As the weather warms up, you’ve probably taken to shedding your winter layers for lighter, cooler clothing. Your horse is trying to do the same the difference is his layers don’t come off as easily. Grooming your horse is important during any time of the year but especially during periods of heavy shedding.
Tools You Will Need for Grooming Your Horse
It’s best to have all your tools ready and easily accessible before you get your horse so that he won’t have to stand tied for as long. Be sure to place your grooming tote and tools in an area where they won’t get stepped on or kicked by your horse.
Tools you will need to groom your horse include:
- Curry comb: for removing large clumps of loose hair and debris
- Body brush with stiff bristles: to remove smaller debris
- Finishing brush: the soft bristles are better for the face and leg areas to remove
hair, dirt, and dander
- Mane and tail comb: for detangling the long hairs of the mane and tail
- Hoof pick: to remove packed in dirt and rocks from your horse’s hooves
- Soft rag or sponge: to wipe the last bits of dirt from the coat
Always secure your horse with cross ties or a quick release knot in case things go awry,
now let’s get to it.
Grooming Your Horse
Not only is grooming necessary to remove loose hair and dirt and give her coat that award-winning shine, it’s also a great time to check her over for any injury or illness and to bond with her. Take your time and enjoy the process.
- Clean out the hooves: Start with the forelegs as most horses are more comfortable picking up these feet. Using your hoof pick remove any dirt, manure, etc that is lodged in the hoof. Check the sole for discoloration or odor and the hoof wall for cracks.
- Comb out the mane and tail: start at the ends and comb your way up to the base of the mane and tail until you can comb through the entire length.
- Curry the body: the curry comb will remove the larger, caked on dirt or large clumps of loose hair. Be ready for an arm workout as it may take several passes with the curry comb depending on how much dirt your horse has collected. The natural massaging action of the curry comb will help to distribute your horse’s natural skin oils for softer, shinier hair.
- Use the body brush: a stiff bristled body brush removes the small pieces of dirt and hair that the curry comb missed. Use it in sweeping strokes in the direction of the hair to ‘whisk’ the dirt from the surface of the coat. The body brush is also preferable over the curry comb to clean the legs.
- The finishing brush: this will help to make your horse shine. The softer bristles grab the smallest pieces of dirt and dander and are a better choice for brushing your horse’s face.
- Using the cloth or sponge: dampen your cloth or sponge and use it to wipe away dirt from your horse’s muzzle, eyes, and ears.
How Often Should Your Horse Be Groomed?
In an ideal world we would groom our horses every day, but let’s face it, not all of us have the time. If daily grooming isn’t in your schedule, you need to at least groom before and after riding and when your equine friend becomes overly dirty. The shedding season may
require some extra grooming sessions as well. The more frequently you are able to groom your horse, the less time it should take per session and the more likely you are to catch injuries and other maladies before they become a big concern.
Grooming is a necessary part of horsemanship and it’s one that should be enjoyed by both you and your horse. Putting the time in to give your horse that healthy shine will have her looking great as well as strengthen your bond for a better relationship. Happy grooming!