Saturday 5th April, 2014
Grooming is very important. Horses enjoy it and so do most horse owners. Ideally you should groom your horse every day, and it essential that you do so before riding to ensure that there is no potentially injurious grit trapped below the saddle. Grooming techniques may differ from summer to winter, but lets get to grips with the basics first.
Ideally every horse should have its own grooming kit to reduce the chance of any infection being passed on. Keep the kit altogether and clean the equipment regularly using a mild detergent. Daily cleaning will keep the kit supple and in good order.
The basics items of a grooming kit are
The first task is to clean your horse’s hooves. Holding the hoof pick out any dirt are grit lodged in the frog or sole. Generally inspect for any injury or problems and note the state of the hoof wall, for instance if there are any cracks. Place the foot down on the ground and proceed with the other feet. Hoot oil can be applied if the feet are brittle.
Using the curry comb or grooming mitt, loosen any mud or other debris in the horses coat. You should use circular sweeps across the whole of the body taking care over bony areas. Also be careful over sensitive areas such as the belly and between the hind legs.
Using the mane comb or brush, use a downwards motion and comb from the top of the mane down to the bottom in sections. When you are happy with the result do the same with the tail but make sure that you stand to one side so that the horse can’t kick you. You can also use a grooming spray which makes it easier and gives an attractive and protective finish.
The next step is to use the body brush. This will tackle the finer debris that the currying failed to remove. Starting at one side and moving around the horse, use long sweeping strokes to brush away the remaining debris. You can be reasonably vigorous with it, but take care when brushing sensitive parts. You can also use it on the horse’s legs and while you are doing so check for any injuries or other problems.
The Finishing brush is used to give your horse’s coat a sleek and sleek and glossy appearance while removing the final traces of dust and dirt. Use long sweeping strokes just as you did with the body brush. The finishing brush has shorter bristles than the body brush and with care you can also use it on the horse’s face.
Using a damp soft cloth or sponge gently clean the eyes, ears, muzzle and dock. A squeezed soft sponge of warm water will help the eyes. It is better to use separate cloths; one for the eyes, ears and muzzle and another for the dock. Generally inspect the various areas as you do so and note any problems. Be careful when handling the ears; some horses are very sensitive about it.
Tack should be cleaned regularly. Leatherwork should be washed lukewarm water and dried with chamois leather then apply saddle soap and rub dry. Holes in stirrup leathers should be cleaned out and leather girths should be oiled. Disassemble the bridle and clean the leather in the same manner as the saddle. All tack should be stored in a cool, dry place.
Ensure that you make grooming your horse a pleasure rather than a chore and your horse will love you for it.