A well stocked grooming kit is a must for all horse riders, and you’ll find that the different types of horse brushes inside it have bristles with a varying degree of stiffness. A body brush is usually softer than a dandy brush, for example, because the latter plays a key role in grooming muddy or particularly dirty horses. On the other hand, a body brush is soft enough to use on the horse’s face and a tail, and is more effective for brushing dust out of a coat.

Every horse, no matter their age and whether they are ridden or not, will benefit from a regular grooming session. There are horse brushes available for every job: from removing thick dried mud to extracting dust or giving a freshly washed shiny coat the final once over. They come in different sizes to suit small hands (children’s ranges for example) and larger ones, as well as umpteen colour choices so that you can coordinate your horse brushes with the rest of your gear.

If you own multiple horses, you may choose to have different brushes for each one; or at least separate dandy and body brushes, which are the main horse brushes used. It’s not essential, but some people believe it’s more hygienic — and it’s recommended if one of the horses you’re grooming has a skin condition.

Buying horse brushes

Horse brushes are made by different manufacturers, which is great news as it means there is plenty of choice. It also means that brushes designed to do the same job will feel different. One brand’s body brush might be softer than another body brush designed by a different company, for example.

Some horses prefer soft brushes, while others won’t mind which you use. My old Thoroughbred Armageddon (‘Arnie’ — he was just shy of 18hh) is the only horse I’ve ever had who didn’t like being groomed. He would fidget, pin his ears back and even kick out on a particularly grumpy day. All the usual health checks were carried out and there was nothing wrong with him, he just had sensitive skin. Arnie was transformed when I bought the softest brush I have ever felt while shopping at Badminton Horse Trials. After that he would stand still to be groomed – but with this brush only! That brush was the Vale Brothers Body Brush, which is available to buy here.

Types of horse brushes

A good basic grooming kit will contain a selection of key horse brushes that are all designed for a specific purpose. You can buy these brushes individually or purchase a grooming kit that will contain all the brushes you will need, such as this set designed by Alan Davies, the man behind Valegro’s coat shine. Some sets come with a useful bag or box in which to store them.

This is what the main types of horse brushes are and what they should be used for:

Rubber and/or plastic curry comb

This is a short-toothed comb made from rubber or plastic that loosens hair, dirt and other particles. It also stimulates the skin for healthy blood flow and the production of natural oils.

Dandy brush

A dandy brush has long, stiff bristles to remove dirt and hair that’s been brought up by the curry comb. The bristles might be made of plastic or natural fibres.

Body brush

This is a soft-bristled brush that is used to remove dust and grease from the coat and produce a shine. Body horse brushes are made with natural fibres, such as horsehair or goat hair, or from soft, synthetic fibres. They usually need to be used in conjunction with a metal curry comb in order to remove dust.

Metal curry comb

This is used to remove dirt from body brushes during grooming, by moving the body brush’s bristles across the curry comb’s teeth after every few brush strokes.

Mane comb

This grooming kit essential is used to remove knots from the mane and tail. You could use a body brush for this job instead, or look for a purpose-made mane brush.

Face brush

This type of horse brush is usually the smallest of the lot, perfectly sized to brush the face and delicate area around the eyes and muzzle. It should be soft too.

Other useful horse brushes

Complete your grooming kit with a hoof pick, cloth for using to do a final wipe over, and a separate cloth (or wipes) for cleaning dirty ears and eyes. You’ll also need a hoof brush if you plan to apply hoof oil/ointment. All types of horse brushes need to be looked after if you want them to do the job they are designed for and keep your horse’s coat clean. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations, but broadly speaking washing them in warm soapy water when they are dirty and rinsing thoroughly will help them last longer and do their job efficiently.

Shop for horse brushes

KBF99 Body Brush

Types of horse brushes: the clever KBF99 body brush is pictured This clever brush helps in the prevention and spread of diseases such as strangles and ringworm. The soft fibre bristles are impregnated with the KBF99 additive to give the brush proven bacteria and fungus-like killing properties. This body brush is also ergonomically designed to be comfortable for the groom.

Colours: black, blue, purple, burgundy, pink.

RRP £19.95 (US$28)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the USA? Purchase here

LeMieux Flexi Soft Body Brush

The LeMieux Flexi Soft Body BrushThe design of this brush allows it to flex so you can groom every part of your horse’s body with ease — even the bits that can be tricky to reach. The ergonomic shape fits your hand perfectly, helping to reduce the need to grip and making the brush really comfortable to use. The adjustable strap keeps it securely in your hand and the synthetic bristles help to remove dirt from your horse’s coat.

Colour: blue or black (green available in the USA only).

RRP £9.95 (US$15.95)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the USA? Purchase here

Supreme Products Perfection Body Brush

Types of horse brushes: the Supreme Products Perfection Body BrushThis brush will create an excellent base shine to the coat. The soft horse hair bristles effectively help to remove finer particles and dust so that your horse really gleams. The back of the brush is shaped to fit your hand comfortably and a leather handle ensures that it’s easy to hold.

Colour: black only RRP £17.50 (US$25)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the USA? Purchase here

Horze Horsehair Dandy Brush

The Horze Dandy BrushThis dandy brush has soft medium-length bristles that are made of natural horsehair and has a strong wooden back.

RRP £11.99 (US$19.99)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the USA? Purchase here

Ezi-Groom Grip Dandy Brush from Shires Equestrian

Types of horse brushes: the Ezi-Groom Grip Dandy Brush from Shires EquestrianThis brush has a soft-hold grip back with stiff synthetic bristles and is designed to remove mud and sweat from the hair of unclipped horses and ponies without removing essential oils from the coat.

Colours: pink, lime green, orange and more traditional colour options

RRP £4.49 (US$6.99)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the USA? Purchase here

Hy Equestrian Tractors Rock Dandy Brush

The Hy Equestrian Tractors Rock Dandy BrushThis fun dandy brush by Hy Equestrian has contrasting navy and red bristles and is a part of the Tractors Rock range. It has a navy handle with red logo on the top of the brush.

RRP £2.99 (sale price) (US$14.45)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the USA? Purchase here

Red Gorilla Dandy Brush

The Red Gorilla Dandy BrushThis two-toned dandy brush is ideal for removing dried mud and dried sweat from unclipped horses after a day in the field. The brush is durable and designed with hard bristles.

RRP £4.99 Not currently available in the USA

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Premier Equine Soft-touch Dandy Brush

Types of horse brushes: the Premier Equine Soft touch Dandy Brush range This brush has long bristles to help flick away dust, dried sweat and dirt from a horse’s coat. An essential piece of your grooming kit.

Colours: black/red, blue/peacock, orange/amber, wine/fuchsia

RRP £7.50 (€9.31)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the rest of Europe? Purchase here

Worldwide delivery available

Cottage Craft Classic Face Brush

The Cottage Craft Classic Face BrushThis mixed-colour bristle brush is designed specifically for faces. It is easily carried and stored due to its size, ensuring it is ready to hand when needed.

Colour: navy/purple. RRP £2.36 (sale price) 

Buying in the UK? Purchase here  

European delivery available

HyShine Deluxe Wooden Face Brush

The HyShine Deluxe Face BrushThis is a dark brown lacquered face brush with black horse hair bristles and a wooden handle.

RRP £4.39 (sale price) (US$10.45)

Buying in the UK? Purchase here

Buying in the USA? Purchase here

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