How do I create the ultimate shine on my horse?  And get a complete upper body workout at the same time??




I receive a lot of questions about shine - and what is the best way and the best product to use to get it.  I have the answer:  elbow grease, a lot of it, and sometimes a little help with a wisp or tea towel, THEN add product for the finishing touch.  Don't get me wrong here - I love products, too!  They are designed to make your life as a Groom easier and more efficient.  Sometimes, though, it's good to go "old school".



Using your curry gloves or curry comb first brings the dust and dander up.  Lather, rinse, repeat. 


Nothing can replace your horse’s natural oils that he himself makes.  Too much water, too much shampoo, too much product, poor diet, and no elbow grease = dull coat and flaky skin.  You can help your pony along with lots of curry comb action, massage, a super diet with well balanced supplements, and sometimes even a wisp or towel if you are so inclined!  

For now, let’s concentrate on the elbow grease.  A hay wisp is an almost forgotten art of weaving damp hay into a hand held wisp to be brushed and rubbed along the coat for mega shine.  A tea towel is the next best thing to create shine, then perhaps a super short and tightly bound natural hair brush (a finishing brush).  Also look for products designed to create shine, these double up as stain guards and can help future stains slide right off.  



The hay wisp.  Yes, you make it yourself from hay.  


The modern day alternative to a hay wisp is the cactus cloth. More on this little grooming gem here. 


For those of you interested in making a wisp, here are some instructions that I dug up with the help of one of our “regulars”, Michelle.  

  • Create a 1/2 inch rope from dampened and soft hay.  Long stem hay is best, as is damp hay.  You may want to dunk it, spritz it, or shower it. 
  • Twist the hay until you have about 6 feet of it.  
  • Then, create 2 loops at one end of the rope, one loop slightly larger.  So you end up with 2 loops and 1 rope, braid them all together.  
  • Ta-dah!!  Wisp.   
  • When you are done braiding, you can dampen the wisp and even step on it.  It should be firm and small enough to hold in one hand.  
  • You can also think of it like this:  use the rope length to weave in and out of the 2 loops you have.  


A good example of crazy, wicked shine.  

Use the wisp by brushing with the lay of the coat to a shiny finish.  If you are anything like me in the "following directions and questionable end results" category, you will make a lot of these before you figure it out.  But that’s half the fun, right??



Top off your hard work with some shine product.  This will also help repel stains. 


Have you ever tried to make a wisp?  What's your shine recipe?