While this product doesn’t have anything to do with your horse’s turnout, I have learned that your own turnout can be just as important in the show ring. Especially in IHSA, you don’t have control over your horse’s turnout heading into the ring, so making sure you have well-fitting show clothes, a clean helmet, tidy hair, appropriate show makeup, etc. is a must. Most importantly, your boots need to be clean and polished.
One of our coaches here has always told our team, “The difference between first and second place could be your boots.” We are expected to have our boots spotless and shiny not only for the show ring, but also for our lessons — at the very least, they should be 100% clean. This has led us to host boot-cleaning parties before horse shows, and everyone has a show buddy whose main job is to make sure their buddies’ boots are still clean and shiny after they have found their horse and before they go into the ring.
While there are a great deal of ‘cheater’ products out there (You know the ones, with some magical, ill-smelling concoction that looks like licorice and you can just wipe on, over top of mud and dust and TA-DA! Shiny boots), these are a no-go for us. I’ve gone through several types of polish and techniques for shining my boots, and have settled on one product: Kiwi Parade Gloss Boot Polish.
You can pick up this gem at pretty much any drugstore (CVS, Kroger, Target even has it) for between about $4-5 dollars. A small tin of Parade Gloss will last you a long time, so each use is pennies on the dollar.
Here’s the procedure I use for my own boots, and have shared with my teammates to achieve the perfect show-ring shine. It mimics a more traditional spit shine, and while it’s pretty simple, I’ve found it to work the best. Of course, some boots shine up better than others; I have had two different types of Tredstep boots that polish up SUPER nice; I’ve had similar success with other brands like Ariats, Parlantis, and Tredstone as well.
1. Clean the boots of all mud/dust with warm water and a soft toothbrush for hard to reach crevices, and dry.
2. Apply a layer of Kiwi Parade Gloss using a soft towel, using small circles and a liberal amount of gloss — make sure not to polish the inside calves of your boots, unless you want to slip’n’slide all over your saddle!
3. Let the gloss stand to dry a few minutes. I usually alternate between boots to let each layer dry sufficiently.
4. Buff the glossed boot using a buffing brush; don’t be afraid to put a little elbow grease behind it!
5. Apply a layer of water over top of the glossed boot, and buff again.
6. Repeat, alternating layers of gloss and water until your desired level of shine is achieved!
Some people like to buff with soft towels, or old boot socks/zocks; but I love a good buffing brush to get the job done. You can also use a toothbrush to apply gloss to the hard-to-reach areas of the boot.
It’s a small purchase I make at the beginning of every season; it lasts me the whole year, and I each time I am complimented on how shiny my boots are, I share my secret: Kiwi Parade Gloss Boot Polish!