Useful tips on how to groom a horse

Grooming a horse should be a routine for every owner. Most equestrians do it regularly for the huge benefits which include: an opportunity to bond for cordial human-horse interactions; and a chance to get up close and personal thereby gaining timely knowledge of any underlying health conditions. Grooming your horse is, basically, very important because it improves blood flow in the skin, keeps the animal safe from stick-mud and snow balls, and straightens tangled or coarse hair.

Horse
Horse and a girl (Image Credit: Jennifer Murray/Pexels)

There are countless reasons why horse grooming is a necessity for every horse owner, but doing it right ensures best results. In this article we suggest using the following tools:

  1. An oval or circle-shaped brush with soft rubber teeth.
  2. A brush with soft bristles like those used for human hair.
  3. Usually soft-bristled, the body brush is made of horse hair.
  4. The mane comb can be made of plastic, rubber or metal. But we recommend those made of plastic materials because they are less harsh on a horse’s hairs.
  5. This is best for removing gluey mud and snow balls from a horse’s feet. The hook-shaped grooming tool is made of different materials (plastic or metal) and are available in many tack shops.
  6. Usually made of linen and similar materials, the towel is very useful for cleaning sweat marks, drying the body after bathing, and giving the coat a sparkling appearance after brushing.

*For safety reasons, it is advisable that you fasten a leather halter to your horse. You may also use “quick-release” snaps on cross ties to achieve this purpose.

Importantly, start your grooming activity from the top neck area of your horse or pony, working your way through its rear, and repeatedly switching from one side of its body to the other.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you.

Step 1: Use you Rubber Curry in circular motions to easily remove any dirt stuck under your horse’s hair. Apply caution while cleaning bony or hard areas such as the horse’s shoulders or back. Be careful not to use your Rubber Curry on the animal’s legs, but if you must, ensure that you are very gentle to avoid a revolt. Using the grooming tool on your horse’s face is totally disapproved. You could be risking an injury to its eyes if you apply such a stiff-bristled brush around its face.

Step 2: Next, use your Dandy Brush in similar motions as you would while sweeping a floor. Repeatedly “swipe” the tool in an up-down movement on the horse’s coat to free it of dirt. With each flick, you should observe small clouds of dust unless the horse is sparkling clean. The flicking action should continue for a while—even if there are no signs of dust—because you could be pushing the dirt under your horse’s hair with few swipes, unknowingly, thereby causing irritations and/or exposing the animal to other skin ailments.

Step 3: After thoroughly using the Dandy Brush as advised in Step 2, apply the Body Brush to smoothen your horse’s hair and clean off any spots or left-over dirt. Do not use the flicking technique. Instead, press and smoothly flatten the Body Brush on the animal’s coat to straighten the brushed hair. This grooming practice gives your horse a nice shine and clean look—only if the grooming process is followed in this order.

Step 4: The next activity is with your Mane Comb. Use the tool to brush and straighten your horse’s tail, but the warned, this can cause hair breakage. We suggest use of the Dandy Brush for this purpose because of its very soft bristles—especially if you desire to see your horse tail growing longer.

Brushing your horse’s tail is part of the grooming activities. But if you don’t have a Dandy Brush, it is advised that you skip this step or, preferably, apply warm water to rinse its tail. Next, massage any good tail conditioner to avoid knotting.

Step 5: Now, move over to the feet with your Hoof Pick/Brush if you already know how to pick a horse’s feet. You should start the cleaning process by smoothly weaving your hand/fingers through its leg and follow up with a gentle squeeze on the ankles (which equestrians refer to as fetlock). Running your hand too high on the foot can create imbalance.

While picking the hollow areas of your horse’s hooves, always ensure that you flick or scrape away from you as if peeling a carrot. This is to protect you from injuries that can happen if the animal suddenly shifts from its position.

Step 6: The next activity is towelling your horse. You can use a clean rag or plain towel to wipe the horse’s coat and give it a sparkling-clean and beautiful appearance.

Conclusion

You can groom your horse before or after a ride. But guess what. Some horses really enjoy this “after-ride” pleasure. Regular horse grooming is required to relieve the animal of dirt and/or sweat marks that usually build up during activities on the trails or in the arena, so you should consider making it a key routine.

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