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Horse Articles :: Proper Horse Grooming
Grooming is a subject of importance, and the adage that
a good grooming is as good as a feed is true.
The dandy brush is used for removing rough mud, and must be
used gently on horses with tender skins when they have been
The body brush does the main work. The groom should stand
well back from the horse and lean the weight of his body on
to the brush, which should penetrate to the skin. It is worked
in the direction that the coat lays. By its action the grease
is removed from the skin and the pores rendered more open
to exude sweat when work is being done. The brush is kept
clean with the curry comb, and this should be the only function
of the curry comb in grooming.
The water brush has longer hairs than the body brush. It is
used for the mane and tail, and is also admirably adapted
for the dry brushing of the head and legs.
A hoof pick is another essential tool which cannot be used
too frequently when a horse is in the stable.
A sweat-scraper is useful when a horse is brought in hot or
when he comes in very wet.
Straw wisps and hard hay wisps are also used for drying and
stimulating the skin and acting as a massage to the muscles.
The stable rubber, which is a great favorite among grooms,
is nothing but a duster. It may be used to give a final polish
to the coat, but it does not take the place of a body brush,
and its excessive use is to be deprecated.
The principal grooming of the day should take place after
work, and a thorough grooming will take one man an hour. A
brisk grooming gives the skin a healthy-glow in the same way
as the brisk rub of a Turkish towel does to a man.
Grooming of this kind diminishes the chance of a horse breaking
out into a cold sweat.
The eyes, nostrils and dock should be cleaned with a moist
sponge each time the horse is groomed.
Every week the sheath should be cleaned with a sponge and
When a horse returns from work the girths should be loosened,
the saddle raised and replaced, and the girths again done
up slackly. The groom should water the horse, do the other
parts and then remove the saddle. By this time the back will
have cooled down slowly, regained circulation and be ready
Quartering is an abbreviated form of grooming in which the
roller is not removed. The eyes, nose and dock are sponged
and the rugs turned back so that the quarters and then the
forehand can be groomed.
The feet should be picked out at least twice a day, and three
times if the horse is bedded on peat or sawdust.
A common vice of grooms is the washing of a horse's legs.
This should never be allowed as it is most likely to cause
mud fever and cracked heels. When a horse comes in with wet,
muddy legs the rough mud should be removed with a straw wisp
and the legs loosely bandaged with flannel bandages. When
they are thoroughly dry the mud should be brushed out with
a dry brush.
As a preventive of mud fever it is advisable to smear the
legs and heels with Vaseline before hunting in wet weather.
The shoes should be inspected daily to see that they are tight
and should be removed every four weeks at least and replaced
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