Year round, keeping horses clean is an important factor in their health and welfare, as well as ensuring the bond between horse and owner in the act of grooming and spending time with your equine friend. It goes without saying that a regularly well-groomed and clean horse is easy to maintain and makes it easy to get to know your horse and easily spot any problems or injuries .
Grooming a horse needn’t take long and will take even less time with the right equipment. Giving a horse a good groom once or twice a week from head to tail will allow you to just give a quick groom the interim days if necessary.
In order to groom your horse in the best possible way, you need to have the right set of grooming tools at your disposal. This should cover the equipment necessary for each element of the grooming process, from picking out their feet to a body brush to give that final shine. You can find all that you need at Church Equestrian. Trying to save money by keeping only a small number of grooming products can lead to inadequate grooming in the long run.
To groom a horse effectively, it should be dry. Improper grooming or grooming a wet horse can lead to irritation and rashes. You should also use the correct hardness brushes at the right time—for example a dandy brush or curry comb to loosen mud or hair- and not use these on clipped areas or the face. Your horse might develop rashes or an aversion to grooming if you groom with the improper tools or techniques. You need to have a full-fledged horse grooming kit to ensure efficient grooming.
Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure effective horse grooming.
- Start with the hooves
Begin by cleaning your horse’s hooves. It’s advisable to start with the hooves because it’ll allow you to spot any problems that can deprive you of the pleasures of a leisurely evening ride; such as an injury to the hoof. A daily picking out of the feet will also allow you to keep a check on the state of your horses hooves, to consider when a farriery visit may next be necessary, as well as ensuring they have a daily check for anything that may cause them harm even when just turned out, such as wedged stones or nail wounds.
- Handle the manes and tail with care
A well-groomed mane and a thick tail can be the pride of a healthy horse. It is easy to use the wrong equipment to comb manes and tails, which can lead to severe hair loss and ultimately a reduction in thickness of the mane and tail. Detangler is an excellent product applied before grooming to reduce the knots. One you’ve thoroughly sprayed the mane or tail, you can start combing through the sections of hair using your fingers or a soft brush, such as a body brush. The use of detangler and a good groom of the mane and tail once or twice a week should make it easier to maintain on a daily basis.
- Don’t bath too regularly
Whilst it’s nice to give your horse a bath in preparation for shows, or after heavy exercise or a long ride, it’s important not to use cleaning products such as shampoos too frequently. The overuse of such products can strip the natural oil from the coat of the horse which can leave them with dry, irritated skin. Bathing a horse once or twice a month should suffice. When bathing, you should also use soaps and shampoos sparingly, and ensure they are thoroughly rinsed off. Again, the use of detangler or coat shine can keep stains off of the horse and allow them to stay cleaner. For spot cleaning, you can also use dry shampoos which can work effectively.
- Diet for a good coat
The best way to keep your horses coat in great condition is to ensure they are on a good diet and well looked after. A well-balanced diet will promote health in your horse, and in turn will ensure they have a healthy, shiny coat and hydrated skin. Ensuring your horse has access to fresh, clean water at all times can also ensure hydration.
- Take Care of Your Grooming Kit
Once you have invested in your grooming kit, take care of it. Regular cleaning of the excess hair and grease will prolong its life. You can wash brushes using a small amount of horse shampoo or disinfectant, then leave to dry thoroughly. In addition, its best not to share your grooming kit with other, as this can increase the risk of spreading infectious and skin conditions such as lice. Ideally, each horse should have their own labelled grooming kit.
- Keep Your Rugs Clean Too!
Its no good having a clean horse, if you then put a dirty, greasy rug on top. This will not only ruin your hard work but can cause the horse discomfort as well. Especially over the winter months, grease and bacteria can build up inside a rug which is not only unhygienic but can also shorten the lifespan of the rug. Its therefore important to clean or renew your rugs every year, not rug up a sweaty horse, and make sure you keep an eye on their condition. Veteran groomers do everything with a sense of purpose. They plan out every single thing beforehand. Also, it is important to maintain a certain degree of consistency. Even the smallest of tangles need your attention. Pick up the brush and comb the tail and manes whenever you are free. Each part of a horse’s body needs to be taken care of.
Grooming is an important part of horse keeping and plays a huge part in their general sense of wellbeing. It can help you keep a good eye on their general condition, help you notice any injuries, as well as giving you valuable bonding time. Horse owners who feel that grooming is of little significance tend to realise its importance once the situation slips out of hand. It is important for horse owners, especially newer ones, to understand the significance of grooming.