Grooming For Good Health

Grooming For Good Health

Grooming your horse can be one of the most satisfying parts of horse ownership. This daily routine is not only a bonding time for you and your horse but also a good opportunity to check them over for minor injuries or irritations they may have acquired in their stable or paddock.

Grooming Essentials

Mane comb
Tail Brush
Dandy Brush (stiff bristles)
Body brush (medium bristles)
Metal Curry comb
Finishing brush (soft bristles)
Hoof pick
Damp cloth or sponge
Polishing mitt/cotton cloth

Grooming Lotions

Hoof oil/conditioner
Mane & tail detangler
Coat sheen
Grooming block
Massage pad

Tip: Before grooming be sure that your horse is tied in a safe location, using the quick release knot type system and that all grooming equipment is easily to hand but out of the way of the horses’ feet.

Daily Routine

It’s a good idea to groom in the same routine.  Your horse will get used to this routine, and will become relaxed, and enjoy the experience, knowing what is expected.
The best way to start your daily horse grooming routine is by picking out your horse’s feet. Starting at the hooves gives you the opportunity to check for any changes in the hoof that could prevent you from riding that day, e.g., cracks, heat or even a lost shoe. 

When running your hand down your horses’ leg to pick up the hoof also feel for any strange lumps, bumps or scrapes. Then remove all dirt, manure, or anything else (sometimes small rocks) in your horses’ hoof.  Picking your horses feet everyday also keeps you on top of bacterial infections like thrush, which can be treated and prevented. Take time to notice (especially during the summer months) the inside for your horse’s legs for bot eggs; they attach to the hair and are small and yellow. Bot eggs should be removed with a grooming block to prevent the horse from ingesting them.

Brushing time
To groom effectively, will require fitness and consistency to get the best results.  Just giving a quick brush over each day will keep some of the dirt at bay, but for a deep groom to stimulate the skin and encourage the blood up to the surface and in turn help circulation and good skin and hair condition, will involve a good deal of elbow grease!

Firstly, if the horse is muddy, use a plastic curry comb or Super Groomer in a circulation motion to encourage the dried mud and dirt to fall off.  Once this is removed, turn to the Dandy brush.  These are traditionally made from Bassine, a natural fibre product, and ideal for using all over the coat during the winter months and when muddy. Use with care on sensitive skinned horses or move on to a medium bristled brush as an alternative at this stage. Use briskly all over the body, Then move on to the body brush and metal curry comb.  These two are used together, firstly brushing the body on the near side using the body brush in the left hand and then every other brush stroke made on the coat is then brushed against the metal curry comb to clean the brush.  This is an exercise to practice. When grooming on the off side, change hands and put the body brush in the right had and repeat exercise.  This brush is suitable to use on faces, and sensitive areas too. 

Once brushed thoroughly all over, the finishing brush is next to use.  This is made of extremely soft hair, and used as a final flick over and polish and can be used on show/competition days too, just before going into the ring.

Once the body has been brushed and polished, its time to start on the mane and tail.  Brush the mane through with a comb or brush, depending on the thickness, spray in some mane conditioning spray which will help with making it easy to brush through without pulling out too much hair.  Do the same with the tail but on the bottom part of the tail go with care and hand section and de-tangle to avoid pulling out the long hairs.  Again, apply a conditioner to make it easier if needed.

After all parts of the body, mane and tail are groomed, give a final wipe over with a stable rubber (cotton T towel is perfect for this) or mitt.  If an extra shine is needed, apply a coat sheen product onto the coat and polish in with a fur mitt.  This will give exceptional shine but be careful not to apply to the saddle area as it may make it more slippery.

Take a water brush and lightly dampen over the mane to ensure it lies correctly and apply to the top of the tail, again to make it lay down neat and tidy.  If the horse is stabled, and has a pulled tail, now is the time to put a tail bandage on, but check that it is not left on for more than an hour or so and that even pressure is applied as it is bandaged around the dock.  Tie the tapes below the dock to ensure that circulation in the dock is not compromised.

Lastly apply hoof oil both on the underside and outside of the hooves.  Pop on a summer sheet if the horse is going back in the stable, to keep dust free.



21st June 2019

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