Grooming promotes circulation and can help build muscle tone. While removing dead hair and skin helps to prevent disease, especially from parasites, and carried out regularly alerts you at an early stage to disease and injury. It’s also good for you and your horse as it helps to build and maintain the bond between you. Spending time with your horse, massaging and grooming, shows her that you’re not always after something for yourself, you don’t want to just jump on and ride, and it promotes well being and relaxation in the horse. An especially good time to relax your horse with a massage is after exercise when the horse is warm and calm.
So what are the essential tools needed for grooming?
- A rubber curry comb. This takes off the worst of the dirt and debris. Make sure it’s made of rubber and not metal, or it will hurt your horse. Metal ones can be used for combing hair off a softer brush. Use it in a circular motion – it also helps the skin to produce natural oils.
- A dandy brush or hard-bristled brush. This takes off the dirt after using the currycomb. Brush in the same direction the hair lays, and don’t use this on the head – it’s too hard.
- A body brush or soft brush. This takes off fine dirt and particles and gives a shine to your horse’s coat. It can be used on the head if you’re careful, particularly around the eyes. You can get small, soft brushes, especially for the head.
- A mane brush or comb. These get tangles out of the mane if it’s fairly short. You can also use a wide paddle hairbrush. If your horse has a very long mane, it might be better to do it by hand to avoid breaking the hairs.
- A hoof pick. Make sure you pick out your horse’s feet every day, removing dirt and stones. It’s important to look after feet, as you don’t want your horse to go lame. Put hoof oil on clean, dry feet.