Grooming is a beneficial chore to both the horse and his handler. The horse enjoys the massage, and it gives you the handler a chance to bong with your horse, as well as to check your horse over for any signs of illness or injury.
To begin, the horse should be secured in a stall or tied safely to ensure he doesn’t try to go anywhere. Start by cleaning out the horse’s feet. Take your hoof pick in one hand and gently slide your other hand down the horse’s left front leg, encouraging him to pick his hoof up. Gently scrape out any dirt, mud, or debris that may have gathered between the grooves of the horse’s frog. The gently brush the underside of the hoof with the other side of the hoofpick if your hoofpick has an attached brush. Clean all four hooves before moving on.
Next, take out a circular rubber curry comb. Gently run the curry comb all over the horse’s body in a circular motion to loosen and dirt or mud or loose hair that may be in the horse’s coat. Try not to push too hard on sensitive areas such as the middle of the horse’s back or his legs or belly.
Now take a soft or medium bristle brush and use short quick motions all over his body, going in the direction of the hair, to get the loose dirt and hair off of his coat. Make sure that you get both sides of the horse. Use a soft brush on his face and sensitive areas.
If your horse has a particularly tangled mane and tail, you might want to use some sort of de-tangler such as Cowboy Magic or Show Sheen on him. You can use a human hairbrush or a thick comp to brush out his mane, tail, and forelock.
For a particularly dirty horse, you may want to bathe him with an equine shampoo and conditioner. Once you have finished, scrape off any excess water on his coat with a plastic or metal sweat scraper.
For horses that are shedding, try using a metal shedding blade on his coat to dislodge the excess clumps of hair. You can also use a grooming block for this. Grooming blocks also work well at getting dirt and grass stains off of horses with light colored coats. They also make special shampoos to get stains out of a horse’s coat.
Use a hard bristle brush to knock dried mud off of a horse’s hooves.
Finish up with an application of Show Sheen, but do not spray the horse with Show Sheen on the saddle area if you plan on riding him since it will make his coat very slick and slippery. A baby wipe is a good tool to use to wipe around the horse’s nostrils and mouth area, and to clean the face. They also work well at cleaning up dirty tack and boots.
Whether you are just out for a ride in the pasture or getting ready to enter the show ring, these simple tips should leave your horse shinning!