Grooming is not only a wonderful chance for a rider to bond with a horse, but it is also a chance for young or inexperienced horses to get comfortable with human interaction. Here’s our Beginner’s Guide to Horse Grooming.
While regular grooming improves the look of your horse, it also has health benefits. Cuts, sores and other injuries can be discovered during grooming periods and addressed early, so they do not escalate. Brushing your horse also promotes blood flow.
Here is a list of commonly used grooming tools for each stage of the process. Visit our grooming section to browse our wide selection of tools.
- Curry comb
- Grooming mitt
- Hard brush
- Finish brush
- Face brush
- Hair product
- Damp sponge or soft cloth
We’ve also compiled a few basic steps below for grooming your horse.
Secure your horse
While this is not necessarily a grooming action, it a VERY important first step. Before beginning any grooming on your horse, always be sure to safely secure your horse. Spooked horses can cause serious danger to groomers as well as themselves. This is why it’s recommended to use cross ties or a quick-release knot to secure your horse while grooming. These types of ties protect the groomer and horse in the event the horse gets upset.
Rocks and other debris lodged in a horse’s hoof can cause sprains, abscesses and lameness. Regularly picking your horse’s hooves can prevent such injuries from forming. Using a hoofpick, clean out any dirt and buildup that may have accumulated since their feet were picked out last.
Remove loose hair and dirt
Starting on the left side (or offside), use a curry comb or grooming mitt in circular motions. This will free dirt and loose hair trapped in your horse’s coat. This is a great time to also check for lesions or wounds.
Remember to be careful around the more sensitive areas of your horse, such as their legs and belly.
Thoroughly brush your horse’s coat
While a curry comb loosens dirt and hair, a hard brush removes the debris and adds shine to your horse’s coat. It’s important to always brush in the direction the hair grows and also be careful around the common areas that may be sensitive to your horse.
Clean your horse’s face
A horse’s face tends to be more sensitive which is why it is important to use a softer-bristled brush. This can include a face brush specifically or a finishing brush. You can also use a damp sponge or soft cloth to wipe around your horse’s eyes, ears and muzzle.
During this step, take note of any regularly teary eyes. This could be a sign of infection; in which case it would be important to seek advice from a veterinarian.
Brush out your horse’s mane and tail
The last step in the grooming process is brushing and detangling your horse’s mane and tail. This should be done in smaller sections to avoid discomfort to your horse. Start a few inches up from the bottom of the mane or tail and brush downwards until the brush runs through smoothly. You can then work your way up as the tangles become worked out.
For your safety, always remember to pull your horse’s tail to the side when brushing so you are not directly behind your horse.
Another option while grooming your horse’s mane and tail is to use a grooming spray. These types of products act as detanglers and also add shine and volume. Utilizing a hair product can also keep hair detangled between grooming sessions.
While grooming can feel time-consuming, it is still a very important habit to form. To browse our full selection of grooming tools and products, visit our grooming page.