How to Groom a Horse

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Grooming a horse is an important practice that should be performed often if not every day There are many benefits to grooming a horse including the removal of dirt and loose hair, providing a time to check over the horse for injuries or skin problems , Prevention of sores that may occur when tack is placed on a dirty horse, conditioning the coat to produce a shine, promoting good circulation in the skin, and finally, it provides a time for you and your horse to enjoy each other’s company. The basic grooming supplies include: a grooming tote to hold all of your supplies, a rubber curry comb, a small soft rubber curry comb, grooming mitt, hard brush, soft brush, a clean cloth or sponge, mane comb, tail comb, hoof pick, shedding blade, and fly spray. Before you begin it’s important to have your supplies ready and in a safe location. Always tie the horse in a safe and well-lit workspace using a quick release knot or cross ties if grooming in an aisle-way. Begin by using the rubber curry in a circular motion to loosen the dirt and hair. Start at the top of the neck and work your way backwards over the body making sure to go with the direction of the hair. Use caution when using a curry comb over sensitive areas like joint,s the belly, and the lower legs. You may want to use the small soft curry for those areas. Going back to the top of the neck, Use the hard brush in a flicking motion to remove the dirt and hair loosened by the currycomb. Again, make sure to go in the direction of the hair and use a lighter pressure when brushing over the sensitive areas. To remove the finer particles of dirt and to provide a more finished look, use the soft brush to gently flick away any remaining dirt on the horse’s body and legs. Gently comb through the mane using the main comb. Because you don’t want to stand directly behind a horse for safety reasons, pull the tail to the side of the horse when brushing the tail. Brush through the tail starting from the bottom and work your way up. Use a hair detangler product if needed. Use the soft rubber curry in a circular motion on the forehead to loosen any dirt. Use a soft brush to remove any dirt from the horse’s face making sure not to flick any dirt in the horse’s eyes, ears, and nose. Use a soft cloth to clean around the eyes, inside of the ears, and inside of the nostrils. One of the most important components to grooming is removing the dirt and manure from the hooves. Standing to the side of the horse facing the rear, run a hand down the back of the leg and squeeze the tendons along the back to cue the horse to pick up its hoof. Use one hand to hold the hoof and the other hand to clean the hoof using a hoof pick. Make sure to hold the leg underneath the horse in a manner that it’s comfortable for the horse. Pick out the dirt in the v-shaped grooves on either side of the frog starting at the heel and working your way towards the toe. For closer inspection use the pick or a brush on the hoof pick to remove any dirt and debris on the sole so that the hoof can be examined further. When finished, gently lower the hoof to the ground. When picking out the hoof on the hind limb, make sure not to hold the hind limb too far out to the side or behind the horse as this may not be comfortable for the horse. During the spring when the horse is shedding out its winter coat ,use a shedding blade to remove the loose hair. During the warmer months when flies are bothersome, use a light mist of fly spray over the horse’s body to keep the flies away. You may want to spray the fly spray on a rag and then apply it to the horse’s face. Routine grooming is an essential component to keeping a horse in optimal health.

 

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