Regularly grooming your horse is essential for keeping your horse's coat in good condition. Grooming removes dirt and dust, and brings out natural oils, resulting in a shiny healthy looking coat. Grooming is also the best time for carefully check over your horse's body for any cuts, bumps or parasites. Regular grooming will also provide a bonding opportunity between you and your horse. Read on for a step-by-step guide on grooming.
Your grooming kit
Your basic grooming kit should contain a curry comb, stiff brush, soft bristled brush, comb, hoof pick, and soft cloth or sponge. Additional items can include first aid accessories, such as antiseptic, cotton wool, and barrier cream.
Secure your horse
Make sure that you secure your horse within a safe grooming area, by tethering its halter loosely to a post, or wall bracket. Tethering is particularly important if you horse has a skittish nature. Taking the time to gently tether is a good precaution against possible kicks or trampling.
Your grooming technique is extremely important. Put aside approximately 30 minutes to groom your horse, and never groom in a hurry. Horses are mood sensitive and can become jittery if they sense that you are in a hurry, so make your grooming sessions a relaxing time for both you and your horse. The first grooming technique you should use is a combination of the curry comb and stiff-bristled brush. With the curry comb in one hand and the stiff-bristled brush in the other, run the stiff brush gently over the entire coat in brisk circular motions to remove dirt. After every few strokes of the brush, use the curry comb to remove loose hair and dirt. Remember to brush around the ears too, but make sure to use lighter, gentler strokes, as the ears are very sensitive. Do not use the stiffer brush over the face, belly, lower legs, or spinal area, as it may be painful to your horse. Next, switch over to the soft-bristled brush and gently stroke behind the ears and over the entire coat. The soft-bristled brush can also be used on the soft areas such as the face and belly, and bony parts such as the legs and spinal area. Next, brush or comb the tail and mane, working from the end of the hair towards the base. Then, clean the hooves next with the hoof pick, removing any mud, stones and debris. Lastly, wipe around the horse's ears, eyes and nostrils with the soft cloth or sponge.
Remember that grooming is your opportunity to check for any cuts, lumps, bumps, swelling or injuries, so pay close attention whilst grooming, and make time to gently run your hands over all of your horse's body. Additionally, you can use de-tangling spray on the mane and tail, and use hoof conditioner on your horse's hooves. Ask your farrier what product they recommend.
Regularly grooming your horse will help keep the bond between you both, and make sure any potential problems are discovered early. With your horse in good health you can then enjoy riding together, be it everyday horse riding, horse trail riding, or equestrian sports.
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