Regularly grooming your horse is an essential activity to keep your horse’s coat in top condition. Grooming removes dirt and dust, and brings out natural oils, resulting in a shiny, healthy looking coat.
Using a pet hair vacuum
These days, horse owners who don’t have a lot of time will find a pet hair vacuum suitable for horses (they are similar to the ones you might use to remove dog hair) a useful tool. But if you can spare an extra half-hour or so, here are some tips on how to keep your horse well groomed.
Grooming is also the best time for carefully check over your horse’s body for any cuts, bumps or parasites. Regular grooming will also provide a bonding opportunity between you and your horse. Read on for a step-by-step guide on grooming.
Your grooming kit
Your basic grooming kit should contain a curry comb, stiff brush, soft bristled brush, comb, hoof pick, and soft cloth or sponge. Additional items can include first aid accessories, such as antiseptic, cotton wool, and barrier cream.
Secure your horse
Make sure that you secure your horse within a secure grooming area, by tethering its halter loosely to a post, or wall bracket. Tethering is of particular importance if your horse has a whimsical nature. Taking the time to gently tether is a good precaution against possible kicks or trampling.
This video has some useful tips on how to tether a horse.
Comb and brush
Your grooming technique is essential. Put aside approximately 30 minutes to groom your horse, and never groom in a hurry. Horses are mood sensitive and can become jittery if they sense that you are in a hurry, so make your grooming sessions a relaxing time for both you and your horse.
The first grooming technique you should use is a combination of the curry comb and stiff-bristled brush. With the carrying combing in one hand and the bristled brush in the other, run the stiff brush gently over the entire coat in quick circular motions to remove specks of dirt.
Clean behind the ears
Every few strokes of the brushes use the curry combs to remove loose hair and dirt. Remember to clean around the ears too, but make sure to use lighter, gentler strokes, as the ears are susceptible.
Do not use the stiffer brush over the face, belly, lower legs, or spinal area, as it may be painful to your horse. Next, switch over to the soft-bristled brush and gently stroke behind the ears and over the entire coat.
The soft-bristled brush can also be used on the soft areas such as the face and belly, and hard parts such as the legs and spinal area.
How to comb a horse’s tail
Next, brush or comb the tail and mane, working from the end of the hair towards the base. Then, clean the hooves next with the hoof pick, removing any mud, stones, and debris.
Lastly, wipe around the horse’s ears, eyes and nostrils with the soft cloth or sponge.
Check for cuts
Remember that grooming is your opportunity to check for any cuts, lumps, bumps, swelling or injuries, so pay close attention while grooming, and make time to gently run your hands over all of your horse’s body.
Additionally, you can use de-tangling spray on the mane and tail, and use hoof conditioner on your horse’s hooves. Ask your farrier what product they recommend.
Regularly grooming your horse will help keep the bond between you both, and make sure any potential problems are discovered early. With your horse in good health you can then enjoy riding together, be it everyday horse riding, horse trail riding, or equestrian sports.