How can I get a Friesian (or other Baroque horse) looking amazing?
As with most things Grooming, it’s a marathon not a sprint. Although there are some last minute touch ups you can do. For the marathon portion of your grooming, you will need to do what all horse owners do, groom from the inside and out. Add to that the trademark jet black color you need to maintain. (For tips on preventing sun bleaching and the like, this article can help you.)
You also must deal with tons of mane, lots of feathers, and massive amounts of tail. For the mane, clean and conditioned and detangled is the way to go. I suggest long and loose braids for everyday wear to prevent wind knots and interference with reins.
Lots of mane = lots of stuff in the mane. Long and loose braids can help with that.
For the tail, keep the top natural. It’s fairy common to also see the bottom natural and not banged. Banging a tail can create a very wide bottom, which for a Friesian or Baroque horse can be ridiculously wide and thick.
Banging the tail of a friesian horse will only make the bottom wider. This is probably not a good idea.
For the feathers, leave them be if you will be in a keuring or breed show. No trimming along the coronary band. For other types of shows or if your Baroque is a sport horse cross, you may consider clipping the feathers for ease of management and daily care. Excessive feathers can interfere with your ability to detect swelling, heat, and cuts or scrapes. Feathers can also hide the beginnnings of quarter cracks along the coronary band and scratches.
Feathers - a trademark of the baroque horses!
That being said, you will need to become friends with clippers. Some Baroque breeds and Friesians have a tendency to grow wild “goat” or “elephant” hairs on their faces, necks, and legs. These are common on the cheeks, chins, and behind the knees. For ease of clipping, use your blade with the direction of hair growth to trim up these hairs. On the legs, you may want to do the very tops of the feathers along the cannon bone. Avoid going too low and clipping into the width of the feathers. Focus on just the stray hairs that poke out.
Long and loose braids can help with keeping the mane tidy.
If you are showing your Friesian or Baroque horse in a keuring or breed show, be sure to check your specific breed association regulations regarding specific grooming standards. For example, in some keurings, you are not permitted to use hair dyes, tail and mane extensions, or wedge pads on shoes. Additionally, you will likely need to show with an unbraided mane.
What special turn out tips do you have for Friesians?