“Winning is 100 little things,” and sometimes you’ve got to be willing to take the 100 extra steps to help your horse maintain a slick hair coat, Bailey states. Photo © Kirstie Marie Photography

Short-Hair Secrets for Horse Showing in Winter

For most people, long-haired horses aren’t such a bad idea.

It’s natural for livestock to grow thick coats when the days get shorter and cooler, and the extra hair keeps them safe and warm, protecting them from chill and sickness.

If you show horses, however, there has probably been at least one frustrating season where your horse got a little fluffier than you would have liked. And goodness knows, a shaggy horse just doesn’t sparkle when he stands next to a slick horse in the show ring.

AQHA Professional Horsewoman Gigi Bailey says she remembers a day when the wind-chill factor at her De Pere, Wisconsin, farm plummeted to minus 92 degrees Fahrenheit. With winter weather as frigid as that, it’s a wonder that Gigi’s barn was full of short-haired horses – and they usually stay that way all winter long.

Part of Gigi’s short-hair recipe is standard: Make sure the barn stays warm, make sure the horses are kept warm, and keep the barn lights on for 16 hours a day. But, as she says, “Winning is 100 little things,” and sometimes you’ve got to be willing to take the 100 extra steps to help your horse maintain a slick hair coat.

“You can lose a good hair coat so fast,” Gigi says. “All it takes is one good chill – in the trailer or at a horse show or wherever – to lose it.”

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