Adapted from articles on EquiSearch.com by Jayne D. Wilson
1. When brushing, use the curry comb to clean dirt and hair from the brush in between strokes.
2. Get into a routine, covering every inch of the horse, to prevent areas being missed.
3. For hygiene purposes, each horse should have a separate grooming kit.
Every time you groom your horse, you have the perfect opportunity to assess his health, check him over for injuries and use your grooming techniques to help ensure that he stays healthy.
I always start with the feet because once, many years ago, I spent 30 minutes grooming a horse only to discover, when I was almost finished, that one of its hind shoes was dangling off its foot.
Starting with the near fore, pick up each hoof in turn, using the hoof pick to remove any caked-in mud, etc., and making sure to clean the crevices on each side of the frog. Once you have done all the feet, check the body and legs for lumps and bumps and heat using the flat of your fingers. Doing this on a regular basis will allow you to become familiar with what is normal for your horse.
If the horse is fairly clean, take a medium-soft body brush to the coat, using sweeping movements of the brush in the direction of the hair. After every other stroke, use the metal curry comb to remove the dust and hair from the brush, banging the curry on the heel of your boot when necessary to clean it. If the horse is caked in mud, use the rubber curry comb in a circular motion, going against the direction of the coat to loosen the mud. (Of course, sometimes you have no choice but to hose the horse down.) Once the mud is loosened, use a dandy brush to remove the worst of it, following the direction of the hair and using the metal curry after each stroke to clean the brush.
Use the body brush again on the legs, the dandy brush around the fetlocks if they are muddy, and a bot knife to remove bot eggs (small yellow dots attached to the shafts of the hair) if you see any. While brushing the fetlocks, inspect the horse’s back to make sure there isn’t any fungus or rain rot in that area. If you notice any, immediately begin the appropriate treatment.
Move on to the mane and tail, giving a few good sprays with a detangling product. Leave this to dry for a few minutes before separating the hairs of the tail, from the bottom up, using a comb with rotating teeth. Then comes the mane. After applying the detangling product, use a stiff brush to remove the scurf that collects at the base of the mane, followed by a quick once-over with a mane comb. Next, use a kitchen towel (or an old retired hand towel) to wipe the neck, body and quarters and give them a final rub.
Once you’re done with the body, apply some hoof conditioner, massaging it into the coronary band, hoof wall and sole on each hoof to promote horn growth. The final step, depending upon the season, might be a generous application of fly repellent.
Owner, El Brio Vanner
“When you’ve got horses with manes, tails and leg feathers like ours, you need grooming products that really deliver on their promises. That’s why Mane ‘n Tail are the only products you’ll find in our barn. We trust them to keep our horses looking clean and healthy. Many horse people try to use shortcuts by substituting dish-washing detergent, carpet cleaners and other household cleaning products as a horse shampoo, thinking it’s a more economical solution. I highly discourage anyone from doing this or using human shampoo; horses have more sensitive skin than humans and therefore require a shampoo like the Original Mane ‘n Tail, with properly balanced pH, which household product cleaners and most human shampoos lack.”
Find out how to select the right shampoo for your horse.
Simple step-by-step guide
Grooming tips and techniques
Selecting the right shampoo
Basic bathing tips: Shampooing
Basic bathing tips: Rinsing
Keep Your Gray Horse Gleaming
Horse Hoof Care Tips
Equine Massage Therapy
Winter Horse Grooming Tips
Grooming for Show Day
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