2022 Hartford Fair Groom & Clean Contest


Sunday, August 7, 2022

Location: Main Arena

Entries: 2:00pm  / Contest: 3:00 pm

Sponsored and Facilitated: Licking County Horse and Pony Council.

All questions and entry information contact Licking County Horse and Pony Council.


  • Each team will consist of 3 contestants and a holder and must provide a safe horse or pony for the contest.
  • Horse must be at least 13.2 hands or taller.
  • Horse must have a properly fitted flat nylon or leather halter (no show halters) and a tie rope.
  • Horses must meet a minimum Body Condition Score (BCS) of 4, in order to participate.
  • Show sheen or products that make it easier for dirt to be removed from the hair coat are strictly prohibited prior to being muddied.
  • Grooming of any horse participating in the contest after muddying and prior to the grooming portion of the contest by any person will result in the disqualification of the team associated with that horse.
  • Judges have the right to substitute any horse prior to the beginning of the contest. If the horse is not sufficiently muddy at the start of the competition, the team may be penalized. If the horse does not have sufficient length of mane at the start of the competition, the team may be penalized. If the horse has a roached mane, the team may be severely penalized.


  • Basic groom equipment necessary: Curry (rubber or plastic), Body Brush, Stiff Brush, Dandy Brush, Mane and tail comb or brush (not both), Hoof pick and grooming cloth. Only one ground cloth, quart of water, fly spray and chain lead are optional for showmanship.
  • Three complete sets of grooming equipment are best (one for each contestant on the team).
  • Equipment is to be placed on the ground behind the horse on a ground cloth with bristles facing up.


  • Must be currently enrolled in or completed a 4-H/FFA-horse project.
  • 4-H, FFA, or OHC Organization may enter junior (9-13 years) and senior (14-18 years) teams of three (3) members. There will be an additional holder for each team.
  • Teams may use a member from another club if needed to fill a team. A junior can be used on a senior team, but you cannot use a senior on a junior team.
  • All team members MUST WEAR boots or heavy leather shoes and long pants.


  • At least two hours before the scheduled start, team members will apply the mud uniformly over the horses/ponies under the supervision. Allow more drying time if the weather is damp.
  • The horses/ponies will be dirtied using mud (sandy mud does not work). Never put mud in body openings or in cracks or tight places (i.e., between the rear legs).
  • Once competition begins, total time for grooming is 30 minutes. Teams are told by the announcer when only 10, 5 and 2 minutes remain — then STOP. Equipment is replaced on the ground cloth. Teams return to their starting position away from the horse/pony
  • Handlers will have control of the horses/ponies at all times and line the teams up in numerical order. They will maintain a safe distance between horses/ponies and move horses/ponies (after telling team members) only as needed for safety.
  • Handlers will not coach the team members in any way. They will speak to team members only when necessary to maintain safety.
  • ANY COACHING from the handler or spectators will result in the disqualification of the team


  • Teams are given 10 minutes to work with their groomed horse/pony to prepare for showmanship.
  • No attire change will be allowed. You must start and finish the competition in the same outfit. 4-H rules will apply in showmanship.
  • The only equipment change allowed for the showing will be a chain lead strap to replace the tie rope used while grooming. NO halter change.
  • All three members will be judged on their ability to show the horse/pony. Each member will show the horse/pony as instructed by the judge. The team members will decide which one will do each part of the pattern.
  • The showmanship pattern will be determined by the judges and posted one hour prior to the contest.

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