A necessary part of maintaining your horse’s health is regular grooming. Not only does regular grooming keep your horse clean, but it allows you to closely inspect to make sure they are not injured in any way. Before saddling any horse, you must ensure they are properly groomed, this helps prevents dirt or matted hair from being trapped under the saddle causing rubbing and soreness. Grooming your horse can be a different process then grooming your other pets, here is a list of the basics for grooming your equine companion.
Tools Necessary for Grooming a Horse.
Curry Comb: A curry comb is typically made from rubber and has small, rounded peaks all over the brush. To “curry your horse” means to completely brush your horse down in a circular motion. Using a curry comb removes loose hair and loosens up any dirt that may be trapped in the horse’s coat. When using a curry correctly the movements massage your horses skin increasing blood circulation, promoting healthier skin and coat.
Dandy Brush: A dandy brush is made from stiff bristles; it is used to remove any dirt the curry comb loosened. This brush should be used in fast and short flicking motion.
Soft Brush: A soft brush can be made from either natural hairs or synthetic hairs. This brush is used to remove dust and small dirt particles to leave the coat soft and shiny. This is also the brush that can be used in sensitive areas like the hose’s legs and face.
Mane & Tail Comb: A wide tooths comb is needed to detangle your horse’s mane and tail. Most mane & tail combs are made from a sturdy plastic to be able to comb through the course, thick hair.
Shedding Blade: Typically made of metal, a shedding blade can help you aide your horses process of shedding his coat every spring. horse’s coats become longer and denser in the winter, come spring they naturally will shed the winter coat off. A shedding blade will help make this process a lot quicker.
Sponges: A damp sponge can be used to clean eyes, lips, nostrils, and dock.
Hoof Pick: After every ride it is important to clean out a horse’s hooves with a hoof pick to remove any dirt or debris stuck in the sole that can cause infection.
Hoof oil: this is an important part of a horse’s grooming routine; hoof oil moistens the hoof to prevent breakage.
Sweat Scraper: A sweat scraper is needed to slick off sweat after an intense work out or remove excess water. Removing these excess liquids allows the coat to dry quicker, preventing horses from getting colds or other illnesses.
Grooming your Horse
The above tools are listed in order of use for grooming your horse. Remember grooming or at least a quick brush through should always be a must before any ride to ensure the saddle is being placed on a clean surface. Always start with the curry comb, using quick round movements, massaging your horse, and loosening up any dirt and hair. Next with a dandy brush remove all loose dirt and hair using a quick flicking motion. Using the soft brush do a final sweep of your horse’s coat, this is where you should
begin to see a shine on their coat. Finally with a mane and tail comb brush out their hair starting at the base and working your way down the mane and or tail. After every ride, end your grooming session with picking out any debris and cleaning out the bottom of their hooves with a hoof pick. Once all four are cleaned out you can seal them using hoof oil. The shedding blade only needs to be a part of your grooming routine after winter when horses lose their winter coat. Flies are pest that can bother your horse not just during rides, but in there stables as well. To help keep your horse comfortable spray them down with a fly spray after grooming.
Bathing vs Grooming
When grooming a dog, baths are typically included, this is not the case for horses. Horses only need to be bathed once or twice every summer. This is because frequent bathing with shampoo can strip the horses coat from its natural oils, damaging its skin and coat. Of course, depending on the discipline, you may find yourself needing to bathe your horse more frequently. If after a ride your horse is extremely muddy you can certainly hose them down with just water, just make sure to use a sweat scraper after to remove excess water and ensure your horse is completely dry before turning them out on pasture or a paddock.
Horses can be time consuming pets, but regular grooming is a great way to strengthen the bond between a rider and horse. By spending time grooming your horse you can begin to understand its behavior and how to properly read its body language. Often times grooming becomes equally enjoyable and relaxing for the owner.