Horse Sleazies: Tips for a Good Fit

Horse Sleazies: Tips for a Good Fit

Using a sleazy or slinky is great for show horses, but the mane tamer has to fit correctly.


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Horse sleazies, or slinkies, pack plenty of purpose for horse show exhibitors. 

A sleazy is a lightweight hood that fits over your horse's head, neck and shoulders. Sleazies are excellent for keeping dust, hay and grime away from your clean horse before a show. Banding or braiding a mane the night before a show can result in your horse completely destroying your beautiful bands, leaving you with a terrible mess before you enter the ring. With a sleazy, you can sleep soundly, knowing your horse's bands will be nice and tidy come sunrise.

“I like to band my horses’ manes the night before I show so I’m not so rushed the next morning,” says AQHA Professional Horsewoman Margo Ball, who has decades of experience putting sleazies to good use. “But that strategy only works if you can keep those bands protected. A big part of keeping the bands in place is having a sleazy that fits and is comfortable to your horse. The most common mistake I see people make is using a sleazy that is too large."

Horse Sleazy Fitting Do's and Don'ts

Nose band: When the sleazy is too long for the horse’s head, it goes too far down the muzzle and is usually not snug against the face. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit your fingers under the nose band. The wider the elastic, the more comfortable it will be for your horse.

Eye Holes: Eye holes should be large so that they don’t rub the horse’s eyes. Likewise, the ear holes should be large enough that they are not pulling on the horse’s ears. If the sleazy is too large or too long for the head, the ear holes will tend to pull on the backs of the horse’s ears.

Throatlatch: Check the throatlatch. The sleazy should fit snugly against the horse. If you can see loose fabric or large, floppy wrinkles below the throatlatch, your sleazy is too large.

Neck: Wrinkles in the sleazy on the horse’s neck tell you that the sleazy is not going to do its job. It won’t hold your bands in place because the fabric is not snug enough. A good-fitting sleazy will have no wrinkles over the crest, and it will be nice and smooth down the sides of the neck.

Girth: The band around the girth should be nice and wide. You want the band to be snug enough to stay in place, but not so tight that it leaves a mark. When you take off the sleazy right before a class, you want to leave a good impression with the judge. He doesn’t want to see residual sleazy marks around the girth.

Shoulder: The sleazy should stay up about mid-way on the shoulder. A sleazy that comes down too far on the shoulder is another clue that the sleazy is too large for the horse. Margo prefers using a sleazy with a zipper because of the benefits the zipper provides.

How to Put a Sleazy on Your Horse

Some horses will allow a sleazy to be slipped on over their head without a zipper. However, AQHA Professional Horsewoman Bonnie Minor suggests using a sleazy that includes a zipper if your horse is new to the process.

Putting a sleazy on your horse is a fairly simple process, but remember to use caution and approach in a slow and calm manner so you do not unintentionally spook your horse.

  1. Before actually putting the sleazy on your horse, gather it up from the back, moving toward the ear holes, in the same way you gather up your boot socks before putting them on your feet.
  2. Remove your horse’s halter. Be sure that you are in a safe place, like a stall, where your horse will not be overly nervous or run off.
  3. As you pull the slinky over your horse’s face, allow him to see out of an eye hole as soon as possible.
  4. After you have secured the slinky over the eyes and ears, you can feed the rest down the neck and begin your fitting process.
  5. Make sure that your slinky properly fits your horse’s face, because one that is too large can get snagged on things and cause injury, while one that is too tight can be uncomfortable and cause unnecessary pain to your equine partner.

Types of Sleazies

There are various kinds of sleazies that can vary in the area they cover, as well as their overall thickness and protection level.

  • Most sleazies are made out of lycra, giving them a stretchy, lightweight makeup, which allows them to be comfortably worn in even the warmest of temperatures.
  • For especially cold climates, there are sleazies that are lined with fleece to give your horse an extra layer of thermal protection.
  • If you are tired of your horse’s blanket rubbing his mane and withers, you can purchase a slinky that covers his shoulders to protect him from any rubbing or hair loss.