In the United States, it is believed that there could be nearly 10 million horses and other equines.
It is a hard number to track, but one thing is for sure, 10 million horses would require a lot of grooming. Horse grooming is an important step in caring for and maintaining your horse in a healthy, happy state.
Taking care of horses isn’t easy, grooming takes time and effort to complete. Grooming goes far beyond just basic tasks, like how to brush a horse, and can vary based on breed, geography, and work. Make sure you have the necessary horse grooming tools to take care of your horse, and you will have a happier, healthier horse for it.
Let’s take a look at 7 essential horse grooming tips for you. These will be of great help if you’re just getting into owning horses, but even if you’ve had horses before, you might find a tip or two that will help.
1. Curry Before You Brush
While it is work, brushing a horse down can be a calming, enjoyable experience for both the rider and the horse. However, no list of horse grooming tips would be complete if we didn’t talk about currying the horse first. Currying isn’t the same as brushing and requires a currying comb.
When you curry a horse, you work the comb in short, circular motions. Be careful around the bony parts of your horse, but work down the entire coat. Once that is finished, and only when you have taken care of currying should you move on to brushing the horse down.
2. Always Take Care Of Your Brushes
Speaking of brushing a horse, it is imperative that you take care of and clean your tools properly. You should be cleaning your brushes around once a month, doing it too often can lead to degradation and underperformance when it comes to brushing, and doing it too little can have an entire other set of problems.
Once you’ve used your brushes for around a month, make sure to vacuum them. This will remove the hair and other debris that has become trapped in the bristles. You’ll always want to use a bleach mix to disinfect and prepare the brushes for further use. Doing this will help prolong the useful life of your grooming brushes and help out your horse.
3. The Coat Depends on Nutrition
A healthy and happy horse will have a better coat. One of the keys to having a shiny, lustrous coat that every horse owner wants is proper nutrition. Your horse needs a variety of nutrients and food, not just basic feed but food that is specially designed to give your horse what it needs.
Don’t shy away from supplements, it isn’t always easy for a horse to get the nutrition it needs. If you have any questions about food or supplement, always make sure to ask your vet before giving it to your horse. Remember, the quality of your horse’s coat comes from within, so always start with a proper diet.
4. Should You Bathe Your Horse
There is a good chance if you like to take daily showers, that you are showering too often. This is due to the fact that stripping the oils out of your hair is bad for it. The same is true for horses, while bathing occasionally is a great experience for both the horse and owner, doing it too often can have dire consequences.
Also, make sure a proper horse shampoo is kept with your horse grooming supplies. Some people even find horse shampoo works great on their hair.
If you over bathe a horse you will dry out their coat and skin. This can lead to something as mundane as having an itchy horse, or it can even cause skin problems and irritants to cause more harm to your animal. Bathe your horse, but don’t overdo it, if you need to clean your horse’s coat, do it with currying and brushing, not bathing.
5. Clipping Your Horse
There are cosmetic and care reasons to clip a horse from time to time. One such reason is that some horse breeds develop thick winter coats and clipping can help them shed the extra hair. This can really help your horse cool off in the summer, and make the horse more comfortable.
Another area which you should consider clipping is the bridle path. Trimming the bridle path, including the mane and behind the ears, can help the bridle fit more snugly and comfortably for the horse. Before you begin with any clipping, make sure that your horse is clean and ready for trimming.
6. Take Care Of The Hooves
A lot of problems horses experience start with the hooves. For such massive, majestic, and powerful animals, they put a lot of pressure and reliance on a relatively small part of their body. Having tools like a hoof pick around is vital, as you will need to be able to remove debris and small rocks that become trapped.
This is also a great time to check the horse for overall health. If you notice that the hoof is soft, or if you detect a foul, sweet, or unusual odor from the hooves, contact your vet or farrier. Remember, if you’re shoeing a horse always have a professional do it, or show you how it’s done before you try yourself.
7. Take Your Time
While grooming can sometimes seem like an arduous task, remember that this is when you bond with your horse. Take time to inspect, touch, and care for the horse. This will build trust and the emotional bond that every rider craves between the horse and the rider.
No matter what task you are undertaking with your horse, be gentle and firm. Make sure that the horse is cared for, even when you aren’t going to be around. Your horse will thank you, and the relationship you have with your horse will flourish, don’t treat grooming like it is simple work to be done.
Take Delight In Horse Grooming
Horses are beautiful, powerful creatures that deserve to be well cared for and loved. Horse grooming is part of the joy of owning a horse, and spending that quality time with your horse can make a huge difference for both of you. If you have any questions, check out our horse knowledge blog, The Horse HQ is passionate about our equine friends.