘n Tail.”

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Photography by JJ Sillman.

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