What if dogs aren't man's best friend? What if horses actually are?. More than 7.2 million horses live in the United States. Just over one million Americans own a horse.
People own horses for many reasons. Bonding, competition, exercise and more. But horse grooming is not one of them. Time-consuming and never ending, grooming a horse on a regular basis can feel exhausting. But if you want to keep your horse healthy for years to come, you need to know about good horse grooming practices.
What is horse grooming like? What is some horse grooming advice about shampoo and bathing? How can you prevent fungal infections?
Answer these questions and you can make your horse happy through some simple steps. Here are ten horse grooming tips you can follow today.
Buy a Few Grooming Brushes
Grooming brushes are your best tools to manage your horse's hair. Yet you shouldn't use the first brush you see. You should buy a few different brushes and use them on appropriate occasions.
A stiff brush is good for removing dirt and debris in between hairs. You can use one with plastic bristles if you want to save money.
When you want to remove grease from your horse's hairs, you should use a soft brush. Try to find a brush with natural fibers that won't scratch your horse's skin.
To brush your horse's mane, you should use a mane brush. Brush your horse's mane in a sweeping motion to flatten the hair and make it easy to comb.
Clean Your Brushes
You should clean your brushes after any brushing session. If hairs are trapped in between the bristles, you should use tweezers to pull them out.
If you have multiple horses, you should get a set of brushes for each one. This will prevent fungal infections from spreading from horse to horse.
Look at Your Ingredients
Every horse grooming guide recommends that you use shampoo to kill bacteria on your horse's body. But you should find shampoos made with natural ingredients that won't damage your horse's coat.
Never use shampoos or soaps that have alcohol, petroleum, or silicone. Try to avoid using insecticides or powders to disinfect your horse's body, as they often contain harmful ingredients.
Curry Your Horses
Currying is at the core of horse grooming. You will remove dead hair and massage your horse's skin so it releases natural oils. These oils will produce shiny and healthy hair, and they can fight off skin infections.
You need a curry comb in order to curry your horse properly. You should rub the comb against the skin in circular motions, which can help calm your horse down.
Use Water Carefully
You should use water to comb your horse or remove dirt and mud. But you shouldn't use too much water. Fungi grow in moist environments, and droplets can become trapped in between hairs.
Fill a bucket with water and dip a soft sponge into it. Then rub the sponge over your horse's body, covering all surfaces. If your horse seems uncomfortable, you can use a dry rag to remove the excess moisture.
Be Careful With Your Shampoo
You should shampoo your horse at least once a week. But you don't want to use too much at once.
When it dries, it is very hard to remove and it can make the skin itchy. Mix it with water to thin it out and apply it in a thin coating over your horse's coat.
Watch Out for Fungus
A horse can develop several kinds of fungal infections. Some infections remain on the skin, like candidiasis. Others can penetrate through the skin and affect the lungs and blood vessels, such as guttural pouch mycosis.
Signs of infection include discolored patches of skin, swelling, and respiratory problems. You can prevent most infections by bathing your horse, especially after they have spent time in an open field. Take your horse to a veterinarian if they show any signs of an infection.
If you don't bathe your horse often enough, fungi and dirt can grow on its skin. But if you bathe your horse too often, the essential oils on its skin will get washed away.
Find a middle ground for bathing. When in doubt, avoid bathing your horse a day before a horse show or competition. This allows the essential oils to make the hair shiny.
Shorten the Mane by Hand
Scissors may seem like an ideal tool for shortening your horse's mane. In reality, the scissors can break the hairs on the mane, making it seem too bushy.
You should pull the mane out by hand. Tie your horse to keep it still and then pull the hairs one by one.
Make sure they come out of the skin entirely. If you break them off, they will not grow properly.
Find the Right Time for Body Clipping
When you need to remove some of your horse's coat, you can perform body clipping. You can use an electric razor to trim your horse's hair, though you should pull bushy areas out of their skin with your hands.
If you remove most of your horse's coat, you need to find a way to keep it warm. You should put stable blankets or rugs over it.
Follow the Best Horse Grooming Practices
Horse grooming can be a little tricky. You need tools like brushes, shampoo, and razors. Yet you should not be too aggressive with your grooming.
Brush your horse gently and use a small amount of shampoo. Try to avoid spraying your horse with water, bathing it with a sponge instead.
Be mindful of fungal infections and respond to them as soon as possible. Do not trim your horse or bathe it before a show so its natural oils can promote hair growth.
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