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Grooming your horse is about more than just keeping him clean, it can also be a bonding experience between you and your horse. Proper grooming of your horse is not only essential for his well-being, but also for strengthening the special bond between horse and owner. We invite you to check out our tips below to help you properly groom your horse while connecting with him at the same time.
Horse Grooming Tips
Grooming your horse, in one way or another, should be part of your daily ritual together and should be enjoyable for both the horse and you. Grooming is a great way to check your horse for any injuries or irritations and should always be done before riding. Any grit or debris hiding under your horse’s saddle could cause irritation and sores, so be sure to groom your horse before riding.
While you don’t necessarily need to bathe your horse every day with horse shampoo and water, it is especially important to do if your horse is hot and sweaty. Hot summer heat and an intense workout are both causes for an overly hot horse and giving a bath typically does the trick to cool him down.
Before commencing the grooming process, it is wise to have all of the necessary tools at the ready. We recommend that you have the following on hand when grooming your horse:
-A grooming mitt or curry comb
-A stiff bristled body brush
-A plastic comb for the mane and tail
-A hoof pick
-A fine bristled brush for finishing
-A clean sponge and soft cloth
-Horse shampoo-one for the body and another for the mane and tail (optional)
-Scissors or clippers
-Horse finishing spray also known as – grooming spray
Be sure to purchase a high quality horse shampoo that is designed specifically for a horse as it will have the proper pH balance to nourish your horse’s coat and skin.
There are plenty of grooming boxes available on the market that are designed to keep your horse grooming tools organized and handy, however, any type of box will do. We find it is easiest to keep your tools in a box close by, so you can move it around as you work our way around the horse.
Don’t keep your grooming box too close to your horses’ hooves as he may knock it over or it could cause you to trip.
Step by Step Horse Grooming
Before you begin the grooming process, be sure to secure your horse with cross ties on both sides. This helps to keep both you and the horse safe and keeps the horse in place as you work.
In order to increase bonding and connection, talk to your horse and stroke him gently throughout the whole process. Grooming your horse should be a task that you enjoy and one that is done in a gentle and subdued manner as to keep your horse calm and at ease.
Start by cleaning your horse’s hooves. It is very important to keep your horse’s hooves cleaned out to avoid any injuries.
Gently pick up your horse’s hoof and using your hoof pick, carefully scrape out any dirt and debris that may be lodged in there. Work your way around your horse until each hoof is cleaned. This is also a good time to take note of any injuries or irritations on the hooves.
Next, you can begin the bathing process. Using a hose outdoors is usually the best scenario when washing your horse. In order to keep your bond tight with your horse, be sure to respect him when spraying him with water.
Most horses are not a fan of water being sprayed directly in their face, if this is the case for your horse, avoid spraying him on the face and ears. Failure to respect your horses’ feeling by watching his body language during a bath can lead to bath time being an unpleasant experience for you both.
To wash your horse’s face, use a wrung-out wet sponge to gently cleanse the face and ears area. When hosing the rest of the body, aim the hose to spray towards the tail to avoid irritating his face and ears.
It is also recommended that you avoid getting your horses’ feet too wet during the bathing process. Repeated exposure to excess water can cause the integrity of the hooves to break down. If you plan to bathe your horse frequently, try mixing in some sponge baths and skip the hose every once and awhile to avoid damage to the hooves.
Once your horse is fully wet, a good quality horse shampoo can be applied liberally all over the horse’s body, from shoulders to tail. Scrub the horse shampoo in using a sponge.
This is a step that can truly be enjoyable for both you and the horse. Use gentle motions to massage your horse while washing him.
Next, thoroughly rinse your horse back off, being sure to remove all of the horse shampoo. Any excess horse shampoo left on the skin could cause an irritation.
Once all of the horse shampoo has been rinsed, you can begin the process of brushing your horse out. Again, this process should be relaxing and enjoyable for you both. Pay attention to your horse’s body language to get an idea of what he likes and doesn’t like.
You can finish the grooming session off with a spray down with specialized horse spray that helps to detangle and moisture your horse’s coat and keep it looking shiny without any excess grease.
With the right tools and careful observance of your horse’s body language, you can make bath time a pleasant one for your horse. Gentle and caring grooming can help to strengthen the bond you share with your horse.
Bath time is the perfect time to tune into your horse while also ensuring that he is clean and injury free. If you are a horse owner, be sure to use bath time as a way to connect with your horse on a deeper level and form a lifetime bond built on trust and compassion. Now your horse is ready for your next horse show or even the Kentucky Derby.