Though grooming may seem like one of those tasks that’s nice but not essential, it’s, in fact, an essential part of horse care. In this post, we’ll outline the steps for grooming so that, if nothing else, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on around the barn.
Horse Grooming - The Basics
Brushing encourages blood circulation and spreads a horse’s natural oils. It’s also a chance to check for injuries and irritations and bond with the horse.
Ideally, a horse should be groomed every day. As a minimum, it should be groomed before and after riding. If the horse is not ridden often, once a week may be enough.
If you’re ever involved with grooming, you’ll come across a few supplies that may be unfamiliar. A curry comb, for example, is an oval-shaped rubber or plastic tool with short teeth. You’ll also use several different brushes and cloths or sponges, as well as a hoof pick and perhaps a spray or two.
The grooming routine varies slightly depending on the person and on whether they’re giving the horse a quick or a more thorough treatment. In any case, however, you’d start by tying up the horse.
Currying and Brushing
Rub the curry comb in small circles to dislodge dirt and mud, starting at the horse’s neck and working toward its hindquarters. Do not curry a horse’s sensitive face, spine, or legs.
Next, use short, brisk strokes with a hard or dandy brush to remove the loosened dirt, again avoiding sensitive areas. Finish with long, smooth strokes with a soft or body brush, this time cleaning sensitive areas as well.
Cleaning the Face and Dock
Gently wipe the horse’s face and dock - around the tail - using two different cloths or sponges. Both of these areas can accumulate dirt and mucus.
Brushing the Mane and Tail
Run your fingers through the horse’s mane and tail to remove the worst knots, then brush small sections, starting at the bottom. Use detangling spray on a badly knotted mane or tail.
When brushing a horse’s tail, stand off to the side. Keep a hand on the horse if possible and talk to it so that it knows you’re there and will be less likely to kick you.
Picking the Hooves
Make the horse lift its hoof by leaning gently against its shoulder and running your hand down the back of its leg. Use a hoof pick to scrape toward the toe, removing dirt, rocks, and other debris. Do not dig deeply into the hoof’s grooves or scrape the frog, which is the sensitive V-shaped area.
Using Sprays and Creams
Other than detangling spray, you may apply a coat polish or a grooming spray, which protects the horse against the sun and makes its coat shine. You can also find equine sunscreen. Finally, fly spray is a good idea if flies are an issue.
Do you think you’d be able to groom a horse? Let us know in the comments!
Hello, My name is Shelby Gatti, and I am the owner of Shelby Ranch. I love being able to share my passion for animals with you and your family. At Shelby Ranch you can expect a ton of family adventure from horseback riding to mechanical bull riding & axe throwing.