The very appearance of the Swedish Warmblood is of a highly competitive horse that has a substantial frame, athletic appearance and ideal movement and gait. The average height of the Swedish Warmblood is approximately 16.1 to 17 hands, so they are a tall and very balanced looking horse with clean lines and excellent conformation. The very body style of the Swedish Warmblood requires little in the way of artificial enhancements such as flashy tack or highly decorated horses, rather the natural beauty, grace and ability of the horse is what should be most obvious during competition.
Typically in most types of events and competitions, especially at higher levels, the Swedish Warmblood will be shown with the mane braided or plaited and the tail long and natural. The Swedish Warmblood naturally carries the tail away from the body when the horse is in motion adding to the length of the body and enhancing the movement. The mane is braided to give a clean appearance to the horse as well as to highlight the natural arch to the neck and the high level of flex at the poll that is desired in dressage and other equestrian events.
To properly braid the mane there is a definite technique involved. The first step is to pull the mane so that all the hair is approximately the same length, which will lead to neater plaits with fewer ends sticking out randomly. Pulling is done by removing the longer, dead hairs from the under side of the mane through gently by quickly tugging them out. This is best done after the horse has just been worked or bathed when the skin pores are more open and the horse is slightly warm. The hairs will come out much easier and will be less irritating for the horse. Once the mane is pulled it is divided into small sections of approximately the same amount of hair starting at the poll and working down the neck. Each division is then braided and either sewn or banded at the end, then looped back over itself to form a small knot at the surface of the neck. This knot or loop of plaited hair is then either sewn to the mane or banded again, resulting in the neat, even placement of the small knots of mane. The forelock is then either left down or plaited and knotted to the front of the ears.
The tail is left long and natural but may be trimmed to a blunt cut at the hock. The horse is groomed using a dandy brush or bristle brush to bring out the natural shine and the horse is often bathed and conditioned the day before the show to really highlight the natural gleam of the coat. A small amount of show shines or coat gloss products may be used to enhance the natural shine and to add highlights to the coat. For Swedish Warmbloods used in jumping boots or leg protection may be used for some horses, while others will not require the additional protection in shows but will frequently use them in practice sessions.