Guide to Grooming

Logo separateIn this article the team at provide advice on grooming as the spring weather approaches and coats starts to improve. 

Grooming is an important element of correct horse management and a horse should be groomed thoroughly on a regular basis to keep his coat and skin in good health and looking great. This feature explains the process that should be followed when grooming a horse and we provide some top tips to help keep your horse looking and feeling well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe horse should be tied up safely and if necessary given a haynet to keep him occupied. First, pick out the feet using a hoof pick by working from the heels forward and removing all of the dirt that is in them. A hoof pick with a brush attached is useful as the brush can be used at the end to ensure the hoof is clean. The feet should be picked out every time the horse is exercised and ideally every time he comes in from the field.

Next, remove any dried mud and stable stains from the body and legs, using a dandy brush. It may be necessary to use a plastic or rubber curry comb as well if it is stubborn to lift. Stable stains may need washing to remove them completely but this should be done at the end of the grooming process.

A rubber curry comb can be used in a circular motion to help remove excess hair, especially if the horse has a winter coat.

Once all obvious dirt is removed, a body brush should be used all over the body using a firm sweeping action; six strokes in any one place is sufficient. Use a metal curry comb with your body brush to clean it frequently. Every two to three strokes draw the bristles of the body brush downward along the metal ridges of the curry comb to clean it. During the grooming process make sure you knock the metal curry comb against a hard surface (eg a wall or side of the stable door) to remove the dirt from it. Work round your horse methodically so that you don’t miss any areas.

When brushing the face take extra care and be gentle as this is a sensitive area. Ideally use a face brush which has softer and shorter bristles. Use a body brush to lay the mane flat on the correct side of the neck, then brush the forelock and finally the tail. When grooming the tail take one small section at a time. Grasp the bottom of the dock and let one section of the tail fall down at a time and brush down from the roots to the end. Then separate the hairs on the dock and brush down to the skin to remove excess grease and dirt. If the mane or tail is long and/or tangled use your fingers to gently remove the knots. A mane and tail conditioning product can help to make the grooming process easier.

Use a damp but not wet sponge over the horse’s body to remove any remaining dust. The mane and tail can be finished by laying it with a water brush that has been dipped in water and shaken out.

For a final finish on horses with a short coat use a grooming mitt all over the body to buff the coat and help it shine.

Grooming is not only an essential part of horse care, it is also very enjoyable for your horse and is an opportunity for you to spend some quality time with him.

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