17 Top Spring Horsecare Tips

  1. In the winter your horse will have needed thick turn-out rugs for the field – get these washed now if you can and store them for next winter. Many livery yards and equestrian centers offer rug washing services.
  2. The weather can still be cold in the spring -in this case, peel back the rug to reveal either the front or back of your horse and not expose everything to the cold. Work on one end first, then cover up and move to the other end.
  3. Most horses will begin to molt at this time of year, some more than others depending on the type of horse. Take off excess hair to make your horse’s coat shine.
  4. Consider clipping your horse now, especially if she wasn’t clipped in the winter, to get rid of excess hair.
  5. If you are going to clip, remember not to brush clipped areas with a hard brush. Don’t clip your horse where the saddle fits, or she will become sore.
  6. Natural oil in your horse’s coat helps to protect against the cold, but brush over every day anyway with a dandy brush. This will ensure that injuries and infections are spotted quickly.
  7. For the mane and tail, use a paddle brush and detangler spray. Detangler spray makes your horse smell as if it has just been to the hairdressers, but is expensive, Instead, you can use baby oil in a spray bottle, or on the hands. Just a small amount will work wonders on tangles in a horse mane and not split the hair.
  8. Manes and tails can both be plaited to try to keep them tangle-free and clean in the field.
  9. Pick feet out every day, removing stones and dirt. Check for signs of thrush – this will make the feet smell – and mud fever which will cause sores. Using a barrier cream before the bad weather begins can sometimes catch both of these foot problems in their tracks.
  10. Hose down muddy legs and feet when your horse comes in from the field. Try to keep feet and lower legs clean and dry, and clip off excess hair around the feet – this should keep mud fever at bay. If your horse does succumb to it, it will need box rest until it clears up. Don’t clean your horse’s feet with anyone else’s brushes – she might get infected with mud fever.
  11. Paint clean, dry, hooves with hoof oil to maintain condition. Talcum powder can help prevent your horse’s heels from becoming sore – make sure they are dry before you apply the powder.
  12. Use three different colored sponges for cleaning the nose, dock, and eyes, labeling them so you know which is which.
  13. Try not to skip on removing mud from your horse’s coat and mane when they come in from the field. It’s always much nicer coming to ride a clean horse – leaving it till the next day is a bit like leaving last night’s washing-up for the morning!
  14. Use baby wipes to remove stubborn stains on greys.
  15. Use vaseline as a barrier cream on small cuts and scratches, especially useful on the face.
  16. If you haven’t got time to give your horse a full bath, or it’s too cold, give her a hot cloth wash instead. Use a damp, warm cloth to rub her down and bring out the dust in her coat to make her shine.
  17. Clean your horse’s ears with baby oil or surgical spirit on a ball of cotton wool.

A little time and care spent every day grooming your horse will pay dividends for her overall condition and will be the basis for forming a bond with your horse.