A properly groomed horse is a healthy horse. When we stable and confine our horses it becomes necessary to not only clean a horses living area but to also clean your horse.
I think many of us fall short of this due to time limitations but I can assure you if you develop a grooming routine with certain steps it can be an efficient and quick way to clean your horse.
The benefits include better overall health and pride in your horse in front of a show judge or on the trail.
I would suggest a carry box with handle. Many come with compartments designed to hold brushes and other items.
1.Â Â Hoof pick with brush end. 2.Â Â Soft rubber curry comb. 3.Â Â Soft natural brush for face and finishing. 4.Â Â Stiff plastic bristle brush. 5.Â Â Two spray bottles for mane and fly spray. 6.Â Â Terry Towel. 7.Â Â General ointment for minor cuts and hair growth.
Grooming routine: I follow the same steps every grooming and this makes it very easy and fast to complete:
1.Â Â Pick out hooves: look for thrush and rock and clean out all foreign material. Finish with brush end to dry hoof.
2.Â Â Curry comb entire body and legs inside and outer paying attention to removing caked on dirt and dead hair. Curry combing lifts out the dander and dirt from under the hair. Donâ€™t forget the shins on the legs but be gentle as there are sensitive areas.
3.Â Â Soft brush the face under the jaw and behind and around the ears.
4.Â Â Stiff brush entire body and legs, brushing with the way the hair grows to extract the dirt brought out with the curry. And follow with soft brush to finish and add shine.
5.Â Â Mane and tail. I like to use water or a mane and tail moisturizer in water put into a spray bottle. Spray along top of mane and underneath mane. Use a brush or bristle brush hand comb to remove shavings, hay, etc. starting at the bottom holding the tail to remove tangles and then gently the entire length of the tail to remove all twists in the hair. For the mane: brush along the top and finish with a brush from underneath at the hairline to make sure the mane is straight underneath and finish top again to neatly lay the mane on one side.
6.Â Â Dampen the towel with water and clean around the eye area and next the nostrils gently. Next around the face in general then move to the body down the legs, belly. It is good to clean the teat area carefully and also to wipe around the sheath area. Check between the back legs and under the tail.
7.Â Â Ointment for minor scratches or missing hair can be applied as you have come across them during the grooming.
8.Â Â Final step Fly spray. I use a fly spray concentrate mixed with water. Also, you can use the ready to use spray. I normally spray a little to the throat latch area and apply some by hand around the eye area and ears. Spray all areas paying special attention to the belly line and legs. Be careful to follow the spray instructions for the individual products.
After grooming is completed clean your brushes of excess hair by hand or by brushing against a fence.
I usually wipe the inside of the caddy and all items with the towel and place everything back in the caddy for the next grooming.
Once a week wash brushes and shake out excess water and spread out bristles to dry in the sun. With clean brushes you have less skin problems.
Judges notice and take into consideration a well groomed horse and can tell the difference between a consistently groomed horse and one that is just groomed for the event.
Many people use blankets on their horses and this does save time. Blankets have their drawback in that they can rub the shoulders if they are not properly fitted.
Personally I think nature provides the best weather protection. I think it is healthier to go without a blanket unless you have body clipped a horse.
A grooming routine may seem like a lot of steps but once you get the sequence of steps it becomes very easy and really thorough. I highly recommend it as the first step in riding as you can determine your horses overall health and mental well-being before putting a foot in the stirrup.
Merriewold Morgans Trainer