Date: July 14th, 2011
Grooming is an important step in the overall maintenance of your horse. Not only will grooming provide your horse with a healthy coat and skin, it also gives you the chance to interact with your favorite 1,000 pound friend.
The first step in proper grooming involves preparation. These tools are needed to groom:
Rubber Curry Dandy Brush Body Brush
Mane Comb Hoof Pick/Brush Towel
Before you begin grooming, tie your horse off in a stall or secluded area. To learn how to tie a quick release knot, click here. When tying off, select an area that is relatively clean. Nothing is more frustrating than just finishing an exhaustive grooming session and then your horse steps in a pile of manure or rubs up against a dirty wall.
When grooming, always start at the horse’s neck and work your way to the rear. Once you are completed with one side, switch to the next side.
Begin grooming with the curry comb. Use the curry in a circular motion to loosen mud and dirt that is matted into the hair. Be very careful when brushing the back and shoulders of the body. These areas are bony and rough brushing can cause discomfort. Do not use the curry on the horse’s neck or legs. Even if you groom with the utmost care, a slight twitch can cause an injury to you or the horse.
Next, start at the neck of the horse with the dandy brush and brush in the direction that the hair grows. Use short, abbreviated strokes that are similar to how you sweep the floor. Any bits of dirt that were loosened by the curry comb will now be swept away by the dandy brush. You can use the dandy brush on every part of the horse if he/she lets you. If you notice that the horse doesn’t like when you brush its face or legs, stop!
The body brush will be used to clean away dirt, dust and any other foreign material from the skin. Because this brush is intended to clean the skin, firm pressure should be applied in short strokes. Unlike the dandy brush, do not flick the body brush. A smooth stroke will make the horse’s coat appear shiny and clean.
After that, utilize the mane comb to remove tangles in the horse’s mane and tail. If you come across a tangle, do not yank! Because the tail can be sensitive to tugging, do not stand behind your horse when grooming its tail. After the tangles are removed, brush with the dandy brush.
Don’t forget the feet! To pick up a horse’s foot, gently run your hands down its leg and grab hold of its fetlock (ankle). If you grab before the fetlock, this can cause the horse to lose its balance. Using the hoof pick, scrape the hoof in the direction away from you. It is important to thoroughly clean out the hollow areas on both sides of the frog (middle part of bottom of hoof), and around the sole of the foot.
The last step entails wiping the horse down with a towel. The towel should bring out the shine and leave a clean appearance. A spray such as Show Sheen can be applied to the towel to really make the coat shine.
Also, in the springtime when your horse is shedding, a shedding blade can be used to remove the excess hair. These blades are usually rather sharp and should never be used on a horse’s face!
These tips can help your horse have a healthier, shiny skin and coat!