Grooming your horse is an essential part of good horse care. Your horse will enjoy a good groom, and you will be able to see if there are any new marks, cuts or rubs on your horse. It is important to give your horse a good groom before you ride as to ensure that there is no dirt around his saddle and bridle areas as well as having clean legs if you are putting boots or bandages on. Having a well groomed horse makes you look very professional at shows and proves to everyone you have pride in your horse!
Your grooming Kit should contain:
1. Rubber Curry Comb
2. Body Brush
3. Metal Curry Comb
4. Dandy Brush
5. Hoof Pick
6. Hoof Oil and Brush
7. Mane and Tail Comb and Brush
8. Shampoo, Bucket and Sponge
9. Sweat Scraper
Each of the above brushes have a specific use and each one should be used accordingly.
1. Rubber Curry Comb - Use this on his body and neck in round circles. This will loosen all the dead hair and skin in his coat and get rid of tough mud if he has rolled in the field. Do not use this brush on his bones (face, spine or Legs) it will hurt him. This brush also acts as a massage for your horse. It will relax him which makes him feel good. It will also encourage his skin to produce natural oils which will make his coat look fabulous.
Tip: Groom your horse every day and you will not only have a happy horse but the best looking coat ever!!!
2. Body Brush - Use this brush his face, neck, body and upper legs in long strokes going with the direction of the hair. This will remove all the dead skin and hair that you have loosened with your curry comb.
Tip: flick your wrist at the end of your stroke - this will removes more dirt and hair!
Tip: If your horse is really muddy - just hose or sponge him off.
3. Metal Curry Comb - This is NOT made for use on your horse ever! This is to clean your body and dandy brushes while grooming. To clean your brushes while grooming simply run your body brush across the metal curry comb and watch the dirt and hair fly!!!
Tip: Keep your Metal Curry dry and clean - this will stop it from rusting and it will be more effective for cleaning your brushes. (You can wash in water but dry immediatley after)
Tip: Hold your Metal Curry Comb in your left hand while using your body brush in your right hand and scrap your body brush every third stroke or so - aim at getting quicker - but be careful not to loose QUALITY in
4. Dandy Brush - This brush is a hard bristle brush and should not be used on anything other than legs. Use it gently because it can hurt but you can be a little more vigorous with this brush especially if your
horse has had a mud bath!
5. Hoof Pick - Your Hoof pick is used to clean your horses hooves, which is one of the most important things you can do and should be done at least once a day whether you ride or not. To use your hoof pick, pick
up your horses leg and locate the frog. Run the hoof pick from heel to toe along side the frog. Be careful not to puncture the frog. Dirt can seriously stuck on your horses hoof so do be careful of yourself and your
Tip: If your horse is kept in a stable then hoof picking should occur at least twice a day.
Tip: If your horse's foot is smelly or is 'chalky' this could be due to wet ground. If the hoof is smelly it could be thrush, and if the hoof if chalky it could be seedy toe. Some iodine spray from the local
horse/produce store can help. If your horse is visibly sore then you will need to call your vet or farrier.
6. Hoof Oil and a Brush - Hoof oil does not have to be used every day, unless your farrier has specified. It protects the hooves from becoming dry and brittle. it provides moisture which some horses need more than others. Apply with a small paint brush. Hoof Oil is different from Hoof Black. Hoof Black is used at shows to blacken horses hooves - this dries the hoof out and should not be used often. It would be a good
idea to use hoof oil after using hoof black to replenish moisture in the hoof.
7. Mane and Tail Comb and Brush - The mane and tail comb is used to pull your horse's mane and top of his tail. This keeps his mane and tail tidy.
To pull your horses mane correctly is hard and takes practice but is much better than shortening your horse's mane with a pair of scissors! When you use your pulling comb - brush through the hair, Hold the longer bits between your fingers and push the rest up as if you were teasing his mane. Next wrap the longest hair around the comb and while still holding the comb and the hair pull down sharp and quickly pulling the hair out. Only grab a small amount of hair when pulling, this wont hurt your horse.
The brush (usually just a hair brush) is used just to run through the mane and de-tangle your horses tail. When you brush his tail, grab little sections at a time and start from the bottom and work your way
up to his tail bone. Be careful as some horses do not like their tails brushed let alone the top pulled!
Tip: If your horse is getting annoyed then leave it for the next day. Don't leave pulling a very long mane until the day before a competition, if you do need to stop you will only have half a mane pulled!
Tip: When brushing his your Horses' tail, spray some show shine in his tail. This helps de-tangle his tail with very little breakage of the hair. All horses have different kinds of tails, so work with what you
have and keep your horses tail healthy and shiny!
8. Shampoo, Bucket and Sponge - Obviously these are used when you want to wash your Horse. To wash your horse, soak him with a hose from head to tail. Make sure you wet his mane and tail but be careful of his ears. Have soapy water in your bucket ready to go with your sponge and body brush in the water. Scrub his body with the body brush and use the sponge on his face being careful of his ears! Wash his tail (if he lets you). Ensure all the dirt or mud is off and then hose all the shampoo off your horse. Make sure that there is no soap left on him! This will make his skin itch.
Tip: Try not to wash him too often as this will wash away all the natural oils that are protecting your horses skin. Your horses coat will loose its shine if you wash him to often and he may also get dandruff or itchy skin!
Tip: A good groom will always be better than constant washing with shampoo.
9. Sweat Scraper - The Sweat Scraper is used after you have washed your horse. Scrap down his body to get all the excess water off. This will help him get dry quicker. Only use this tool on his body, not his legs
Extra things that you can have in your horses grooming kit are:
2. Show Shine (for his tail)
3. Iodine / Antiseptic cream.
This is not an extensive list. You should also have a first aid kit at your horses stable or in your car if he is in a field. I will go through What a first aid kit should have in a later article.
If you intend to Show your horse you will need many more items. This is just a basic kit to keep your horse happy in the field!
If your horse is lame or has any serious cuts or injuries, please call a professional to help you. Once you are more experienced you will learn to tell when you need the vet or farrier.