From casual riders to show training, your horse will need proper care and grooming, especially if your horse lives in a stable as they don't have the same chance to rub against trees or roll on the floor to clean themselves a little (though even horses that do have the chance should still have some grooming).
You might ask, 'What's the importance of grooming a horse?' There are many benefits for your horse, such as helping blood circulation, improving the horse's mood, improving skin and coat health, and giving you a chance to find any wounds which need to be treated. It also encourages bonding and gets you both used to each other's presence.
However, it can be tricky to know how to groom a horse properly if you're a beginner. There are so many different tools and horse grooming brushes; then you need to know how to use them all and where to begin, so this will all be about grooming a horse step by step. To start with, you'll want to make sure you have the following horse grooming supplies:
- Hoof Pick
- Curry Brush
- Dandy Brush
- Soft Brush
- Wide Tooth Comb
- Fly Spray
How often should you be grooming your horse?
If they live outside in a herd environment, there's a lot more grooming they can do themselves. Horses who live outside have trees and fences to brush against, can role on the ground, and receive mutual grooming from other horses. If this is the case for your horse, you might only need to look at where the tack will sit on the horse to ensure it's comfortable.
If your horse is stabled, on the other hand, it may need more involvement. For many, once a week or before a ride is an excellent target to aim for. Grooming before a ride can help relax the horse beforehand and after to clear any dirt that may have been picked up. It is important to make sure your stabled horse is groomed on a more regular basis.
Before you Begin
Make sure your horse is secured. Your horse may be trained to stand still, but many will still feel the need to shift their feet and move a small amount and securing your horse will ensure they're kept in place. Tie the lead rope above the height of the horse's withers (shoulder blades) and use a quick-release knot to secure him to a post, or, if you have someone nearby who can help, ask them to hold the rope. You may want to use a quick-release knot in case your horse gets spooked and pulls backwards.
Use a Hoof Pick to clear dirt
A Hoof Pick is a hooked tool with a handle used to remove dirt and debris packed into the sole of the hoof. Stand next to your horse facing the opposite direction, run your hand closest to the horse down the front of its leg until you're cupping the hoof. While doing this, slowly lean in till the horse shifts its weight. This should cause them to pick up their foot. Make sure you keep the hoof securely in your hand.
Using the hoof pick, you'll want to start at the foot's heel and pick towards the toe. Clean the grooves on both sides of the V-shaped part of the hoof (known as the frog). Make sure you do not pick the frog or dig deep into the grooves.
Loosen Dirt and Hair with a Curry Comb
A Curry Comb is a short-toothed horse grooming comb made with rubber or plastic. Work from the ear to tail and the horse's coat in circular motions avoiding the head, mane, tail, and lower legs.
Be extremely careful working over bony areas. Make sure to move the comb over the coat in small circular motions in the opposite direction to the hair growth, be sure not to apply too much pressure but be firm enough to lift any dirt from the coat. You should start to see grains of dirt that have begun to lift from the horse's skin.
Remove dirt with a Dandy Brush
A stiff brush is also known as an awesome brush. It has hard stiff bristles to remove anything brought up by the curry comb.
Do not use this brush on your horse's head, mane, tail, or lower legs. Work your way down the body, starting at the neck, using short flicking motions to flick off the debris.
Finish off with a Soft Brush
The soft brush is also referred to as a body brush and can be used all over the horse. It has soft bristles to gently remove any remaining dirt and grease; they are often made with natural fibres such as horse or goat hair or soft synthetic fibres. This helps a shiny feel and is suitable for brushing out the mane and tail.
Use this brush in long smooth strokes starting at the head and working your way along the body and down the legs. You can also use a soft brush (or use a more petite face brush) on the bridge of the nose and the cheeks but be sure to avoid the end of the nose and eyes as these are more sensitive areas.
Clean your Horses Face
Gently wipe your horses' eyes and clean out the nose with a damp sponge or cloth. Using a different sponge or cloth, gently clean the dock area below the tail.
Brush the Mane and Tail
Before you start, make sure you're standing to the side of your horse, as this is a safer position to move away if the horse kicks. Start by using your fingers to detangle the tougher part, then get a wide-tooth comb. Work on small sections and hold the top of the section in your hand to make sure you don't tug.
Finish off with a fly spray
This is especially important in summer as flies can be irritating for horses. A fly spray will also help prevent bites or infections. Take your fly spray and, making sure to avoid the face, spray it over your horse.
Now get out there and give your horse the best grooming ever! If you found this post helpful, make sure you bookmark it in your browser so you can come back to it!