As a horse owner, the list of duties can seem long and overwhelming when it comes to caring for your horse. Grooming is an important step that must be done at least before riding, but can be done daily as well. The more your horse is groomed, the better. The overall health of your horse's coat will improve, and therisk of any health issues involving skin issues will decrease since you are checking your horse's body daily. So what’s the first step to a proper grooming routine you might ask?
You’ll want to start by cleaning out your horse's hooves. To do this you’ll need a hoof pick, which clears mud, rocks, snow or other debris from the hooves. By starting here you will also be able to look for any issues with the hooves that will prevent you from riding- such as loose/missing shoes and any lumps or abrasions that may require treatment. When cleaning the hooves, make sure that you are facing the opposite direction, meaning your back is pointed to the front of the horse when you’re working on the back hooves and vise versa when working on the front.
Next, you’ll want to curry your horse. Currying is the act of rubbing the horse's coat to help loosen dirt, hair and other debris. Currying also helps stimulate the skin to produce natural oils and stimulate growth. To begin currying, you’ll want to use a curry comb and start at the upper neck then work toward the horses tail. You’ll want to make sure to brush in circles against the grain of the hair. When working on the left side of the horse, you’ll want to use your right hand and when you’re on the right side of the horse you’ll want to use your left hand. Be sure to avoid currying any bony areas with too hard of curry and be gentle-especially around the belly and flank. For areas such as the legs and face use a gentle rubber mit to avoid hurting the horse. If you get a reaction from your horse such as a quivering upper lip or leaning into your curry don’t panic! It’s actually a good sign, you just found your horses favorite spot.
For the third step in this routine, you’ll want to use a stiff bristle body brush. The stiff-bristled brush is meant to distribute the horse's oils of the coat which will produce a deep shine as well as removing dirt and loose hair. You’ll want to use the brush in a quick, flicking motion in the direction of the hair. You’ll want to use a firm hand, the former the stroke the more you are accomplishing- but only go as firm as your horse can tolerate. You will know you're accomplishing a good amount when a cloud of dust and hair flee the horse with every stroke. You’ll want to scrape the brush against the curry between sections to remove dirt and debris from the brush. Avoid brushing your horse's sensitive areas with the stiff brush. These areas include the udders, sheath and possibly face depending on the horse. These brushes are safe to be used on the horse's legs gently.
Next, grab a soft brush which is a brush with very closely spaced bristles that capture the smallest particles of dust on the horse's coat, as well as smoothing the hair leaving it nice and sleek. You’ll want to use this brush in long, smoothing, strokes rather than short flicking action like the previous brushes. The more you use this brush the more the natural oil is distributed and the more your horse's hair will shine.
The next step is to tend to your horse's mane and tail. In this step, you’ll want to focus on gently removing any knots with your hands or a comb. If you encounter larger knots you can spray some detangler throughout to ease the process and prevent breakage. Be sure to work carefully on these areas as too much breakage can prevent your horse's mane from being long and healthy.
The final step to the grooming process is to take a clean, slightly dampened cloth and wipe debris carefully from your horse's eyes and nostrils as well as the tail itself and the surrounding area. Be cautious during this step as some horses might resist. This step will add a glistening sheen to the coat.
Grooming is an important step to making sure your horse has a beautiful and healthy coat. From detangler, to shampoo, to supplements, equine medicine has all your horse care needs! Click HERE to find everything you and your horse long for!