Striking Sharks Teeth & Quality Quarter Marks… my tips and tricks
Don’t you just love a gorgeous horse butt that’s been perfectly enhanced with perfect quarter marks and sharks teeth? I know I do!
Some of the most common show prep questions I get asked are about sharks teeth and quarter marks so I thought I’d share my tips and tricks to greatness.
QM’s & ST are used to enhance the conformation of a well muscled hind quarter and to draw attention to the cleanliness and shine of a well conditioned show horse. They are created by brushing the hair in different directions with brushes and combs.
The first step to getting a fab result with your QM’s and ST’s is to have the right length coat. Too short (i.e. clipped) and they really don’t work, too long (winter coat) or a shedding coat and they just draw attention to the fact that your horse doesn’t have a show coat (and it’s hard to make them look really neat when they’re shedding).
A nice short summer coat is what you need. You also need to make sure that your horse is super clean.
The next step is to dampen the coat. You can do that with just about anything (water, coat shine etc). My favourite way to do it is with the Hot Oil Coat Conditioner mixed as a grooming spray because not only does it dampen the coat perfectly but it ads a gorgeous shine as well plus it’s actually good for the skin & hair. Dampen the coat really well and brush all of the hair horizontally back towards the end of the horse.
My next tip is to have the right tools. They can be as simple as a body brush and a comb, though there are a bunch of products available these days that make creating the perfect QM’s & ST’s even easier.
I can’t live without the WL Marker & Hunter brushes and the Q Comb.
The WL Marker & Hunter Brushes come in 2 different bristle types – hogg hair bristles and synthetic bristles. The hogg hair is perfect for super fine coats, the synthetic bristles are a touch stronger and suit summer coats and slightly longer or coarser coats. I have been doing show presentation for nearly 20 years and I’ve been searching high and low for the best brushes for QM’s& ST and these are definitely the bomb!
The Q Comb is a bright green combi-comb that’s made up of 1 inch, 2 inch and 3 comb’s and all joined together. I have to admit, when I first saw them I loved the idea but hated the colour. Then I put it in my show box and decided that I loved the colour too. It’s such a bright colour that it’s much easier to find. And by being 3 combs in 1, I’m no longer left searching for the right size bit of comb.
Another common question I get is “what style of QM’s and ST should I do on my horse?” Basically the general rule is checkers and more elaborate patterns for show horse classes and bars and more basic patterns for show hunter classes.
However it’s the nuances within those suggested patterns that can really make the difference to the overall look.
The whole point of QM’s and ST’s is to enhance your horses hind quarters. To do this you need to step back and be really objective about your horses confirmation and muscling. Does your horse have the perfect hind quarters? (don’t worry, very few actually do!).
Is your horses bum a bit slopey?
Or is it a bit flat?
Is it a bit short in the hip?
Or a bit long?
It’s the answers to these questions that will help you work out which markers suit your horse best.
If your horses behind is a bit slopey, then rather than following the lie of their hair (which slopes down towards the tail), do your checkers and bars so that their horizontal lines are parallel with the ground. That way it will give the illusion to a more level and muscles hind quarter.
If your horse is a bit flat then follow a line that is more sloped to give the illusion of more angle.
It’s the same idea with sharks teeth. They usually start down the line from the point of hip and where the flank ends. If your horse is a bit long in the hip then doing fewer but larger/fatter sharks teeth and/or starting them slightly further towards the hind quarter (rather than right on that change of hair at the end of the flank) will help to give the illusion that they’re not as long.
If your horse is a bit short in the hip then doing smaller and skinnier ST’s that start nice and close to that change of hair will help to elongate the hind quarter.
If you’ve done all of this and you’re still not sure on the best look for your horse I recommend doing 2 different patterns at a time (1 on each side) and then photograph and lunge your horse. Standing still near you vs moving a bit away from you gives a very different look and it’s likely that you may change your mind once they’re moving. Then do a few more patterns and repeat. I find this a really easy way to decide what look suits a horse.
I hope that helps a bit. If you have any questions just drop me a line at [email protected] and I’m happy to help in any way that I can.