Now that show season is over, my grooming tote has become a lot lighter. I have taken out all the extra buffers, and shines, hoof polishes and combs that make my horses sparkle at the show, and left just the basic tools that will keep my horses clean, healthy and happy through the cooler months.
I thought I would share these basics here, and give an idea of what a usual grooming season looks like.
- Hoof pick with brush
- Steel wire brush (for feet!)
- Hoof knife
- Round rubber curry comb
- Soft rubber grooming mitt
- Red long toothed plastic curry comb
- 8" Dandy (hard) brush
- 8" Body (soft) brush
- Cowboy Magic Concentrated Detangler and Shine
- Oster Mane and Tail brush
- Tail bags
- Height and Weight tape
- Simple cat grooming brush
- First I do a pass with the EquiGroomer which is a tool composed of a thin blade with very small teeth, and a wooden handle. This is primarily a shedding tool but can be used all year round, and is great for getting dirt that is close to the skin and dead fur up to the surface where the other brushes can remove it.
- I always pick my horses feet first, even know technically they are supposed to be last. This is because I found myself forgetting to do them regularly, so this way they are done, and I can’t forget.
- The steel wire brush is a great tool suggested to me by my farrier, the brush can be purchased at any hardware store, for around $5. The brush can be used (especially in muddy conditions) to clean the out side of the hoof, and get in hard to reach areas of the hoof after it is picked. Great for cleaning before treating for Thrush.
- For the hoof knife and would recommend asking your farrier to teach you how to use it, and ask if you even need to. It depends on your horse. My gelding has a tendency to grow his bars quite fast between trims, and this can cause them to collapse over and cause a pocket of manure to form. I use the hoof knife to take off the over grown part. (I was trained by a farrier to do this, so check with yours first!)
- Then I will use one of the Curry Combs, the rubber one when their fur is still short, and the plastic one once their winter fur has fully grown in.
- I use the soft rubber mitt on their faces and legs, to loosen dirt and dead hair.
- Next I use the Dandy, or hard brush to click away the majority of the dirt and hair I loosened with the other brushed.
- Using the Body or soft brush (also known as a finishing brush) in a similar manner I take off the rest of the dirt and hair from the entire horse. (legs and face included)
- Next I turn my attention to the mane and tail. Normally both my horses have very short manes, so there is not many tangles, but I still brush and condition them to keep the hair nice. I use Cowboy Magic Concentrated Detangler and Shine, this product is by far the best I have ever used!
- After applying the amount needed to the forelock, mane and tail I brush using the Oster mane and tail brush, also the best I have used, to avoid breaking hairs.
- Although the hair grows slower, winter is a great time to grow a beautiful, long tail! Because the horses don’t need their tails in winter for the bugs, you can turn them out without worry, with a tail bag. I use simple elastics, and do a very loose braid, then I put the braid in a lycra tail bag. I only brush my horses tails once a week, less if I can help it. If the tail bag falls out, or needs redoing, finger comb the tail first, if that is enough to get it nice enough to braid then wait longer to brush it the next time.
- The last three tools are more extras then essentials, but I still use them on a regular basis, and they come in very handy! Scissors are always hand to have around, trimming stray hairs is the main reason I keep them in my tote.
- In the winter horses can loose weight without us noticing right away because they are often blanketed, and their winter fur hides weight lose and can actually make them look fatter then they are. Use the weight tape to keep track of their weight throughout winter, if you notice them losing weight, up there feed to hay accordingly.
- Last but not least, The cat brush! I use this to clean off my wool cinch mainly, but also my saddle pad, polos etc, anything I use to ride with. Especially when I start riding again in the spring and they are shedding!
There you have it, for the amount of words you would think I spend a couple hours grooming everyday, but I don’t. I spend about 15 minutes each per day grooming my horses, and that is when taking my time.
A few tips…
- Skip the mane and tail, these are an owners preference and not a necessity for the horses health.
- Use a brush in each hand!
- Keep your tote organized! I can’t stress this enough, you can lose a lot of time searching for the tool you need in a mess of grooming equipment!
- Choose and tote with lots of pockets, designate a pocket to each item, and put it back after each time you use it!
- Dirty brushes don’t make for a clean horse! Clean your brushes regularly. I wash mine in a bucket with a small amount of baby laundry detergent and hot water. Let them soak and rinse well. (at least seasonly! ex. 4 times a year)