In this article we’ll cover how to groom your horse effectively. Every horse should have a daily grooming routine that will keep their coats shiny and skin healthy. Plus, grooming your horse frequently is a great time to bond with them! Read on to find out what tools you’ll need to brush your horse, where to find them and how to use each brush or tool properly!
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What You’ll Need For Your Daily Grooming Routine
The essentials in any horse grooming kit are as follows: Curry Comb, Hard Brush, Soft Brush, Hoof Pick, Tail Brush. You can find a full kit or buy brushes individually but these are the core grooming products.
Optional Grooming Tools
In this category we’re talking the nice to have items. They all come in handy but you can get by without them, you just may need to use a little more elbow grease!
Shedding Blade or Metal Curry Comb
Sponge and Bucket
Step One: The All Important Curry Comb
One of the most important tools for grooming your horse properly is the curry comb. First, start by using your curry comb in a circular motion going the same direction the hair grows.
The curry comb will lift all of the dirt to the surface and loosen caked on mud. This step is important for preventing saddle soars, rain rot and skin issues.
Plus, most horses absolutely love this part of their grooming routine. The curry comb can be used all along the body but should not be used below the knees or hocks or on the horse’s face. Like most, my horse Rythum, loves to be curried!
Step Two, Depending On The Time Of Year: The Shedding Blade
Depending on the season, you may want to use a shedding blade in the same areas that have been curried to help remove dirt and loose hair. In spring a shedding blade is a literal life saver. Just like its name, a shedding blade will help to remove loose hair during shedding season in addition to dirt and debris.
If you don’t like using a metal shedding blade on your horse but still want to get that extra hair and dead skin off, consider the StripHair Gentle Groomer! You can read my full review on this product here! (Hint: My horses love it, and yes it actually works!)
Step Three: The Hard Brush
Take your hard brush and work your way from head to tail, brushing in the direction the hair grows. Apply a moderate amount of pressure to remove the dirt and add a slight flick to the end of the motion.
You can do this all over the horse’s body and legs. You can also use the hard brush to brush the mane all to the correct side and it works even better if slightly dampened.
As a side note, I like to keep two hard brushes in my grooming kit. One with super stiff bristles that I use for attacking mud! The other with stiff but slightly softer bristles that I use if there is no caked on mud my horse’s legs.
Step Four: The Soft Brush
Now that your curry comb and hard brush have removed the dirt from your horse’s body, you can use the soft brush to polish the coat.
Using smooth strokes, work your way from head to tail brushing once again in the direction the hair grows. This step is an essential part of any good grooming routine if you want a shiny coat!
Lastly, you can also use some coat polish and/or fly spray during this stage for extra shine and fly protection. Keep in mind, if you are grooming before a ride, you will want to avoid applying coat polish where the saddle sits. Some people say its an old wives tale, others and others swear that coat polish can cause the saddle to slip.
Step Five: The Hoof Pick
No daily grooming routine is complete without some TLC for the hooves. Without happy, healthy hooves, your horse can’t do much of anything.
First, stand to the side of the horse with your feet pointing towards the tail and parallel to the horse. Next, ask your horse to lift his hoof and with the hand closest to the horse’s body.
Hold the hoof securely. Start by using the pick to lift out any packed in mud or stones. Next, use the brush side of the pick to brush out any remaining dirt and debris. Finally, gently place the hoof back down. You can also use the brush side of the hoof pick to remove dirt from the outside of the hooves as well.
For more information on how to get your horse to pick up their hooves and the importance of cleaning your horse’s feet properly, check out this article!
Step Six: Hoof Oil
Many people like to use hoof oil as part of the grooming routine. Horse owners typically use hoof oil to help keep their horse’s feet healthy and there are many different kinds on the market. Some people just like to make their horse’s hooves shiny after they groom.
This step is optional, and you should consult your farrier to decide if this is appropriate for your horse.
Step Seven: The Sponge
Use a damp sponge to gently wipe the face, muzzle and under the tail. You will want to sponge your horse’s face first then clean the sponge before wiping grime and sweat from under their tail. Don’t forget to clean your sponge before you put it away!
Step Eight: The Mane & Tail Brush
Finally, if your horse has a short or pulled mane you can brush in a downward motion to neaten up the mane. Most importantly, you should always start by using your fingers to gently detangle the hair. Then use a hard or soft brush to gently comb through.
A hair/tail brush should only be used if the tail is freshly washed and conditioned. Brushing the tail frequently with a hairbrush can cause breakage.
As a result, your horse may develop a thin tail. When you do use a hairbrush to comb out the tail, start from the bottom and work your way to the top. Brushing your horse’s tail is not a necessary step in your daily grooming routine and can cause breakage. If you want to keep your horse looking spiffy, just pick any shavings out with your fingers!
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