Grooming a horse is about a lot more than just making sure your horse is clean. Not only does regular grooming help your horse look and feel great, it can also help him stay healthy all year round.
Then there’s the simple fact that grooming is a great way for you and your pet to spend some quality time together. This will only help to strengthen your bond and get your pet used to regular human interaction.
But do you know how to groom a horse properly? Proper grooming is maybe not as simple as you might think so it’s important to know what you’re doing before you pick up a comb or brush. Our top 5 horse grooming tips below will help you ensure that your horse or pony looks and feels like a million bucks.
Top 5 Horse Grooming Tips
- Horses are natural groomers. Grooming behaviours form part of the normal daily routine for most species of horses. From mutual grooming sessions with other horses to rolling around in the dirt and rubbing on tree branches, horses are quite adept at looking after their own skin. Even the rain serves a purpose by washing away dead hair and skin. But many domesticated horses in the modern world don’t always get the opportunities to groom themselves the way nature intended. Simply by keeping a rug on a horse we take away their chance to roll around, rub on things and scratch the natural way, so it’s an important responsibility for every owner to ensure that all of their horse’s grooming needs are met.
- Get the grooming essentials. Before you can start grooming your horse you will need to stock up on some essential equipment. Regular brushing is the perfect way to clean the coat and keep disease and infection at bay, so you’ll need to start with a stiff-bristled body brush. A curry comb will be very handy for removing dirt and dust, while a dandy brush and mane comb are also essential. There are plenty of shampoos, conditioners, shine enhancers and detanglers available to get that coat looking just right, while there are even special grooming vacuums available. A grooming cloth and the all-important hoof pick or brush complete the perfect grooming kit.
- Horses like it. Because grooming is such a natural and normal part of behaviour for most horse species, most of our equine friends love being groomed. So if your horse doesn’t enjoy your grooming sessions and even seems fearful or apprehensive of them, something isn’t right. Perhaps you’re being too rough with the stiff-bristled brush and causing pain? Or could your horse’s strange behaviour be a sign of an underlying health problem? If a gentler approach to grooming doesn’t work, you may need to ask your equine vet for advice.
- Training benefits. While the main goal of grooming is to maintain your horse’s healthy skin and hair, it can also have plenty of other advantages. From a training perspective, a daily grooming session can help young horses get used to being handled and spending time around people, and lead to substantial improvement in a stallion’s behaviour. But regular grooming also has another big benefit: helping you form a strong bond with your pet. Grooming provides the perfect opportunity for you and your horse to spend some quality time together, and also offers a great chance to check up on the health and overall condition of your animal.
- Keep it regular. You could easily spend several hundreds of dollars putting together the best grooming kit money can buy, but even a top-of-the-line kit is worthless if it doesn’t see frequent use. We can’t stress enough just how important regular grooming is to your horse’s physical and mental wellbeing, regardless of whether you do it with the best equipment money can buy or a simple brush and comb. Make grooming part of your horse’s regular daily routine and your gorgeous pet will be so much the better for it.