Proper grooming techniques is an essential skill for any horse owner. Not only is grooming good for your horse, it can also be very therapeutic and a great form of exercise for you as well. Using correct grooming techniques and proper tools can make the job a lot easier and more efficient. Grooming your horse on a regular basis also gives you the opportunity to check them for any cuts, bumps or areas with abnormal heat.
First things first, you will need the right equipment to get started! It is important to look after your grooming kit, keeping it clean and dry will help it to last longer.
Below is a list of some grooming tools to get you started:
- Curry comb/grooming mitt/shedding blade
- Dandy brush/body brush (stiff bristles)
- Mane and tail comb
- Finishing brush (soft bristles)
- Hoof pick
- Sponge/soft cloth
- Sweat scraper
- Hoof ointment (optional)
- Scissors or clippers (optional)
Proper Grooming Techniques Explained:
- Using a curry comb on your horse helps to remove excess dirt and bring the natural oil (sebum) to the surface giving your horse that nice shiny coat. You can also use a curry comb or shedding blade to aid in removing your horse’s hair as he sheds in in the warmer seasons. You may need lots of elbow grease for this one!
- Another secret to a shiny coat is a well-balanced diet and to add some oil into the ration such as Ranvet’s Grand Prix Oil.
- Use a body brush to remove dirt and mud from your horse’s coat. Make sure you always brush the hair in the direction the hair grows.
- A finishing brush also helps to bring out the shine on your horse’s coat and can be used on your horse’s face as it has nice soft bristles. With long, sweeping strokes, brush away any of the dirt missed by the body brush.
- Don’t neglect your horse’s hooves! Ensure you pick out your horse’s hooves as frequently as possible to avoid things fungal infections such as thrush.
- You can treat your horses’ hooves to a good hoof oil to help keep them conditioned (especially if the weather conditions are very dry). Don’t forget to apply the oil to the underside of the hoof on and around the frog.
- You can make a horse look slick and shiny just through frequent and skillful grooming, but silicone spray makes it a lot easier. Spray a little bit on the surface of a body brush as the spray acts as a magnet for dust. You can also apply it to the tail and mane to help detangle and repel dirt.
- When grooming the tail and mane, start at the ends and work your way up. If you want your horse’s mane and tail to grow out and prevent breakage, be gentle, don’t comb it every day and don’t brush it when wet.
- Do not shampoo your horse too frequently! The soap can strip away the natural oil from your horses’ skin that gives it its natural shine. Sebum helps to protect the skin from insects and pathogens, as well as hosting good bacteria. Washing too frequently can cause your horses skin to become dry and itchy.
- If you clip your horse, wash him before you clip so any dirt on the coat doesn’t dull your clipper blades. Use sharp blades for a nice even, professional looking clip. You want to clip a week or two before a show, so the coat has time to regain its natural glow.
Grooming Techniques for Show Preparation:
- Trim the long hairs under the jaw for a tidy profile and to prevent Botfly eggs on these hairs
- Trim the long hairs around the muzzle
- Clip very fuzzy ears by pinching them closed and trimming only those hairs that protrude beyond the edges. Do not clip inside of the ears as those hairs protect against insects
- Trim fetlocks in a downward direction, following the hair.
- Trim the long hairs under the belly by running the clippers in the direction of the hair.