Grooming is quite possibly the most important part in horsemanship. A well groomed horse stands out from the rest. Not only does it show you know how to take care of your horse but it also gives the appearance that you actually enjoy your past time and horses enjoy being groomed there is no doubt about it. Having a good clean coat, mane and tail is one definite way to show your horse you care! Any time you have the opportunity to groom your horse I recommend taking it.
At this time I have one colt in particular in the barn who is quite snorty, actually he’s a down right bronc! So I spend a lot of time grooming him, it helps speed up the training process. It is a sure fire way to bond with a horse. I have found in my experience that grooming horses can actually turn some of the most rotten horses into barnyard pets. However there is surely some safety measures to take into account when grooming.
When I approach a horse I like to approach him in a manner that is friendly, I don’t storm up to my horse
with brushes in hand. Typically when I begin brushing I start at the shoulder or neck area of the horse, using a rubber curry I work the brush in a circular motion, this helps bring any dust to the surface. Once I have the shoulder area clean I then move up the neck to the jaw of the horse, making sure to get right up under the mane. At this point I will then brush the head, the head is a great area to bond with the horse, if you spend enough time you will find a spot on your horses head where he typically loves to be brushed. I always spend a lot of time on this spot, as I know it scores some serious browny points with most horses. You will see a difference in your horses eye, and over all demeanour when you find “his spot”.
Once I have the front end of the horse clean with the rubber curry I then move back to the barrel of the horse. It is very important that you get the girth area of the horse clean, you do not want to leave any mud under the belly or chest of your horse, when you saddle him he will find it much more comfortable if he doesn’t have any debris under the cinch or saddle areas which could otherwise cause sever discomfort or even sores. Moving back over the rump to the back end of the horse requires your full attention! Making sure that your horse is comfortable around his back end is a safety measure that should always be practiced, not only for your safety but for the safety of young horsemen and women who may be watching you as a role model. When brushing the legs the same caution should be taken, it is important that the legs are brushed all of the way down to the coronet band of the horses hoof. Making sure that you don’t avoid these areas will help ensure that your horse is more comfortable with you in any way possible.
Here is a list of grooming supplies that you will need to get started, and the order in which I like to use them. This list can be
made longer very easily as there is no end to horse grooming products you could buy!
- Shedding blade
- Rubber curry
- Stiff Bristled brush
- Soft Bristled brush
- Mane and tail brush
- Mane and tail conditioner
- Hoof pick
It is important to make sure you pick out the horses hooves when grooming, we will go over how to properly pick out your horses hooves in the next post!