Jess Errington, head girl for international event rider Harry Meade, shares her expert grooming advice.
I don’t tend to have hundreds of brushes, just the basics:
- A good flick brush (much like a dandy brush)
- A relatively soft body brush
- Plastic curry comb
- Tail brush
- Long plastic mane comb
- Hoof pick and hoof oil.
I start by using my flick brush all over the body, including the head and legs. I always untie my horses while brushing their heads.
Mine are used to the slightly harder bristles, but be aware that sensitive horses may not like this and a soft body brush will be just as good.
I then move on to my soft body brush and plastic curry comb used together and I give them a thorough groom, almost like strapping — a firm action with long strokes, designed to get the blood flowing and feel a bit like a massage.
This gets the horse clean, encourages circulation and helps to warm up the muscles too.
Next, I spray some mane and tail conditioner into their tails to keep them soft and help prevent them from getting tangled.
I don’t believe in brushing horses’ tails every day. This tears out the hairs and before you know it you will have a very thin tail that will take forever to grow back and, let’s face it, it won’t look great!
I only comb them through when going to a competition, when I will also then use a dampened plastic mane comb and, from the near (left) side, comb the mane over onto the correct, off (right) side, helping it to lie flat and straight.
I start with a small amount of hair at the bottom and gently work my way through the whole tail until it’s completely untangled. There is nothing wrong with using scissors on your horse’s tail — it’s down to personal preference — but, for me, it’s a no as I don’t like the way the tail looks afterwards.
I pull all my horses’ tails so that they look smart, neat and have that natural look. With some horses who find pulling painful, a good idea is to have them sedated slightly so they can’t feel it.
To help with costs, I tie this in with them having their teeth done or when they’re being clipped so it can all be done at once.
Lastly, once their feet have been picked out, I apply some hoof oil. This not only makes them look smart, but it helps to nourish their feet as well.
Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products, available now.