If you own a horse, you may be well aware of how important providing the proper nutrition and care is for them so they feel like a million bucks, but you should also make it a priority to have them look like a million bucks as well.
Whether you’re preparing for a horse show, or just want to take some Instagram worthy photos, the appearance of your horse is a big deal and should be treated that way if you want them looking their absolute best.
Grooming your horse is more than just swiping a brush on their body a few times. Here we will share with you some expert tips that will make you feel like a grooming pro and have your horse looking picture perfect no matter where you take them for a ride.
We will go into various areas of focus when grooming your horse as all parts of the horse need varying types of care that isn’t one size or one tool fits all. To begin, we will cover the biggest area of the horse: the body. Horse Grooming can be one of the most satisfying parts of owning a horse. Horse grooming kits are essential.
Grooming The Horse’s Body
For starters, you will first need to equip yourself with a high-quality curry comb to groom your horse. If you want your horse looking their best, a cheap curry comb won’t cut it. Don’t settle for less than the best. Horse Grooming kits are an essential part of horse ownership, and high quality products that will stand up to the test of time are necessary.
Curry combs are an important part of a horse grooming kit because they help to remove dirt and loosen hair. On top of that, curry combs do a fine job massaging your horse’s skin and helping to release natural oils within their coat. When doing your shopping, you will find that there are all types of curry combs out there which utilize different materials. You have rubber, plastic and metal curry combs to name a few.
Rubber curry combs, we feel, are our top choice for grooming horses. While metal curry combs are very commonly used, they can be especially rough on sensitive areas of your horse and can be very harsh on hair, easily breaking and damaging follicles.
The proper way to use a curry comb is to swipe it in small circular motions, beginning around the horse’s neck then eventually moving your way down to the the body and legs. Run the comb in an even motion all the way through the body, making sure to stay consistent with your movement while also being gentle when it comes to the amount of pressure. This way you will both massage your horse and knock off all the mud, dirt and loose hair that has accumulated on them.
From time to time as you are grooming, there will be an excess amount of dirty and hair that will have gathered up in the comb and you will have to knock it off. Simply stop the grooming for a moment to trap the comb against a hard surface like a bench to remove the accumulation and resume.
Some horses can be more sensitive to touch than others during the grooming process and in such cases using a curry comb wouldn’t be comfortable. Alternatively, you can look into using a curry mitt instead. This mitt easily fits your whole hand and would feel more like you’re petting or stroking the horse rather than grooming them, which may be a better option for sensitive horses.
After going through with the curry comb and removing all the dirt and untangling hairs, you’ll want to next move into brushing your horses coat. Ideally, this should be done using multipe types of body brushes rather than just one. Begin by using a brush with stuff bristles and brush your horse’s neck and start to move down across the body and finish with brushing their legs. your horse’s neck first and then progressively brush his body and finally finish with his legs. During the brushing, flick your brush repeatedly during the process to knock off the loosened hair and dirt that were loosened up by the initial curry combing.
Next, use a brush with medium bristles to continue the procedure of removing the loose grime and hair off your horse before finishing up by running a soft bristled brush through your horse’s body. Soft brushes help with those sensitive spots on your horse, such as around their face, and they also are great for removing fine dust particles off your horse. When all is complete, your horse’s hair will be smooth and will lay flat and uniform. When brushing, make sure to always brush your horse in the direction of the hair growth.
This can be a taxing process on your arms but the more effort you put into the brushing, the better your horse’s coat will look in the end. To simplify the process, you could invest in a grooming vacuum which can suck out all the dirt and loose hairs off your horse.
When the brushing is complete, use a moist towel, a moistened sponge or baby wipes to remove dirt around your horse’s eyes and nostrils and then use a separate moisten towel or sponge to wipe over your horse’s coat to remove any dirt that has been left behind.
If there is a special occasion coming up you could do what the pros do and apply some topical grooming products such as coat polish, stain removers or other cleaning and color enhancement product that will really bring out the shine in your horse’s coat and really make them stand out. There’s many different products to choose from when it comes to that and it’s up to you whether you want to go the extra mile in beautifying your horse.
After the body grooming is complete, you should take all those grooming brushes and combs and put them in a soak with warm soapy water before ringing them and letting them dry so they are ready to go for your next grooming session.
Grooming Manes and Tails
An important part of grooming your horse is also paying special attention to their mane and tail. A well groomed mane and tail can really make your horse look like a star, but it’s also good for the comfort of your horse because it’s the mane and tail are unclean and not well taken care of they could be itchy and dry and they’ll be scratching and rubbing themselves all over the place which could be damaging to their skin and hair.
To get started with the mane and tail, give it a detailed rinse with warm water and shampoo. Work up a good lather throughout the mane and tail then wash it out and apply a conditioner to moisturize. When carrying out using shampoo and conditioner, make sure to do so in moderation since over-washing could remove the mane and tail of natural oils.
Once the washing is done, give some time to allow for the mane and tail to naturally dry then smooth the hair out with the help of a wide tooth comb. If you wish, you can add in some hair detangler while combing which will assist in undoing any knots and tangles and will also help prevent new tangles.
Place a small dime-sized amount into the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, and then gently run your hands and fingers through the mane and tail to evenly distribute the detangler. You can then finally use a brush to brush the mane and tail out. It’s important to use a brush specially made for horse manes and tails. Using a brush made for human hair can do more harm than good for a mane or tail in the form of hair breakage, split ends and overall loss of hair.
The proper form for brushing a horse’s tail is to hold the tail hairs in one hand and use the other hand to brush. It would also be wise to use a dandy brush at the end of the horse tail to remove grime and dirt that can cause your horse to be itchy and uncomfortable.
If you want to give your horse’s tail a professional appearance, some special tail scissors should be used to trim the bottom of your horse’s tail. When trimming, cut only the longest hairs across the bottom of the tail so it looks nice and neat and so it won’t drag on the ground and get dirty.
A neat option to help with preventing damage to their hair is braiding the mane. Braiding is also good for conditioning the mane to lie smooth and flat in one direction. An alternative to braiding is to just tie loose knows in your horse’s tail to keep it from dragging along the ground if it’s very long. The best way to do this is to divide the tail in sections and tie loose knots in figure-eight fashion.
After establishing a regular horse mane and tail regimen, both parts will become much easier to maintain and are less likely to get constantly knotted and tangled. Giving your horse a good diet can also promote healthy hair so make sure they are eating high quality hay and are being supplemented with biotin which has shown to be great for healthy hair growth.
Grooming the Face, Ears and Muzzle
Just like a bearded man needs a trim from time to time to look clean and neat, the same should be done for a horse. A horse’s muzzle, ears and jawline can start to look unkempt with stray hairs so a trim would greatly benefit. One way to trim a horse’s face is with cordless hair trimmers with a #10 guard. Trim along the jawline lightly then move up to the ears. Gently fold the ears over to trim hairs behind the ears and then make slow downward passes to get any stray hairs so your horse ends up with a neat appearance.
Not all horses are comfortable having electric clippers near their face and may be startled by them so make sure that when you introduce clippers to them you do so in a slow patient way so your horse can get used to the sound and the vibration when trimming.
Grooming Hooves and Legs
Like fitness experts say, “don’t skip leg day”; the same goes for grooming horse’s legs which is not just good for their appearance but also for the comfort and overall health of the horse. It is of utmost importance for a horse owner to pick out their horse’s hooves daily with a hoof pick, even during an inactive day when you are not riding them.
By performing a daily grooming and picking of their feet, you can also detect and uncover any issues that need to be addressed on your horse that you may not even notice until there’s obvious damage done such as clearing their hooves of rocks and debris or finding out a shoe has been knocked loose or is gone.
Optionally, you can use a hoof polish to give your horse a neat overall look. There are dark polishes for dark hooves and clear polished for ones that are light colored.
If a horse’s legs look hairy and unkempt, you can use clippers to trim loose straggling hairs. Keeping a horse’s leg hairs trimmed short not only is good appearance-wise but it also helps to keep their legs dry and clean and make them less likely to be itchy.
You love your horse but how often do you show it? One of the best ways to do so is grooming your horse on a regular basis. Not only will this keep them looking healthy, but it is also good for examining and finding out if there are any issues that would require immediate attention like cuts, blemishes and swelling.
Best of all, this pampering of your horse is a great time to really bond with your horse as an owner and creating a lasting relationship. By following out tips above, your horse will really come to appreciate you taking the time out to give them a little TLC.
What are your favorite grooming kit tools for your horse? Leave a comment below.