When it comes to grooming, it’s tempting to do a quick brush to make the most of your riding time, but spending time pampering your horse can work wonders for his coat and your bond. Carl Hester’s head groom Alan Davies shares his daily grooming routine for getting your horse to shine.
1. Stimulate his circulation
To kick things off, arm yourself with a rubber curry comb.
“I use this brush all over, including on the legs,” says Alan. “In winter, it encourages the coat to come through, and in summer, keeps the oil working through.
“A rubber curry comb also stimulates the blood flow through the muscles and warms them before you ride. This is really helpful if your horse spends a lot of time in the stable.”
Brush like a pro: Use all over your horse in small, circular movements. This will also make light work of dried-on mud. Alan likes to gently use a curry comb to remove any grease and matted hair under leg bandages after exercise.
2. Draw out dirt
Once you’ve given your horse a good rub, it’s time to get to work on his coat with a flick brush.
“My Mr Flicky brush has long bristles that go deep into your horse’s coat,” says Alan. “I use this brush all over the coat to bring any dirt from the horse’s skin to the surface.”
Brush like a pro: Use the brush in short, sharp, flicking movements to bring any dust to the surface. It will also get rid of any hair that your rubber curry comb may have released.
3. Brush away dust
After you’ve completed the first two steps, there will probably be a fair amount of dust and dirt on the surface of your horse’s coat to get rid of.
“For the next step, you can use a body brush all over your horse,” says Alan. “This gets deep into your horse’s coat and eliminates any dust and grease from the skin. It also gives a good shine.”
Brush like a pro: Brush all over in short, sweeping movements. Get rid of any excess dirt from your brush by giving it a scrape with your curry comb.
4. Tame his mane and tail
Steps for magnificent manes:
- Comb through with a wide-tooth comb
- Comb the mane to the wrong side of your horse’s neck to brush through the underside
- Brush the mane back to the right side, checking for any tangles
- Dampen down lightly to keep in place
Pointers for tremendous tails:
- Don’t brush too often to preserve the tail from becoming too thin
- When brushing, gently use a wide-tooth comb and pick out any shavings or straw
More from Alan…
- Alan’s six steps to perfect stable bandages
- How to pinpoint lameness in your horse
- Alan’s step-by-step guide to poulticing a hoof
Main image: Alan with Valegro. Credit: Sally Newcomb/Kelsey Media Ltd