Important Facts You Should Know About Horse Grooming
Horses and humans have been living and working together for ages. Over time we’ve learned to understand each other and support each other and connect with each other. Of course, not all of us grew up near horses and so there are some practical lessons we never managed to learn. This doesn’t mean you can’t have horses around, not by any stretch of the imagination! All this means is that there’s a little bit of catch-up learning that’s needed. The following will take a look at just one area where a bit of learning is required—grooming.
What Does Horse Grooming Mean?
Horse grooming is an activity that, ideally, would be happening daily. It’s part of caring for a horse’s physical body: the coat, the hooves, the hair, and any irritations or injuries. It is a time to look for signs and symptoms of the most common horse diseases. Beyond keeping the horse healthy, grooming is an excellent part of bonding with your horse.
Why Should Grooming Be Done Regularly?
As mentioned above, daily grooming is the best, but if you cannot manage that, you have to be sure you’re grooming at least before any ride. Grit and filth can build up beneath a saddle or girth or cinch and can be uncomfortable for your horse. It can also cause saddle or girth sores.
Make Things Easier On Yourself By Thinking About Storage
You’re probably going to need a few different items to manage your grooming and this can make it a hassle if you’re always running back to the house or car or storage room. If you put everything you need into one bucket or storage container that makes it easy to move, you’re more likely to complete all the necessary steps because you’ve got everything there with you. As a side note, be sure that you don’t place the bucket or container too close to your horse. He or she could knock it over or you could trip over it yourself.
Understand What You’ll Need
Grooming a horse takes a fair few tools and materials. Horse lovers at http://www.ayrequestrian.com/ recommend taking your time to judge each product individually, watching for irritation of your horse. Some horses are more sensitive than others. You’ll want to find a version of each of the following:
- Cleaning sponge or soft cloth
- Hoof pick
- Curry comb or grooming mitt
- A stiff-bristle body brush
- A soft-bristled finishing brush
- A man and tail comb (metal ones tend to cause more breakage than plastic)
You might also want to include the following optional tools and materials:
- Grooming spray
- Hoof ointment (if recommended by your farrier)
- Scissors or clippers
Start With The Hooves
You’re going to want to pick out any grit, dirt, and manure logged in the frog or sole of the horse's foot. While you’re at it inspect each hoof carefully. Look out for any indication of injury, thrush, grease heel, or other problems. You’ll also want to look for any crack in the hoof wall—if you notice cracks inform your farrier.
Currying And Body Brushing
Currying involves using a curry comb or grooming mitt and the goal of this task is to loosen any dirt in your horse's coat. Grit, mud, dust, and other debris can build up in the coat from daily activities and needs to be loosened and freed. Circular motions tend to be the most effective for this, but you’re going to want to be careful when you get to bonier areas like the legs, hips, and shoulders. Horses tend to be less comfortable with their bellies and the backs of their legs being curried than other areas. Look out for ears laying back or tail swishing—these are hints you’re being a bit too zealous.
Throughout the currying process, look for lesions or wounds. If you find anything, treat it or visit a veterinarian if you don’t think you can handle it yourself.
Once the currying is done, use a body brush to get the remnants that the curry comb missed out of the coat. Then use a finishing brush which helps distribute oils evenly throughout the coat keeping it healthy and shiny.
The above information should help you with the horse grooming process. Of course, if you’re new to the task and feeling uncertain, there’s no harm in asking a more experienced person to come and keep an eye on you the first time or two. They can point out any steps you’re doing too aggressively or anything you missed.