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Horse Articles :: How to Groom a Horse
How to Groom a Horse
Grooming a horse safely and correctly is a very important
part of daily horse care. It is a great time to check over
the horse for any issues on his skin, back, and girth area
and to get an idea of how the horse is feeling that day. You
should groom a horse before you take it out for riding or
exercising. It helps keep them healthy and looking good.
First, halter and tie the horse to a ring or safety string
attached to something solid. If the horse pulls back, you
don't want the horse's halter tied to something that will
swing or be pulled out of the ground. A ring on a wall meant
for tying or a solid fence post often works well. You can
also use cross-ties if you have two rings and cross-ties.
Next, pick the horse's feet. This is one of the most important
steps, so do it first so that you don't forget. Stand on the
horse's left side next to his left front leg and face towards
the horse's tail. Slide your left hand down the back of his
leg to the fetlock, which is the last big joint, and squeeze
a little. The horse should pick up his hoof and let you hold
it. Using the hoof pick in the other hand, pick out any rocks
and remove any dirt from the area around the frog and just
inside of the shoe line. The frog is the softer, raised triangular
area located in the center of the foot. You don't want to
scrape or puncture this. You only want to clear the indented
area of the sole of the foot. If a horse doesn't pick up his
foot right away, you can cluck or say "Up" to encourage the
horse to pick up his foot. You can also try leaning a little
on the horse's shoulder to shift his weight off of the foot
so it is easier to lift up.
After picking all four feet, take a rubber curry comb and
brush all over the body in a circular motion. Avoid the lower
legs and head since these are bony areas and need gentler
brushing. The currying brings dust, dirt, and dead skin to
the top surface of the coat so that it can be brushed away.
Some horses enjoy a good strong currying, and some horses
hate it, so try to be gentle at first. To clean the curry
comb, tap it against a fence post to make the dirt fall off.
Next, use a body brush to brush off the loose dirt and hair.
Brush in the direction of the hair growth to smooth the hair
as you brush. Flick the brush at the end of the brush stoke
to try to get all the dirt removed from the coat. Occasionally,
you will need to clean the brush fibers by brushing them across
the curry comb. Finally, follow up with a soft brush to further
smooth the hair and spread the natural oils along the coat.
This is what makes horses shine. You can also carefully brush
the lower legs and face with the soft brush.
For the tail, first use a detangler spray or gel such as Cowboy
Magic, Show Sheen, Mane 'n Tail Detangler, or EQyss Survivor.
This stops tangled hairs from being torn out when you brush
the tail. Some people think you should never brush a tail
because hairs will be torn out. If you are careful and brush
only a small section at a time while starting from the bottom,
you shouldn't pull out many hairs. You can brush the mane
without being as worried since most manes are kept thin and
short. If you have a long-maned breed such as an Arabian or
a Friesian, you will want to treat it as carefully as the
Also, use a clean, damp towel to gently wipe any dirt or dust
from the eye area and the nostrils. Most horses learn to appreciate
this. You will appreciate it too because when the horse blows
out his nose, he won't get as much horse snot all over you!
About the Author
Jennifer Allbright writes for http://www.NewtoHorses.com
which provides information to new-comers on caring for, riding,
and showing horses. The site offers a wide range of information
from safety around horses and resources for horse items to
specifics about dressage training and showing.