Do you know that taking care of a horse is a lot of work? Besides your feeding, watering, and mucking out the stall every day, there’s something else that is essential for a happy, healthy horse.
Horsemen agree that grooming is an important part of horse care, and proper grooming is essential for horses that are used in competition. You should groom your horse every day, although that is not always possible. However, regular grooming helps keep the horse healthy and comfortable. Horses are generally groomed before being worked and are usually groomed and cleaned up after a workout as well. Grooming is an activity that is enjoyable for both you and your horse. It is also a good time to check for injuries and irritations. Grit beneath the saddle will be uncomfortable for your horse and could cause saddle sores, so make sure you groom the horse’s underbelly, especially where the cinch rubs.
Have your grooming tools arranged in a safe convenient place. A wide bucket may be cheapest and easiest to put your brushes in, although there are lots of grooming boxes on the market that keep your tools organized and handy. There are several tools that are commonly used when grooming a horse. Proper use and technique helps to ensure the horse remains comfortable during the grooming process.
- Curry comb: a tool made of rubber or plastic with short “teeth” on one side that slides onto the hand of the groom. It is usually the first tool used in daily grooming. The horse is rubbed or “curried” to help loosen dirt.
- Hoof pick: A hooked tool, usually of metal, is used to clean the hooves of a horse. Some designs include a small, very stiff brush for removing additional mud or dirt. All four feet of the horse need to be cleaned before and after riding. If you don’t clean your horse’s hooves regularly, he/she could develop a hoof infection called thrush, which can lame a horse.
- Metal curry comb or Fitch curry comb: The metal curry comb is not designed to use directly on a horse’s coat as the metal teeth can damage the skin and hair. It is a curry comb made of several rows of short metal teeth, with a handle. They are primarily designed for use on show cattle but are frequently used to clean horses.
- Dandy brush: This stiff-bristled brush is used to remove the dirt, hair, and other material stirred up by the curry. Brushes are used in the direction of the horse’s hair coat growth, usually in short strokes from front to back, except at the flanks, where the hair grows in a different pattern. The best quality dandy brushes are made of stiff natural bristles such as rice stems, though they wear out quickly. Plastic-bristled dandy brushes are more common.
- Body brush or soft brush: This soft-bristled brush removes finer particles and dust, adds a shine to the coat and is soothing to the horse. A body brush, particularly a smaller design called a face brush, can be used on the head, being careful to avoid the horse’s eyes. Some natural body brushes are made of horsehair, goat hair, or boar bristles, like human hair brushes. Others are made of soft synthetic fibers. The body brush is generally the last brush used on the horse.
- Grooming rag or towel also called a stable rubber: A linen (or terrycloth towel or similar type of cloth) or sheepskin mitt can be used to give a final polish to a horse’s coat and is also used after riding to help remove sweat.
- Mane brush or comb: Horses with short, pulled manes have their manes combed with a wide-toothed plastic or metal comb. Tails and long manes are brushed with either a dandy brush or a suitable human hairbrush. A short-toothed pulling comb is used to pull the mane to shorten and thin it in preparation for braiding.
These are just some of the things you need to help keep your horse looking clean and healthy. Do you know how to use a curry or dandy brush? To learn more about grooming your horse check out these websites.
(All information in this blog is referenced from the above websites)
Have you read this book yet?
Leading the Way
The pinto has won trophies, but the real champion is the blind girl who rides him. Katie doesn’t like horses—or so she says, until she meets Keystone Stables’ champion barrel racer, Boomerang. Can a blind girl learn to ride a horse? With Skye’s help, the answer is yes! It’s a summer of exciting discoveries for Katie. But Skye, too, is learning a lesson about patience as she shares the struggles of her new special-needs friend. Being blind isn’t easy, especially when Katie’s parents are separated. Her anger at them and at God can make Katie hard to be around. Then Katie sets a very special goal for herself and Boomerang. Achieving it will take courage—but the prize could be greater than any blue ribbon.