Grooming doesn’t just make your horse’s coat shine, it’s also a real health booster. A good grooming session achieves all of the following:
- Promotes circulation
- Massages muscles
- Helps remove dead skin cells
- Stimulates the production of beneficial oils.
However, this is only possible if you have the right kit for effective grooming. There are many different brushes and kits available — scroll down to see our essential top-five must-have brushes for your kit.
As well as removing dirt, grooming is the perfect opportunity for you to spot any lumps, swellings, or skin issues so you can deal with them early. Also, most horses appreciate grooming time and it’s a great chance for you to bond with him.
Each time you groom him, watch his reactions to see what he likes and what he doesn’t. He’ll soon let you know when you’ve hit ‘that spot’ he loves you to brush — he may nudge you to groom him some more, or even point to the area with his nose.
Take your time grooming your horse and learn to read his body language; it really is the perfect opportunity to get to know him and build that all-important partnership.
A daily groom
Grooming your horse on a daily basis will help keep him clean and help promote a healthy coat and skin, and is a must before riding him. Even if you’re short of time, grooming him where his tack sits to ensure that his coat is clean will reduce the chances of his tack rubbing.
However, it’s also important that you don’t overgroom your horse, especially in winter if he isn’t clipped and doesn’t wear a rug when he’s turned out. A once-a-day flick over with a dandy brush so you can check he has no new lumps and bumps should be all he needs. Grooming him too much can strip the coat of natural oils and reduce its waterproofing abilities.
Essentials for your grooming kit
A good basic grooming kit will contain a selection of key 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. Many also come with a useful bag or box in which to store them.
Let’s run through what these brushes are and what they should be used for to ensure your horse is well-groomed and relaxed with a clean, healthy coat…
- 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
These brushes have long, stiff bristles to remove dirt and hair that’s been brought up by the curry comb. The bristles might be 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 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 (see below) 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 brush/comb
As the name suggests, this grooming kit essential is used to remove knots from the mane and tail. Opting for a soft brush on the tail is a good idea in order to prevent too much hair coming out, which could lead to a thin tail.
Clean your brushes
If you want your brushes to do the job and keep your horse’s coat clean you need to look after them. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations, but, broadly speaking, washing them regularly in warm soapy water and rinsing thoroughly will ensure that your brushes will last and do the job of cleaning your horse’s coat efficiently.