While feeding and watering your horse may seem like the most important part of looking after them, grooming is equally so. Knowing how to groom your horses properly is key to keeping them happy, healthy, and looking their best. Read our guide to learn everything you need to know.
The saying ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’ is true when it comes to showing and competing your horse. Turning out your horse to its full potential is fundamental to how others perceive your horse. However, even out of the show ring, grooming is an essential activity that should be enjoyed by both yourself and your horse. Not only will it have plenty of health benefits for your steed, but it should also strengthen the bond between you both. Grooming should be a daily activity, but it's especially important before riding because, if there is a build-up of dirt on their skin, this could be aggravated, and might even create sores. Read our horse grooming guide to learn everything you need to know.
How should you brush your horse?
To ensure you brush the entirety of your horse without missing any patches, it's advised to start on either its right- or left-hand side, starting at the head and working your way along their body. You should always brush their coat in the same direction as it grows, or it's likely they'll find the process quite uncomfortable. You should be most mindful of this when you're brushing over a horse's flank, because the hair here will usually grow up towards their back, which you will need to adjust for.
The pressure used when brushing the horse should be firm but not too vigorous. If the horse swishes its tail, puts its ears back, or moves away from the brush, this could be because it is uncomfortable, and you might even be hurting them. So, make sure you pay careful attention to how they're reacting.
What should be in your horse grooming kit?
In order to keep your horse in tip-top condition, you need to have the right tools. Here, we're going to talk you through what you should keep in your kit, so you can ensure they always look and feel their best.
In our selection of horse grooming equipment, you'll find a range of curry combs. When used in a circular motion, these will do a fantastic job of loosening any mud that might be in your horse's coat. You can then remove this with a brush that's slightly more heavy-duty.
Using a curry comb to groom your horse can also help to encourage the skin to produce natural oils, which will help to keep the hair and skin moisturised.
Once you've loosened the dirt in your horse's coat with the curry comb, you can use a dandy brush to remove it.
A dandy brush is also great for grooming a horse's legs, because they tend to be far less sensitive than the rest of their bodies.
Main & Tail Comb/Brush
Most mane and tail combs resemble a human hair brush, and they're used in a very similar way. As the name might suggest, you can use one to remove any shavings or straw that might have gotten trapped in the longer hair of your horse's mane or tail, as well as to get rid of any tangles.
It's likely you'll find that it helps to brush your horse's mane on the correct side, which is the right-hand side.
Body brushes are used in a similar way to dandy brushes, and they look alike, too. However, one of these will remove any finer particles of dirt that a dandy brush might have missed.
Body brushes are very soft, which means they can be soothing to your horse and should add a shine to their coat. Using a body brush should be the last step in your grooming routine.
You should use a hoof pick every day, whether you're riding your horse or not. This is because, if stones or hard clumps of mud are left in their hooves, they could bruise your horse's frogs.
Mud that is left in their hooves for too long can also start to smell, and may cause infection within the hoof that can lead to lameness.
The general rule of picking out a horse's hoof is to follow the outline of the triangular soft part (also knows as the frog) and pick downwards from there. The frog itself must not be picked, as this will be very sensitive and could cause lameness if it's damaged.
Grooming Kit Box/Bag
A grooming box or bag will make a great addition to your grooming kit. It can be used to keep all of your brushes together and should also prevent them from collecting dust like they would if they were left on the floor.
When you're grooming your horse, be sure to keep the grooming box out of their reach. Otherwise, they could get injured if they stand on it.
If you're looking to update your horse grooming kit, make sure you check out our ranges of horse grooming tools, horse hoof care, and horse shampoo and coat care. We'll have everything you could possibly need.